Mid and Late Adolescents

Banana Slurpie

We came up with this idea because our kids love jello games so much. The prep: Make three different color jellos and pour them over banana slices on three different platters. Let the jello firm up and make sure to have the same amount of slices on each tray. You can pick three students or six and have teams of two, and give them each a knee high stocking to put over their head. when the music starts, they must slurp the jello through the stocking to find the bananas and spit the slices into a bowl. The first one to get all their slices off the platter wins! This is a great photo op.

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Bases

Overview:

Bases is a fast-paced outdoor game combining elements of ‘Capture the Flag’ (CTF), flag football, and role playing. Bring and drink plenty of water, and take a break between games to rest and collaborate. Please read the clarifying ‘Notes’ after each section for important information and tips.

Objectives for Winning:

Game: a single play-through that is won by destroying the opponent’s Home base.
Match: the combination of a few or several games, depending on the score teams have chosen.

The game is won when one team destroys their opponent’s Home base. A team receives 3 points each time they destroy their opponent’s Home base, 1 point for every opponent Field base they destroy, and 1 point for each Field base they build (even if it is later destroyed). The match is won when a team reaches the score the teams have chosen beforehand. Scores are not added up until the end of each game.

Note: Make the teams as balanced as possible, and readjust if necessary. While playing, the most important things to keep in mind are safety and honesty – both serious injury and dishonesty will ruin any game.

What You’ll Need:

People: At least 5 players per team – there is no maximum limit.

Flag Football Belts and Flags: Each player needs a belt with 2-3 removable flags that match his or her team’s color. If there are extra belts and flags, use them for the Home and Field bases. If not, you’ll need something like colored bandannas or cloth strips.

Space: At an urban, suburban, or rural setting. For safety reasons, decide if boundaries are needed and where.

Note: There are no ‘safe’ zones or areas where players are immune from having their flags stolen. With large fields or large teams, you may want to have phones so you can communicate with each other.

Player Elimination:

When all of a player’s flags are stolen, they have been eliminated, can no longer steal flags, and must ‘Recharge’ to continue playing. To Recharge, they should pick up their flags and return to a team base to put them back on. If a player has lost 1 or more flags, but not all of them, he or she can return to a base to place the flags back on.

Note: The eliminated player is responsible for finding his or her own flags. It is important that players who stole an opponents’ flags do not throw or hide them, but drop them in an obvious place or give them back to their opponent. If a player has had a flag stolen, but still has another, they should keep the unattached flag with them.

Team Bases:

Home Base: 1-3 Home flags are used to mark a team’s Home base (1-2 if the belts have just 2 flags). The the belt with flags is fastened, or just flags, are placed onto something, like a tree, that serves as the team’s Home base and acts as a Recharge location. Both teams should agree on the placement of each other’s Home flags before the match begins.

Field Base: 1-3 Field flags are used to mark a team’s Field bases (1-2 if your belts have just 2 flags). Like the Home base, these serve as Recharge locations. Before the match begins, teams choose specific locations where Field bases can be built. Field bases can only be built at these locations. There may be 1-2 Field base locations near each team’s Home base, and 1-3 somewhere near the middle of the field. We suggest selecting 2-3 total Field base locations for every 10 total players. At the beginning of each game, the base locations near each team’s Home base belong to them, and are marked by the team’s Field flags. The base locations near the middle of the field are neutral, and can be built by either team. Neutral bases need to be obvious or marked with something like a belt without flags. If a base is destroyed, either team can rebuild at the base location.

Note: When deciding what locations to use for bases, make sure they are evenly distributed across the field. Field bases that belong to teams at the beginning of the game do not count towards their game score, only those built during the game. All base flags should always be in plain sight and within reach.

Protecting Bases: To protect their Home and Field bases, a team assigns Defenders to them (see ‘Player Units’ below). A base can have 1 Defender for each of its base flags, meaning teams can assign up to 3 Defenders to a Home or Field base that has 3 base flags (if using belts with just 2 flags, teams can assign up to 2 Defenders to each base).

