Tag: Play

Active Games: Cardboard Tube Combat

(Clip rated “M” for Fx gore)

Here’s a wild and crazy way for your high school guy’s small group to talk about Ephesians 6:11-18. Cardboard Tube Fighting is dorky yet fun activity that gives you hands-on-experience with helmets, swords, shields and the like.

TIPS: Get cardboard tubes from your friendly local fabric store.

Allow plenty of time for construction. Box cutters are dangerous! A small handsaw can be helpful when cutting extremely thick cardboard.

Yoga ball jousting, pictured in the video, is a lot of fun but a little rough. Get two big guys running full-tilt and somebody could take a bad bounce.

Finally, keep a video camera handy! I’d love to see your clips if you decide to try this.

[Originally published May 20, 2010]

Active Games: Ice Blocking

ice blocking = fast fun

Climb on the Peace Train

If you have a nearby park with a grassy slope, ice blocking is fast summer fun. Ice blocking has been described as “luge for idiots,” however I think it’s more apt to say that luge is luge for idiots. Because it takes place on a grassy hill, ice blocking is about the safest adrenaline rush you can hope to find.

1) Buy or make your own ice blocks. If you have an empty freezer you can fill plastic tubs with water a few days ahead and make your own blocks. Use a circle of rope to make loop-handles on the sides.

2) Carry the ice to the top of the hill, place a towel on the block of ice and -wheeeeee!!!

Be sure to check ahead with the park officials. Some parks have banned ice blocking because, done excessively, it can kill the grass.

And if ordinary ice blocking is too tame for you, try adding a plywood ice block jump ramp.

The Play’s the Thing


There’s a common thrash amongst youth pastors – should you use games to attract more kids to your group? Or do games distract from your message?

Both camps, I think, miss the point somewhat. Games are so much more than a means to an end. Play has powerful benefits it its own right. Young people who know how to play well with others have more options available to them.

Consider these real-life scenarios:

A group of twenty teenagers and their youth leaders are standing in the dark on a street corner in San Francisco waiting for a bus that won’t come for another half hour. Every one of them is bone-tired from working in a food pantry. Some of them didn’t bring enough warm clothing. It is freezing cold.

One of the kids has an idea – let’s play Big Booty. What could have been a 30 minute grumble fest turns into a fun-for-all.

Too old for Trick-or-Treat, a high school girl isn’t thrilled by the idea of staying home and handing out candy to an endless parade of Cinderellas, Transformers and Harry Potters. She gets permission from her parents and then meets her friends at a warehouse owned by the family business where they all play a ginormous game of Sardines in the dark.

A group of college age young men and women get together and hang out. They all want to do something besides beer pong. One of them suggests a game of Team Assassin. Hilarity ensues.

Increasingly I’m seeing young people take the games they’ve learned in youth group and and play them with their friends who don’t attend church. Playing group games may not be evangelism, but it’s a great way for people young or old spend a Saturday night.