Everyone wants to be the Boss! Looking for an awesome small group circle game? Then you make like to try the Big Boss game.
Big Boss is wonderful for teaching listening and speaking skills to participants. It requires intense concentration. Without focus it will be near impossible to win the game.
The aim of the game is to be the Big Boss and to stay the Big Boss for as long as possible.
The game best suits people 8 years to adult, however, a modified version of the game can be run for younger participants.
Allow 5 minutes to explain the game and another 5 minutes to practise with the participants (takes a bit to get their heads around the game) before playing. The game runs for 15 to 30 minutes.
Once participants have become proficient at the game, it can be used as an Energizer between lessons. The Big Boss game is perfect for youth groups, camps and family parties.
Video Demonstrating the Big Boss Game
How to Play Big Boss
Set up chairs (one for each player) in a circle facing inwards. Have one chair that is bigger than all the others. You may like to have (not a necessity) props and job labels.
Players sit in a chair. Each is assigned a job title. The Big Boss gets to have the biggest chair!
Job titles are in an order of seniority. They go as follows: Big Boss, Managing Director, Accountant, Secretary, Tea Lady, Toilet Cleaner, Unemployed (have multiples of each for more players).
How to Play
Big Boss starts by calling another player on the phone (use hand as a pretend phone) “Big Boss calling …”
The player called, must answer with their job title then call someone else, eg: “Managing Director calling Toilet Cleaner”.
Continue the game until a player fumbles.
The player that fumbles is demoted to Unemployed (move to Unemployed’s seat).
All players that were below the player being demoted get a promotion. They all move up a level and move to the next seat.
Each round always begins with Big Boss calling.
Fumbles include the following:
Being too slow to answer
Calling the person who calls them back
Answering the phone when not meant too
Note: introduce the fumbles gradually as participants get better at the game.
Playing Big Boss with younger players
Younger players will be challenged with remembering the somewhat complicated job titles. If you were to use the job titles it would help if they each wore the title on a tag attached to their shirts or hats (perhaps a headband).
An alternative is to have simpler titles such as the hierarchy in the animal kingdom: Lion, Bear, Fox, Rabbit, Mouse, Flea.
The participants may like to choose the characters for the game themselves. Another idea is to use Disney characters: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Tweedy Bird, Road Runner, Goofy etc.
Props for the Big Boss Game
People love to dress up. To help participants get into character introduce some props. Keep them simple, like one or two for each character.
Big Boss needs to look cool! Give him/her a pair of sunglasses and an important hat or tie to wear.
Managing Director is also considered to be important. He/she could wear important attire.
Accountant could wear a pair of reading glasses.
Tea Lady wear an apron or hold a tea pot.
Toilet Cleaner holds a toilet scrubber (clean one of course!)
Unemployed wears a sign ‘I need a job’.
Step Up the Difficulty
I find the more you play the Big Boss game the better the participants get… to the point where no one gets out. This is when additional conditions need to be applied to make the game difficult.
Suggestions to increase the difficulty of the game include:
Create complicated or longer job titles.
Include additional job titles.
Play the game where all participants must speak with their tongues poking out. This impedes their speech and thus messes with their concentration, causing them to make errors. Playing the game with tongues out adds a little fun to the game!
I’ve played Big Boss with many groups over the years. It has always been a favorite game for the kids (and adults too!).
I find Big Boss works best with smaller groups of between six and twelve. With larger groups, the game can become difficult to manage.
Why not give the game a try and let us know how you go with it. If you have other suggestions or variations to the game, please let us know so we can share with our audience.
I’ve selected 2 very simple circle ice breakers you can play with your class, youth group, or team today. Simply watch our short demonstration videos below and read the game rules.
I personally like these two games, as they encourage people to step out of their comfort zones.
These are great games to help people in your group to get to know one another, or use these games as powerful energizers to break up lessons. Perfect for youth group camps!
Circle Ice Breakers Game Introductions
This game is very easy to run. It is a fun game that can be played indoors or outdoors. Suitable for all ages with group sizes from six to twenty.
Players require focus and quick reflexes.
I Am Here
A brilliant circle game that promotes self-confidence. Students push their comfort zone by being ‘loud and proud’.
This game really works well with large groups. People of all ages can play with everyone being involved all at the same time. Beware though, the game does get a little crazy!
‘Name Name’ Circle Ice Breakers Demonstration Video
‘Name Name’ Game Rules
Aim: to tag a player before the player can call their own name and the Tagger’s name.
Form a circle with a player as ‘It’ in the middle.
‘It’ calls a name and races to tag that player before he/she can say their own name and the Tagger’s name.
If ‘It’ gets to the player before they can say the names, he/she becomes the new ‘It’.
3 Ways To Amp It Up:
‘It’ calls a player’s name and a times table question (eg Tom 3X6). The player must give the answer to 3X6 before ‘It’ tags them.
Use full names instead of just first names.
‘It’ passes a ball to the player. Player must catch the ball and then say his/her name and the name if the player who is ‘It’.
‘I Am Here’ Circle Ice Breakers Demonstration Video
‘I Am Here’ Game Rules
Aim: Players to engage in the game and step out of their comfort zones. There are no winners or losers, just participation.
Players form a circle around a chair (or mat).
One player is chosen. He/she strides out to the chair or mat and stands on it.
