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Games 3FOR YOUTH GROUPS
ZondervanCopyright © 2001 Zondervan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIndoor Games for Large Groups
These games are geared toward groups of thirty or more and are designed to be played in a gymnasium, fellowship hall, or similar room. But no matter how large your group is or what the confines of your meeting area are, you'll find crowd breakers, mixers, and contests that will work for you.
Amputee Balloon Swat
You remember the rainy-day game that boredom drove you to-Keep the Balloon from Hitting the Ground or Else It Blows Up. For this version, each person has an inflated balloon to protect-and at the same time, they must try to bat others' balloons to the ground. The catch is, they can use only one hand to play this game. They have to keep the other hand in a pocket or behind their back or otherwise out of play. You get the idea-one hand to share both defensive and offensive tasks.
You'll need boundaries of some sort-such as walls or tape strips on the floor-to keep all players in the thick of the action so they don't wander off to protect their balloons. Players are out when their balloons hit the floor or are swatted out of bounds. Or you can add the rule that players are out only when their balloons hit the floor and are stepped on and popped-and they can only step on a balloon that's already on the ground. Paul J. Cronenwett
While your next youth event is winding down, use up those leftover balloons with a quick game of Balloon Soccer. Any size, color, or number of inflated balloons will work. Designate a goal area at each end of the room, which no one may enter during the game. Place all the balloons in the center of the room, and split the group into two teams. One group stands on each side of the balloons.
Each team tries to move the balloons into the other team's goal area using only their feet. Once a balloon has been corralled inside an end zone, it can't be put back into play. Players who step into the end zone must take one minute out of play. The game ends when all the balloons are behind the goal lines. The winner is the team with the fewest balloons inside their own goal. If you wish, the winning team may be allowed to celebrate their victory by popping all the balloons any way they want to. Len Cuthbert
Chair Balloon Ball
A smooth, non-carpeted floor works best for this fast-moving game-it helps eliminate the shocking element of static electricity! Create two even teams of students and have each group choose a goalie. Give each person a balloon to inflate and leave in a big box along the sidelines. Then ask each player to grab a chair before the game begins. Players should arrange their chairs in the playing area like positions on a real soccer field, with the two goalies sitting at opposite ends.
Two opposing players face off with one balloon to begin the game. The teams play regular offense and defense, but there are a couple of twists to the rules. Team members can move anywhere on the playing field, but their chairs must remain underneath them at all times. So they use one hand to hit the balloon and the other to hold onto their chair.
The second twist involves the goalies. When a balloon is passed to a goalie, that person's job is to sit on it and try to pop it before the other team loudly counts to three. If the goalie fails to pop the balloon, the balloon should be returned to the center of the field and put back into play.
A point is scored whenever a goalie pops a balloon, and then a new balloon is tossed onto the center of the field for the next round of the game. Once all the balloons are mere fragments of their former selves, the team with the most balloon bits under the goalie's chair is declared to be the winning team! Troy Smith
Tired of having your students number off for every team competition-"One, two, three, one, two, three ..."? Place a piece of Skittles candy in a dark-colored balloon and inflate it-one balloon per student. As your students arrive, give each person a balloon. Instruct kids to pop the balloons however they like, as long as they save the surprise inside. In other words, no eating the surprise until you say it's okay!
After they've retrieved their pieces of candy, players should mingle and find their teammates (students with the same color candy). There are five original flavors of Skittles, so if you need more than five teams for a game, you could also use M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, or another kind of hard-shell candy. Larry Marshall
Marshmallow Midget Ball
Locked out of the sports equipment closet again? Don't even have a sports equipment closet? Then try raiding the church kitchen and playing a few innings of this short-but not necessarily quick-game. Two teams play a good old-fashioned game of baseball, using jumbo-size marshmallows for the ball (you'll want to have a large bag of these on hand) and a spatula for the bat. Use whatever stationary objects you have handy for the bases-wastepaper baskets, chairs, orange safety cones, or adult leaders.
Just before the first pitch is thrown, casually mention that players must play the game on their knees. At this point you may want to move the bases a little closer together or provide kneepads for the batting team. Points are scored whenever a runner-crawler-safely reaches home base.
A final twist to the all-American game-if a fielder catches a fly marshmallow in her mouth and eats it (with no help from hands), then it counts as two outs. Yvette Lansdowne
Marshmallow Toss Across
Before playing this quirky game of catch, players number off and arrange themselves as shown in the diagram below, each person standing on a chair. Once the students are in position, they should pair off with the people standing directly across the circle from them. Every twosome will compete against the other twosomes to win.
Even-numbered players each get a Styrofoam cup full of mini marshmallows (each cup should contain the same amount). The odd-numbered players each get an empty cup to use to try to catch the marshmallows.
When you give the signal, the marshmallow tossers hurl marshmallows-one at a time-to their partners. No matter how wild the toss, players aren't allowed to step off their chairs during the game or points will be deducted from their final score. When a team runs out of marshmallows, both players should sit down. The first team to sit gets five bonus points, the last team loses five points.
After everyone is seated, the catchers count the marshmallows in their cups and give their teams one point per marshmallow. The pair with the fewest marshmallows at the end of a round earns the dreaded pick-up penalty-they must pick up all the mashed marshmallows off the floor. Play again with tossers and catchers trading places. Len Cuthbert
Mystery Clue Hunt
With this game, you can simultaneously add a little mystery to your youth meeting and foster a sense of teamwork among your students. Players work together in smaller groups, searching for clues and trying to solve a five-part mystery.
