Outdoor Youth Group Games

Capture The Flag – Tag Ball Variation

This game is like Capture the Flag but with “tag balls” (mini soccer or basketballs).
Split the students into two teams. Place the two flags on either side of a large area. Give each member a “tag ball”. If there are more players than balls then those free handed players can concentrate more on capturing the flag and bringing it back to their base. The players with the balls run around trying to tag their opponents by throwing the balls at them which freezes them and the player that is hit with a “tag ball” has to drop their ball if they were holding a ball. A droped ball can be picked up by anyone and used. A frozen player can be touched (by hand not by “tag ball) and freed to continue playing. No player can carry more than one “tag ball” at a time. Optional – only one player guarding their flag. Game is won by bringing your opponents flag back to your flag base.
This will hopefully be a big hit for your students.

Capture The Flag – Variation

I remember playing this game as a kid in P.E. I don’t know the original source but I played this recently with my children’s Bible Club and they had a blast, just like I did when I was their age!

Materials:
-Cones
-Hula Hoops
-Tennis or small balls
-Flag Belts (flag football sets-two different colors)

Best played in a large field. Spread out cones in a line down the center from one side of the field to the other to make two sides (territories). Mark four corners as boundaries around the play area with cones (different kind or color cones from the rest to distinguish the boundaries). Divide an even amount of kids into two teams. Each kid will have a colored flag to distinguish their team’s color (usually red and yellow). Each side will have a hula hoop with even amount of balls (to start out with) in the middle of the hula hoop. The hula hoop and balls will be placed towards the back of each side/territory. Place 4 cones towards the back to form a square for the jail. (Not too close to the hula hoop and balls.) Leader blows whistle.

The objective is to steal balls one at a time from the other side without getting caught or rescue their teammates if they do get caught. Once a child steps on the other side of he/she is now in the other team’s territory and they can pull his/her flag and take him/her to jail. Each child that’s taken to jail has to stay there until a set amount of time or until someone from the same team rescues them. To rescue, once a child sets foot inside the jail he/she is allowed to take one child back to their side without having their flag pulled, but both have to walk completely back to their side before crossing back over to the other team’s side again. To steal a ball; once a child has the ball in their hand they are allowed to walk it back to their side and put it in their hula hoop without getting their flag pulled. The team with the most balls in their hula hoop at the end of a set amount of time wins.
Throughout the game, kids will decide if they want to stay behind to protect their balls from getting stolen from the other team, go out to steal balls from the other team to take back to their side, or rescue their teammates from jail.
After the game, ask them what they thought was more rewarding, rescuing their teammates, protecting their territory, or trying to steal a ball for their team to win. Discuss how sometimes we have to make hard decisions and how life-choices impact us daily.

Capture The Flag Modified

Normal capture the flag rules are followed, except if a player is tagged, they must go to the middle “neutral” zone. In this neutral zone there is a jailer or two. These jailers should be well versed in scripture or have a Bible handy. The players must recite a Bible verse to get out of jail. You can add rules such as a verse may only be used once and so on. We told them that John 3:16 and “Jesus wept.” were off limits. Our youth love capture the flag and this requires them to use a little of their scripture knowledge as well.
[Ed. Note: Make sure you have an alternative means for unchurched kids to get out of jail (e.g sing a song, make up a poem, etc.)]

Capture the Flag w/ Eggs

You divide into 2 teams. Each team gets a bucket of eggs. (1-2 eggs per person). You play somewhat like normal Capture the Flag but you try to see how many of your team’s eggs can make their way to the other people’s side. (Every side should have an empty bucket for the other team’s eggs.) Throwing eggs is not suggested but if an egg is thrown the person that threw it is out.

Capture The Flag with a Twist

Divide your group into 2 teams. There has to be a main point where people from each team if hit with a water bomb must go for 1 minute. Each team also has to hide their flag from the other team. Once the game has started, they have to get the flag from the other team. Using water bombs as the defence for your two teams. Once a person has been hit by a water bomb, they are escorted to jail. Players rush or storm the opposite team by running to try and find the flag — but if you get hit — off to jail you go. Once a team member has picked up the flag they have to run back to where there flag is without being hit. If they are hit with a water bomb they must drop the flag where they were hit. After the opposite team’s flag has reached it’s opponents side–the game is finished.

Cardboard Crossing

This game works best outside on the church lawn or in the church parking lot. Break the kids up into several teams (7-10 kids per team) and give each team two large pieces of cardboard. The kids have to cross the lawn, never touching the grass, by keeping the entire team on the pieces of cardboard as they cross. The first team to cross wins.