This player calls out loudly, “I am here”.
Then he/she calls another player’s name, pointing at them.
This new player walks out and repeats.
The game continues until everyone has had a turn.
Take the game to the next level
Encourage players to be creative with the way they announce their name. They can use weird voices, sing their name, use actions or do a little jig.
The final step with the game is to play ‘all in’.
Rather than each individual taking a turn in the circle, everyone becomes involved.
A player begins, but rather than just calling another person, they are to call two new people.
These two new people enter the circle (first player returns to the outer circle).
Both these players announce, “I am here!”.
Then both these players call two players each (then they return to the outer circle again).
The game goes on until everyone is shouting out their name in the circle and no one is left in the outer circle.
Note: the game needn’t be loud. Players could whisper names!
Circle Ice Breakers are often used as energizers. Energizers are games or activities used in group situations to raise the energy of the group. They help participants to be more alert and get to know one another, and they build confidence. There are many different energizers of varying complexity, exertion and length.
Please leave us a comment to tell us how you go with playing these games with your youth group.
Youth love to perform funny plays just as much as people like to watch them being performed! In this article I will share with you my 10 top tips for presenting a killer play, and I’m gifting you two awesome free short play scripts that you can immediately download, print, and engage kids in fun filled drama performances.
As a schoolteacher I’ve used these two plays many times over with kids as young as eight through to fifteen-year-old teens. They are short (7 or 8 minutes) and are hilarious, especially with the right actors getting into character.
Here is a quick blurb on each, and the link to download. Enjoy!
Free Short Play Scripts pdf
A slapstick comedy drama for 5 characters and a narrator. This script depicts a wild west cowboy setting where Billy the Kad kidnaps Whinny, the Lone Stanger’s girlfriend. Lone Stranger gathers a posse and pursues Billy. The action-packed drama ends in a shoot-out at high noon.
Suitable for children eight through to adults. The play takes about 7 minutes to perform. High Noon is an easy script to learn. You’ll have your team performing to an audience in no time at all!
Costumes are not necessary, but certainly enhance the presentation. It is impossible to mess this play up as it is already crazy!
Actors should nearly always be facing the audience, making eye contact, and smiling (unless their character requires them to be different). Doing so will draw the audience in, making each listener feel personally addressed. This exudes confidence and connects the audience with each of the characters.
It is important not to focus on prompt cards, a screen, or the floor. Actors should be seeking out the eyes of spectators, deliberately engaging them.
A good idea to further engage the audience is to consider moving off stage and interacting with people in the audience.
Other ideas to engage the audience:
Asking questions of them
Tossing something into the crowd such as squirting a water pistol or throwing a bucket of confetti at them
Making a loud noise, like firing a cap gun or popping a balloon
Use real names of spectators
Single out one person in the audience and have that person the butt of the jokes, or include them into the play somehow
2. Gestures and Facial Expressions
This is especially important for slapstick comedy plays (like the free short play scripts pdf we have available for you to download).
Gestures and facial expressions emphasize the character you are playing, conveys energy, and it will spice-up the content.
Make sure gestures are appropriate and it is always good to exaggerate them, especially with slapstick plays.
Do your best to inject emotion into your acting. Your facial expressions should be friendly and open unless your character requires it to be different.
3. Props and Setting
It is usually best to not overdo the props. Having too many causes distractions and opens the risk of a prop not working to your plan. Hands free for gestures will be more effective than holding unnecessary props. Having said that, color, costumes, and key props will liven up your performance.
Designing a backdrop will add to the atmosphere. Plan where actors can come on stage and leave stage. Having a large obstacle, or a doorway backstage provides the means for actors to appear and disappear as required.
Lighting, sound effects and music can add effect and mood to the drama performance.
Be prepared- practice makes for a perfect play. By being well prepared, you will feel more relaxed and confident in your role, and in turn allowing you to embrace your character fully.
Experiment with different ways of presenting your character (voice, gestures, actions, costume).
Rehearse in front of an audience to help you get used to your role in a public performance.
Video yourself and watch it back.
Practice in front of a mirror.
Seek feedback from others.
Practise the lines until you have it automatic (no longer requiring palm cards).
Leave costumes until the play rehearsals are well underway.
By appearing confident, you convey to the audience that you know your topic and have well prepared yourself.
Try to relax and calm your nerves. Try grounding yourself before a performance by taking 2 or 3 deep slow breaths.
6. Start and Finish with a Bang!
Captivate your audience straight away by starting with a bang! Gain their attention by doing something that may shock or awe them. Some ideas to consider:
Try starting with a character arriving from the audience
Share a personal story or joke
Enter with a loud noise
Blackout the lights
Have something go wrong ‘deliberately’
Introduce your characters with them coming out one at a time
Play tension music or sound effects
Ending you play is as important as how you started. A poor ending will leave your audience uninspired. Whilst a strong ending will leave them talking-up your play.
7. Know your lines
It is always better if actors know their lines by heart. By doing so the presentation will be lively and enjoyable.
If you do require cards to keep you on track, then do not write down endless text that you will need to read. Write jot points to jog your memory.
Do your best to at least remember the beginning and ending of your presentation, allowing you the opportunity to make eye contact with your audience.
Palm cards should be inconspicuous and in plain color.