Destroying Bases: To destroy a base, an opponent player must remove the Home or Field flags. Players cannot remove an opponent base’s flags until all of its Defenders have been eliminated.

Player Units:

1. Attackers: Attackers wear 2 belt flags, with 1 on each side. They focus on eliminating opponents by stealing their flags or destroying their bases. Attackers may begin the game at any of the team’s Home or Field bases.

2. Defenders: Defenders have the most important role in the game. They wear 2 belt flags, with 1 on each side, but their belt is put on backwards. At the beginning of the game, each team base should have at least one Defender. Defenders steal flags, but mostly focus on building, defending, and representing their team’s bases.

Building: To build a base, a Defender places Field flags, or a belt with Field flags, onto a Field base location. Defenders should carry the belt and/or flags in their non-dominant hand. If the Defender is eliminated before building a Field base, he or she must return to the Home base with the Field flags to Recharge.

Defending & Representing:
1. A base’s original Defenders are the only players that can represent that Home or Field base. Once a base is built and its Defenders are assigned, teams cannot add base flags or Defenders to it later in the game.
2. Defenders must stay within about 5 yards of the base. If they leave the 5-yard radius, they become an Attacker, and the base loses a Defender.
3. Defenders must Recharge at a different base when eliminated to continue playing as the base’s Defender. Defenders that Recharge at a different base can return to represent it, if it hasn’t been destroyed. If they Recharge at the base they represent, including Home base, they become an Attacker or other unit. If they’ve lost some but not all of their flags, Defenders can find and replace their stolen flags at the base they are defending.

Note: Defenders can voluntarily leave the base’s 5-yard radius and become extra Attackers, Defenders of a base to be built, or other units. If there is ever any question about a 5-yard radius, use the Defender’s striding pace as a yard. When a Field base has been destroyed, the last Defender eliminated should take the Field flags back to the team’s Home base. For small teams, it’s best that no more than half your players are Defenders.

From the author: If you have any ideas, feedback, or suggestions for this game, or would like the extended rules that include more player units, I would love to hear about it: rustin2@gmail.com.

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Bean Activity

This is a pretty serious game that only work with large numbers of people (read: 50+). Everyone takes seven beans from a bucket of beans. Form a circle with all the people. Explain that the game is serious. Pick one person in the circle to start the game. That person (person A) puts their beans in their pocket, and then moves to the inside of the circle. They then face the person next to them (person B), and ask if the person has any medicine for them. If person B says, “Yes,” then they give them one of their beans. Otherwise, person B tells person A, “I have no medicine for you.” Person A then moves on to the next person in the circle (person C).
Once person A moves on to person D, person B follows them, asking person C if they have any medicine. As person A moves on, person B follows, then person C follows. The circle will double back on itself. Once person A reaches the end of the circle (the gap they left when they started) they put all the beans they collected aside, and pull out their seven beans. Those are the only seven that they may give away.
At the beginning of the game, people are more likely to give away beans, so the first people to go around the circle wind up with many beans. But by the end, some people will end up with no beans, because other gave them all away and had none to give them. The game should be quiet except for people asking, “Do you have any medicine for me?” so it may be helpful to have meditative music in the background. I will repeat that this is a serious game, and I have seen grown men crying at the end because they had no beans to give away to people who had none.
Once the game is over and everyone has had a chance to go around the circle, it may be helpful to debrief and talk about why people gave beans, or how it felt to tell someone they had nothing to give. It is even more poignant when the supply of beans is clearly visible, and even overflowing in the middle of the circle. This game asks more questions than it answers, about our generosity, about our arrogance (it’s not our job to save everyone; that’s God’s), about our foolish attempts at wisdom in deciding how to give our beans away. It may be helpful to split into small groups to discuss, or give time for people to deal with what the game meant to them.

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Bearing Your Cross

Make a large cross (we used 6×6 beams) that’s about 5×7 or larger. Have youth try to carry it (or get a rope and drag it) individually, then have others join in. It will show the importance of ‘Bearing Your Cross’ with fellow Christians along the way.

