Outdoor Youth Group Games

3-Legged Kickball

The idea is pretty straight forward. All the rules of standard kickball apply, the only difference is that each player is 2 players tied together at the leg as you would for a 3-legged race.

3-on-3 Tourney

Plan and run a 3-on-3 basketball summer league. Have your youth share short 5 minute devotionals on relevant issues. Have a tournament ending banquet, with a special guest speaker (local Christian sports celebrity). This is a great way to reach out to the community!

3-Way Capture The Flag

This is regular capture the flag with more than two teams. Our youth group has played regular capture the flag for so long, that we thought it would be fun to try something different. It was a huge hit.
SETUP: Have 3 (or more) teams, each with a flag and a specific territory. You can make each team have its own jail, or you can have a central neutral area where all people who are tagged go for 3-5 minutes. Each team places their flag somewhere on their territory in plain sight (must be visible from at least 10 feet away. We say they must be stuck in the ground.)
TO PLAY: Each team tries to get the other teams’ flags with out losing their own. If team A captures team B’s flag, they plant it next to their flag, and teams A and B become one team possessing the territory for both teams. They then have numerical advantage over team C, whose flag they then attempt to get.
These rules make it very intense, because you do not want to be the team that is ganged up on, so you go out as fast as possible to find the other teams’ flags.
These rules also work for more than 3 teams.

OTHER POSSIBLE RULES:
1) When a person is tagged, the tagger must escort them to jail without tagging anyone else. If the tagger does not escort them, then they can run back free.
2) A variation of the above rule would be that a defender can freeze one person in place, and tag one more before escorting both to jail.
3) Have a safe zone around your flag in which the defenders may not enter. I don’t care for this rule, but many people like it.
4) Have colored string tied around the wrist to indicate what team you are on. If the string is broken, you must go back to the designated neutral area to have a new string put on.

3D Kickball

This is a fast moving version of kickball for large groups. This version enables everyone to get up to bat several times in a short period of time.
The concept is the same as kickball except that you have three pitchers pitching to three kickers simultaneously. Once you are on base you do not have to advance a base unless you want. Therefore you can have several people on one base at a time. Instead of there being three outs we make it nine outs before the next teams gets up to bat.
The defensive team can stand anywhere around the playing field. Try it and modify it to suit the needs of your group.

Acid River

Take the group out in the woods, or anywhere suitable. Make sure you have 3 coffee tin cans that are strong and sturdy as well as two boards roughly 4 feet long and half a feet wide. Set down two ropes about 10 to 12 feet apart. The object is to get everyone on the boards or cans at the same time and then to get everyone off successfully without anyone falling off and touching the ground with their feet – or else they fall in to the imaginary “acid river.” If one person falls off, the whole group has to start over. This activity will build communication skills, leadership skills and fellowship skills.

Airplane Game

First explain the rules…
-You are all on a plane that has crashed
-You want to get the entire group to the base, or you will ALL blow up!

Now you put cones out to make a small base, and then make the kids stand in a line and put their arms out. They then fly a bit pretending to be an airplane. One of the leaders yells out Crash, and they sprawl on the ground. Then all the leaders go around and whisper an injury to each kid. Then once they all have injuries, you give them 6 min. to get the whole team, to the base, but since some of the youths have no legs, some no sight, and some are unconcious, they will have to work together to get the whole team to the base! You can make up lots of diffrent injuries, and even have some of them be livestock, or dilusional, and trying to break the people down by telling them that they are at the wrong base!

This is a great opportunity to talk to youth about the importance of working together, and let them know how important it is to be helpers to Christians with “heart/faith injuries!”

Alka-Seltzer Tag

Just one I didn’t see on here yet:

Each kid gets an Alka-seltzer that has been pre-drilled and put onto a string. They must wear it like a necklace. The each kid either gets a styrofoam cup or a squirt gun depending on how you play. Split the kids into two teams or play every man for himself. The object is to melt the opponents tablet first, thus they are out when the tablet falls off the string. The tables must be in full view and cannot be touched.

At the boundary (whatever you determine) corners place 5 gallon buckets full of water or trashcans full of water (which ever work best for your version) to refill. This is a fun one that can be short or a longer game depending on how it’s played. Make sure the kids wear clothes that can get messy because the depending on the flavor you bought or the alka-seltzer itself, sometimes there is a stained area still left after washing!!

All Run

This is a fun game and the students loved it.

First, set up a line of cones at each end of the field to mark end zones. The two end zones should be far apart, but not too far. A big field will work great for this.

Second, place five hula-hoops in the middle of field. Make sure that they are equal distances from one another, not clumped together as one. Also, make sure one hoop is directly in the middle of the field.

