Early and Mid Adolescents

Creativity Exercise: Paper Printer

This is a fun and engaging exercise which uses kid’s imagination and innovative skills.

Split the group into subgroups of three or four kids. Provide each team with a shoe box, sticky tape, a pair of scissors, a marker pen and a few A4 sheets. Each team has twenty minutes to design a paper printer out of the materials provided. The best design gets a suitable prize.

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Our Biblical Hair-itage

Form 2 or more groups. Give each group some mousse, hair spray, a hair dryer, towel, brush, comb, and Bible. This works well on retreats since most kids already have these items with them. On newsprint, write the list of the Bible passages listed below. Have groups choose a passage, read and then decide on a hairstyle to represent it. Let them go to it! Videotaping is a good idea.
After the fun and games discuss the Bible passages by answering these questions:
“What happened in the story or verse?”
“What’s God’s message?”
“How can we apply that message to our lives today?”
Gen 11:1-9 (Tower of Babel) Ex3:1-12 (the Burning Bush) Ex 14:19-29 (the parting of the Red Sea) Judges 16:4-20 (Samson’s haircut) Song of Solomon 4:1 (Your hair is like a flock of goats) Mark 10:13-16 (Jesus blesses the little children) John 15:5 (I am the vine, you are the branches) Acts 27 (Paul is shipwrecked).

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Drive-In Movie

Provide your youth group with large cardboard boxes collected from grocery & appliance stores. Then they construct & decorate their own ‘vehicles’ from these before settling down to watch the video you have chosen for the evening! Prizes can be awarded for best construction or best decorated ‘car’, and it sure makes video night something to remember!

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Steal The Treasure

Players sit in a circle. One blindfolded person sits in the middle, with their treasure (keys, rattle) in front of them and their stick (rolled up newspaper) in hand. A thief is chosen from the circle to attempt to snatch the treasure, without making any noise to alert the guard in the middle. If the thief is swatted by the newspaper stick, he must return to the circle. If the thief succeeds in stealing the treasure, they become the new guard.

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Shoe Madness

This is a lights out game. have all the younger kids take off their shoes (it can get smelly). Take all the shoes and place them in a pile in the center of the room. Have all the children to sit around the walls of the room or if it is a big room have them sit in a circle around the pile of shoes but away from them. Explain that they have only 30 seconds to find their personal pair of shoes, put them on (the correct feet), & tie them. The first one done should say something like “LACED” OR “DONE”. Now do it again except this time put them in teams of two and have them look & feel of their partners shoes. And do the game again. (if you wanna make it real interesting have them put their socks in the pile.) It’s a great way to lead into a devotion about team work. I would love to know how it turns out.

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Christmas Tree Decoration

Our youth group was asked to prepare something to add into the gift bags that are given to “Shut-ins” in our parish. We bought the cheap plastic, glossy (or matte) Christmas tree balls and decorated them. We used the metallic gold and silver pens (the “gel” pens do not work very well) and the pen-like glitter glue. The kids had a great time and the receivers had a wonderful Christmas decoration to brighten their day!
HINT – use egg cartons to hold the finished balls until they dry!!

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Bible Verse Hunt

This is a neat game to play after the Youth service although you can play it anytime. Usually I choose Bible verses that pertain to the lesson/service for that particular day. This way it ties it in with the service. First, count the # of pews in your sanctuary, this is the # of verses you will need. Choose your verses carefully. Don’t choose them all in the same place of the Bible. Ask you youth group to bring their bibles or provide them with one if they don’t have one. You can play this in 2 different ways: 1- one big group or 2 – split into 2 teams. Have the players sit on the very back pew. You read out the Bible verse (Psalms 4:2) The first one to stand and read it correctly (to your discretion) moves up a pew. This continues until the first person reaches the first pew. If splitting into teams, you could have the winner be the first team with all its members to reach the first pew.

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Coin Flip

Get as many pennies together as there are kids. (Pennies work best because if you lose a couple, it’s only a couple of cents). Give one penny to everyone there. They are then going to get into groups of two. One person will flip the coin 3 times while the other person calls out either heads or tails. If they get it right, they get one point. If they get it wrong, the coin flipper gets a point. Whoever wins the most points gets the other person’s penny and moves on to find someone else who has two pennies. The loser sits down to root for their friends or just watch quietly. If you have an odd number of people, put together one group of three and do “odd man out”. That is, all of them flip their coins and the one whose is different sits down. Then it goes on like normal. Keep doing this until only two people are left with all the pennies that were originally given out. Those two play the game as normal until there is a winner. The best part of this game is that you don’t need to collect the pennies. The kids will do it for you.

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Musical Baloons

It’s like musical chairs, only you don’t use chairs. You can make this a large group game or small group game. I do it in small groups cause 50 kids is awful big. Give each kid a balloon, blow it up (not to big yet not to small) and that is their “chair”. Place the balloons in a central location, and have the kids circle around the balloons, play some music, my favourite is elevator music. And when the music stops they run to get a balloon. If they pop a balloon their out, if they don’t get a balloon their out, and obviously the last person standing is the winner, kudos to them.

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Officer On Deck

Purpose: Ice Breaker or energy building exercise, that can be used to divide students into groups, and also get their attention or allow them to use energy throughout a retreat day.

Preparation/ Required Material: No materials required. The area must be free of chairs and desks, etc… People need to find a partner with whom they will work.

“Okay, when I say officer on deck every needs to jump to attention, like this (demonstrate standing at attention). When I say submarine everyone must do this (lay on the floor with one leg in the air like a periscope.) When I say scrub the deck everyone must do this (kneel down and pretend to use a brush to wash the floor.) And when I say man over board one of you must jump into the other person’s arms, like this (demonstrate). Now, while we are doing this several of the adults will be watching, and if you do not act quickly enough or if you do the wrong command then they will tap you on the shoulder and that team of two people are then out. The goal is to be the last team here. Okay?”

Bark various commands at some point you can also shout out a command for which they have not been given instructions, like air raid or lights out etc… You can also divide them into groups and assign them battle stations – so that through out the day as you want them to return to these groups you can simply say, ‘MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS’ These commands can be used periodically throughout the day to get their attention, use up some of their energy – like after a lunch break you can start playing a game like this 2-3 minutes before you are scheduled to start, just for fun… but it helps to draw people back together – and eliminates some lagging.

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