Mid and Late Adolescents

Football Pop

This game requires a lot of balloons and is best played with a large group indoors. After dividing the group into two groups, place a balloon in the center of the playing area. The object is to get the balloon “football” to the opposing team’s goal without one of the opponents taking or bursting the balloon.
We have found that a successful goal is something that the balloon carrier must go under (a table) and then stand on a chair in order to reach the “football popper” (a pencil fastened to a high place on the wall).

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Serving Others

ACTIVITY: At this point I give each teen a bowl (about 1-2 cups) of Jello Jigglers and a plastic fork taped onto a 4-foot dowel rod. The instructions are that the jello must be eaten, they must keep their hand at then end of the dowel (without the fork), whoever empties their bowl first – wins. The object is to get the teens to figure out that they can’t feed themselves, and the only way to empty their bowl is to feed the person across from them.

TRANSITION: Tell the following story. A man went to sleep and dreamed about hell. He saw everyone in hell seated at long banquet tables loaded with food but they were all starving to death – nothing but skeletons because they were trying to feed themselves with 4-foot forks. The man’s dream then switches to Heaven, where he also sees everyone seated at long tables loaded with food and having 4-foot forks. But, these people are all happy and well-fed. They were using their forks to feed each other.

Start off by asking your group how many became Christians out of fear of eternity in hell or because they loved Jesus (which came first?) Many will say it was fear of hell and then they learned to love the Lord. I took Scripture from Jude (some save with fear snatching them out of the fire) and then from 1 John 4 (there is no fear in love) to show that although it’s OK to get saved out of fear, we can’t stay in fear. Other Scripture references included more verses from 1 John 4 regarding the love of God dwelling in those that are His, and those without His love are not of Him. Also The Gospel of John (they will know you are my disciples if you love one another). I closed with Matthew, where Jesus tells of the sheep and goats at the judgement and played Keith Green’s song by the same title (off of his album Here Am I, Send Me).

My Teens really enjoyed this meeting. They tried to come up with all sorts of ways to get the jello into their own mouths and you’ll be surprised at how creative your group is. But, it really made an impact on them to discuss what love is (as Jesus loved us we are to love others) and how that should influence our daily lives.

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Improv Coffeehouse

Get a group of youth together that don’t get easily embarressed and have the ability to think of something at the spur of the moment…Thus an improv team.
Choose some games and skits to do. Similar to that of TV’s, “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” This takes a lot of practice, but not to hard to do if you at least have a drama team. Pick a theme,(such as 1980’s characters, a Luau, comic heroes, etc.). Have everybody, including the ones serving coffee and dessert, dress up as the theme characters.
Charge a small price for tickets to the coffehouse, plus for whatever food and drink is served. The last one we did was a huge hit and our biggest fundraiser of the year! Real fun and good memories if you have the patience and creativity to pull it off.

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Cricket Kickball

This game is played the same (mostly) as the English game of Cricket. But instead of using a bat and a hard ball, use a kick ball.

Set Up: Create the field. The field can be as big as you like it to be (you might try playing it indoors with a wiffle ball?), but create the boundary in a general oval shape. Then create the pitch (this is the lane that is 22 yards long in which the batsman (cricket term for person at bat)/kicksman (Cricket kickball term for person at kick) runs back and forth in) at both ends of the pitch make the wickets (you can use croquet wickets or whatever you see fit; I use orange cones).

Play: Divide into two teams of equal numbers. Real cricket teams consist of 11 players, but you can improvise however you see fit. One team is at bat/kick first and the other team fields. The fielding team must choose one member to be the bowler (cricket term for the pitcher), while the rest of the team positions themselves all over the field, in front and behind of the kicker, as long as they are not in the pitch or out of bounds. After the team has been positioned, the bowler may commence bowling the kickball. Once the ball has been bowled, then the kicksman may commence kicking the ball. This is where it will differ considerably from conventional kickball. The kicksman may kick the ball in any direction they choose including behind them (there are no foul balls). Once they have kicked it, they then run to the opposite end of the pitch and back. They may do this as many times as they think possible before the fielding team can hit the wicket with the ball. Each time the kicksman crosses the pitch, their team gets a run. The kicksman continues to kick until they are out.