Select one student to be the “tagger.” At the beginning of the game, the tagger will stand in the middle hoop, while everyone else lines up at the end of one end zone. The goal of the game is to run from one end zone to the other end zone without being tagged. The tagger cannot leave the middle hoop until the first person makes a run for the other side.

Once the game begins, the tagger does not have to return to the middle hoop. If a person is tagged while trying to run, that person becomes a tagger along with the first tagger. When another person is tagged, they become taggers too. The game will continue until all people have been tagged. The last person to be tagged will start off the next game as the first tagger.

This cycle will continue until your designated time is up. As for the hula-hoops: they will act as safe zones for the people who are trying to run from one end to another. If a person can make it to a hoop and stand in it, he/she cannot be tagged. Once they set foot out of the hoop, they are back in the danger zone. Also, designate someone who is not playing to call out “ALL RUN!” everyone few minutes. When this is called, everyone has to run, no matter where they are. This will keep the game moving, and keep it exciting. Have fun.

Amazing Race

We played a version on the Amazing Race (CBS) at our youth retreat last weekend. The kids (and leaders) had an awesome time.
We split the kids into groups of 3 (we only have a small youth group – this would work with bigger groups too). They each got their first clue leading them through the bush (we live in Australia) to their detour (a choice of two tasks).
1. Find 20 straws hidden in the bush (pretty hard – the straws were green)
2. Set up a tent (by the way this was at night time so this was hard too)
Once they did their task they got the next clue which lead them through a bunch of mud (some of the girls freaked out a little at this) to a roadblock (a task the team HAVE to do together).
They had to match up 10 Bible verses with their addresses. There were some obvious ones and some hard ones.
They then raced back to the cabins where we were waiting to greet the first team there. They got some neat prizes from the Christian bookshop.
We did this with only 2 leaders and 15 campers – it can be done!
It was an awesome activity and made sure the kids burned some energy before bed (not that they were any quieter at night-time!)

Amazing Race – Race to Christ

This idea is like similar to other amazing races but with a definite twist. Again you split into groups of four or five, each group with a leader who can drive. Note the Leaders are ‘in’ on the race and are there just to drive and not assist in the race.

Make your list of directions that scurry your teams across town. We like to direct them to churches with new clues to the next stop waiting at each destination. (please notify church officials that messages will be at their facilities)

The final clue brings the first team to a waiting area. However, the twist is, along their journey, they will witness a person with a flat tire, a elderly person who has dropped their bag (purse or groceries) and a homeless person with a sign for help. Each of these people are part of the game.

The winning team is not who completes the trip first, it’s the team who is the best “Samaritan” and Christ-like. The winning team puts aside personal gain and assist the people in need.

When the last team arrives at the finish line, the three people who needed help arrive also and report who helped.

You will be surprised how many times we have had no winners but we do have a great lesson.

Amazing Race 2

We did a samller version of the TV program amazing race. We had 8 teams with 4 teens and I adult (driver, who had a map to each place) per team. Each team was assigned a different color. We had 4 stations set up around town (can have as many as you like, we had a time limit to do this activity in). Each team started out with a clue which sent them to their first destination (our teams were going to different destinations at the same time instead all going to the same place. Usually there were 2 teams at a place together) after they reached their destination and did their task they would receive their next clue. We kept our teams small so each person on a team had to do a task and it would not be the same person doing all the tasks. If a team player refused to do one, then their team was eliminated or they received penalty points. The stations we had set up were: 1. Watermelons weighted down in a pool. The teens had to jump in, release it from the weight, bring it to the surface, get out of the pool, find a way to break open the watermelon, and then the entire team had to eat the watermelon (we used very small ones) in order to get their next clue. 2. We used a middle school track and had the teams peddle around the track / obsticle course on big wheels. Pretty easy to do but their legs got very tired and kind of hard for some of the bigger/taller/older teens to do, especially football players! 3. Gold Fish Find. We used a kids swimming pool and put gold fish and minnows in it. The teens had to try to catch as many gold fish in a alloted amount of time with only their hands. Very funny to watch them try to catch fish that are fast! 4. Frisbee Golf. Teens had to make their way to the course, find the correct hole and get thier frisbee disk in to the hole in 4 throws. We choose a failry long hole that had lots of trees! Here are some of the clues we used: Watermelon; If you like to eat in this you’ll delight, cold watermelon and 6 fragrant tealights. All snug in it’s pouch, unpack them for flight, as they soar to the top, be ready for a feast delight!
GOLF: take a small journey to a calmer place for the men & women who love the big green for whom 9 holes is a heavenly scene. When you see this course, relax, let the rest of the world wait. Find the correct hole where your next clue awaits.
GOLD FISH: 1 fish 2 fish red fish blue fish, 3 fish 4 fish gotta catch more fish, 5 fish 6 fish they must be gold fish, 7 fish 8 fish these aren’t easy to catch fish, 9 fish 10 fish stop now and count your fish.
BIG WHEEL: 7 hours a day August til May this track will last it’s fragrance will stay. This place your searching can’t really be bought, but a trip around it is what it will cost. Your legs will get tired your heart will surely beat fast, just keep on peddling around the WEST VALLEY TRACK.
At their last destination they all received a clue which sent them back to our church. When they returned that found we had rented a climbing wall from a local facility where they had to harness up and climb the wall to retrieve their teams flag.
This activity took about an hour and a half. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

