Early and Mid Adolescents

Sundae School

On the last day of our Vacation Bible School (VBS), we had each child write down five (5) things that they learned during VBS. Then, we presented each child with a pass to go to “Sundae School”. Each child was allowed to make their own ice cream sundaes in “Sundae School”. We had ice cream, fruit, marshmallows, gummy bear, nuts, M&M’s, chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, caramel, whipped cream, and sprinkles.

It was a fun way to end VBS and we were able to relate it to the Bible.

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Alphabet Ups and Downs

Choose a story with many alliterations (I like to use “Fat Fireman Foster” or “The Dreadful Dragon with a Diamond D” from my little boy’s Sesame Street storybook). Read the story to the group. Instruct group members to stand up or sit down every time they hear a word that begins with the letter you designate. The quicker you read, the sillier it gets! (One of my favorite passages: “Fat Fireman Foster was a faithful, friendly fire fighter. He was fabulous when a forest fire flickered freely through the fair forest….”

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On The Wall Charades

Before the game create a list of one or two syllable words. Clear a large space on the wall and form 2 teams. Have each team choose a representative to start the game. Explain to kids that you’ll show their selected team members a word that they must convey to their team. Tell the kids that they must convey the word in only one way: by using their heads as imaginary pencils to spell the words on the wall. Play several rounds so each team member gets a turn at writing on the wall. The team that’s able to guess the correct answers in the shortest amount of time wins.

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Tin Foot Two

On an open paved area, draw Start and Finish lines about 10 yards apart. Divide the group into pairs. Players line up at the start line with partners standing on three tin can stilts, sharing the middle stilt with their inside feet. When the leader says, “Go,” the pairs of players race across the playground to the finish line. The first pair to cross the finish line wins.

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Vine And Branches

In my Sunday School class I did this with middle school age kids and they had a lot of fun. We covered a wall in paper and painted vines all over it, using brown, green, and purple paint and some inexpensive foam stamps of leaves and grapes. They just painted brown lines all over for the vine and branches and then added leaf and grape stamps everywhere. Then we took pictures of all of the kids in the church and glued their photos on all the branches.

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Traveling Trunk

God has called all believers to celebrate diversity. This is not only a part of our lives – to be lights in the world – but is is a part of our mission and commission – to go into all the world to teach all to observe those things that Jesus has taught.

Learners at this age enjoy creativity, music, art, and imagination. The youth leader will be the tour guide. They should decorate an old suitcase (well traveled) with bumper stickers, pictures and sayings of various cultures, places and people. SUGGESTION: The young people can make their own bumper sticker, stickers or paint designs on the suitcase to give the trunk a special meaning to the group.

Gather artifacts that represent different places that the Jesus and His disciples may have traveled. Place them in the trunk for valuable Bible lessons, activities and discussions. For example, Jewish music, parchment paper, matzah bread, reprinted scriptures from Psalms, candleabras and grapes can be used to teach about the celebration of the Passover Feast. Afterwards, the children can enjoy what the food of the Jewish culture was like and learn a Jewish dance. OR perhaps, the youth group is learning how to witness to others from a different culture. THIS IS A BIGGIE! The youth leader will have to do some research to get some background and ideas for this one.

I have found that the traveling trunk can be used to study several units of scripture and the children enjoy when they can take another trip with the traveling trunk.

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Disruptive Listeners

Split the group into two equal teams . Have three blown up balloons tied up above each team. Say there is a sweet / chocolate for everyone that listens well , if anyone doesn’t listen you will burst a balloon from their side if all the balloons are popped that team forfeits their rewards they are given to the other side. You rarely have to burst more than one balloon. There is a lot of peer presure on the usually disruptive children. At the end of the meeting say they can take their reward IF they feel they have deserved it. You will be surprised at the honesty from those you would least expect to be honest. You can then call that person back and reward their honesty.

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The Story of Esther

You will need yourself plus six volunteers. The following action words are to be printed in large print, one word/words per page: way to go, aah!, ooh!, boo!, clap, uh-oh!, yum-yum!. Each person needs a copy of the story plus the action word/words they will be holding. The volunteer will be holding the story (so they can follow along) with their action word on the back facing the floor until your clue word is spoken. When your clue word is spoken hold your action word up so the audience will respond. The clue word will appear just before the action word in the story:

Read the story

Many years ago, in the kingdom of Persia, a beautiful young Jewish orphan named Esther (AAH!)was raised by her cousin Mordecai (WAY TO GO!). When Esther(AAH!) was a young woman, King Xerxes needed a new wife (OOH!). The king had removed Vashti as queen because she refused to be displayed in front of a lot of drunken men at a party (BOO!). To find a new wife, Xerxes held a kingdom-wide beauty contest (OOH!). Esther (AAH!) was pretty enough to be a part of the contest. In fact, Esther won (WAY TO GO!). She became the new queen (OOH!).

