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).

Four-Way Perpetual Capture the Flag

This game is based on the idea of capture the flag. It is layed out on a field, or even a parking lot as a giant four square. For twenty kids I lay out fifteen by fifteen foot squares. It is best with four teams, but it works with three teams and even two. just change the field shape. Usea pie with wedges for three and a head to head for teams of two.

Each team needs at least five to six people. I have played this with over a hundred people twenty five on a team. Just make the field bigger and use colored arm bands for team identification. You may need to use kiddie pool, chalk the ground, or use cones for the free zones.

Each team has two objectives. Get the other teams flag, and hold onto your own. In each spuare have a hool-a-hoop which serves as a free space and a place where the flags go. Each team should have multiple flags in thier free space. I use euor-balls like in McDonalds play land. I normally put two for each player on the team so six players equals twelve flaggs (balls) You can even have the kids use their shoes or missmatched balls, plactic cups, eggs, waterballoons, whatever.

Basic Game Play:
When your in your zone you are safe. If you go into one of the other three zones your not. If you get tagged our of your zone,your frozen and your team members must save you. It is best if you have defenders and flag grabbers. If you can get to the free space (hool-a-hoop) your safe. (we play at least a foot in the hoop)

This is a perpetual game and gennerally ends when you call it. We play point totals, most flags in five minuets, or total victory where one team gets all the flags. I have never actually seen this done! but it works in principal. After each round, I have one or two players rotate to the team on their right to mix it up a bit. Have fun and enjoy this seemingly never ending game!


Basically this is a game that some of my friends and I made up in Southern Illinois and I think it would work good for any youth group.

Basics: Baseball with a Frisbee at night.

Rules: There are 2 teams. One “bats” and the other plays the field. The batting team stands on home and chucks the Frisbee. Players are out if they strike out (Frisbee has to make it past the baseline or if you foul 3 times) or someone catches it. If it is in the outfield, the batter runs until it is in control by a player in the in-field(they have to be holding it). We play with the half-way rule (where if you are half way to the next base you are on that base). We generally do a ten run rule too just to make the game go smoother.

Game is best played at night with a little light on a baseball diamond.

Have Fun!!

Generation Text

Tools needed: White board and marker, pens/pencil blank paper.

Start lesson out by writing on the board that no one can talk. Do not tell the students what to do with their paper and pens as some will figure it out.

Write some of the following, “I have seen your Facebook or MySpace account, I know what you said. I saw the text.” or something along those lines (before teaching this lesson you should check the internet for your students if you feel comfortable doing this don’t be surprised by what you find, you do not have to do this).

Write “It hurt my feelings, I can’t believe you said that. Was it true what you said?” (Erase after each time you write as if you are e-mailing or texting). As students start responding by writing on their paper and asking things like “Who me”? or “What are you talking about?” Continue to write vague responses.

Write scripture on the board related to days of our youth such as I Tim 4:12. Have them read it and then write on their paper a response as to what it means. If someone writes the correct response tell them that they are right but don’t indicate why it’s right.

Write the words, angry, mad, upset, followed by gossip, lies, no emotion. The purpose of the lesson is to get the young people to realize what they put on the internet and what they text can affect many people. Some say things by electronic means that they would never say in person. God realizes that as young people we do things without full understanding of its lasting consequences. Adults do read what they put on the internet and some do for the wrong purpose. A good site to review before this lesson is Netsmartz.org.

The teens responded well to this lesson and some even tired of the writing and reading even though a good estimated average for them is 120 text a day. Some of our teens had text some hurtful things to other teens and I was aware of some of the teens putting personal info on their profiles.

I used the time to talk about internet safety, how to report and the importance of talking to their parents even when they receive unsolicited text, e-mails or images. Many law enforcement agencies will present internet safety classes to your teens or their parents. This issue is tearing apart youth groups and churches with Facebook being the main contributors. Talk to your teens about the internet not being reality and how texting doesn’t share true emotions or express an individual’s true intent. (My background, School Resource Officer for 15 years, Juvenile Investigator for 10 years, Teen Youth Leader for about 15 years, I have enjoyed your site and used it many times)

God/Food Scavenger Hunt

My youth enjoy eating so we always have a supply of Little Debbie snacks so one night I got creative with them. I took all of our snacks and hid them in various rooms. I used the Sunday school room, kitchen, chapel, sanctuary, nursery and youth room. Attached to each snack box was a clue leading them to the next box. The clues were bible scriptures that contained the word for the next room. Example: “The peacemakers shall be called children of god” would be a clue leading them to the Peacemakers’ classroom. The last clue led them to the chapel where the last snacks could be found along with a Bible open to a verse saying that together if we search we shall find God.

