Mid and Late Adolescents

Cereal Build Relay

Divide large group into teams of 6-8. Provide a plastic spoon for everyone. The first person in each team will have a bowl of cereal and the last person will have an empty bowl. The dry cereal is passed from one person to the next by holding the handle of the spoon in the mouth and passing it from spoon to spoon. The first team to have the most cereal in the bowl after a designated time wins!

Chair-Link Game

Everyone sits in a circle of chairs, with tne empty chair somewhere in the circle. When the music starts, the two people on either side of the empty chair link arms, run to someone else in the circle, grab their hand, and run them back to sit in the empty chair. Then, the people sitting on either side of the new empty chair must link arms, run and grab someone else. When the music stops, whoever is not sitting in a chair (because they are up running to get someone else or they are running back to their seats) has to do a “stunt” of choice by the person who is running the game. “Stunts” we have used are: playing a game of leap frog across the circle, gargling a tune with a glass of water, singing a song to someone in the circle, etc. They can be simple or crazy, depending on your group. This game is very popular with our kids, who will play it for a half an hour and longer.

Christmas Card Delivery

Encourage church members to drop off cards for other church members at the church building. For a nickel or dime per card, sort the cards and deliver them to staff members’ mail slots, church members’ after Sunday services or by car to shut-ins. Set up a table in your church foyer for church members to drop off more cards or stop by to pick up any mail. Advertise this activity in November and encourage church members to mail their cards early. Charge an extra nickel for each card “mailed” after December 20th. *** I think it might be a good idea to offer Christmas cards to be purchased at the table as well to help make extra money.

Christmas Gift Baskets

I read once that Christmas time is the loneliest time for widows, single moms or anyone who lives alone. This thought prompted a wonderful time of fellowship and a way to reach out and let the lonely know they were loved.

First, we prayed, and the youth leaders made a list of who they wanted to give to, We then put the lists together and discovered that our lists were pretty much the same. 🙂 Some were members of our church and some were some not. Some had just lost a spouse or were going through divorce. We also gave our master list to the associate pastor to look it over and see if he wanted to add anyone.

Then we put a list together of what would go in the basket. pumpkin bread and cranberry bread. cookies (decorated by the youth group) tea, hot cider and coco packets, homemade jelly , popcorn balls, (the elderly will love these its an old favorite) Let your imagination go wild. We chose a night to do all the baking and wrapping the baskets up. We purchased the baskets and decorating things at dollar tree 🙂

The following day we had our personal UPS man make us up a delivery plan and split up into 5 groups to make deliveries. The next Sunday when we all got together we talked about the experience and what a blessing it was for the people who received the baskets. Some of our students who drive made deliveries alone and appreciated the opportunity to see the faces of gratitude.

It will be something we do, God willing, every year. The widows especially appreciated this as well as those living in nursing homes.

Church Commando Lesson

I used the Church Commando game as an intro to a lesson about joy. Ahead of time, find a number of bible passages that pertain to joy (I had about 10). Write each of them on separate sheets of paper, and role the papers into scrolls. You will use these in lieu of the candies. (If you want to add a little competition, use different colors of paper, and assign point values to them.) Tell the kids that they are prisoners in a P.O.W. camp. The local resistance movement has dropped the scrolls, which contain helpful information for the prisoners near by, and that they need to retrieve them without being spotted. Play a few rounds, and after the last round, have the people who retrieved the scrolls keep them for the lesson.
Go back to the youth room, and have each person read their scroll, taking time to talk about each passage. (I numbered them ahead of time and had the kids read them in order, to make the lesson flow better). I didn’t think of this until I had already planned the activity, but this is also a great introduction to Philippians, in which Paul preaches joy from prison.