Amazing Race Challenge

Split the group in teams of two.

First challenge: Wheel Barrow race, The heaviest person on the team had to get in the wheel barrow holding 3 blown up balloons. The other person pushed the wheel barrow around the block. If the balloons burst or got dropped, they had to come back to the beginning and start over with the balloons. Unfortunately, we picked a very windy day so this challenge was hard! The first team around the block got the clue for the next challenge.

Challenge 2: Had to walk about a 5 blocks to the nearest gas station. Flag down someone or call someone (since all teenagers have cell phones) and pump exactly one gallon of gas into somebody’s car. No more, no less. There was a $1 in their envelope when they got the clue. Had to get a receipt. One of our leaders was at the station. When they got done, gave the receipt to the leader and got the next clue.

3rd Race: Calf Pull: Had to walk to an empty field that is about another 1/4 mile, waiting for them is 1 year old calves that have not been with mama for a while. The team had to lead the calf from one point to the next and back. Trust me, the calves didn’t want to follow. This was very funny to watch a bunch of city kids trying to get a calf to follow.. first team done got the next clue for the next challenge.

Pig Dig: Buried in the dirt piggy banks with a clue in them. They had to dig with their hands a pig and open it to get the last clue. The last part: Find the Gift Certificate with the grand prize: It was hidden up high in a tree at the local park where we ended the race. The prize was a hot air balloon ride gift certificate that we lucked out in getting from a member in our church. The kids had a blast and the winners said it was worth the challenges.

Anarchy Ball

You’ll need a grassy field (dirt & rocks hurt) and every single inflatable ball you can get your hands on (e.g. soccer balls, footballs, rugby balls, basketballs, basically anything non-lethal). If it’s swamped and muddy, it’s a definite plus!

At the 50 yard line (center line of field) place all the balls in a horizontal line, from sideline to sideline. Then break everybody into teams. Try to even things out (equal number of big people and small people on both sides, etc.). Each side lines up horizontal to the goal lines at opposite ends of the field. When the whistle (or signal) is given, they charge each other like armies. Then they have to each try their hardest to grab a ball (one at a time) and run it over to the end zone. When they get there, they spike it or put it on the ground, and the ball is out of play for that round. In the playing field, it’s all about chaos. Tackling, moshing, wrestling, stealing balls from other people, passing the ball to someone who’s empty handed, kicking it, punting it (but it has to be carried into the end zone by hand), dribbling it, running with it, etc. etc. etc. Hence the name ‘Anarchy Ball.’ When a kid manages to get his ball into the end zone, he is free to run back and grab/ steal/ catch another one and repeat. The highest level of chaos is when the two sides first clash at the beginning, trying to grab a ball and fend off the opponents. When all the balls are in the end zones, the whistle is blown and the round ends. Whoever has managed to get the most balls into the opposing team’s end zone wins that round. You can play as many rounds as you like, depending on the stamina of the kids. Whoever wins the most rounds wins the whole shabang. Be sure to establish some guidelines and whatnot, and have a ref or two or three, in order to prevent violence/ animosity/ injury and whatnot. Other than that, there are no rules, hence the name: Anarchy Ball. Enjoy!

Balls In, Who’s Out?

Requires: Kickballs/dodgeballs (number should depend on the number of kids in the group) and cones.

This game should be played in a BIG, open field. Here’s how you play:

There’s a big circle of cones in the middle of the field. In the center of the cones are a big pile of kickballs. Players will start outside of the cones.

The object of the game, once the whistle is blown or someone says “Go”, is to run inside the circle, grab a ball from the center & run to the safe zone (which is the outside of the cone circle.

But here’s the catch: there will always be 2 or 3 balls less per players. For example, if there are 20 kids playing, there will only be 17 or 18 balls in the center, which means that 2 or 3 kids will be eliminated. It’s kinda like musical chairs, where so many people get eliminated each round.