Never rush your lines, project your voice clearly and slowly. Use a characters voice embellishing the accent with intonation and expression.
8. Effective Pauses
Use pauses to emphasise a key message or key point. When done properly and deliberately, using pauses is a powerful tool to add a great deal of emphasis to your play.
Pausing is also helpful in giving you time to remember your next lines.
Confidence will exhume with deliberate pausing, and your listeners will be less likely to miss dialogue and meaning.
When the crowd laughs loudly or applauses during your act, pause for a moment so they don’t miss dialogue.
9. Where to stand?
How and where to position yourself when presenting your play is important. Always maintain regular eye contact with your audience. Therefore, avoid having your back to them. When in dialogue with other characters in the play, stand side on to the audience.
It is good to move around making full use of the stage. Come towards the front of the stage when it is your turn to speak.
If you plan to introduce the characters of the play, then have them come out to the very front of the stage. Do the same when you come together to bow and receive applause at the play conclusion.
It can enhance the performance having the narrator move onto the stage when it is time for them to speak, and off again when it is the characters turn; rather than just standing in the background.
10. Concluding Your Play
Always remember to thank and acknowledge the audience. This can be a job for the narrator.
All the actors come together at the front of the stage to bow/curtsy and receive the applause. Synchronicity with the bow/curtsy looks professional. During the applause make eye contact, smile and do not walk away until the applause is complete.
Free Short Play Scripts Final Thoughts
Have fun with the free short play scripts we have given you. Let us know how you go. Our intention is to add more fun drama plays for you to spice up your youth group or class. So, check back from time to time to see if we have.
Having been a schoolteacher for many years, I am always searching for new ideas to inspire the kids I teach. I believe kids will learn to their maximum potential if they feel safe and liked, have a rapport with their teachers and genuinely enjoy school. Where can people find the best group game apps? In this article I share my ideas on an app and how I keep students engaged.
Today, kids have a multitude of engaging stimuli in their homes that can be far more interesting than the school curriculum. Old methods of teaching and imparting the curriculum do not always work in today’s world. Teachers are constantly on the lookout for tools and strategies that can compete with the stimuli that kids have in their homes. Gaming, virtual reality, TV, YouTube, robotics and drones are all becoming a part of every household. Understandably, kids switch off when presented with subject textbooks, pen and paper activities and lengthy instruction from teachers.
How Do Teachers Keep Kids Engaged and Motivated with Learning?
The likelihood is that there will always be a requirement for pen and paper and textbook in schools. So how do teachers spice up the school day so that the kids learning environment is fun, welcoming, and exciting?
One way is to utilize technology and seek tools and media that matches what the kids have at home. Use online gaming, virtual reality, robotics, Ipads, Smart boards and so forth to impart the curriculum in a fun and exciting way.
Alternatively, seeking opportunities to break up learning into smaller chunks by utilizing fun group games brings the fun into learning! Energizing the kids this way recharges their batteries and refocuses them for the next round of learning.
Group games get kids out of their seats- moving and interacting with one another. Team building group games build rapport, develop self-confidence and are awesome fun! There are opportunities for kids to practice leadership, be expressive and to learn to socialize with peers. Many team games can be adapted to impart the curriculum in a different way. Kids practice problem solving, devise strategy and learn to cope with winning and losing.
Where Do Teachers Find the Best Group Games for Their Classrooms?
I find that most teachers have a repertoire of group games that they use in their classrooms on a regular basis. Often this repertoire of games is limited to just a few tried and tested games, that work well but can be overused to the point that the kids lose interest in them.
Although teachers are keen to increase the games they have in their ‘toolbox’, they don’t always have the time to search for new games and learn how to play them. This usually requires looking up group games on the internet or seeking group games texts that provide written instructions on how to play different games. When searching, teachers discover that they have to search through many games to find what they are wanting for their particular group. In many cases there is no filter on the website, or text, to short cut this process.
Searching YouTube for group games can produce some gems, however, searches will regularly lead to instruction videos that are amateurish and lengthy, and again, not always suitable for the particular group of kids that teachers are working with.
Finding the Best Group Game Apps
Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a tool for teachers that provides simple visual instructions on a multitude of different games? A tool with a filter that allows teachers to quickly find the perfect game to address the specific outcomes sort for his/her group of kids?
There must be an app for group games available in the App Store or Play Store that teachers could download onto their phones, computers, Ipads or tablets- a group games app designed specifically for schools.
I assumed that there must be dozens of group game apps to choose from; however, after searching I found that there were very few, and those that I downloaded and tested were not giving me what I was seeking for my classroom. The instructions were lengthy, games choice was limited, and the games had no visual examples of kids playing them.
Finding the best group games apps for my teacher’s toolbox was turning out to be unfruitful.
I asked the kids if they would help me film all our games. They thought this was an excellent idea and were eager to be part of the project. All I needed was their parents’ approval.
Living on the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands, in a small community, meant that I knew all the families well. It was not long before we had their approval and weekly afterschool group games were underway. During these sessions I filmed the kids playing the games.
The raw footage from each game was then edited into short videos accompanied with instructions on how to play the games. Before long we had dozens of completed videos of games.
I looked at hiring a programmer to make an App to contain all our games. The cost to outsource this task was too high for my budget. Whilst seeking a way around this, we continued to play, film and edit games. We called our games Wacki Group Games.
