Every youth leader has faced the unique challenge of getting a room full of awkward, bored, and restless kids into a space where they can encounter Jesus in a personal and powerful way. The only question is: how do we get them from Point A to Point B? Youth group games are part of the answer!
By facilitating fun youth group games that can get the students into a place of comfort, excitement, and joy. Plus, you’re opening up an opportunity for them to make friendships that can last a lifetime, and to give them something to look forward to every week!
Here are ways to make youth group fun, and 17 example youth group games you can start playing today. Your students will love trying a new game.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Table of contents
- How Do You Make Church Youth Ministry Fun?
- 17 Fun Youth Group Games and Activities
- Conclusion: Best Youth Group Games
- More Youth Group Ministry Resources
How Do You Make Church Youth Ministry Fun?
So you might want to run a game or two, but maybe you don’t know exactly how. Or, more importantly, how to make it fun.
Well, when it comes to an enjoyable youth group game, there are some things you want to keep in mind. Whether you’re facilitating small groups, a large group, or even youth camp, these principles apply.
Firstly, you want the game to be engaging, meaning every student is involved, all the time. Games with long turns, or that put too much focus on one or a few students, can make students feel bored or not included.
Secondly, it needs to be easy. You should be able to teach the rules in about a minute. And hopefully not have to clarify again during the game.
There’s nothing more terrifying or daunting for a kid than being tossed into the middle of a group of people they don’t know, and be expected to play a game they still don’t understand.
Finally, you want the game to force interaction between the students. After all, the purpose is for them to get to know the kids around them and feel comfortable in the space.
Encourage them to break the ice with people they don’t know in a way that is still safe and fun. You’re opening up the door to create a heart-posture where students can focus on the worship and sermon. Once service begins, a student can focus more on the Lord than worrying about their relationships with the kids around them.
So now that we know what makes a youth group game fun, let’s get into some games you can pick up and drop into your youth group with little to no setup.
As a plus, most of these require minimal supplies, and can be played with groups of almost any size!
17 Fun Youth Group Games and Activities
Youth ministry has its challenges – but you also get to play games, which is a major plus! Getting kids engaged and comfortable through great games will bring them closer together and keep them coming back week after week.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor games or indoor group games, here are 17 fun ideas to get you started.
1. Zip Bong
In this hilarious fast-paced game, students pass the turn left or right depending on if they say, “Zip!” (passes to the player on the left) or “Bong!” (passes to the player on the right).
Players who take too long to respond, speak out of turn, or laugh are eliminated, but watching the game from the outside as the game continues is just as hilarious and fun as playing it.
2. 60 Second Objects
In 60 Second Objects, youth leaders split the students into groups and assign each group some sort of object. Then they have sixty seconds to form it their bodies before time is up!
This fun game is super simple and encourages teamwork and creativity.
A great tip to forming teams is grouping up students with people they don’t know or aren’t friends with yet, allowing them to meet new people and make new friends!
3. Who’s in Charge Here?
Perfect for medium to large sized groups, “Who’s in Charge Here?” involves one “Guesser” leaving the room while the other players form a circle and choose a “Leader”.
The Leader will begin some sort of repeating action for the others to imitate. For example, patting their head or rubbing their belly. They’ll start before the Guesser comes back in and steps into the circle. Then, they study the players in hope of catching the Leader as they constantly change actions for the others to copy.
4. Walk Together
Walk Together is the ultimate game of Simon Says. Except, Simon wants you to do the opposite of what they’re saying!
Play begins with students walking when the youth leader says, “Walk!” and stopping when they say “Stop!”
Pretty simple, right?
Except now they’re going to keep playing and now “Walk!” means stop and “Stop!” means walk.
Soon, “Clap!” will mean spin, and “Spin!” will mean clap, and you’ll have your students dying of laughter in no time!
5. Giants, Wizards, and Elves
Giants, Wizards, and Elves is just rock, paper, and scissors, but in a way that gets students up and moving, and breaking out into crazy poses.
Winning in this game just means having the most points from winning the most matches, meaning students are never eliminated!
This game has every student involved, and gives a chance for everyone to break the ice by doing funny poses and making funny noises.
6. Two Truths and a Lie
Here’s a super simple great icebreaker game that helps your students get to know each other. Two Truths and a Lie has players stating three facts about themselves: you guessed it, two of them are true and one is a lie!
The other players have to guess which they think is the lie. Perfect for smaller groups, and can be played in all the small moments of downtime during the evening.