Church Commandos

This game is a favorite for New Year’s lock-ins. This game will only work if your church sanctury has a balcony. Divide everyone into 2 groups. Spread different colors of Jolly Ranchers or markers across the front of the sanctuary. Designate each color as being worth a certain number of points. (Like: Green is worth 10 points; yellow is worth 1 point; purple is worth negative 20 points). Select one person to go to the balcony with a flashlight. turn out the lights in the sanctuary. The people from the 2 different teams try to run or sneak to the front of the sanctuary and grab a Jolly Rancher or marker before they get seen by the person with the flashlight. The person with the flashlight must identify them by name before they have to go back. This is a really fun game. The boys like to switch shirts around to confuse the person in the balcony. The game is over when there are no more tokens in the front. Add up the points and see which team wins. This is fun because when they grab a Jolly Rancher they can’t see what color it is because it’s dark! Everyone in our youth group loves this game!

Clue – Variation

This is a variation of the clue game submitted by Holly Steffy (great idea Holly!!!). In this one, I generally tried to stick to the board game rules, only we used rooms in the church instead of the board. I made up cards and a case file envelope all in Microsoft Word available for download from our youth group website at www.maduturn.com/downloads/clue. There you will find a readme file with more explanation so that this post is not too long.

I’ve made the rules a little slimmer and added one so that it would work in a youth environment. The BEST size I’ve found is no more than 8 in a group (game) or else there is way too much time between turns.

The gist of it is EVERYONE who is in the building can be a suspect, plus about six weapons and about 7 or 8 rooms. I used less gory weapons like a butter knife and a jump rope and a stick of gum but I really like the idea of a smashed pumpkin instead of a murder – much more pleasing to the parents I’m sure (Although Clue is a pretty universally accepted game).

Take turns (instead of clockwise order, go alphabetically) suggesting the room, weapon, and person. For example, for Mark’s turn he would suggest that Sam used a butter knife in the youth pastor’s office (shame, shame, shame). In order to do this he must take the youth group into the office before he can say this (This takes the place of moving pieces on the board game.). A person cannot, like in the game, make a suggestion in the same room two consecutive turns. Also, I added the rule: if you touch anything in a room, you will be accused of tampering with the evidence and will lose a turn. This kept things in order. J

If you would like more details, feel free to download the zipped package at www.maduturn.com/downloads/clue. To uncompress the files you will need either Alladin’s Stuffit (www.stuffit.com) or WinZip.


Coffee & Donuts

Things you need
4 Trashbags or something to put over kids to keep them clean
Chocolate syrup
2 Donuts
2 Pitchers (Cool if mounted on a hard hat)
2 coffee like cups
2 3′ pieces of medium to thick rope
Plastic for your floor – THIS IS MESSY

Select 2 Teams of 2 players from your group
Each team has to do the following, of course starting at the same time.

First player stands with Pitcher on Head while second player lays on back on ground with Coffee cup held on the chest.

The First player then pours some Coffee looking substance (Cold coffee is fun cause it stinks) into the cup.

Once the cup is full to some point you have marked with a pen then the two players switch position.

Now with the roles reversed the 2nd player now standing grabs a 3′ rope with a donut attached to the end. Soaks it in the chocolate (Usually by dipping… pouring it on the donut is more fun, but you have to have kids you can trust with messy chocolate)

The donut is then fed to the person laying on the ground via the 3′ rope and of course it gets all over them. Once the donut is all gone the team is done.

First team to complete both tasks wins.

Oh yeah… don’t pull the bag over their head when done… just rip it off of them – the chocolate tends to run back down on them if you lift up the bag.

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

Crossing the Bridge

This was so much fun I hope your youth enjoys this as much as we did. I created this game from a riddle my stepfather gave me. It’s one of those riddles where you have a certain amount of people and only so many chances to cross the bridge to get everyone across. Okay, now that we are on the same page, I’ll try to explain the best I can. I had 12 players with 3 groups of 4. I gave each person a number which was either 1,2 5, or 10 in each group. I laid a 2×4 in front of each group to represent a bridge. I then handed each group a flashlight. The lights were turned off and each group was given instructions to get everyone across the bridge in 17 points.