It is funny how the Universe works! Our App developer appeared one day… Hugo! After chatting with my friend Hugo, I discover that he has the skills to build apps and that he was also looking for a project to be involved in. A perfect match! So, Hugo built Wacki App.
Today Wacki App comes with over 70 epic mini demonstration videos of fun youth group games for kids. Each video is accompanied with instructions. Wacki App has an awesome filter that allows teachers to select the exact game they require for the kids they are working with. It can filter down to group size, age, type of game and whether it be an inside/outside game, leadership game, team builder, tag, or circle game.
Wacki App is a perfect tool for teachers in schools. It allows teachers to have a multitude of games at their fingertips. All they need to do is Watch, Learn and Play!
They can show the kids the game on the classroom Smart Board or Ipad, so that the kids can see how the game works, or teachers can take two minutes to watch a game on their phones ready to play it with the kids.
We believe that Wacki App is the best group game apps that is available to teachers, youth group leaders and for parents seeking group games for their kids’ parties or for home schooling.
Wacki App is a collaborative passion project of the kids of Cocos Islands. It will always be there to serve as a memory of all the fun times the kids had on the Islands. I have no doubt that the games will be passed on to their children.
Where to Get Wacki App
Wacki App can be downloaded from Google Play Store, Apple App store or from www.wackiapp.com. It is free to download, offering a selection of games. For full access to all 70+ games on Wacki, teachers can subscribe to the premium membership for less than a dollar a week.
Today is my ten-year-old daughter’s Birthday Party. Akaisha has invited her whole class to her Birthday Party down at a park near to the beach. She is super excited! We’re new to the little town of Augusta, having recently moved from the Cocos Islands, and this will be the first time for Akaisha to have friends from her school joining with our family for a celebration. In this article I share the best group games for kids’ parties that we played at Akaisha’s party.
The birthday cake is ready, party food prepared, and tables and chairs set. All that is needed are group party games and a bunch of eager kids!
Luckily, my expertise is running group games for kids. So, coming up with a selection of group games for Akaisha’s Birthday Party was easy.
We planned for Akaisha’s party to run for two and a half hours. We wanted to run a couple of shorter games right away to get the kids moving and allow them to get to know one another. Then we would stop for some food and drink. After that, we will have a longer, large group game to run the kids off their feet! Finally, we plan to sing a Happy Birthday and share a cake before the kids all head home.
To be able to play these games we needed a little equipment. Cathy, Akaisha’s Mum stopped by the Big W store and bought some inexpensive soft balls, hoola hoops, marker cones and some colored plastic mats. I cut the mats up to make headbands.
So, let’s fast forward to after the party and talk about the group games we played…
First up, a game called Octopus Tag. This is a fun outdoor large group game, a little like the traditional game, British Bulldog. Only Octopus Tag is a lot less physical. This game took about 20 minutes to play with toddlers through to adults joining in.
Aim of the Game
The aim of Octopus Tag is to be the last player left in the game.
I set up a rectangular space about 50m long and 30m wide. Someone was chosen to be the Shark. He started in the middle of the area. All the other players were the minnows (fish). They began by standing at the base line.
How to Play
The game starts, and the minnows run the field to the other end to where it is safe. The shark chases the minnows trying to tag them. The first two minnows tagged become the crabs. The crabs joins the shark’s team. Crabs may sidestep in a line back and forth from one side of the field (width) to the other. They cannot run forwards or backwards, only sideways. They try and tag minnows swimming past. There can only be two crabs.
Once all the players are safely behind the end line, they then must run back to the baseline. The shark and crabs, tag minnows. When minnows are tagged, they become octopuses. Octopuses stay glued to one spot. They have long wavey tentacles to tag any minnows swimming past.
The game continued until all minnows had been tagged! The last minnow to be tagged, became the shark for the next game. The kids loved the game and we played four rounds, then stopped for a quick drink break.
You can add other creatures to the mix if you like, for example you could have a jelly fish. A jellyfish could be two players holding hands, chasing the minnows.
Aim of the Game
We were straight into our next game, Dragons’ Tails. A fun 20 minute team game where dragons chase one another around trying to, either steal tails, or have opposition dragons break apart.
This is one of the best group games for parties, as it is quick, requires strategy and team collaboration, and can be run with large groups. All you need is a tail for each of the dragons. This can be a t-shirt or a length of cloth.
I put the players into teams of about eight players. The players in each team form a dragon, similar to the Chinese festival dragons. Players hold onto the player in front of them. The front player is the head, and the rear player is the tail. The rear player tucks a tail into the back of their shorts.
How to Play
Allow a little time for dragons to plan a strategy and to have practice moving around without breaking apart.
Our game kicked off with dragons moving around the space seeking opportunities to grab a tail. If a tail is snatched, then that dragon is out of the game. In the excitement of the battles, dragons will break apart. These dragons are also out of the game.
Finally, the game will be left with two dragons battling it out. There can only be on victor! Our first game of Dragon’s Tails lasted about five minutes.
Now that the kids knew how the game works, they were better prepared for the following rounds of Dragon’s Tails. I noticed that they would each devise strategies for attack and defense.
After these two games, we stopped for a drink and party food. However, before the kids settled down for too long, we had them up and ready for our final game. This game must be my all-time favorite. It is fast moving, caters for large groups and once the kids know the game, it will run itself.