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Birthday Log

What you need:
A big log

How to play: Everyone stands on the log. When the leader says to be quiet, everyone has to be slient for the rest of the game. Without speaking or getting off the log, everyone has to get in order of their birthdays from January to December. You can use your hands to signal what your birthday is. If someone crouches down, then someone can step over them more easily. When they think they have it all in order they tell the leader.

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Broken Yet Beautiful

Supplies Needed:
A Hammer
A large board
A heavy duty plastic baggy
A glass mosaic candle holder
A package of Glass mosaic tiles (at least one for each student)
Tea light candles (At least one for each student)
*I was able to buy a kit that makes two mosaic votive candle holders at a craft store. I then put one of the two together and used the second set of tiles for the illustration.*

I started the lesson right out with reading through the first main scripture passage.

2 Samuel 13:1-20 (Tamar and Amnon)
I had them read through the passage, kinda dividing it up between kids in little pieces and after each kid read theirs, I brought out some key points about what is going on in the passage. I like to try to give the kids an understanding of any contextual stuff that we might not know about as well as trying to get them to put themselves in their positions, asking what their reactions would be, how they would feel, etc. I won’t try to tell you too much about what things to say about the passage but here are just a couple things that I used as key points to the lesson:

Tamar Before the Rape:
Was kind hearted – cared for Amnon in his sickness
Was proper and modest – dressed as the virgin daughters of the king were required with her arms covered
Was beautiful – mentioned right off in the beginning
Was a virgin
Was obedient – Her father told her to take care of her brother and she was obedient to her father’s wishes.

Tamar after the rape:
Was not a virgin
Bared her arms in grief, lost her modesty as an outward sign of what had happened to her.
Her heart was filled with grief, overshadowing any kindness, compassion, obedience that was there before.
She was “desolate” – she lived her life shut away from people from then on because of her shame. This was not something she recovered from.

It was not Tamar’s fault she was raped, she did nothing wrong and yet the rape broke her in so many ways that she didn’t recover from it. This is a picture of how all of us can be. We are broken people because of four things:
1. Other people’s sins against us
2. Our own sins
3. Lies of the Devil (You are ugly, you aren’t smart enough, etc.)
4. Circumstances beyond any human control (losing a loved one in a car crash, etc.)

At this point I gave them all little tea light candles and had them light them and I also gave each of them a glass tile from the kit. Then I turned out all the lights and read the first situation off my list that can cause teens these days to be broken. After I read it I had the first person come up and put their piece of glass inside a heavy duty plastic baggy and hit it with a hammer to break it, then blow their candle out. Then I read another one and had the next person come up. Just continue to do this until everyone has broken their glass and blown their candle out. I actualy had more people than I had items on my list, so I did a couple people at a time a couple times. Just have to play that by ear really. Here is the list I had:

People at school make fun of you.
One of your parents is an acoholic.
Someone abuses you.
No one cared enough to protect you from being abused.
You’ve given yourself away hoping to find love and now you just feel empty inside.
Your dad or mom tells you you’re stupid.
You believe it when they tell you you’re stupid.
You started drinking to dull the pain and now you’re an alcoholic.
You’ve lost someone you love.
You were raped.

These are just ten things I used, I had one more but I can’t recall what it was now, and if you want you can change any of these or add some to them. Just to let you know, the kids weren’t into it at first, they were giggly and not real focused and I thought at first, “man, this isnt going to have an impact, it’s going to flop.” But by the time we got three or four into it, they were really quiet and it was hitting home. So don’t stress if they don’t react the way you expect right away. It’s good to start with the less severe examples and move up as you go through your list.