There are 2 people that can go across together but only one comes back across to get someone else. Only the points of the highest number counts. Example…2 and 10 go across, that counts as 10 points. Then 1 person goes back across to pick up someone else and you add that number.Example…2 and 10 go across, that counts as 10 points and 2 goes back to get someone else that is 2 points on the way back. Which now is a total of 12 points so far. Whoever goes across the bridge must have the flashlight with them. It really does work and one of the groups actually figured it out at the last minute. I had someone help at each group to add the points and you need that because they kept trying and trying. The correct way of the riddle is 1 and 2 go across. 2 stays and 1 goes back. Now we are at 3 points. Then 5 and 10 go across and they both stay. This is now 10 more points which is a total of 13 points. The 2 which is already on this side goes back across. Now we are at 15 points. The 2 brings back the 1 and we have reached our goal of 17! It sounds confusing i know but if you do it on paper it is easy to understand. And like I mentioned, I did have a group of middle school and high school students to figure it out and the other teams were very close as well. I actually had a lesson with this about how Jesus is our light!
I hope you have a great time!

Demolition Kick Ball

Just like kick ball but with a twist. You will need a deck of cards to play. Use all the ace’s, two’s, and three’s from a deck of cards. As a player gets up to kick have them pick a card. If they pick an ace they run to first base and round the bases as usual. If they pick a two they run to second base first then third and home. If they pick a three they run to third first then second, first and home. The demolition aspect of this game comes into play when the teammates end up running in two different directions to get to home. ie. third to second second to third first to second second to first… My group had great fun with this game and I hope yours will too!

Devil’s Advocate

Here’s something I sprung on the kids when I wanted them to take a serious look at how they live their lives in today’s society. I had them to pretend to be the Devil’s servants. They would each have to come up with what they think the Devil would want in 5 different areas:
1) how people view Jesus
2) how people view Christians
3) how people view the Bible
4) how people view evil
5) how people view goodness
(Of course, the areas you would want to deal with can be anything you think the kids would respond to best.) After that, I have the kids think of strategies to accomplish the Devil’s goals for each area. Let the kids be creative here. Then as a follow-up, do the same activity with God as the focus.

Easter Egg Hunt for Teens

I usually work with teenagers, so I took a childhood idea, and made it a little more difficult for the older kids.

This took a lot of preparation, and you will need a concordance.

I gave each teen a scripture to start with. They had to read the scripture and find a hint in the scripture as to where the next egg would be, which would contain the next scripture, etc. I used places inside and outside the church. The concordance will help find a scipture to use for whatever may be around your church. I also put a piece of candy in some of the eggs, along with the scripture.

The hard part was giving each kid a different starting place. I listed all the scriptures several times on a piece of paper, and moved down one line with each new starting scripture. So they were all in the same order, but one group was behind another in the search. It helped keep them from getting bunched up. I had them all end together though, which just takes a little thinking about where to send them last. Each church can customize this. I used one color egg for each group. That way they didn’t get someone else’s message. And we knew who had skipped an egg by what was left around. Most of the kids really enjoyed this. Hope yours does too.

Electric Fence

Divide group into two teams. For each team, find two trees close together. Take a length of rope and create a sort of web by cutting the rope and tying sections together with duct tape. The teams must get their entire team through the holes of this fence without being “electrocuted” (touching the rope). First one to do so, wins. A great activity that was a lot of fun!

Elements of Love

I hope that I am not wasting your time but this worked really well with our small youth group of about 15 to 20. We read through I Cor. 13 (the love chapter) then we split them into groups of 3 or 4. I passed out grocery bags full of the weirdest stuff that I could find at Goodwill or around my house. Then gave them a piece of paper that had one of the elements of love in that chapter (ex. love is kind) each group had to take the time allowed and make a skit that used all of the props and that told a story of their phrase. Afterwards we made each group explain why they showed love and why they chose it. It was a big hit, we had a lot of fun and it really made them work together, which showed love and have fun too. This could work for other subjects to.