Good Friday Progressive Lockout

Instead of having a Lock-in at the church, ask members of your church or local businesses to host the youth for one to two hours throughout the night. At each house, have a plan activity plus snacks. We start at 5pm at the church and end at 7 am back at the church. The Kids have a blast!
Examples of activities
1.Wal-mart supermarket sweep and all items will be purchased for the local food banks. 3am in the morning is a great time. Only workers are in the store. Always have an adult with the groups of kids. Put clues in easter eggs and send them on their way.
2.Midnight Easter Egg Hunt – use flash lights or car lights
3.Slinky races down the stairs. Metal works the best
4.Tug of War
5.Dye easter eggs
6.Flash Light Tag
7.Easter Egg toss
8.Tumbling Contest in members yards
9.Hula Hoop Contest
10.Pudding Eating Contest – the catch is, MUST BE DONE THROUGH A STRAW
11.Pizza at the Pastor’s house
The list can go on and on.
Keep them busy or they will get tired. SO WILL YOU!

Gospel Court

You set up your court room like a real court room. You have two sides. One side proves the world’s view. The other side proves the Bible is the word of God. It really makes the youth have to study the word of God. It also shows them what the world thinks about the Bible and gives them the tools to go out into the world to teach them the word of God.

GPS Amazing Race

We initially did this with our middle school group. It was so successful we modified it for our college group. We split into 4 teams of 6-8. Each had a digital camera and a GPS (it was amazing how easy it was for members in our church body to lend us these items. Key was to ‘assign’ one person only to the camera, 2 to the GPS with the rest solving clues, giving directions, and being in the pictures). The starting clue was a set of coordinates. An adult drove the van, but did not help. One person only could give directions.

Once the coordinates were reached, the driver gave the written clue/directions of the task to be performed. At the bottom of this clue were the next coordinates. We did 12 in all. It took 4 hours.

Examples of locations and tasks:
Plant nursery: find the common name for the following latin name (we did two different ones to keep groups from copying

Cemetary: find Joe Somebody and take a picture with him (we provided two names so they wouldn’t be at the cemetary all day-they only had to find one. We had them find headstones of kids who died at their age-it made a good point)

Coldstone Creamery: get them to sing without giving them a tip; Goodwill: Try on an outfit and find the person in the red hat, when he/she approves that this is a very crazy outfit, take a picture; send them to a public park and have MANY people from your church in black hats. Give different people a clue and have the teams find the one person with their clue. We had high school kids help; grocery store or food place and have them order their lunch with the time to eat being their ‘pitstop’. Once checked in we gave them 20 minutes and sent out exactly 20 minutes after check-in.

These are just a few location ideas. In order to not overwhelm businesses, we first asked permission then we flip-flopped the order so two of the teams were doing the first chunk while the other two were doing the second chunk and vice versa.

Our college group did a few other ideas like making salsa with the choice of about 20 ingredients and no recipe (it was fun to include bizarre things…). They were to take it with them for a snack after the race. They also got to choose recipes and bake or jump rope 50 times in a row for all members of the team as a road block. Another one was to translate a paragraph with translation dictionaries available. This could happen at Borders or a private location.

Note: We color-coded the clues to help organizing them. It did take a lot of leg work to get GPS coordinates and label the clues, but it was worth it! The kids talked about it for weeks. Make sure the GPS’s are all on the same map reading (there is a screen that will tell you-most are on the map that is structured from 1968). If they aren’t all the same, then some GPS’s won’t take the team to the right place!


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.

Heavy Burden = Heavy Rock

Bible Refrence: Matthew 11:28-30

Gather many large rocks, not too big..but as many as you think you need….for us we didn’t have enough so they had to carry “imaginary rocks”. Youth leaders: tell the group on this walk to be completely silent. Once you get to your destination set them down and have them listen to (?”Lay your burdens down”?) tell them to reflect on one burden in particular. Then after the song ends ask for any volunteers, tell them to talk about their burden and throw it into the creek (if you don’t have a creek or pond near your church, just pitch them into the woods) I hope this helps you get your point across…it really helped me!

NOTE: Once we got down to the creek there were some gravel…those people with imaginary rocks had something to throw.

Henna Tattoos

Try this instead of, or in addition to, ashes for Ash Wednesday. Our high school group tattooed ourselves with henna for Lent. You can get henna for tatoos in many places–mainly stores with “funky” stuff, but also at beauty shops. Each person had to be able to express aloud how their design reflected their relationship with God. I put crosses on my palms and feet to symbolize Jesus’ nails. One young man put a superman symbol on his stomach because Jesus is his superhero. And on it went. After we were all decorated, we formed a circle and laid hands on each person, praying that Jesus will use the tattoos to speak to the person during Lent.
Henna is a natural dye that is absorbed in the skin. It produces a rusty brown stain on the skin that last approximately 3 weeks, or until that layer of skin is worn off. I think this will become an Ash Wednesday tradition for our high school program. It is just crazy enough to be attractive to the kids, but not so crazy that parents object. And I know that Jesus has used the crosses on my palms to teach me a thing or two!

