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games resources

Not all games linked to will be suitable for all groups, or even any youth group. Always check the game and complete a risk assessment. Do use these to springboard to different ideas. And if you've got ideas for games or know of other resources, please let me know.

just discovered

Love these little gems you find sometimes - people who put stuff out there to resource the rest of us! Becky Hepworth, Ministry Trainee at Park Church, Stoke-on-Trent, UK has set up a Pinterest page of youth resources, including a really extensive games section. Click on the link below and go to Games. Muffin pan challenge? Sorted!

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card snatch

Is this the easiest game in the world?

Split the group into two teams. It doesn't really matter what size the teams are. Put them at opposite ends of the room. Hold a pack of playing cards in your hand. Shout a combination of cards, for example, Kings, Hearts, red twos, cards with four or more club symbols on them, whatever comes to mind. At the same time, throw the cards to separate over as wide an area as possible.

When you shout the cards, the two teams rush forward and find the cards you asked for. Some are upside down to make it more difficult. They bring the card back to their side to score a point. 

Add more interest by saying that you can tag a member of the other team, if they are holding one of the matching cards. If they tag someone and they are holding a matching card, they get the card to take back to their side and noone can tag them (get them to put their hand up so noone tags them). If they get it wrong, they lose a point. That is a recipe for subterfuge (do I pretend I have one?) and a bit of chaos, but it's quite fun chaos. You might need a referee with each team, to ensure fair play.

Big group? Add more packs of cards. 

Use it to introduce: a Bible story about separating one group from another. You can work it out.

Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash

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Currently, our group's favourite game

This active game is played in two or more teams. Most fun outside in a long field, but it worked fine for us in a fairly long church.

The counter stands at one end of the playing area. We had to have two no-go areas in the church which the counter couldn't see.

The aim is to get from one end of the area to the other without being seen. We have some pillars, and laid out folding tables in four lines, at intervals, standing up, to provide places for people to hide. The last ones were quite a way from the counter.

The counter rolls a die and shouts the number. They will be counting to this number. Then they shout out 'Fast', 'Medium' or 'Slow' and lower their head. To count, they add 'Dot' between the numbers (Fast is one dot, medium two and slow three). So if it's 3 Medium, they'll count One Dot Dot Two Dot Dot Three Dot Dot Up. 

While they are counting, the young people move to the first row of hides. When the counter shouts 'Up', if they can see anyone moving, or not quite behind the hide, they'll call their name and the young person has to go back to the start to begin again.

When a team member reaches the counter, they lay their hand on their shoulder and stretch towards their team. The next person in just needs to be hanging on to their team member when the counter says 'Up', making it progressively easier. First team to get all their team to the counter  wins.



Channel 4's Taskmaster series has got some quirky games to play, even if all you learn is that charades are far more fun if you use giant sponge hands. You can see the sort of games they play on Channel 4's website:

Sian Pearson, Youth Pastor at St. Andrew's, Kendray produced some great task ideas and leaders' notes for Taskmaster which she shares here: 

Gaga Bal

Gaga ball

Have you played Gaga Ball yet? It's dodgeball, but more intense.

If not, check out the link below for the rules. You need a ball and some folding tables... or you can spend a load of time with wood and joints, then find a place to store it... I'd just go for the tables. 


Not sure how I've missed this game for so long, but it's brilliant and not bad as a spectator sport.

Stand in a circle and all adopt a karate pose (no, I didn't really know what a proper one looked like either, but just try). Then go round the circle, trying to hit someone else's hand. You hit - they lose that hand. Two lost hands and they're out.  You miss and you're frozen in place. You can only move when it's your turn or when someone tries to hit you.

Only one Ninja is left standing.


nerf war ideas

If in your context, it's OK to shoot Nerf bullets at each other (these are sponge, by the way), and you, sorry, I mean your young people, are a bit bored with just running around shooting each other, you can mix it up with these amazing ideas from ​Dan Bright, Youth Pastor at Greyfriars Church, Reading.

Nerf wars

making nerf work

Always check your Nerf guns before you start (I mean, you really have to) and put in new batteries. It's not a lot of fun if your gun isn't working or jams with every bullet. Oh, and the young people might not enjoy it either...

Haven't got enough Nerf guns? Get people to bring their own, but they can't be super-charged (yes, people do). Or let it be known, that when people are getting rid of them at home, you want them. You'll soon have a loft full.