Extreme Glow Stick Tag

Our youth group invented this game and it has proven to be a huge hit for out outreach games. Guys will enjoy it far more than the girls.

Find a large field. Lots of mud is best. We’ve also played in a slightly wooded field.

Have 5 youth each hold a glow stick of different color. Make sure you play at night when its really dark. Rainy nights are good.

The 5 youth stand at one end of the field and attempt to run to the other end of the field without being tagged… (we played grabbed… and if need be taken to the ground). Once tagged the runner surrenders and gives the glowstick to the person that caught them. That person than goes to the other end of the field and attempts the run again.

The runners that make it the end are rewarded with a CD, or something cool.

Be aware.. you will be exhausted after playing… and really, really muddy.

I’d love to here how it works out for you.

Father – Daughter Dinner

We have had great success with a Father-Daughter Dinner. We send out formal invitations to the girls inviting her and her father. Then we put together a formal diner, complete with china dinnerware and catered dinner. Before dinner we have a photographer there to take pictures of the fathers and daughters and a time to chat. After the dinner we generally have a speaker. We have had college girls talk to the fathers, adolescent girls talk to the fathers, and even fathers talking to the girls for speakers. It has become an event that the girls enjoy and look forward to each year.

Flame Battlers

Just like “Capture The Flag” except instead of flags you use bonfires. Each team is given a large garbage can full of water balloons to be used to put out the other team’s fire. The first team to completely douse the other teams fire wins. You will need to have adult leaders manning the fires and they are allowed to try and rebuild the fire after an attack. If you get caught on your opponent’s side you must give over your water balloons (they usually give them over from a distance before they are caught, by throwing them at the pursuant). We always play it with a jail and the captives can be set free if one of the free members on their team touches them.
[Ed. Note: Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, fire is involved so be very, VERY careful. As always, know your group and what they can handle.]


This basically turns into an all out brawl, but our kids loved it.

Here’s the way it works.
1)Form two teams with an even amount of guys and girls.
2)Guys must play by only hoping around on one leg, like in Flamingo Football.
3)You have one ball per 30 kids and one adult officiating per ball.
4)The goal is to get the ball across the other end line, but there are some rugby related rules
– The ball can’t be thrown forward, only backwards or sideways.
– The ball may be only be advanced by running or kicking.
– Once the ball is scored, it is handed to the ref in charge of that ball and is then thrown to the middle.
– In the case of tie up, the ref says, “Jump” everyone stops and the ref throws the ball up like a jump ball in basketball.

This game is dirty, rough, and whole lot of fun. Feel free to email me with any questions.

Food for Auctions!

I come from a small church, and we maybe have 8-10 youth in our core youth group. This is a great fundraiser for smaller youth groups. It tends to work better with pre-teens and teenagers.

We have a gentleman in our church who is a local auctioneer. Each year, he allows our youth group to sell the concessions during some of the auctions. Ask around; chances are there are auctions locally that need your help selling concessions. A lot of the auctions we’ve done are all-day events beginning early in the morning and lasting into the evening. A couple hundred people usually attend each auction.

We are set up prior to the auction selling coffee and donuts. Shortly after, we begin selling hot dogs, chili dogs, chips, cookies, other baked goods, and drinks (water goes well, especially during hot days!) Some local businesses will even donate items if it’s for a good cause. We ask ladies of the church to donate donuts, baked goods, cookies, and chili sauce. We also hand out tracks and invitations to church with their purchase of food.

Each person is assigned tasks during the auction: one person mans the George Foreman grill and grills hot dogs, one person prepares the chili dogs, one person is the cashier and keeps track of the money, one person is in charge of drinks, and one person hands out tracks/invitations. It’s a great time to fellowship together and invite others to our church. We spend about $300 for supplies prior to the auction, but we make anywhere between $900-$1,600 selling concessions!