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.

In The Dark Game

This is a game we made up one night and we have been playing it ever since. Our church basement has no windows which makes this the perfect area for this game but almost any area can be modified with a little ingenuity. What you want is a large area that can be made pitch dark. Our basement has several small rooms and one large common area. Pick a room for home base that everyone will start in. Once the group is inside the room with the light on the leaders need to add some “safe” obstacles in all the other areas. Before beginning the game you must confiscate all items which may have lights on them like watches or light up key rings, etc. We even tape the refridgerator door closed in the kitchen. One person is chosen to be the seeker. They are told to count to 100 but not too fast. The lights are then turned off and everyone files out of the home room and hides anywhere in the designated area. (Some areas may need to be off limits for saftey. IE. washrooms) The last person out of the home room closes the door. When the seeker is finished counting they open the door, announce that they are beginning to seach and then close the door behind them. The hiders are no longer allowed to move and must try to remain as quiet as possible. The is hard to do while listening to the seeker running into objects, etc. When the seeker finds someone that person must make their way back to the home room as quietly as possible and close the door behind them again. Play continues until everyone has been found or the pre-determined time runs out. Everyone returns to the home room and the lights are turned back on. Blinded – everyone will groan for a few seconds. Choose the next person to be the seeker and play begins again. The lights being on make the sudden plunge into darkness seem a little more overwhelming. This is one game our group has never gotten bored of yet. Not sure why.

Inky Hands

Best done on all day or weekend event. This is an idea used to promote the thought that while we are all individiuals – we are all one in God.

Using multi-colored paper, have the kids sign their names in the corner (whatever corner they like) with a marker – and tell them to make sure they either use their signature or do something a little artistic…no straight printing allowed.

Then handprint them (we were able to have real handprinting ink – but fingerpaitns will work just as well). Cover the whole hand – from the fingertips to bottom of the palm.

Then lay all of them out to dry. Then go on with your events.
Then, while setting up for a moment of reflection, evening meditation, whatever, lay the handprints out in a cross. With the appropriate Bible verses (that either reflect on this specifically or your topic for the event). This is a very powerful illustration of how much a part of us God really is – especially for kids who are trying to find their “individual selves”.

Inside or Out?

James 1:13-18
Joshua 24:14-18

Illustration (Fish) – Lets say that this bowl represents God’s will for our lives. God’s will has boundaries. There are things we can do within God’s will and things we cannot do. Lets say that the water represents God’s living word because whatever we do in life has to be done within God’s will according to His word, right? The fish then inside the bowl represents us. (Hit the glass and turn the bowl) Satan cannot touch us within God’s will so he wants to get us out of the bowl; he wants us out in the open with no protection. So Satan plays with our desires and uses our own desires to entice us and drag us away from God’s Will.(Sprinkle fish food on the outside of the bowl. If the bowl is a little wet the food will stick and the fish will try to eat it but can’t) and soon we want what’s out in the world and if we continue chasing after the things in this world sooner or later we will make the decision to venture out on our own.

(Take the fish out of the bowl and put it on a wet wash cloth)
then read James 1:13-15

Return fish to Bowl
then read (V. 16-18)

Joshua had a similar problem with the Israelite people. They wanted what was on the outside instead of what God had for them. They wanted idols and a way of life without consequences. They were enticed. Finally Joshua had enough and he spoke before the people.

Read Joshua 24:14-15
Do you think the people changed their mind and began to serve God after Joshua made his bold stand of faith?
Read (v.16-18)
Joshua was a leader by example and we too are leaders. What does your example say at school, at home or at work. Are you living a bold faith or are you following the example of the coolest trends? Are you being enticed by popularity, money, boyfriends (girlfriends)or maybe in your life your harboring jealousy, hatred or envy. Are you more concerned about your own agenda than you are God’s will?

Closing –
We must choose daily to follow God and to refuse to be enticed by our own desires. I am trying to lose weight and it isn’t easy when my wife bakes chocolate brownies with caramel. Every day I am faced with a menu and I must make a choice. So it is with us in the spiritual realm, everyday we are faced with choices between right and wrong and our choices are the tale tell signs of who we truly serve and it is a daily decision. Who will you serve this day? Are you Inside or Out?