Once the candles were all blown out and we were through the list I pointed out how before we went through these things the room had been lit up by all our candles, but as we went through the light started to die out with each person. Just like Tamar, our hearts can be covered in darkness because of the things we suffer through. But there was something Tamar missed. Take out the mosaic votive candle holder, light the candle, set it in the middle of the room/table or whatever, then read Isaiah 61 out loud to them. Explain that God can take their mourning and turn it to sadness and that he uses the broken pieces of our life to make something beautiful. Just because a thing is broken, does not mean it is worthless. Also point out that they won’t be the same as they were before they were broken, just like we couldn’t take the broken pieces of glass in the baggy and put them back together just like they were before. But God still sees them as beautiful and has a plan for them. I closed by asking them to find an adult and asking them to pray with us for whatever they recognized has broken them, they could share it if they wanted, if not then we just prayed a general prayer over them and while we were praying I had the song “Hold Me Now” by Jen Knapp playing. And that’s all there is to that lesson.

Just a couple pieces of advice on this, put the baggy on a board so the glass won’t scratch your table up, and you may want to have some small light on in the room too so that you can still read from your list. Maybe a night light or something, we had a little electric candle on the piano which was behind where i was standing so it was perfect.

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Build a Picture

Divide large group into teams of 6-8. Provide a small pile of Jenga Blocks or children’s blocks for each team. The first member of the team comes forward for their first word to build for their team to guess. Use the same list of words for all teams but mix them up especially if they can hear each other guessing. Use word objects like window, snowflake, clock, book, car, etc. and have the builder “build” these objects with the blocks. The builder is not allowed to talk. The team that completes the entire word list first wins! Highschoolers really got into this one.

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Cafe’ Amore’

Our senior high youth group came up with this meal idea as a way to minister to the seniors of our church.
We themed it around Valentines Day and decorated our fellowship room accordingly. A few adults in the church agreed to prepare the meal, while the teens took care of the rest of the preparations. We had small tables that seated four seniors each, and each teen was the responsible for serving a designated table for the evening. The mood was romantic with soft music from the 40’s and 50’s playing in the background. The teens and leaders were dressed semi-formal.
Our senior youth leader was the MC for the evening, and kept continuity between courses. We sang some old love songs for a nostalgic feel. (Even some of the seniors sang a solo for their partner!) A few question and answer games were played, such as- married the longest, most kids/grandkids etc.
It was a great evening of Christian service for the teens, and the positive comments we received from the seniors who attended made it a very worthwhile and rewarding experience.

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Cannons Away

Place two teams on opposite sides of a large field, each with a flat, mid-sized target and a “Shoot From Here” line. The target can either be propped up or laying flat. Give each team a water balloon launcher and a supply of water balloons. Each team is trying to hit the other’s target by launching the water balloons. Have the teams rotate personnel on the launcher with each attempt. Go until the predetermined hit limit is reached.

It is possible to play this with more than two teams, but you have to have enough space to make it challenging for the teams.

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Cemetery Scavenger Hunt

Make sure to get permission and notify all the proper authorities in advance of this activity. We used this at least twice with great results. Divide your whole group into smaller groups of 3 – 4 each (mix the “scaredy-cats” with the “bravehearts”), with one adult chaparone per group. In advance of this night-time activity, gather information from a chosen cemetery (such as oldest headstone, youngest/oldest person in the cemetery, most unusual name, name most like your own, most unusual epitaph, someone born on your birthday, etc. Just use your own imagination), and then compile a list of about 25 items to be placed onto paper to be handed out to each participant in each group. Make sure that each person has a good flashlight, a pencil, and wears old clothes. Depending on the size of your group and the size of the cemetery, this activity could easily last at least an hour and a half.

Remember—whatever questions are on the list (and they should all be identical, but listed in different order for each group), the leader or youth director must know all the answers to the questions before the hunt begins. At the end of the pre-determined time limit (stick to it!), bring the whole group back to the starting place (preferably still outside), give them some refreshments, and begin your discussion about death and dying. Many young people have never been to a funeral, a cemetery, have not experienced death in their family, nor do they really relish the idea of talking about these things, but this activity will give an excellent opportunity to talk about this “appointment” called death and how one can prepare for it, in advance of course.

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