The game keeps going until you’re down to the last player or players (if you’re playing in teams.)

Rules:
-No physical contact is allowed, meaning if someone tackles, punch, kick or grabs another player, that person is disqualified.
-If a player runs into the circle before the whistle is blown, then he/she is disqualified
-You are allowed to steal a ball from another player, just as long as there’s no physical contact involved.

Number of players:
This game can be played one of two ways:
1.) Teams (split in two)
2.) Every Man/Woman for themselves

Bananarama

Basically, you send a bunch of people out in cars armed with Bananas. You then proceed to have them measure signs, streets, people, places, buildings and whatever else you can think of in banana lengths. The first team to return with the most correct answers wins!

Bananarama I & II – Addition

We played the Bananarama games for our youth and they worked out great- we got a lot of positive feedback- the kids went nuts!

A couple things we did different was we had a few leaders in a car go out and give each team a challenge. If the team completed the challenge, they kept all their bananas. If they did not, they lost three bananas.
There’s a lot of banana-related challenges to be thought up, so I’ll leave it to you.

Also, before hand we told the youth not to be too abusive to their bananas, which allowed us to have banana splits after the game. (and after washing them of course).

Banarama II

We played the Bananarama game listed on this website. However, what we did was divide the youth group kids into “teams”. You need to have a volunteer driver for each team. The driver is responsible for the safety of their team and also to return the team back to “home” on time.

The teams are given a time limit. I tried 45 minutes and it was not nearly enough. I would suggest allowing 1-1/2 hours for this game…

I went ahead (earlier that day) to different restaurants, stores, etc., and asked permission to do the game at their establishment. Everyone was so willing to accommodate us and really enjoyed being included in the game! Things we “measured” by banana length are as follows:

The length and width of the patio outside a hamburger restaurant, the distance around a rack of clothes in a department store, the length of a sidewalk along a very well-traveled main street (too funny, all on hands and knees!), signs in parking lots, mailboxes, and the best one of all….. I went to the fire department and asked to measure all around the longest fire truck they had. Oh, they LOVED it!

At the end of the game, the team with the highest number of correct answers wins.

Enjoy!

Baseball – Tag Ball Style

This one is just like regular baseball but with some fun things added. You’ll need a Nerf ball the size of a softball or some kind of ball you can throw at people with out hurting them. I would also suggest using a big goofy bat like a child’s big plastic bat. We use my daughter’s old plastic bat.
You’ll basically play this game like regular Baseball but since you are using a ball you can throw at people you can get runners out by hitting them with the ball (tagging them out by hitting them). You won’t need catching gloves because the ball is soft so you can catch it barehanded.
This game can also be played indoors since the ball will be soft like a Nerf ball or Gator Skin ball. Please fill free to make up your own rules to make the game even goofier.

Bases

Overview:

Bases is a fast-paced outdoor game combining elements of ‘Capture the Flag’ (CTF), flag football, and role playing. Bring and drink plenty of water, and take a break between games to rest and collaborate. Please read the clarifying ‘Notes’ after each section for important information and tips.

Objectives for Winning:

Game: a single play-through that is won by destroying the opponent’s Home base.
Match: the combination of a few or several games, depending on the score teams have chosen.

The game is won when one team destroys their opponent’s Home base. A team receives 3 points each time they destroy their opponent’s Home base, 1 point for every opponent Field base they destroy, and 1 point for each Field base they build (even if it is later destroyed). The match is won when a team reaches the score the teams have chosen beforehand. Scores are not added up until the end of each game.

Note: Make the teams as balanced as possible, and readjust if necessary. While playing, the most important things to keep in mind are safety and honesty – both serious injury and dishonesty will ruin any game.

What You’ll Need:

People: At least 5 players per team – there is no maximum limit.

Flag Football Belts and Flags: Each player needs a belt with 2-3 removable flags that match his or her team’s color. If there are extra belts and flags, use them for the Home and Field bases. If not, you’ll need something like colored bandannas or cloth strips.

Space: At an urban, suburban, or rural setting. For safety reasons, decide if boundaries are needed and where.

Note: There are no ‘safe’ zones or areas where players are immune from having their flags stolen. With large fields or large teams, you may want to have phones so you can communicate with each other.

Player Elimination:

When all of a player’s flags are stolen, they have been eliminated, can no longer steal flags, and must ‘Recharge’ to continue playing. To Recharge, they should pick up their flags and return to a team base to put them back on. If a player has lost 1 or more flags, but not all of them, he or she can return to a base to place the flags back on.

