If you’re like most youth ministry people, you probably have a love/hate relationship with games. They’re a necessary ingredient to an engaging youth service, but between the supplies, the prep, and the instructions, they can take so much effort. So, you end up rotating through the same list of five games. We get it. That’s why we’ve made you this list of 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 the students 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.
FIVE SECOND RULE
In this upfront game, students will have five seconds to name five items related to a random topic.
- Split the room into two teams and select one person from each team to compete.
- Decide which team will go first and then call out a random topic like social media apps, countries in South America, or flavors of ice cream.
- If it is a player’s turn, they have five seconds to name five items in the category.
- If they are successful, they win a point for their team. Otherwise, the point goes to the other team.
- You can play for a specific amount of time or until a team hits seven points.
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 students remain.
For this game, you only need a small ball (ping pong ball, foam dodgeball, etc.)
- Select two players who think they can beat gravity.
- Have one player start with the ball.
- In the first round, players must toss the ball to their partner and, using one hand each, they must high-five one time before catching the ball again.
- If they get it, then they must high-five two times in the second round. Continue raising the number of high-fives with each round.
- If the ball hits the ground at any point, the players are out, and new players can take their place, starting from the first round.
- Play until a team reaches ten high-fives.
All you need for this game is an open space.
- Split your group into teams and have at least one adult leader in each group.
- Have each group form a circle, and tell them they can’t speak again until the game starts.
- The goal of the game is to count from 1-25, with each player saying only one number at a time and without making a noticeable pattern.
- They will have to start again if they are caught using a pattern. And if any players speak at the same time, the group must start again.
- When you say “Go,” have each team start counting, and the first team to count all the way to 25 wins!
In this game, you just need a large open space.
- Set your playing area into three sections. On one end, there’s the “top deck.” In the middle, there’s the “mid-deck.” On the end opposite the top deck is the “pool deck.”
- Have all your students start in the mid-deck area. Then, shout out a new area on the field. Students must race to that section and avoid being one of the last three players in the section. If they are, they are out.
- Play until only one to five students remain.
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 students or one student wins.
For this game, you just need a large playing space and a few random objects from your storage closet (Like a trophy, a clean plunger, a pool noodle, etc.).
- Have a leader stand on one end of the room with one of the random objects. Have all your students start on the other side of the room.
- When you say “Go,” students will try to sneak across the room to grab the object quietly. However, while they are sneaking, the leader can slowly turn around.
- If a player is caught moving while the leader is looking, the object must be returned, and all students must return to the beginning.
- Once a team has grabbed the object, they must work together to get it back to the beginning side without the leader seeing the object. While looking, the leader can guess who has the object and, if correct, it must be returned, and the game starts over again.
- Play for a set amount of time, or until a team gets an item back one time, or until you run out of new objects to play with.
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.
- Once the round is over, select a new guesser and play again.
You don’t need supplies to play this game!
- Split your group into teams of equal size.
- Call out a series of commands that will allow each team of students 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 them play without talking.
- The first team to finish lining up wins that round. Then, select a new category and play again.
You don’t need anything to play this game!
- Have your group sit or stand in a circle, but you may want to have smaller groups for the first couple of rounds.
- Give everyone a chance to choose their own unique sign, which can be a motion or movement like touching their hair, pulling an ear, or a quick wave.
- Go around the circle and have each player demonstrate their sign.
- Choose one person to start in the center as the “guesser.” Have them close their eyes while you select one person to start the game.
- Once the game starts, the first student must secretly pass the sign by making their own sign and then the sign of the player they’d like to pass to.
- The guesser must try and correctly guess who holds the sign. If the guesser is right, the group chooses a new guesser and plays again.
For this game, you only need some small scraps of paper and a few pens.
- Have everyone place their name and last initial on a scrap of paper and hand it to you. Then, shuffle the papers and hand each person a new paper. Make sure they don’t receive their own name. This will be their target.
- Then, have each player spread out around the room.
- On “go,” players must attempt to tag their target without being tagged by their own assassin. If they’re able to tag their target, then the tagged person must hand over their current target paper.
- The student who collects the most targets wins.
You don’t need anything other than a large space with lots of hiding spots.
- Sardines is played like reverse hide-and-seek. Start by giving one player, “the sardine,” 30 seconds to hide within the playing area.
- Then, get a headcount of every person playing and set a time limit for the round.
- After your 30-second countdown, send your group to find the player. But, instead of returning the hiding player back to the camp, any students who find them will hide with them.
- Play until all students find the sardine or until time runs out. The first player to find the sardine gets to hide in the next round.
FINISH THE LYRIC
You’ll just need a phone with music for this game.
- Select three players to compete against each other and choose an order for turns.
- Then, have one player choose a genre of music. Select an appropriate, popular song from that genre.
- Play a clip of the song before pausing it suddenly and randomly. Once paused, the first player has five seconds to continue singing the line of the song. If they get it right, they stay in the round and earn a point for their team. If they sing incorrect lyrics or don’t start on time, they lose the round and must switch out with someone else.
- Once a player has gone, resume the music and pause at a random point for the next player to sing. Continue until all three players have had a chance to finish the lyric. Then, choose a new genre and a new song before starting again in reverse order.
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 for Android or Apple. Inside the app, we have over 670 different games for your youth ministry. Each game comes with instructions, a supply list, and editable graphics so you can be ready to play with your teenagers. Plus, you can add your own games to build up a database of all the great games you’ve been playing in your youth ministry. So, instead of randomly searching online for your next great game, just download the Grow Games app instead!