If you’re like most kids ministry people, you probably have a love/hate relationship with games. They’re a necessary ingredient to an engaging kids service, but between the supplies, the prep, and the instructions, they can take so much effort. We get it. So here are 15 games you can play any time with almost no supplies or preparation needed. Have fun!
HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES, CUP
You can play this simple game with just a few students upfront or with your whole group. All you need are some disposable cups.
- Split everyone into pairs. Put a cup on the floor between each pair.
- Call out a series of commands (“Head! Shoulders! Knees!”) and have kids place their hands on the part of their body you just shouted.
- To end the round, yell, “Cup!” The first person from each pair to grab the cup from the ground wins.
- Keep playing until only one player remains.
POCKET SCAVENGER HUNT
Make a list ahead of random objects kids or leaders might have on them (like a shoe, sock, crayon, or phone). Then…
- Split into teams that include both kids and adults.
- Call out items, then award a point to each team for every item they can find.
- You could also play this game, “alphabet style,” where each team must find an object that starts with each letter of the alphabet. (This version works best for older kids who can spell.)
SIT DOWN IF …
In this game, you’ll call out a series of commands starting with, “Sit down if…” You don’t need to prep anything for this game, but you can make a list of ideas, so you don’t need to make them up on the spot.
- Have everyone stand up.
- Call out a series of “sit down” commands until only one person remains. You might tell them to sit down if they are wearing a blue shirt, have their hair in a ponytail, have a younger sibling, or if they ate cereal for breakfast.
HEADS OR TAILS
All you need for this game is a single coin. Then…
- Have everyone stand up.
- Ask them to pick heads or tails. If they choose heads, they’ll need to put their hands on their heads. If they choose tails, they must put their hands on their hips.
- Flip the coin.
- If it’s heads, all the heads win and advance to the next round, and the tails are out, or vice versa. Keep playing until one or a few kids remain.
THIS OR THAT
This is a spin on the classic game Simon Says, except the leader says, “Do this …” instead of, “Simon says …”
- When the leader starts a command with, “Do this,” the kids should repeat it, but if the leader starts a command with, “Do that,” the kids should stay motionless. If a kid misses a motion, they sit down.
- Move fast and add fun motions, like jumping jacks, patting your head, spinning in circles, or quacking like a duck.
- Keep playing until there are only a few winners left.
BEACH BALL (OR BALLOON) TOSS
For this game, you only need a few balloons or beach balls from your storage closet. You can play with any number of students.
- Split kids into teams.
- Tell everyone their feet are frozen to the floor and can’t be moved.
- Toss a balloon or beach ball to each team. See which team can bat it and keep it in the air the longest without moving their feet.
SWITCH IT UP
All you need for this game is a nice open space.
- Split kids into two teams. Have them all stand in a line against a wall.
- Call out random facts like, “You love ice cream” or “You’ve been to the beach.” If the fact applies to them, have them switch walls and run to the other side.
- There’s no winner in this game! Keep playing until everyone’s tired, or you’re out of facts.
All you need for this game is a room with four corners.
- Assign a number to each corner of the room.
- Choose one person to be “it” and have them stand in the center of the room with their eyes closed (or wearing a blindfold).
- Have them count to 20 while everyone else runs to one of the room’s four corners. After the countdown, everyone must freeze.
- The person who’s “it” calls out a number, and everyone in that corner is out.
- Keep playing until a few kids or one kid wins.
ONE HAND, TWO HANDS, NONE
- Have everyone stand up facing the front of the room.
- Choose one kid to join the leader at the front. Have them stand with their back to the crowd.
- Have everyone in the crowd put one hand, two hands, or no hands in the air. After a few seconds, shout, “Freeze!”
- Have the kid at the front of the room choose if they’ll be put one hand, two hands, or no hands in the air.
- Everyone whose hands match their position stays in, while everyone else is eliminated.
Crowd Charades is just like regular charades, but reversed. In this version of the game, one person is the guesser while the entire crowd silently acts out clues.
- Send the guesser out of the room while you give the crowd the clue they will act out.
- Bring the guesser back into the room and give them 15-30 seconds to guess what the crowd is acting out.
- Split your kids into teams of equal size of about five kids each.
- Call out a series of commands that will allow each team of kids to line up in a specific order.
- Start with something easy, like “Line up from shortest to tallest!” Then, move to more challenging things like grade, birthday, shoe size, number of states or countries they’ve visited, or the last letter of their last name.
- To level up the game even further, have kids play without talking.
- The first team to finish lining up wins that round.
- Send one person out of the room. They’ll be the guesser.
- Have everyone else stand in a circle and choose one person to be the secret leader. Explain that they’ll do a series of any actions they’d like (jumping jacks, patting their head, squatting, clapping, yawning, etc.), and everyone else in the group will follow while the guesser tries to guess who the secret leader is—so they’ll need to be sneaky!
- Call your guesser back into the room. Give them three guesses (but unlimited time) to guess who the leader is.
This is played just like tag…except everyone is “it”! In this version, everyone runs around chasing each other. When someone gets tagged, they’re out. Keep playing until there’s only one person left. This game usually goes quickly, so be prepared to play multiple rounds. You can level up this game by having kids hop or crab walk instead of running.
CAT & MOUSE
You’ll need blindfolds and a pool noodle from your storage closet for this game!
- Have everyone stand in a big circle.
- Choose one kid to be the cat and one to be the mouse.
- Blindfold them both and give the cat a pool noodle.
- Have the cat roam around the circle, trying to tag the mouse with the pool noodle. Since they are both blindfolded, they won’t be able to see each other, so have the students stand in a circle to protect them so they don’t run into anything.
- Once the cat tags the mouse, select a new group of kids to play.
You probably only want to play this game if you’re a reasonable distance from any of your adult services because it gets noisy!
- Choose a few kids to play. Have them line up on one end of the room.
- When you say “go,” have them take a big breath and let out a big yell as they start running toward the other side of the room.
- When they run out of breath, they have to freeze wherever they stop yelling. Whoever makes it the furthest is the winner! If your room is smaller, have them run back and forth from one end to the other.
There are so many fun games to play with minimal prep work, and for more low- or no-prep games, check out the Grow Games app. Inside the app, we have over 670 different games for your kids ministry. Each game comes with instructions, a supply list, and editable graphics so you can be ready to play with your kids. Plus, you can add your own games to build up a database of all the great games you’ve been playing in your kids ministry. So, instead of randomly searching online for your next great game, just download the Grow Games app instead!