Capture the Flag
Aim of the Game
The aim of Capture the Flag is for one team to steal the flags from all the other teams. The team with all four flags, wins! Note: this is difficult to achieve, and often, no one wins the game.
We used a large space in the park, about 50m by 50m. This worked well for our group of about 40 players. This space, I Divided into quadrants using marker cones. If you don’t have marker cones, you could use rope, shoes or beanbags. In each quadrant I marked a circle (3mX3m) and place a ball in the middle of each. The balls are called the Flags, and each team must start with one. A flag can be any object. Shoes make great flags.
Lastly with the setup, I placed a hoola-hoop (or you could use a mat) at the rear of each quadrant. These are the jails for holding captured enemy.
Divide the players into four teams and use something to identify teams. I used the colored mats that I had cut up. These were worn as either a headband or armband.
How to Play
To give you the general gist of how the game works I’ll outline the rules. Teams, each controlling a quadrant, defend their flag by tagging anyone who tries to steal it from them. When defending their flag, they do so by standing outside the defined circle where the flag is held (no doggy guarding). Whilst some team members are defending their flag, other players try to sneak into other teams’ quadrants and steal their flags. If successful they must run it back to their team and place it in their team’s flag circle. They cannot kick, throw, or pass the flag. If they are tagged whist escaping with their flag, then they simply drop it. Anyone can run in and grab it.
If a player is tagged whilst invading another team’s quadrant, they must go to that team’s jail (the hoola-hoop). They place one foot in the jail and wait to be rescued. If multiple players are in the jail, then they can link, by holding hands and form a chain from the jail.
To be rescued from jail, a player from your own team must reach you and hold your hand. They can then run you back to the safety of your team’s quadrant. If they let go of hands as they are running back to the safety of their quadrant, then they can be tagged immediately and send back to jail. A player can rescue more than one player at a time, but only players from their own team.
We played Capture the Flag for 45 minutes on a hot day. There were four-year-olds right through to adults playing. During the 45 minutes we had two winning games and the last one was called a draw. Between each game the players stopped for a quick drink, then straight back into the next round. Everyone had an awesome time!
Best Group Games for Kids’ Parties Final Thoughts…
I like to stop games whilst the kids are really enjoying it, despite protests to keep going. That way I know they’ve all had a great time and will be keen to play again another day.
Akaisha had a wonderful time sharing a fun experience with all her classmates and her family. Everyone went home tuckered out … and full of sugar!
These three kids group party games worked perfectly for the outdoor venue we had, and for the size group we had. There are many more games that would work just as well. Here is a list of some of my best group games for kids’ parties.
You’ve picked out a great group game, checked out its rules, picked a great spot to play and found some equipment to use. All you need now are the enthusiastic kids! What possibly could go wrong? Hopefully nothing! However, to ensure all is smooth sailing for your youth group, I have put together my top ten tips to running youth group games.
This would have to be the tip with the biggest punch! Use your excitement and energy to fuel the kids in your group. Energy is infectious. Before you know it, the kids will be pumped and eager to play. Even boring games can be super fun if you’re energetic! I like to fire up the teams before the game commences with a bit of team comraderies. Give teams names and let the kids come up with a team chant or a team ‘move’. Check my little video clip at the bottom of this article to see what I mean.
Why not join in the game with the kids. It’s no fun being the bystander or referee. You can always give one of the kids that roll. The kids love to see that you’re having fun too! If there are parents watching, pull them into the game as well. The more the merrier!
Why not give commentary throughout the game, or give this job to one of the bystanders or players?
Believe That the Game is Worth Playing
Your confidence in the game will determine how the game goes. Believe that the kids want to have fun and that the game is a great game! This believe will exuberate from you when motivating the kids and with delivering the group game rules. If the kids sense you’re not confident, then they may play on it or lose faith in the game before you even begin.
All people like to be heard and valued. It is no different with the youth in your group. Another top tip for running youth group games is to involve the kids with the decisions around the game. You may not want to jump straight into this as there does need to be boundaries and expectations set around the game. So, to start with, allow decisions around small things, like coming up with a team name. However, as your group gets more and more used to playing collaborative group games, then they can also take on more and more of the decisions around the game.
Something I find to be powerful, is to have a short reflection routine after every game session. Have the kids be present to one another and give them an opportunity to share what they liked about the game. Then ask them, “What can WE do to make this game even more fun?” Encourage the kids to pair up and discuss ideas, then have these ideas shared with the group. If you feel there is eagerness to go with one of these ideas, then bring it to a vote. Call it a trial idea and add it into the game.
This process is great for kids, and they do come up with excellent ideas that do build upon the game. For the process to be effective, the group would need to be facilitated in a way that the kids feel safe to speak out and to be heard.
This process can also be used to sort out problems, or situations that caused a problem, in the game. Be careful not to name and shame individuals, rather, use the group to seek fair solutions.
You Can Never Be Too Prepared
As a school teacher, I learnt years ago that I needed to be one step ahead of the kids. If I wasn’t fully prepared, they would walk all over me and the lesson I was running would fall apart. Preparation with group games is super important.
Know your game. Watch a video on it and read the game brief so that you fully understand the game. You will soon be in front of your excited youth group explaining how it works. You need to know the rules inside out.