Carry the Pew

Divide into teams of 5-7. Each team has a pew or a pew like seat that will take about 4 to carry and will seat all of the group. Play this at late dusk in a town. Each team has a destination to get to, it’s better if the destinations are different for each group, they must carry the pew to the destination. Spotters are in cars and spot the teams, the teams must not be spotted standing up, but they must be sitting. Couches from your youth roon will work too.

Catch the Bacon

Materials:
-Bacon
-a piece of cardboard 1 foot long by 2 inches wide

Wrap the cardboard with duct tape all the way around-make sure there’s enough so that the “bacon” is semi-soft and easy to throw, once you get the “bacon” about 3 inches in diameter it’s good.

At least 2 teams: we always play with 2, but if you’re really crazy, you may want to play with 3 or 4. Make sure your teams are as even as possible.

Play: Number each kid on the team, the ending result is that each team will have a number 1 kid, a number 2 kid, etc…
The leader is not on any team and they have the bacon to start out with. The leader will throw the bacon as far as they can and call out various numbers while they throw. The kids whose number is called must run out to get the bacon and bring it back to their team. You can call out 1 number or more. Only the people whose number was called can run and retrieve the bacon. But there’s a catch-if you grab the bacon and start running back to your side and someone from the other team tags you, you have to drop the bacon. You still have a chance at it. But you have to let it hit the ground. This game is so awesome. I guarantee you’ll have a great time.
Note: when calling out numbers you can call 5 through 7 or 1,2,3,and 8. Or even everyone. There’s no set number of people that are supposed to run after the bacon.
Also when throwing the bacon, you can fake the kids out and drop it in front of you. just make sure you get out of the way if you do that.
Enjoy!

Caving Expedition

Caving is a great way to develop group unity and to introduce your youth to a whole new dimension of God’s creation.
First, find out if there are any explorable, non-commercial caves in your area. Then find out if there is anyone who can either lead an expedition or train you to do so yourself. (I recommend the latter because if you know what your doing, it puts you in a great position for later discussion). Make sure the person you choose is aware of ALL of the safety precautions necessary for your trip. During and after the caving, there will be plenty of opportunities to discuss trust, togetherness, the wonders of creation, and much, much more!!! If you can muster up the guts to go in the cave, you won’t be sorry!!

Centipede

Divide players into two teams. Mark the Start and Finish lines about 30 feet apart. Teams line up with one person behind the other, facing the finish line. Next, players sit down and wrap their legs around the person in front to form the body of the centipede. Players’ arms become the legs. When the leader says “Go,” players lift with their arms and begin to push the centipede toward the finish line. If players become separated, they must try and reconnect. The winning centipede must completely cross the finish line with all its players connected.

Championship Duck Duck Goose

We have a pretty large youth group, and found this game works best with the more kids that you have!
It’s the basic setup of “Duck Duck Goose” (where one person goes around a circle of sitting down kids, tapping them on the head saying “duck” or “goose”. When they say “goose”, the person tagged must jump up and chase the other around the circle and try to tag them before they sit down in the vacant spot) We played so that there were 90 kids all in a circle, with 3-6 ‘taggers’ at one time. It gets kinda crazy, make sure they’re all running in the same direction. If a kid being chased gets tagged before reaching the vacant spot, they must sit in the middle. When you have about 15 kids ‘out’ in the middle, start another game within the bigger circle. We ended up having three circles going, each inside a bigger one.

Chickensoupatopia

Exactly like Control and Choas except for the eviromentally sound. Instead of business cards provide ‘Chaos’ agents with soda crackers. You won’t have to worry about littering and the local wildlife has a lovely snack left over from the game. If you want to leave packets of peanut butter and jam after you’re done that’s your perogative.

I provided this back story to set up the game. I honestly didn’t think it was going to work but it did!

“Everyone knows that the best thing to have with Chicken Noodle Soup is Soda Crackers and the people of Chickensoupatopia sure love their soup. A trade blockade has been set up around the nation of Chickensoupatopia (the 10′ – 15′ circle) by the BeefNoodleTonians who do not like soda crackers at all. The Queen/or King of Chickensoupatopia has called out to all Chickensoupatopians around the world to try to break through the blockade with their soda crackers”.

It is best to have one of your leaders or a non-active youth act as the Queen or King. They just have to stand there. At the end of the game take all the crackers, whole and in pieces and whoever has the most crackers wins the game.

