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.

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.

Coin Flip Derby

This game is a favorite in our class. Set up 2 rows of about 5 chairs. Have 2 boys and 2 girls come up. One girl and one boy each get a coin. The other two players sit at one end of each row. The player with the coins flip them. If it is heads, the player of that team moves up one chair. If it is tails, the players of that team moves back one chair. For example Bill and Frank are playing Abigal and Gertie. Bill and Gertie are the flippers. Frank and Abigal sit in the seats. If Bill flips and gets heads, Frank moves up one seat. If Gertie flips and gets tails, Abigal moves back one seat. Whoever gets to the other end of the row first wins.

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!

Crab Volleyball

You need a clear indoor space for this one like an empty classroom or fellowship hall. Set two chairs back to back about eight to ten feet feet apart. Drape a rope or a piece of fabric across the chairs for the net. The ball is a balloon. Volleyball rules apply except everyone is seated. You have to stay on the floor to hit the ball… no getting on your knees. I make the general rule that their butt has to be at the ground. My middle and high school kids love this one. It’s funny enough for the laid back kids and just enough competition for the jocks to stay interesting for all.

Cracker Jack

This game is a relay between however many players you would like. Simply have one person eat crackers before attempting to blow up a balloon. Then, have the person put the balloon between there ankles while another participant tries to pop the balloon (after first chugging a can of root beer) without using his hands or feet (i.e. mouth, or any other part).

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.

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.

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.

Cross Crafters

This can be for a youth fund raiser or gifts for a special occasion, such as Christmas, or Awards. Buy some 2 inch old fashioned cut nails at the hardware store, some thin copper wire and have youth make crosses out the material. It will take 3 nails per cross and about one foot of wire. Cost, around 5 cents each. You can add a fishing swivel, and lentel material for necklace. Tthis is a great project and can be sold for as much as $10.00 each or can be used as gifts to others for just pennies. They can also be placed in gift boxes (found at your local jeweler) with a little description and explanation of the cross for an added touch.

Cross Of Tiles

We have a local pottery store where you can get 4″ x 4″ tiles ready to paint. I plan to have the Sr. High Youth each “paint” a tile and then have them fired (the store will charge us $5 per tile for this). Then we will put the tiles together to make a cross on one of the walls in our youth room (and do so in a way that we may add more tiles each year). Another less expensive way to do this is to make tiles out of colorful paper with smaller white squares on them. The youth can then decorate their “square”. Use all of the decorated squares to make a cross.

Cross-Over Dodge Ball

Best played with about 20 kids and 3 or 4 balls.
Draw a midline in your field and split into two teams, each with at least one ball. I like to tell the kids that the winning team will get a piece of candy each. Let them throw balls at the opposing team. When you are hit with a ball, you must cross to the other side of the midline. Usually there is great enthusiasm and energy put into getting people on to the team. It is fun to see how long it takes before the team either “wins”, or everyone realizes that, in the end, everyone is on the same team! Of course, everyone also ends up with a piece of candy!

Cup Madness

This can also be done indoors if big enough space. Get 3 chairs. Space them in a straight line, approx 20M from each other. Place 5 plastic cups on the middle chair (could also be tennis balls etc. there are 2 teams, each team has their people numbered. Each team sits near a chair of the line, at each end. (Ie. Team A sits next to the chair at this end of the line, and Team B sits next to the chair at the far end.) The aim of the game is that when the boss shouts 2 numbers, those people get up from each team, and sprint to their chair, and then set off to the middle chair. They are ONLY allowed to carry 1 cup at a time. they then carry it back to their chair at their teams end. The 1st team to get 3 cups on their chair is the winner, and as there are only 5 cups, there can only be 1 winner. What makes this interesting is that the person who is running collecting the cups from the middle and returning it to their teams chair, and running back again to the middle, can also collect cups from the other teams chair (also only 1 at a time). The winning team is the first to have 3 cups on their chair.

David And Goliath (Summer)

We started out our lesson with the story of David and Goliath read from the Bible. With, of course, some explanation for the younger crowd. Then we proceeded to go outside and utilize a water balloon launcher which I made from surgical tubing and a funnel to launch balloons at a small dot on a pole that was about 9 feet high. Explaining to the kids that without out God’s help (like the help David had) it is impossible to hit it on the first time. The kids had a blast and learned a lesson.

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.

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.

Dollar Night At The Mall

This one is requested again and again — especially by the girls! Divide the group into groups of 3-4 and give each group $1. The object of the hunt is to purchase as many items as possible at the mall for under $1.
The group must have a receipt for each item, and there can be no two items the same. For example: a person might get a dead cricket from the pet store for a nickel, one jelly bean for a penny, etc. Catch is that they have to get a receipt. After a set amount of time (45 minutes is good), all teams meet at a designated spot in the mall. The groups show their purchases, receipts, and change to an impartial judge, and the winner declared. The winner is determined as the group with the most purchases for their money, and the entire dollar must be used. It’s fun!

Don’t Be Full of Hot Air!

Supplies: Two balloons, string, and a party size tank of helium.

Invite one student to help you by blowing up one balloon. After he/she has blown up their balloon, tie off the balloon and attach a long string to it. Then use the helium tank to blow up the second balloon, tie it off and attach a long string to it as well.

On the count of three, ask the student to throw the first balloon up in the air while you throw the second balloon in the air as well. As you do, the one with hot air will fall to the ground, while the one with helium will rise to the sky (that is why it is important to tie a string to it).

Ask the students why the two balloons, which appear on the outside to be the same, reacted so differently when tossed into the air.

Read Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Explain that salvation is like these two balloons. If we want to rise to Heaven (Helium balloon) rather than fall into the depths of Hell, we need something special on the inside. If we try to save ourselves, (example: the balloon with the hot air) we will fail and spend eternity separated from God. However, if we accept the free gift of salvation through faith in Christ, (example: the balloon with helium – special air) we will spend an eternity with Christ in Heaven.


Split the group into two parts. Get them into line and have them wrap their arms around the waist of the person in front of them forming a long chain. Stick a rag or handkerchief in the back pocket of the last person. The goal is for the front person of one group to get the “tail” of the other, while the tail of the group tries to avoid getting caught. Can be done indoors as well if you have enough room.

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!