Copy down the following 25 sample clues-or come up with your own-and write each one on a slip of colored paper. Clues from the same category should be written on the same color of paper.
Category: The Criminal (pink paper)
Chop chop: no lies
Not Bill Clinton
He could have used Polident
Category: The Crime (purple paper)
The 10 Commandments
First to second is easiest, rarely at home
A furry scarf
Rabbits and foxes and minks-oh my!
Category: The Item (tan paper) Another name for a sports stadium
It can be an island thing, with chili
Mustard, no relish
Who knows what's in it?
Category: The Victim (blue paper)
It's not easy being this way
His creator is dead His girlfriend is a real porker
It's time to get things started
You might find his legs in a fancy restaurant
Category: The Location (yellow paper)
A castle and a mouse
Lots of cameras
When you wish upon a star
Wait forever, then go very fast
The answer is George Washington stole a hot dog (or Coney) from Kermit the Frog at Disney World (or Disneyland).
Hide the clues throughout the building-or in areas that have yet to be declared off limits by your church elders-and be creative. Tape them to the backs of pews, onto the blades of ceiling fans, under the toilet tank in the restroom, inside the silverware drawer in the kitchen-no place is too weird!
Read the first paragraph of The Crime Scene (page 16) aloud to the group and then give each team of six to eight students a copy of the sheet and a pen or pencil to use during their search. Instruct the groups to look around the building for clues and to leave clues where they find them.
If a group gets stuck during the game, give them a little hint. Tell them that clues found on the same color paper belong in one of the five clue categories and should be used together to solve one of the parts of the mystery. So, using our example, you could tell them that clues about the criminal's identity are all written on pink paper.
When a team thinks they've solved the mystery, they should report back to you or another staff member. If their answer is wrong, they must wait at least three minutes before guessing again. Teams are allowed only three guesses each. Even after a team finally gives the correct answer, let the others continue to work until they've run out of guesses or solved the crime.
Award a mysterious edible prize to the first team that solves the mystery, like Whatchamacallit candy bars or a box of chocolate-covered candies without the list that identifies the contents of each piece. Brian Morgan
Sardines for Cash
Spice up that old hide-and-seek game of Sardines for your group-all it takes is a wad of play money. Give one player, the banker, a pack of fake cash and one minute to hide. Everyone else waits at the bank (designated location where they can't see the banker's efforts to hide) until you give the signal for the hunt to begin.
Every player who finds the banker gets one dollar and hides with the banker. When you signal that time is up, all players-whether or not they've found the banker-should race back to the bank. The last person to get there loses a dollar. If no one finds the banker during a round, then he gets to keep a dollar for himself.
Play a few rounds. The player with the most play money at the end of the game can cash it in for an edible prize. Or for a twist, let everyone with money cash it in for an edible prize-letting players choose their prize in order of how much money they have. Len Cuthbert
There's nothing like a good game of hide-and-seek to help kids let off a little steam. And there's probably nothing your students would enjoy more than a chance to tear around the church in the dark. So give them a chance to do so-in a controlled way, of course.
Begin by telling the players which rooms are strictly off limits during the game, then select someone to be the dungeon keeper. Shut her in a room by herself and have her count to 30 while the other players run and hide, turning off the lights as they go.
After the dungeon keeper is finished counting, she should search room by room-leaving the lights off as she does so. When she finds someone, that person must remain in the room until she has finished searching it for other players. Once the dungeon keeper is convinced she has found everyone in a particular room, she may turn on the light. If she happened to miss someone who was hiding there, that person should come out when the lights come on. Then all the people who were hiding in that room-whether or not they were caught-are free to run and hide again, turning off the lights as they go. The dungeon keeper should once again count to 30 before resuming her search.
However, if the dungeon keeper successfully catches every player hiding in a room, when the light is turned on they're all out of the game and she's free to move on to search the next dark location. As she progresses through the building, she can mark her progress by leaving doors open and lights on as she exits each room. The last person caught becomes the new dungeon keeper for the next round. Deborah King
Pit guys against girls for this game in the dark. On each side of the room place a chair with an item underneath it. The same thing should be under both chairs-a hymnbook, a pencil, a candy bar, a CD jewel case, a freshman girl, whatever.
Form a girls' team and a guys' team, one on each side of the room, then turn off the lights. Playing guys versus girls makes for easier team identification and refereeing in the dark. On your signal, players try to retrieve the object from under the opposing team's chair and place it on the seat of their team's chair back on the other side of the room. The catch is, teams must play on their hands and knees. (This helps prevent serious injuries in the dark.)
Another twist is that players aren't allowed to touch their opponents. So when the unavoidable happens and opposing team members happen to touch, both players try to be the first to yell, "Gotcha!" to eliminate the opponent from the game. Undoubtedly, there will be frequent disputes over who said "Gotcha!" first, so have staff members on hand to make a judgment call when needed.
Whenever players hear, "Gotcha!" all the players must return to their own sides of the room and start groping in the dark all over again. Even if a player is holding the object and is almost back to his side of the room, he's still required to put the item back under the other team's chair and return to his side of the room.
The first team to nab the other team's object and return to their chair without hearing "Gotcha!" wins. Troy Smith
When your youth group budget for new equipment has run out, here's a game you can play with just a couple of trashcans and some slightly flat playground balls. The object of the game is to make more goals than your opponents do, and goals are made by throwing the balls into your team's trashcan.
Divide your group into either two or four even teams. Have the members of each team stand in a line across one side of the playing field. Teams should stand directly across the playing field from one another, facing outward so they're facing their own goals (see diagram).
Excerpted from Games 3 Copyright © 2001 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
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