Dare a kid to eat some of the crackers or leave them for the critters. The choice is yours.

Circle Tag

I thought Circle Tag would be better outside because there’s more room. More people means bigger circle. The circle has to be boy-girl-boy-girl. They all hold hands and there’s 2 people that aren’t in the circle (taggers) they run around the circle and tag 2 other people’s hands and run all the way around the circle and run in to the spot where they tagged the other 2 people. If they make it, the people that got tagged are it. The people that got tagged have to run the opposite direction of the people who tagged and try to beat them. if they make it then the people who were it first, is it again. I learned this from my youth pastor Amanda Grace Sage.

Civil War

The game is called “Civil War” and it is a water game that demands a small field.

Divide into even teams (2-1,000,000) and line each team up side by side, arm length apart about 25 yards from one another on their own Territory Line. You know, like opposing armies in the Civil War. Arm each soldier with TWO water balloons each. Pick one team to “go” first. What this means is one team readies to “fire” while the other team has their backs turned. (This helps keep from sustaining a facial injury). The team leader then yells “fire.” If anyone on his team wants to fire (optional) they can throw one or both of their water balloons at the opposing army. Anyone who is hit has to sit down where they get hit. No one has to throw anything.

Then the tables are turned. The other team gets a chance to shoot. The first team has to turn around and the whole process is repeated. This mimicks the war patterns of the Civil War. “Hey you shoot at me and IF I don’t die, I’ll shoot back at you.”

Then it’s on! Field leader (youth pastor) yells charge. Both teams run at each other and try to hit the other players with their water balloons while trying to make it across the enemy’s Territory Line. The object of the game is NOT to kill everyone on the other team by hitting them with a water balloon, the object is to get at least one team member across the enemy’s territory line. First team that has someone to cross the enemy’s Line wins.

It is a good idea to have judges help with who wins. Sometimes it is a close call. If anyone argues with the Lord-High-Keeper-Of-Exactly-Who-Made-It-Across-First-Person (youth pastor) he/she is subject to water ballooning.

Each time a winner is declared, a battle has been waged. 5 battles wins the war.

Civil War (Dry Version)

This game is played exactly the same way as Civil War, but you don’t use water balloons. The instrument is we came up to use is flour bombs. They don’t hurt when you are hit with them and they leave a flour circle where you were hit so there is no dispute about being pegged!

Directions for making flour bombs:

Dryer sheets: you can find them in the laundry section of your supermarket

Flour: any kind will do

Twist ties: you can use rubber bands or garbage ties, but be aware that most garbage ties have metal wire in them and could be dangerous. I use the small plastic electrical ties found in most hardware department.

Use 1 drier sheet and about 1 tablespoon of flour to make 1 bomb.

The great thing about this method is that the bombs can be reused over and over for about 5 games. Be sure to have a camera around, because the kids look like ghosts when it is over.

Cluster Busters

Ideal group size: at least 15

No supplies required!

WARNING: you should warn your teens beforehand that this is a VERY physical game.

Choose 3 of your strongest boys in the group to be Busters. Then instruct the rest of the group that they have 30 seconds (more with a large group) to form a cluster, holding onto each other as tightly as possible. Be sure to tell the cluster not to wrap around necks, or grab inappropriately to each other. If at any point in the game someone is separated from the cluster and has no one holding onto them or vice versa, they are out, and must sit and watch the rest of the game.

When the game begins, the Busters will start picking people to try to separate from the circle by pulling, prying, tickling, whatever it takes! (Give them rules to play safe, like no: hitting, jabbing, tackling, etc.)

Choose a time limit in accordance with your group size for the pullers to accomplish the task of pulling every person apart, so that in the end there is a winner, either the busters, or the cluster.

This is a very fun game, can be played several times consecutively, will exhaust teens, but is not for everyone, and must be managed with safety instructions and watchful supervisors. This game should be played on soft grass, but if you have the means, it is best in mud!

Coke Relay

For this game, create an obstacle course that requires a lot of jumping, running, crawling, and motion in general. Divide the teams up into two teams, and it’s a basic relay. The catch is that instead of passing a baton, students are given a can of Coke to carry. Upon completing their leg of the relay, they must open their can (which of course sprays everywhere) and drink it before the next person goes.

It may be better to get the half-sized cans so each student doesn’t have to drink a whole can. It’s also possible to give each team one can, and the last person has to drink it. Have a few extra cans ready, because the cans tend to break after being dropped during the relay.