7. Grandma’s Footsteps
Another super fun and hilarious game for both students hoping to win and those who have already been eliminated, Grandma’s Footsteps has one player at one end of the room with their back turned, while all the others try to creep up towards them and tap them on the shoulder.
But Grandma can turn around at any moment, and if they see anyone still moving, they can eliminate them from the game! The player who ends up tapping Grandma first becomes the Grandma for the next round.
8. Dragon Tail
Perfect for big groups with a lot of open space, Dragon Tail is a lot like tag, except teams are connected by interlocking their elbows. Then they try to eliminate other team’s dragon by swiping their “tail”, a ribbon held by the last person in line.
Usually this person is eliminated, but to keep everyone involved, you can have them join the back of the dragon that just got them, with the longest dragon winning when time runs out.
9. Human Knot
You’ve probably played this classic game before. In this super fun and simple game, groups form circles and knot together by reaching out and grabbing the hand of another person (first with their left hand, then with their right).
Then, all groups try to untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands, and the first to fully untangle themselves is the winner!
10. Human Sculptures
Human Sculptures is exactly what it sounds like: players team up into pairs, with one being the “sculptor” and one being the “sculpture”.
The sculptor positions the sculpture’s body parts however they like in order to form them into a pose best representing the prompt given to them by the leader.
Human scupltures can be played as a competitive competition, or just a fun, creative activity. To avoid any potentially awkward or uncomfortable situations, it’s suggested to group up pairs of the same gender.
11. Ultimate Ninja
One of the most infamous youth group games of all time, Ultimate Ninja has players using quick thinking and even quicker reflexes to try to tap the hands of the players around them in order to eliminate them.
The only catch is that play passes around the circle in turn order, and you can only do one motion when it’s your turn, or when someone attempts to get you on their turn!
12. Change Places If…
Change Places is another of our favorite youth group activities that encourages each team member to learn more about the others. In this game, everyone stands in a circle, and a leader calls out a statement that may or may not relate to your life. For example, “Change places if you’ve ever been out of the country!”
Players that have done so change places with other players that have. So students are constantly learning more about each other, and ending up next to new friends they can get to know!
13. 4 Square
Another one of the most infamous youth group games of all time, 4 Square is great if you have open space, something to mark off boundaries, and a ball. Students form up into groups of four, and each stand in a quadrant of a square, then pass the ball back and forth in an attempt to catch another player off guard.
Whenever someone loses, they move to the lowest numbered quadrant, and everyone behind them moves up. This is the most complex game on the list, but is perfect for students wanting to get active and competitive.
14. The Blob
The Blob is a lot like tag, except once a player is tagged, they join the tagger by linking arms with them. Soon, this “blob” will get bigger and bigger as more players are tagged, until the entire group is linked and only one student is left.
Once they’re tagged, they begin the next game as the tagger and begin a blob of their own. This is a great game for bigger groups with an open space they can play in.
15. Penny Chinny
This youth group game only requires a penny for each player. Once everyone has balanced a penny on their chins, the game begins, with players trying to be the last one with a penny left on their chin.
They can’t touch the penny with their hands or interact with each other physically, so they have to get the other players to drop their penny by getting creative: making them laugh, scaring them, whatever it takes. This is also on the list for fun party games!
Another classic youth group game, Telephone is about trying to pass a single message from one end of the group to the other.
Each player will hear the message whispered to them from the player to their right, then try to whisper the same message to the player to their left.
Since the message will most likely lose clarity and get confused between players, the message said aloud at the end will be much different than the message at the beginning, which is sure to have everyone laughing.
A simple detective game that is sure to have everyone involved and everyone laughing, Sherlock has one student assigned as the detective.
They study each other person in the group closely before eventually leaving the room. The remaining players swap one thing within the group, maybe changing places in their line or exchanging the jackets of two players, before the detective returns and tries to deduce what the change was.
Conclusion: Best Youth Group Games
And there you have it! Seventeen fun games you can start playing in your youth groups with little to no setup or supplies. Incorporating new games will have you and your students laughing, cheering, and engaging with one another in all kinds of fun ways!
We know that running a youth group can be challenging, but hopefully these easy-to-learn games will make it that much easier. And most importantly, remember to have fun!
More Youth Group Ministry Resources
Looking for ways to get kids interested in your youth group? Creating an engaging website for the youth of today is a great first step!