Think about your space where you’ll be running the group game. Is it safe, big enough and suitable for the size group you have and type of game? Consider any kids with special needs and how you’ll cater for them. Where will the bystanders be? For outdoor group games, is the space suitable for the expected weather and do you have a back up plan if the weather changes?
Gather together equipment needed and think about how it will be utilized. Set equipment up beforehand. Consider how teams will be selected. I like to just number kids off randomly, rather than let them pick teams. This is quick and you can manage it, so you can ensure that is fair.
Have the Goal in Mind
Have the group game goal in mind whilst planning and when delivering the game rules. Tell the kids what the game goal is. It will make the game so much clearer to the kids and put the game rules into context.
Also be clear on why you want to play the game with the kids. Is it about team building, communication, leadership, to energize, or simply to have fun! If you know ‘why’ you chose that particular game, you’ll be keeping in mind as to whether you’re achieving your outcome throughout the game.
Delivering the Game Rules
Make sure you have eliminated distractions and you have the kids’ full attention before giving the game rules. When outside I always ensure the kids have their backs to the sun, so they don’t have it in their eyes when listening. Do this for distractions as well. Have the kids backs to whatever it is that may distract them. I like to sit the kids down for the rules.
Keep the group game rules concise. Kids only have a short attention span. More than five minutes delivering the game rules will be counterproductive. It is a good idea to have the rules written out on a palm card. Avoid skipping over rules. This will only lose the kids and when you start the game, they won’t get it, and the game will fall apart.
If you have downloaded our Wacki App, then consider showing the kids the short demonstration video for the game. A visual of how the game works is the best way for them to understand.
Remember, keep your energy high. Start with the game goal. If the kids know the objective to the game, then they will better understand the rules.
Where possible, model aspects of the game. You may enlist someone who already knows the game to help with the demonstrations.
Use the kids’ names when delivering the game rules. This keeps them alert and enrolled in the game.
For games with many elements, it is better to start with a base game, play it for a while, then stop the game, gather the kids and build upon the game.
Have individual repeat back different game rules. Have kids pair up taking turns repeating the game rules to each other.
Always ask if anyone has questions before commencing the game.
Kill the Game Before it Dies
Killing the game whilst the kids are still having great fun ensures that they will want to play it again. This is reverse psychology. The kids won’t want to stop! What it will do is guarantee that they will be super excited to play the game again when you next meet. They’ll also talk about how awesome it was days afterwards.
Be careful not to over play your best games. You don’t want the kids to get bored with them. Best to mix them up.
If a game isn’t working for some reason, then stop it and change the game. Avoid pushing on with it. It’ll only snowball into a bad experience for all.
It’s All About the Experience
Entwine a story into the game to create the experience. Have characters, leaders, special roles etc
Games like Narnia and Star Wars do it well. For example: Narnia entwines the story of the battle between the White Witch’s army and Aslan’s (the lion) army. Each army has a dungeon. The armies battle it out to save their leaders who are locked up in the dungeons. They have to deliver the magic keys to their leaders without getting captured.
Even consider some props to enhance the characters. Like a witch’s hat and a lion’s mane for Narnia.
As the kids get to know a game, amp it up with additional features/challenges to the game. As outlined above, involve the kids with building layers to the game.
The best youth group games involve everyone all the time. You don’t want kids standing around waiting for a turn or sitting on the ‘out’ bench getting bored. Have things in place that gives everyone something to do. For example, if you have kids who get out and would normally sit to the side waiting until the game finishes, consider giving them an opportunity to win their way back into the game. In the game Human Pinball, kids who get out can seek to catch a wayward ball to earn their place back into the game.
With games where kids go to a jail, give them an out, such as they have an opportunity to be rescued by a team-mate, or they do some sort of task in the jail (funny dance or push-ups) that gets them a free pass out.
Find ways to include those on the sidelines. These might be reluctant parents. The kids love to see their parents running around!
Ensure your game is suitable for the group size and age. If there are too many players, then they will have limited opportunities to be involved. Avoid having kids waiting for their turn.
Give kids the opportunity to be the referee.
Having short breaks during longer games or between group games helps to revive the kids. Send them off for a drink of water (hydrate) or give them a time out. This also allows you a few moments to set up for the next game and to catch your own breath. With team games, allow the kids time for short team meetings to discuss strategy.
There you have it. Thirty-five years of experience bundled into ten top tips to running youth group games session that are simply awesome. Good luck and enjoy!
I’ve found that it isn’t always the loudest, the biggest or the most vocal person who is the leader amongst a group. Quite often it is the quiet ones who shine and succeed with leadership when presented with the opportunity. Here are a few of my favourite Youth Leadership Games
Give each team a bundle of sturdy sticks (hockey sticks would do) and some rope (or skipping ropes).
Teams are given a set time to construct a chariot with the equipment provided. The chariot must be strong enough to hold a player’s weight.
Once constructed, teams line up with a player chosen to ride on the chariot. The rest of the team hold the chariot off the ground.
A race is set up around an oval. At about every 30m place a marker cone.
The race starts. When a team reaches a marker cone, they must swap over the chariot rider. Repeat this at every cone so that all team members have an opportunity to ride the chariot. First team to the end with an intact chariot wins!
Have a 20m area set up as the ‘poison river’.