The kicksman can be out in three different ways: 1. They kick the ball in the air and it is caught by a fielder. 2. The bowler bowls the ball past the kicker and it hits the wicket. 3. The kicksman kicks the ball (that is not caught in midair) and the fielders hit the wicket (by relaying to each other) before the kicksman can get there. The same kicksman continues to kick until they are out (this is why some cricket matches can last for 5 days!), however once they are out, that is their only opportunity for kicking, it then becomes the next person on their team’s turn to kick. Once the fielding team has gotten all of the kicking teams’ kicksman out, then you switch. The fielding team becomes the kicking team, and the kicking team goes out to field.

The team with the most runs after everyone has had a chance to kick wins.

There are a considerable amount of additional cricket intricacies that I have left out, but if you’re curious check out http://www.lords.org/cricket/laws.asp

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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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Variation Of A Movie

Our youth group liked the story of Ruth and Boas so much that we wanted to make a play out of it. We chose a “Grease” like theme and altered thing to fit into the ’70. We make this a fundraiser by making it a ’70’s dinner and “movie”. The whole “movie was filmed in advanced by scene and was complete with reconstructed Grease songs written to fit the story of Ruth and Boas. You can do this with any Bible story and add a modern theme to it.

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Parents’ Night Out

My husband and I and another couple started this a Christmas time as a service to church members. One Friday night every other month we offer to keep all the children of the church at the church for approximately 3 hours while the parents go out on a date, movie or just enjoy the time alone. The first one we did was with a Snow party theme another Idea we have is Valentine’s Day and A Veggie Tales night. Are just a few of the ideas we have planned. The kids really enjoy it as well as the parents we usually have pizza, games and a craft. We do charge a small fee around $4.00 for each child to cover costs.

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Pull Apart

This game gets a bit rough, but it seems that the kids have a great time playing it. First divide the group into two “equal” teams, make sure both teams have about the same amount of “strength.” Or you can play boys vs. girls. Tell the one team to “gather”, by all holding on to each other’s legs, arms…so they make one tight bundle. Then on other side of the room have a line (just use masking tape)and line the other team behind the line. Now time how long it takes the one team to drag the other team across the line, they can do one student by one which is easiest, and make sure no one is cheating (e.g. kicking off the people dragging them). The point is to hold on to the team as much as possible. See which team does it faster. WATCH OUT for torn clothes and rug burns! LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of fun!

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Zoom Ball

Chairs, masking or duct tape, and a space large enough to hold your chairs in a circle.

Minimum is about 6, with maximum at 30. Fifteen to 20 is optimal. I’ve played with everyone from fifth grade to adult.

Everyone needs to be sitting with their feet on the floor, and everyone needs to be able to make eye contact with everyone else in the tight circle.

The object of the game is to not have any tape on your body by games end. Play can go on for hours if the group wants it. The usual ending of the game results in a play-off, where a penalty results in being removed from the game until there are two or three players left. You cannot play zoom ball with just two people, and three is a little squishy.

The leader of the group begins each round by saying “customary whistle” and holding his fingers to his lips in an imaginary blowing-whistle fashion, “customary white hat” grabbing the bill of his invisible white hat, and “ball’s in play” whereafter he zooms someone.

Moving the ball:
There are three ways to move the invisible ball around the circle: Zooming: You zoom someone by grabbing the back of your neck with your right hand, pointing your elbow at a player, and most importantly looking at that player. A zoom is completed by the eyes, not the elbow. The elbow is an aid. When you have zoomed someone, they have the ball and need to do one of three things: they can either zoom or Shrug: When you shrug your shoulders, the ball immediately goes back to the person who just passed it to you. The other alternative is to Slap: This is the usual method of passing the ball. You pass the ball by slapping the side of your legs in one of four ways:

Right hand to outside of right leg passes the ball to the player to your immediate right.
Right hand to inside of left leg passes the ball to the player to your immediate left.
Left hand to outside of left leg passes the ball to the player to your immediate left.
Left hand to inside of right leg passes the ball to the player to your immediate right.

The ball moves until someone commits a penalty. At the beginning of the game, this will take 10 seconds. When you’re cooking into your fourth hour, the points could last 10 minutes.