Coloured Q-Tip Wars Variation

I loved the idea of the Q-Tip war but I wanted to put a bible lesson in it as well so here is what I did. I took the story of David and Goliath and we played “part 2”. I was GOJEFFITH, Goliath’s brother out to get revenge for his brother’s death. My kids in my class were the enemy Christians. I made armor out of posterboards for myself with spots to earn points and a special “weakspot” hidden underneath my nametag. I also made swords out of wrapping paper rolls for me and 1 guard. The kids of course chased me around and shot their Q-Tips at me (they were dipped in washable paint) while I tried to get them with my sword. If I hit them they went to jail. (A spot that was pre-designated) While they were in jail their teammates had to rescue them by simply tapping them, however if the guard got the rescuers or the jailbreaker with their sword they went right back in. During the game I would yell how I was going to get all the Christians and they could not beat me because I never play by the rules (they HAD to play by the rules by the way). At one time one of the kids prayed to God to make me freeze (which I did) and they pummeled me, however I still did not lose. At some point in time during the game the guard declares that he doesn’t like how GOJEFFITH doesn’t fight fair and he throws down his sword freeing all the prisoners. He then suggests that they all pray to God outloud to reveal my weakspot. Of course when they do,I ripped off my nametag and showed them my weakspot, dropped my sword and stood there yelling how I hate the Christians, and NO GOD!, etc until someone hits me in the weakspot with their Q-Tip. I then had a dramatic death where they all stood over me shooting me and cheering (some even dumped paint on me!) It was a blast and we talked for about 25 minutes about how God will help you with ANY problem even the seemingly impossible ones.

Cone-Cup Challenge

This is a teams relay, in which you need cone-shaped party hats with elastic to go under the chin. Cut off the top part of the cone on the hat and cellotape a plastic/polystyrene cup into the hole that is left. You’ll need one hat per team, two buckets – one filled with water and one empty, and a cup to pour with. The idea is to have the first person in each team put on the cup hat and another team member fill it with water from the bucket with the cup.The person wearing the hat then has to go over a few obstacles, do a few jumping jacks, spin in circles etc before pouring the water thats left in their cup hat into the empty bucket at the other end. The winning team is the one with the most water in their bucket when the time is up. Heaps of fun, prepare to get wet!

Coneball

This game is like a combination of soccer, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, and hit the can (the carnival game)… I know it sounds weird, but trust me, it’s awesome.

Materials needed:
-a slightly deflated kickball/dodgeball
-2 2gallon buckets (like the ones they put paint in)
-2 small orange cones (about 6 inches in height.. if you don’t have cones, we used Gatorade bottles filled halfway with rocks)
-something to mark boundaries on a field (powder or spray paint)
-a field about the half the size of a soccer field (maybe not that wide)
– You will want someone who knows the rules to play referee (and you may want them to have a whistle)

This game will take some setup, but it is a great camp game. One was a favorite of my old youth group.

First you must mark two areas at opposite ends of a rectangular field (maybe half of a soccer field size). At each end of the field you need a 16 ft in diameter circles. In the center of each circle you need to place the 2 gallon drum upside down with the cone/bottle on top. The object of the game is to knock the other teams cone/bottle off of the bucket. However, the players may not step inside the circle or knock over the bucket. If this happens, the point does not count and it is the other teams ball.

To get the ball to the other side of the field, you must pass the ball from teammate to teammate (kind of like ultimate Frisbee). If the ball touches the ground, it is the other team’s ball at the place it hit the ground, and of course the ball can be intercepted. The other team may try and stop the other team from scoring, but they may not touch the other team (think like guarding another player in basketball).

There are no offsides, and “cherry-picking is allowed since it will be difficult for that to actually work.

A few other rules to be aware of:
– Players may NOT run with the ball (like in ultimate Frisbee)
– If the team on defense gets too rough with the other players, you should allow the other team to throw the ball in at the other teams end of the field.
– If the ball goes out of bounds, it is the other teams ball, and they get to throw it in from where it went out (like in basketball).
– If team A throws the ball into team B’s circle, and the ball stops INSIDE the circle, the ball is turned over to team B, and a player from team B may enter the circle to retrieve the ball. The player who retrieves it must pass it to a teammate outside the circle to continue play.
– When a team scores, the other team starts by passing the ball in from their end of the field (again like in basketball).

We usually play first team to 5 wins, but you can also have a time limit as well.