Early and Mid Adolescents

Coffee Cup Messages

If your church has a coffee hour before or after worship, and uses styrofoam cups, then try this out. Have your youth group members use coloured markers to write messages on the cups. The messages can have phrases such as “Jesus Loves You,” or “You’re Special”, or you can advertise upcoming church or youth activities. Just be careful not to get any marker on the rim or the inside of the cups. Also good for church fellowships get-togethers and picnics, etc.

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Hold Your Breath Relay

Have group split into two teams. Designate a start and finish line. Give each team member a drinking straw and each team a single three inch square of tissue paper. The first person puts the paper on the end of the straw and keeps it in place by inhaling. No hands touch the tissue paper after that. Each team member runs to the line and back and must pass it to the next player. If the paper falls off, the person who drops it needs to pick it up again using only the straw and their breath. First team to get everyone over the line and back wins.

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What Am I?

The youth sit in a circle. One person goes outside the room, while he is away the others decide what he should “be” when he comes back. He has to ask each youth member in turn what he has to buy for himself. One may say black boots, another a whistle, another a flashlight, etc. If the shopper goes right around the circle without guessing what he is (policeman), he must go out again, and the campers will choose something else.

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Cleaning Up The Mess

I had my group of VBS 5th graders pair up. I gave each pair a card which had a “nasty job” written on it — “being on a road crew that picks up dead skunks”, “changing a baby’s messy diaper” — you get the idea. The groups each had a turn to silently act out the nasty job, while the rest of the class shouted out what was being depicted.

When they were done, we turned to the narrative of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. I wanted them to grasp what a lowly job foot-washing was. Then I asked them to count how many of the nasty jobs were ones that involved cleaning up after someone or something else. All of them were.

I then showed them that Jesus’ work on the cross was the ultimate act of cleaning up after our mess, and that, as we come to Him daily, asking for forgiveness, that He lovingly and gently cleans up our mess again. What a wonderful Savior we have, what a beautiful example of service, and what a responsibility we have to try to live up to that example.

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Cops & Robbers

A wild, moralistic life simulation game. The youth group is divided into two large groups (robber teams) and one small group of cops. The aim of the game is for each group of robbers to get as much loot (wooden clothes pegs) to their ‘bank’ (cardboard box or whatever) as possible.

The pegs are collected one at a time from a leader (ie. no cheating), who puts them on their backs. The kids then have to get them to the bank. They can travel in pairs (back to back) to protect the pegs from other robbers who are allowed to steal them. If the other robbers are caught by the cops, they go to jail where they are held for a few minutes, after having all their pegs taken. Then they have to go back to the issue point to get more pegs.

On the walls of the hall (we played it through a series of rooms in the church), there are four different coloured felt pens hanging on strings. The robbers can increase the value of their pegs by going to these and putting a coloured mark on their pegs on the way to the bank. Eg. a plain peg is worth $100, one with a red mark is worth $300, two different coloured marks is worth $500, three colours is worth $800, and four colours is worth $1000. At the end of whatever time you want, the total in the bank is counted to see which team wins.

The night ends with interviews with several policemen. We asked questions that the kids had written down- ‘Everything you’ve always wanted to ask a policeman” (like “How fast can a police car go?” and “Have you ever shot anyone?”) and finished up with questions relating to being a Christian in the police force, and how they became Christians. Top night!

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Keep the Ball on the Sidewalk

Outdoor illustration: Give each kid a ball and tell them they have to kick the ball, and, with as little kicks as possible, keep it out of the gutter. Explain to the kids that God tries to keep us out of sin, but sometimes we just roll into the gutter. Note: Be sure they don’t get hurt in trying to retrieve a ball.

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Bread and The Body

You will need a clear plastic bag, a brown paper bag, a tying string, and of course the Loaf of BREAD. Before everyone enters the room, have a loaf of bread sitting on a table. It must be uncovered at all times. From time to time play with the loaf of bread (toss it around, pass it from youth to youth, etc.)
At times, pretend to remove the dust from the bread as well as other insects. After a reasonable time, offer the youth a piece of bread. You will likely not find anyone who is willing to consume a piece of the bread because it has been exposed to the environment. Likewise, our bodies, are not to be touched or handled by anything or anyone. Just like a piece a bread, we need to take care of our bodies. We need to cover it to keep from plain view. We need to cover it to keep flies from it. We need to secure it to keep its integrity.
A challenge to live a life of abstinance, purity and godliness.

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Dodge the Inner Tube

Set up a play area into 3 sections. Two parallel lines approximately 20 feet apart. Everyone in the middle, in the area between the two lines. Two other people (1 on each side of the other lines) begin rolling the inner tube back and forth to one another, through the middle area. As each child is hit by the inner tube, they are not out of the game, they simply join the other team in rolling the inner tube to tag the others.
The faster the inner tube is rolled back and forth, the more fun we have.

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Sour Challenge

Items needed: Various very sour candies.)

Make students go head to head against each other. Have them stick out their tongues and put various candies that are very sour on the end. The trick is first to make a face is out. You can then have a championship round!!

If candies aren’t strong enough… go for limes and lemons!

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Crayon Creations

Gather old broken crayons for this art project. Before the meeting, separate the crayons by colour. Use a knife to make shavings out of them. You also will need scissors, wax paper, newspapers, newsprint, markers and an iron. Place several newspapers in the table to protect it. Start the meeting by discussing Christian symbols. On the newsprint, have the kids draw as many Christian symbols as they can think of (cross, fish, chalice, etc). Ask why they think these symbols are used by Christians and why they are important. Ask everyone to choose a symbol that has special meaning for him/her. Give each kid two 7″x7″ sheets of wax paper. Then place one piece of wax paper wax side up in the for of your chosen symbol. Be sure you leave a 1″ border. The final step is to place the other sheet of wax paper, wax side down, in top and seal it with a warm iron. The crayons will melt and create a stained glass symbol.

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