What can we do while remaining distanced?

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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.


Have you discovered



You're still wanting to do stuff outside. The young people love a photo treasure hunt, but you've done a few already. How can you go about raising the bar? Check out Actionbound. It's a new way to create treasure hunts and the young people follow clues on a mobile phone (this can be a leader's if you prefer). Get used to it and you can go further. Why not present a new vision for your youth ministry around your building?

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Image by Marius Mangevicius from Pixabay


Socially-distanced rounders

Rounders England can help you work out how to play rounders and reduce the risk of catching Covid. 

Mark Watson at St. John's, Harborne has pushed it further. Who really has 22 rounders bats handy? Get the young people to bring one implement each to play rounders with - can be a rounders bat, but it can also be a cricket bat or a tennis racket. Then they never need to share the bat and it saves you sanitising them.

Give them each a plastic cup to catch the ball with and throw the ball with. They don't touch the ball and it evens the playing field for those who aren't great at catching and throwing...


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 face-to-face, socially-distanced version of 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.


Thanks to Abby Poole, Youth Worker at Guildford Baptist Church and her team, for coming up with the idea of playing Hunted, based on the C4 TV series. 

The zip folder below contains instructions, a publicity overlay and a Hunted risk assessment. As always, this risk assessment is a starting point. If you can improve it, please do so and let me know.

Updated 13/7/21

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hunt the leader

The absolute classic. Much-loved by young people (but mostly by leaders!). Leaders hide in plain sight in a boundaried area. Young people in teams have to try and find them in a certain time.

This is actually me.

No, it's not a real cigarette.

Played it before? Call it Pac-Man with leaders wearing different-coloured sheets...



Channel 4's Taskmaster series has been operating under social distancing for seasons 10 and 11. Worth checking out if you're looking for quirky games to play while remaining at a distance, even if all you realise is that socially-distanced charades is far more fun if you use giant sponge hands (but remember that everyone will need a pair!).


Young people getting bored with social distancing?

Tim Taylor, Youth Pastor at Highfield Church, Southampton wants to share two small but genius ideas his team had recently:

"First thing was we were thinking about how we get back to doing some of the upfront games we love but its hard we to have to be two metres apart. The answer has been... litter pickers! We ordered 4 and have already used them loads for stupid games and challenges!

The second thing was, we picked up a life size cut out of Dwayne the Rock Johnson. Why? Turns out he is 194cm tall, so he has become our social distance reminder! The youth love it!"

Great ideas, Tim, thank you! 


Loads of Don Eskridge's hand games can be played while staying socially distanced. Fairly obviously, if you have to grab the wrist of the player next to you, this isn't a socially-distanced game!

Raising the Bar Splat

Updated 4/9/21

We can no longer cram in a phone box, but team photo challenges work really well in small groups which need to remain socially distanced. Here are some ideas for challenges to set. Do send me your best ideas.

Need some new ideas for discussion questions for your small group? Check out Christina Baillie's here or use our Coronacoaster Reflections.

Creative ideas:

You may have to wear masks indoors but young people could still gather round a fire pit outside to keep warm. Don't use a gazebo with a fire pit - what's the Worst Case Scenario? And always keep a fire extinguisher close at hand.

You may not be able to share food with the youth group, but you could still:


  • Have young people bring their own marshmallows to toast (one or two at a time round the fire pit might be best to encourage distance keeping)

  • Get individual portions of chips delivered

  • Ask an ice cream van to visit (yes, it may still be cold in the evenings, but is it ever too cold for ice cream?!)

  • Or a hot dog van 

  • Or a hot chocolate van


If you need to stay distanced, adapt what you've done before 

You may have done an icebreaker before where you get people to respond to questions by standing along some sort of axis: "If you think 'yes', move here; 'no', move here; 'maybe', stand in the middle. We want to move people, even when socially distanced, so think of a way round it. 

Let's say you're talking about prayer. You want to get people interacting with the subject personally, so you ask a question, say, 'Do you pray before exams...?' Tell people they can respond in five ways:

  • NEVER - Lie on the floor

  • RARELY - Kneel (there's a joke there somewhere...)

  • SOMETIMES - Sit on the chair

  • OFTEN - Stand up

  • ALL THE TIME - Stand on your chair (yes, you'll need to risk assess that one)

Great to have people moving, while keeping distanced.



'thinking of you' cards

Why not send a card to your young people to encourage them to remember God's faithfulness? Drawn by a young person for young people.


care packages

If you have the finances to do it, why not send out parcels to members of the group with some sweets or chocolate? Write a letter, making it personal if you can. Make it a card and they can stand it up in their room and look at it again and again. Put in some Bible verses (try ones on anxiety like Phil. 4.6-7, 1 Peter 5.7, Prov. 12.25, Ps. 94.19). Send them some fun treats, like a sachet of hot chocolate and small packet of marshmallows.


Put in things that remind them of the group. Why not send items for use in a particular session: a balloon for Friday's game, recipe and ingredients to make and writing icing to decorate a gingerbread man for Sunday, hot chocolate to drink together after the session on Community?

Include a programme for the term. Could you put in an activity book, Bible study notes or ideas for quiet times?

These will encourage people and remind them you are thinking of them, even if you are not seeing them as often. And it's personal which is vitally important. Think too, if you can afford it, of allowing two siblings to get a parcel each, not to share one. It shows, you're cherishing them as individuals.

You can buy boxes which are 'large letter' size. Be creative in filling these, but go for flat lollies rather than round ones! If you are posting them, this is one time that you can say to concerned parents, 'I'm really sorry. I couldn't give them fruit,' although boxes of raisins, might just make it!!

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"To all youth leaders (paid or voluntary) out there: if Raising The Bar is not currently on your shelf, it needs to be."

Scott Rushby

UK Youth Pastor

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Rated             by Premier Youth & Children's Work magazine reviewer (Dec.2020)




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