Play ceases when one of three things happen:
Someone makes a noise with their mouth. No talking, laughing or verbal noises of any kind are permitted. Asthmatics are allowed. The penalty for making a noise is tape over the mouth. Multiples of making a noise my be putting tape all the way around the neck. Careful of those short hairs!
You go out of turn. Either going when the ball is not passed to you, or not going when the ball is passed to you. The penalties for going when the ball is not passed to you is to tape the part of your body that you slapped out to turn. For example, if the person to your right slapped his right leg (and faked you out by looking at you) and you slap your right leg, your hand will be taped to your leg (tape around the whole leg, especially if shorts are worn!) If you zoom out of turn, your arm is taped in the zooming position (tape around both forearm and muscle, especially if short sleeved shirts are worn). Multiple zooms can be penalized by first taping both arms, and then allowing the person to zoom with his or her leg. When the legs are both taped (around the neck, of course) a) it’s picture time and b) it’s time for some grace. If a person shrugs out of turn, tape around the whole shoulder blade area. If a person doesn’t go in orderly time, the wrist is taped. Multiple time penalties have tape creep up the arm.
The rule of three is broken. In the course of play, the person who zooms or shrugs on the third time in a row is penalized. In other words, if the leader zooms Brian, Brian zooms Maddy and Maddy zooms Pat, Maddy is penalized. Note: If Brian zooms Maddy and Maddy shrugs Brian who zooms Pat who shrugs Brian who zooms Zippy, Brian is not penalized. One person is not penalized for zooming three times, the person who zooms the third time is penalized. The penalty for zooming three times and shrugging three times is the same as for above.

With first time players and the prospect of at least a half hour of play ahead of you, three graces (non-taping penalties) are not uncommon. With folks who have played before, one grace is good before the tape flies. In mixed games (which is the norm), you may give more graces to novices. After about 20 rounds, if you so desire, the leader may decide to remove tape from players.

The Leader:
The leader of this game really determines how fun this game will be. As in good parenting, an authoritative demeanor is helpful. If one is too authoritarian — allowing no graces, playing strictly by the rules and in general a pain — that takes the life out of it. If one is too passive — allowing to be talked out of penalties by their friends — the people who are taped will resent those that weren’t. Often what will happen with the younger players is they will see being taped as a desirable thing, and try to get penalized. This is no fun at all, and must be nipped in the bud. Often, the first person to be taped will be embarrassed to the point of not wanting to play if they have to be taped. You can model good taping behavior by offering to tape yourself in sympathy. If someone is clearly upset at the amount of tape they have accrued, you can start removing the tape. Make sure asthmatics have a hole by which to breath through. Also, it is extremely good form for the leader to accept being taped for his or her infractions. If you aren’t able to tape others, you can assign that joy to someone else. You will have many volunteers.

The hardest part of being a leader is following the ball. Your concentration must be on the ball and where it’s going. But you can’t look everywhere at once, and often others will see infractions you’ve missed. At the beginning of the game, you must stress that they should make the time-out sign if they wish to speak in the middle of a point. You are the judge and jury of penalties. If someone says “he talked” and you didn’t hear it, you can go either way.

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My brother-in-law actually ran this, but he did it with my youth group. What you do is you invite handicap children and young adults from around your community to come to your church for a few hours during your youth group’s Spring Break. We used Mon. & Tues. from 10:30-1:30 PM. We would have games, crafts, lunch and devotion time on both days. You can use a variety of themes. We are using an hawaiin luau theme. This means we’ll have island music with hawaiin shirts and grass skirts (over regular clothes of course).
For crafts we will let them color a visor for themselves with their name on it, and we will help them make the hawaiin necklaces. And for our lunch we would have items like Shishkibob and Hawaiian Punch. The key is that the youth will be the volunteers to help the disabled with the games, their crafts, and even their lunch. Between the Monday session and the Tuesday session, the kids will sleep at the church and have a debriefing session, Praise and worship, Bible Study, and also relaxation time. It’s really an eye opening experience for the youth to work with disabled children one-on-one. It would also be wise to try to have several volunteer youth sponsors to help as well if you have small group. It is also a great idea to get your group started with missions work.

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