Now Esther’s cousin Mordecai (CLAP) worked in the king’s palace. Haman (BOO!) also worked in the palace. Hamam (BOO!) was promoted by the king to a high position, and the king wanted everybody to bow down to Haman (BOO!). Mordecai (CLAP) was a Jew who did not believe in bowing down to men. (WAY TO GO!) So he refused to honor Haman (BOO!) that way. (UH-OH!) Haman (BOO!) was not very happy about that (UH-OH!) and decided that he would get even with Mordecai (CLAP) and all the Jews. He wanted tham all dead. (UH-OH!) He tricked King Xerxes into signing an order allowing all the Jews to be killed on a certain day. (UH-OH!) When Mordecai, (CLAP) heard about Haman’s plan (BOO!) he and all the other Jews were very upset. Esther (AAH!) did not know about Haman’s plan, (BOO!) but she did find out that Mordecai (CLAP) was very upset about something. She sent a messenger to find out what the problem was. (WAY TO GO) Mordecai (CLAP) sent the messenger back with details of Haman’s evil plan. (BOO!) He also urged Esther (AAH!) to go to the king to try to stop Haman’s plan. (BOO!)

Esther (AAH!) had a difficult choice. (UH-OH!) The king had a rule: no one was allowed to come see him unless he invited him or her to come. Anyone who came without being asked was subject to be executed (UH-OH!) unless the King held out his scepter to show that he accepted the visitor. He had not asked to see Queen Esther (AAH!) for a long time. (UH-OH!) Esther (AAH!) sent word back to Mordecai (CLAP) reminding him of this law. He anwsered back that the situation was life or death for her anyway because she was just as Jewish as the rest of them. (UH-OH!) Mordecai (CLAP) told Esther (AAH!) that he believed God had allowed her to become queen, so she could help save her people. (OOH!) Esther (AAH!) knew what she needed to do, but she was still very scared.

She asked Mordecai (CLAP) and all the Jews to join her in three days of fasting and praying about the situation. (WAY TO GO!) After three days, Esther (AAH!) was ready to act. She boldly went to the king (WAY TO GO!) and knelt anxiously before him. Would he ignore her? (UH-OH) Would he hold out his secpter to accept her? She looked up and saw the king’s hand slowly reach out and extend the scepter to her. (OOH!)

Esther (AAH!) invited the king and Haman (BOO!) to a fine banquet (YUM-YUM!). Then, she held a second banquet for them (YUM-YUM!). By this time, the king was feeling pretty good about Esther (AAH!). He sat back and offered to give Esther (AAH!) anything she wanted. That was her chance. She revealed the plot against her people, and asked the king if he could stop it (WAY TO GO!). He asked, “Who would do such a thing?” (UH-OH!) She told him it was Haman (BOO!).

The king did not like someone messing with his queen, (UH-OH!) so he had Haman (BOO!) executed (WAY TO GO!) and signed a new order allowing all the Jews to defend themselves from any attack.

Because Esther (AAH!) allowed God to use her, her people were saved. (CLAP)

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Crazy Chairs

This is a variation of musical chairs. Instead of a circle, put the chairs at random around the room, facing different directions. The only new rules you have to add are: No running. Who’s ever bottom is in the chair first gets it. If you hit a chair hard enough to knock it over, you’re out and finally, no guarding chairs. For large groups, I take two chairs at a time out. I designate two kids to do that every time. I’ve played this in my classroom for 20 years with all sizes and ages of kids. It’s always a winner.

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Animal Farm

In this game the more people the better. We played this with over 20 people and it was so much fun.

First you need to have an even amount of people. Then you write down the name of animals on pieces of paper. (Eg. Duck, cow, camel) Write each animal twice on two separate slips of paper. Then hand out to each person a piece of paper with the name of an animal on it. They then have to find the other person in the group who has the same animal as theirs. Here’s the catch; it must be done in *utter silence*. A lot harder than it sounds (try acting like a pig in complete silence!) It’s hilarious to watch and so much fun to participate in. What once was a youth group turns into literally a pack of animals. It’s a great ice breaker and a favourite with us.

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