Jogging Fellowship

Good for some fellowship outside of the church. Find guys who are interested in keeping in shape (particularly jogging) and start out by running to one boy’s house, and having him run with you. Then run together to other houses till you have reached all of the participants’ homes. 5-8 guys should be enough. While running together, great conversations can develop. Then you gradually run each other home (you can stop for refreshments as you go if you like). The first who is dropped off, is the one who was picked up first, The last one to go home is the one who joined the group last.


For this game, set up one less chair than the amount of people playing. Set them up in a circle. Everyone except one person sits down in a chair. That person stands in the middle with a set of keys. Then he grabs someone’s hand. If it is a guy, he grabs a girl, if it’s a girl, she grabs a guy. Everyone walks around a they twist themselves up. Then whoever has the keys drops them and everyone scrambles for a seat. Whoever doesn’t get a seat starts the next round.

Leader’s Bloppers

For this game you consult with each of your leaders and discover the most embarassing, crazy, or weird thing that they have done or can do. For example “When I was 12yrs old I jumped off of a swing and my shirt got caught on the side, this caused all the buttons to pop off leaving me with no buttons on my shirt and no shirt underneath” you would write this embarassing moment on a piece of large poster board along with everyone elses moments. Then each leader stands in the front of the room and is handed a piece of the poster board with a story written on it. It may or may not be their own. They read each moment to the students then you split the room into sections and pick 2 students from each section to come down and try to figure out with leader did what. Their section is trying to help them. Give each section 2 min. and then tell them how many they got right. Move onto the next section until each section has gone. Then have each leader tell the story of their experience. The kids will have fun trying to figure out who did what and hearing stories of crazy and embarassing things that their leaders have done!

Local Missions Week

Our senior high youth went off for a weeklong mission in another state during the summer vacation. Many of our junior high youth felt left out as we could only take a certain number of people and the decision was made to take only the older kids. So while the older ones were away we set up a mission week in our own backyard for the younger ones. They spent one afternoon in a nursing home, they worked in orphanage fixing up old buildings, and they helped out at a community fair to benefit a homeless shelter. When the senior high group returned the juniors and seniors spent time sharing with each other on their mission work.

Lost Opportunity

If you are a youth pastor, you understand how frustrating it is to see your youth talking, passing notes, etc. during worship, and/or sermons. I began to pray about how I could address this issue without pointing anyone out, but still get the message across crystal clear. God heard my prayer and the Holy Spirit led me to do the following:
You will need seven youth (four boys three girls), and two assistants to help you. Line seven chairs in a row in the front of your class (these will serve as “pews”) and either ask for seven volunteers or choose them yourself (you can choose a couple of your “chatters” if you’d like). Scatter the girls out between the boys, don’t let the girls sit next to each other, and make sure one of the girls sits on the very end of one side of the row. Have one assistant stand about 10 feet in front of them and say “this is the preacher, it is Sunday morning (or whenever you have the most problems) and he his delivering the message.” Have your second assistant pose as the Holy Spirit, and introduce him/her as such. You are the devil.
Stand behind one of your male students sitting on the furthermost end from where you sat the girl in the very last chair on the opposite side. Tell your assistant who is posing as the Holy Spirit to go from one student to another whispering in their ear “you need Jesus” continually. But he/she is to skip the boy that you are standing behind. As the “Holy Spirit” continually goes from one to another in this manner, you get down in the boys ear and say, where everyone can hear, “Boy! Look at that girl down there on the end of the row, man is she something or what!” The class will get a laugh out of that. Keep at the boy to look down at the girl (who is trying to hear the sermon that your preacher assistant is preaching, have him/her act like they are preaching, just in a mute mode). Then say, “I wonder if she’d go out with you!” From out of nowhere hand him a piece of paper and a pen and say, “let’s write her a note and see what she says.” By this time the class is loving it. Make it funny by telling the boy what to write such as, “Do you like me, yes or no.” Have him past the note down the row to the girl on the end. Just as the girl begins to read the note have your “preacher” blurt out and say, “If you need Jesus in your life he’s here today to set you free, come forward now to receive him as your Lord and Savior”. By this time you’re hovering over the girl saying “Check one, check one! Yes or no!” When she checks one have her send it back down the row to the boy, and end the skit. Now on a serious note, tell the kids the rest of the story. Tell them that the young lady on the end didn’t hear the call to salvation because she was distracted. So she leaves the meeting, and two or three miles down the road is involved in a serious car accident, and is killed.
She experienced a lost opportunity because someone was goofing around. This will illustrate to the youth the seriousness of “God’s time” and how if we neglect to listen (and cause others not to listen), then someone will have a lost opportunity to receive a blessing.