Teams organise themselves along one bank of the river. The aim is to get all team members to the other side, without anyone putting a foot into the poison river.
Each team is given a few small items (eg: small mat, tennis racket, small plank of wood) to use as stepping stones. These can be moved by players as they cross.
Any players who make it to the other side, remain there. One player can run the equipment back to the remaining players on the other bank.
If at any stage, someone puts a foot in the water, the whole team must go back to the start (not those who have made it to the other side). The first team to cross wins! Always good to embellish the game with a story of crocodiles, cannibals and piranhas.
Best to play this team building group game is on soft grass or on a sandy beach.
For the ‘electric fence’, set up two vertical poles about 3m apart, with a string tied between them. The string needs to be about chest height of the tallest player. Do this for each team.
The aim of the challenge is for each team to get all their players over the electric fence without anyone touching it. If any member of the team touches the fence, the whole team must start again.
Sculptor is a fun youth leadership game.
Each team must have a sculptor. His/her job is to create a sculpture using their team as the medium. He/she moulds players into positions, whereby each player is interconnected to the other players in the team.
After a short time, sculptors must stop and explain their masterpiece to the judges. You can amp this game up by having two Sculptors per group. Wackiapp has an excellent video demonstrating this game.
This youth leadership game is a little hard to explain, as it has many elements. Best to view the video to get the idea. The Leadership Game is a serious game, requiring intense concentration and cooperation between players. It requires the leader to maintain calm control when placed under extreme pressure. A game like this is only suitable once a group has already established a certain level of trust. Check out the video.
Check back with us as we are sure to share a bunch more awesome youth leadership challenges that you can try out with your team.
As a teenager, I belonged to a youth group. I took a leadership role with the younger youth in the group. Each week we met and my role was to run fun engaging group games with them. Here are some of the kid’s favourite indoor youth group games that I ran. These games make awesome energizers!
A physical group game played with a ball.
Form a circle with feet touching the player’s feet next to you. One hand behind the back and the other hand is your bat. Feet spread apart are the goals. Each player has a goal. A ball is tossed in. Players bat the ball trying to shoot it between another player’s feet (their goal). If successful, that player is out! Players can also get out if the ball passes between two players, then both these players are both out. Players who get out can try and catch a stray ball on the full. If they manage to do so they can re-enter the game. Keep the game going until only two players remain.
A fun energetic indoor youth group game. Anyone who touches the poisonous stump is out!
Form up a circle around a pile of cushions (the stump). Player all hold the wrists of the players either side of them. Game starts and players try and force another player to touch the poisonous stump, without touching it themselves. Any player who touches the stump is out and the circle reforms around the stump. Repeat the process until only one player remains!
I Love You Honey
A hilarious circle group game where players are not allowed to smile!
Players form a circle with a chosen person to start in the middle. This player holds a bunch of flowers. The player with the flowers approaches another player and presents their bunch of flowers then, using a romantic voice, says “I love you”. The player being presented the flowers must maintain a serious face and reply, “I love you too, but I’m not allowed to smile”. If this player smiles, then he/she is out. This player then takes the place of the player doing the serenading.
Silent Tic Tac Toe
Just like the pen and paper game, Naughts and Crosses, except this one is played with people (Girls vs Boys).
Set up nine chairs or nine mats with 3 rows of 3. Girls form one line and boys another. A player (say someone from the girl’s team) starts by selecting then sitting on a chair (or mat). Then a boy sits in a chair. Next a girl. Then a boy. Keep going until either the girls or the boys forms a row of three (3 boys or 3 girls). That team that forms a row of three wins the round. Repeat until one team wins five rounds to win the game. The game is called ‘Silent’ Tic Tac Toe, because players are not to speak or give any hints to team mates during the game.
I have warm-hearted childhood memories of playing group games with my cousins and the kids in the neighbourhood. In this article I reminisce and share with you some of those fond childhood memories of traditional group games.
An Awesome Outside Night Group Game
On the coastal seaweed banks, whilst camping with family friends, we would play a night group game called ‘Kick the Can’. We loved this game because of the exhilaration of hiding in the dark from our ‘enemy’.
The aim was to kick the Can without being caught by the Spotter who held the torch.
We’d run around late into the night dodging the torch light, hiding behind sea weed banks and sneaking along the sand dune from bush to bush. We’d watch from the dark corners, our comrades getting picked off one by one by the Spotter. They would be sent to the Spotter’s jail!
We’d join forces with those still at large to mount a strategic counter attack to free our captured friends! The only way to free them was to kick the Can.
If you managed to do that, you would most definitely be the hero of the game!
Have you Ever Tried Playing Hid-n-Seek, Back-to-Front?
Another fun traditional group game that we played all the time in the back yard with the neighbourhood kids was a game called ‘Squashed Sardines’.
This game is a reverse of Hide-n-Seek. Rather than one person counting whilst all the other players hid; with Squashed Sardines, one person hides whilst all the other players count.
Once the countdown was complete, we would franticly race around searching for our buddy who was secretly hiding. When found, we would silently slide into their secret hiding spot awaiting others to find us. These guys would also join us in our hiding spot.