I have no affiliation with Nerf or Hasbro.

"In terms of setup we have often gone BIG but kept games simple. We will use washing line and rope to drape a bunch of rooms and then use clothes pegs and duct tape to hang fabric from them so it creates a network of coridors like a maze. Smoke machine also definitely comes out! We have rigged up speakers in the past to play music through - either cheese like 007 or really bassy stuff works well.

It’s something I’ve inherited here and have to keep up with the expectations! My predecessor even got the church scaffold tower out one year and set up a leader as sniper! I’ve never quite gone that far!"

Tim Taylor

Youth Pastor

Highfield Church, Southampton

mixing nerf up

You've got a smoke machine? [Don't worry, I haven't either] Then close the doors into a corridor and fill it with smoke (careful with your smoke alarms). Think about your added risks too.

Add a cheap laser machine.

Add in an orange flashing light. 

Everything is an obstacle. Who hasn't got folding tables in church? Your pews can come into their own as cover. 


"I bought a massive box of bullets and goggles, and then got them to bring their own blasters... I also have a team member who is seriously into Nerf, so he roped in others from church with blasters and passion and they led the session. 


We did one inside with obstacles, and another outside with wide games. For outside, we borrowed massive inflatable Nerf obstacles and saved up big cardboard boxes. Everyone got stuck in. It was awesome."

Bea Ellaby

Youth Pastor

Christ Church, Abingdon

human pac-man

You know they'll love it, even if the young people have no idea what Pacman is!

This video gives you an idea of what you could do. Coloured sheets over the ghost's heads will definitely add to it.

Human Pac-Man
Minute-to-win-it games

minute-to-win-it games

I've just come across these party games masters. Loads of them can be used in a youth group setting. Why not try an evening not dissimilar to Taskmaster or The Cube (UK TV programmes)?


Get people up from different teams to play each game while the rest cheer them on, or have a minute-to-win-it game going on all night for people to have a go.

Set up ideas

Task ideas

IRL game not dissimilar to among us

Abby Poole, Youth Worker at Guildford Baptist Church and her brilliant team organised a game similar to Among Us. Why not go for it yourself?

Find out more by downloading the instructions below.

I am in no way affiliated to Among Us, nor have they approved this content. If you're not familiar with the online game, check out the Innersloth game here.

Among us IRL
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OFFICE CHAIR indoor hockey

So, you play indoor hockey. You don't? It is a youth group favourite. Companies providing sticks and balls include Unihoc. Mix it up, even if you don't have to be socially-distanced, by playing on office chairs. No office chairs? Just use normal chairs. Place them  in rows two metres apart (a bit like table football (surely, you'll have played human table football before...!)). Mark a cross under each chair and ask the young people not to leave the cross. 

Do a risk assessment, though. Worst case scenario is to allow a young person to play barefoot and have a leader run over their foot with an office chair. I'd suggest keeping the chairs static and wearing shoes.

Office chair hockey

after eight or oreo race

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Absolute classic. I'm sure it must have been played in the time of Moses. Put an After Eight or Oreo (other wafer-thin mints and biscuits are available) on each group member's forehead. Say 'go' and watch them try to manipulate it into their mouth without using their hands. A great facial muscle work out. 

Image by Wikimediaimages from Pixabay

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Noughts and crosses relay

Best played with foam noughts and crosses (three of each). In two teams, one person at a time races to the front and places down one of their pieces (either a nought or a cross) on a board laid out (you can use nine hula hoops, or four crossed sticks). They come back and the next team member races forward. Once they have placed all their pieces, they can start swapping their pieces to an open space. First team to get three of their pieces in a row in any direction wins.

Image by Kristin McGill from Pixabay

Relays and races


Game ideas

Don Eskridge's hand games are simple but effective, and if you're still staying socially distanced, most work with that. Fairly obviously, if you have to grab the wrist of the player next to you, this isn't a socially-distanced game!

Hand games

go-to places

Here are some places I tend to go if I need a new idea for a game. Check out The Source for Youth Ministry,, Grow Games, Youth Ministry Great Games & Icebreakers and Inspire Devotions. As with all these things, not every idea will be appropriate for your group, but you should find something here you can use.

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Go-to places for games ideas




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"Raising the Bar is a MUST READ for every youth minister."

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