Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Encore – Hysterical Singing Game

March 25, 2011 6 comments

When I was in high school, I played the board game encore.  When I became a youth minister, I adjusted encore to make it one of my groups favorite games and group building activities.  Because youth love music and listen to all kinds, this game has the potential to engage everyone and not to many games can do that.  I quick google search showed that the game still exists and that you can purchase it from Amazon for $12.  I have played it for years and never purchased it until today.  I think it will be worth the $12 investment, but you can try it out with your group using my adjusted rules and see if you like it first.


  • A list of words you would might find in a song.  For an hour long game, you’ll need 10-15 words.
  • Something to keep score on


Divide your group up into teams of 3-10 people.  This game is best played with no more than 4 groups and 40 people.

The group on your left starts the first round.  Each round, you will move clockwise with a new group starting.

The leader will share the “word” that each group must sing.  Then beginning with the first group, each group or individual in that group must sing a phrase from a song containing the “word” and 5 other words.  The first group has 20 seconds to sing/say the phrase. Then moving clockwise groups continue to sing/say songs with the “word”. After the first group, the time limit is reduced to 10 seconds.  A group is eliminated from the round if they cannot think of a song or they sing a song that has already been sung.  The last group standing gets a point.

Here are some “words” that work well.

  • Blue
  • Love
  • Heart
  • Train
  • Plane
  • Tractor

You can also use topics like:

  • Girls Name
  • Transportation that doesn’t have wheels ie. walking, running, hot air balloon, etc.
  • Types of Cars
  • Hymns
  • Food
  • Cartoon Theme Songs


If it appears they will go forever on a topic, award points to all groups or whoever still remains and move on to the next topic.  If you are playing, it helps to have a piece of paper and pen so that you can make a list of possible songs and be prepared when your turn comes around and to eliminate songs sung by other groups.  You will have to determine what’s a song.  Expect to get commercial jingles and other short jingles in addition to songs.  You’ll have to make the rule “one way or the other.”


Hopefully, your group will understand to keep it clean; but if your group is like my group then a friendly reminder might be in order!


Youth Ministry Game: Pantyhose Grapefruit Swing

October 27, 2010 2 comments

I’m probably immature for thinking this game is funny, but you’ll think it’s funny too.


One of each of the following for every 8-10 youth:

Knee high stocking panty hose



Masking or Carpet Tape


Place a softball in the bottom of each knee high panty hose.    Make a starting line and finish line 20 feet apart.

How to Play:

In this relay the first person ties the panty hose with the softball around their waste where the softball hangs to 1 inch off the ground.  Students without touching the panty hose (its cheating and to easy) swing their hips to get the softball to bump the grapefruit from the starting line to the finish line and back for the next person.

Found this picture from early 90’s playing this game with my first youth group. We used balloons instead of grapefruits.  Discovered they were too hard to move forward.  I wanted to give you a visual.

Youth Ministry Game: Wax Paper Carpet Sliding

October 20, 2010 1 comment

I have to admit I love this game and look for opportunities to play it at churches I visit.


One role of wax paper per 12 youth

A long hallway, gym, main aisle of the sanctuary (if you dare) that is carpeted with short carpet.


Tear  wax paper into 3ish foot length pieces.  Clean hallway or room of things student might run into during the relay.

How to Play

In this relay, students pair up in two’s.  The best pairs involve bigger students pushing smaller ones.  Divide into multiple teams as appropriate for the size of your group.  Give each pair a piece of wax paper 3ish feet long.  The smaller student sits on the piece of wax paper with their bottom and feet on the wax paper (with their knees to their chest.  The larger student pushes them to the other end of the room and back.  The next group goes when they return.

Another fun thing to do: Have a long slide contest.  Students push their partner to a certain line and then let them go.  The group whose slider goes the farthest wins.  Starting at the wall and going to the free throw line in a carpeted gym, I can push a small seventh grader hard enough that the bump into the opposite wall.  Not bragging, just giving you an idea about how far someone can slide.


Wax paper will rip and melt due to friction with the carpet.  When this happens, a student my get some carpet burn.  My advice is to have additional sheets ready and if they feel their butt burning at the halfway point switch wax paper.  Or simply play in the winter when folks are wearing jeans.  It doesn’t happen often but it does happen.