Note: The eliminated player is responsible for finding his or her own flags. It is important that players who stole an opponents’ flags do not throw or hide them, but drop them in an obvious place or give them back to their opponent. If a player has had a flag stolen, but still has another, they should keep the unattached flag with them.

Team Bases:

Home Base: 1-3 Home flags are used to mark a team’s Home base (1-2 if the belts have just 2 flags). The the belt with flags is fastened, or just flags, are placed onto something, like a tree, that serves as the team’s Home base and acts as a Recharge location. Both teams should agree on the placement of each other’s Home flags before the match begins.

Field Base: 1-3 Field flags are used to mark a team’s Field bases (1-2 if your belts have just 2 flags). Like the Home base, these serve as Recharge locations. Before the match begins, teams choose specific locations where Field bases can be built. Field bases can only be built at these locations. There may be 1-2 Field base locations near each team’s Home base, and 1-3 somewhere near the middle of the field. We suggest selecting 2-3 total Field base locations for every 10 total players. At the beginning of each game, the base locations near each team’s Home base belong to them, and are marked by the team’s Field flags. The base locations near the middle of the field are neutral, and can be built by either team. Neutral bases need to be obvious or marked with something like a belt without flags. If a base is destroyed, either team can rebuild at the base location.

Note: When deciding what locations to use for bases, make sure they are evenly distributed across the field. Field bases that belong to teams at the beginning of the game do not count towards their game score, only those built during the game. All base flags should always be in plain sight and within reach.

Protecting Bases: To protect their Home and Field bases, a team assigns Defenders to them (see ‘Player Units’ below). A base can have 1 Defender for each of its base flags, meaning teams can assign up to 3 Defenders to a Home or Field base that has 3 base flags (if using belts with just 2 flags, teams can assign up to 2 Defenders to each base).

Destroying Bases: To destroy a base, an opponent player must remove the Home or Field flags. Players cannot remove an opponent base’s flags until all of its Defenders have been eliminated.

Player Units:

1. Attackers: Attackers wear 2 belt flags, with 1 on each side. They focus on eliminating opponents by stealing their flags or destroying their bases. Attackers may begin the game at any of the team’s Home or Field bases.

2. Defenders: Defenders have the most important role in the game. They wear 2 belt flags, with 1 on each side, but their belt is put on backwards. At the beginning of the game, each team base should have at least one Defender. Defenders steal flags, but mostly focus on building, defending, and representing their team’s bases.

Building: To build a base, a Defender places Field flags, or a belt with Field flags, onto a Field base location. Defenders should carry the belt and/or flags in their non-dominant hand. If the Defender is eliminated before building a Field base, he or she must return to the Home base with the Field flags to Recharge.

Defending & Representing:
1. A base’s original Defenders are the only players that can represent that Home or Field base. Once a base is built and its Defenders are assigned, teams cannot add base flags or Defenders to it later in the game.
2. Defenders must stay within about 5 yards of the base. If they leave the 5-yard radius, they become an Attacker, and the base loses a Defender.
3. Defenders must Recharge at a different base when eliminated to continue playing as the base’s Defender. Defenders that Recharge at a different base can return to represent it, if it hasn’t been destroyed. If they Recharge at the base they represent, including Home base, they become an Attacker or other unit. If they’ve lost some but not all of their flags, Defenders can find and replace their stolen flags at the base they are defending.

Note: Defenders can voluntarily leave the base’s 5-yard radius and become extra Attackers, Defenders of a base to be built, or other units. If there is ever any question about a 5-yard radius, use the Defender’s striding pace as a yard. When a Field base has been destroyed, the last Defender eliminated should take the Field flags back to the team’s Home base. For small teams, it’s best that no more than half your players are Defenders.

From the author: If you have any ideas, feedback, or suggestions for this game, or would like the extended rules that include more player units, I would love to hear about it: rustin2@gmail.com.

Battleship

You need to collect a lot of cardboard boxes (the bigger the better), big rubber balls, or something that won’t hurt when hit by it, and some duct tape. Split the youth into two groups. I like to scatter the cardboard over a big area and have the kids race to get as much as they can. When the teams have their cardboard they build and name battleships. (Ships do not have to have a bottom or a back on them)The ship does not have to be able to withstand a hit but it needs to stand up on its own. Each team picks a couple of people to be the shooters and the rest of the people man a ship. (2-5 people in a ship) The shooters will be blindfolded and pointed in the direction of the other teams ships but they don’t know where they are so they have to listen to their own teams instructions on where to throw. If a ship gets hit a person is out. Whoever destroys the other team’s battleships first wins.