3 Throwback Youth Ministry Games (That We Still Play)

Youth Specialties
January 24th, 2019

Often in ministry we are looking for the next “big thing”. Whether it’s a new game, curriculum, devotion, videos, or app, we are always searching out new ideas that might help us connect and impact the students we work with. However; sometimes, the resources we’ve been using for years are still the most relevant and useful in reaching and connecting with our students.

Consider the area of games. There are countless books, websites, and resources out there on new youth group game.  And yes,  many are really good. We have used many of them. However, there are some games that have proven to hold up over the test of time and our students still love to play. Here are 3 of those games that I would encourage you to try with your students and see, or remember, how fun they can be.

Blanket Game– This is a great game to do at the beginning of a ministry year to help learn names.

Supplies: Large blanket

How to play: Form 2 teams of equal (or as close to it as possible) people. Have each team form a single file line facing each other. Have 2 people (the taller the better) hold a long blanket to separate the front person in each line. Make sure the blanket is high and wide enough to completely block the view of each team’s ability to see each other. Have one of the blanket holders count down 3, 2, 1 and then the blanket holders drop the blanket. The first person in line on each team now needs to say the other person’s name first. The winner goes to the end of their team’s line. The loser goes to the end of the other team’s line and is now part of their team. Play continues until all players on one of the teams has had to switch to the other team or your group decides to be done playing.

Shuffle Your Buns– This is a high energy game that keeps students constantly moving.

Supplies: Chairs

How to play: Form a circle of chairs, one for each player. Choose someone to be in the center of the circle and their chair remains empty as the game begins. The goal is for the person in the middle to try and sit down in the empty chair while the rest of the group “shuffles” into it. If the person in the middle is able to sit down in the open seat, the player in the circle who would’ve been next to shuffle into that seat is now in the middle. The group can at any time choose to switch directions and shuffle the opposite way. For additional challenge have a 2nd person be in the middle creating 2 empty seats in the circle that they are trying to sit in.

Clumps– This is a fun game to help get students mingling and meeting new people.

Supplies: Background Music

How to play: Start by have your whole group standing together in one large clump. Turn on some upbeat background music. When the music starts, have the group begin to walk around near each other. When the music stops, everyone freezes wherever they are. The facilitator will yell out a number. For example, the number 8. At this point each person will be looking to form a group of 8 people, including themselves. Once a group of 8 is formed, they need to link arms and sit down as a group. If all the possible groups of 8 are formed and there are left over people not in a group, they are all out. Play continues like this until you have just 3 people left, then when the music stops have them form a group of 2 people and those 2 people are the winners.  As the facilitator, the trick with this game is knowing how many people you have walking around while the music is playing and being able to pick a number where you will guarantee having extra people without a group each time. A good way to do this is once a round is over and you have only complete groups sitting together on the floor, count the number of people still playing so you will know what number options you have for the next round of play. It’s good to alternate how long you let the music play so the group isn’t able to start predicting how long they have until it stops and they have to form a group.

I hope that you enjoy these classic youth ministry games for many years to come!

Youth Specialties

Youth Specialties exists to elevate the role of youth ministry and the youth worker to grow the faith of the next generation.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.