Youth Ministry Game: Trash Can Relay Race

October 13, 2010 1 comment

I must admit that a kid broke his arm on my first night at Brentwood UMC’s youth group playing this game, so pay attention to the warnings at the end.


One large trash can with wheels for every 12-20 students.  The ones with the multi-directional wheel platform are the best.  You know the ones that are in your church gym or fellowship hall.

Optional:  Helmets


Gather trashcans, remove bags, clean or spray with Lysol

How to Play

Each team should pair up by two’s.    One student climbs into the trash can.  The other student then pushes the trash can to the other end of the room.  Students then switch places.  When they return to their team, the next pair goes.


Groups need to be spread far enough apart so that students don’t try to tip over another groups trashcan.  Play this game in a open room like a gym or outside.  Racing 2 trash cans down a narrow hallway leads to broken arms.  I know this is shocking.  Have adults at both ends to help with students getting in and out of trashcans they can and will tip over.  Use helmets if you want!

Youth Ministry Game: Cake Face

October 6, 2010 1 comment

Here’s a simply game that is supposed to be messy only for those who volunteer.  It can be fun to play around Halloween.


Icing, Sprinkles, Candles, decorative icing

Optional: swim goggles

Clean up supplies including baby wipes


Have icing and decorative supplies divided up for groups or located in a central location where they can share.  Have clean up supplies on hand.

How to Play

Divide your group into teams of 4-6 with each group choosing one person to volunteer to get messy.  Give icing and access to plenty of cake decorating supplies.  Groups decorate their team members face like a cake.  Depending on your group you can decide whether the competition is best designed, fanciest, or scariest.


You may want to use swim goggles on each participant to protect their eyes.  Participants eyes should not be covered whether you use the goggles or not.  Also participants will need help removing icing so have supplies on hand to help with this.  Baby wipes are helpful for getting the final coating off the skin and hair.

Here’s a picture from a time we played on Halloween.  The students expanded the game to make costumes from the random supplies in the youth room.

Youth Ministry Game: Pantyhose Helicopter Wars

September 29, 2010 2 comments

Pantyhose Helicopter WarJust want to warn everyone that this is the first of several panty hose games.  After I bought panty hose, I had to find some other games to play with them.  This one is a youth ministry crowd favorite!


3-5 Pairs of Pantyhose Knee High Stockings

6-10 Tennis Balls


Gather supplies and place one tennis ball in the end of each knee high stocking pantyhose


Helicopter wars is a two person competition that can be turned into a youth group tournament quickly.  The game moves fast.  Each person places the pantyhose over their head – just the head not over the face.  The tennis ball should be hanging down.  Students then swing the ball around their head (like a helicopter).  Participants must swing their balls in opposite directions. When you give the signal, the two participants attempt to get their pantyhose tangled and then to pull the pantyhose off the other persons head without using their hands.

Once kids get the hang of it, the game is fast and funny.  I recommend playing the best 2 out of 3 so that youth get some practice.

You can have multiple wars going on at the same time.


The tennis ball and pantyhose can come flying off of people with smaller heads.

Youth Ministry Game: Marshmallow Golf

September 22, 2010 2 comments

Marshmellow Golf - Long DriveAnother fun low prep game.  Did you know that a marshmellow was actually a marshmallow?  I have been saying it wrong all these years.  Spell check led me to google where I learned my life long error.


A couple of marsh mellows per student

1 – Dixie cup per student

Several metal wood golf clubs


Purchase Supplies


Here are two variations of how you can use marshmallows and golf clubs.

Long Drive: This game is really simply.  Let your kids tee up their marshmallow on an upside down dixie cup and then swing away.  You could make it a team competition by awarding certain points for various distances and keeping score.

Marshmallow Golf: Use buckets for holes and let students play a round of marshmallow golf.  Set up a designated tee box for each hole and then place the bucket 20-30 yards away.  Students will keep score as they try to hit their marshmallow into the bucket.  I find they that the girls are only good for 3 holes.  The boys could play all day.


Make sure they stand back from each other so they don’t get hit by the club.  That’s it! Have fun!