When the last poor sole finally discovers us and our hiding spot… we’d jump out shouting, “Squashed Sardines”. It was our worst nightmare to be that last poor sole! (Find more outdoor group games here)
Heads Down Thumbs Up a Traditional Group Game
At school, our teachers would have us playing traditional group games. An old favourite, that has stood the time, is ‘Heads Down Thumbs Up’. Such a simple game that we were so stoked to play!
I bet many of you played this game as well.
Five students were selected to quietly move around the class, each picking a player by touching their thumb. These players had their head buried on their desks and their eyes closed.
Once all five students have made their selections, the coordinator of the game (which was usually one of us kids!) would call, “heads up stand up”.
Those who had had their thumb touched would stand. Each would have an opportunity to guess who it was who touched their thumb. If they guessed correctly, they would get to swap with that out the front. Then the game repeats.
I used to try and peek under my arm at the feet of the kids doing the picking. I’d usually end up getting caught!
Do the French Play Cricket?
A cool group game we played on the oval was ‘French Cricket’.
This was played with a bat and a ball. The batter’s legs were his/her wickets.
The aim was to hit the batter’s legs below the knee with the ball! Not as easy as it sounds.
Fielders would work together, passing the ball between themselves whilst moving in on the Batter. The Batter wasn’t allowed to move his/her feet unless he/she manages to hit the ball with their bat when the ball was tossed underarm at their ‘wickets’. When the ball has hit, the Batter could race off to find a new spot on the oval.
As soon as a player picked up the ball again, that player would call out “freeze”, and the Batter would stand with feet still again, ready to defend their wickets. Fielders were not permitted to run when they had the ball.
They had to pass the ball to players closer to the Batter. Attacking the Batter with the ball from behind made it easier to get them out. If the ball was being tossed at the batter’s legs from behind, then the Batter would have to keep their feet pointing in one direction, whilst twisting their body around to defend their wickets with the bat.
French Cricket works best with small groups of about six players. I have no idea if French Cricket was a game the French play!
Do you Remember These Traditional Group Games from Your School Days?
A bunch of other traditional group games that I remember playing as a kid were ‘Four Square’ and ‘Wall Ball’ on the quad; ‘Knuckle-Bones’ and ‘Elastics’ in the hallways; and ‘Brandy’ and ‘British Bulldog’ out on the oval. We loved pen and paper games like Boxes, SOS and Pen Flick; or games to practice number concepts (Buz) or for learning our spelling words (Beat-the-Chalk).
I have so many happy childhood memories. It was a time long before electronic games and social media. Playing group games helped me form the foundations to who I am today.
Now, here I am many years later, a Dad to seven kids and a school teacher, reliving my awesome childhood with my own cool little tribe of kids at home and with the kids I teach!
Are you looking for an awesome team building game that inspires creativity for your youth group?
Why not give Sculptor a go! A perfect game for between lessons in the classroom; as a youth camp game; or as an icebreaker for a corporate workshop. Sculptor requires small teams to cooperatively work together to create an awe-inspiring sculpture made out of people. That’s right… they are human sculptures!
The Aim of the Game
To create an awesome human sculpture.
Sculptor Game Rules
Nominate someone to be the game Leader. This person keeps time and coordinates the game. You’ll see what I mean when you check out the video below.
The Game Leader splits the players into small groups of about five or six people. Each group designates a ‘Sculptor’.
Players are given a minute to have a team meeting to plan their sculpture. Then three minutes is given to the construction of the sculpture.
Each ‘Sculptor’ manipulates their team into a sculpture.
Players must be compliant with their Sculptor and freeze into the positions they are placed in. All players must be joined somehow. The game works best with the expectation of no talking during the creative process.
When the three minutes is almost up, the Game Leader counts down from ten and sculptures remain frozen in place.
The Game Leader asks each of the Sculptors to present their sculpture to the audience. They must name their creation and explain it.
The Game Leader can score each sculpture based on creativity, presentation and complexity. Alternatively, just have fun with the game and not have scoring.
Every time I play this fun group game with kids, they get more and more creative with their masterpieces. Everyone wants a turn at being the Sculptor, so you won’t be able to stop at playing it just once.
Amp it Up!
Once the kids have the hang of the game, try playing with larger teams of about ten players, each with two Sculptors. The Sculptors work together to put their creation together. This could be extended further, with a team of sculptors who create a work of art with the whole group.
Use ‘Sculptor’ as an Educational Group Game
Sculptor can be used as an educational group game to teach a concept or idea- great for classroom teachers looking for innovative ways to impart learning with their students. Use a subject theme, such as ‘3D Shapes’ or ‘Life Cycle of an Insect’. Up the difficulty level by using abstract themes like, ‘Feelings’ or ‘Colors’. With little kids, the theme could be ‘Marine Animals’ or ‘Numbers’. It’s also fun to play Sculptor whereby scenes from a novel or picture book are created. Check out other Educational Group Games HERE.
A Team Building Game for Parties
Playing Sculptor at parties is a lot of fun, especially if you give it a funny theme such as ‘Spooks’ or ‘Candy’. For little people parties try ‘Toys’ or ‘Fairies’. To spice things up, give each team a prop that must be used creatively as part of the sculpture. This could be a teddy bear, a chair or a balloon. The sculptures could have moving parts. ‘Futuristic Inventions’ or ‘Mythical Creatures’.
There is so much you could do with the game of Sculptor. Definitely add this one to your tool box of fun group games for kids!