11 Fun Games All Youth Groups Need To Know About

11 Fun Games All Youth Groups Need To Know About

Llamas, cheese puffs, detectives and homicides... what else could you ask for?
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Recently, I wrote an article that I titled "12 Things You'll Understand if You've Been on a Youth Retreat." In that article, I mentioned that one of the things you would understand, had you gone on a youth retreat, is that you play really weird, yet fun, games. If you have ever been a part of a youth group, you know this to be true about all youth groups. The games are so odd that they're oddly really fun. But it struck me, what if other people don't know what kind of games I am not talking about? If they have not had such strange games thrust upon them in such an odd fashion. So, I decided to introduce them to the weird things that most youth know about. And if a youth leader is reading this, to give them some more weird game ideas to introduce to their youth.

1. Llama Llama

After you play this game, you will have the phrase "llama llama, llama llama; boom chicka boom chicka boom chicka boom" stuck in your head for a while. This game is basically a call-and-answer kind of game. Everyone stands in a circle and the rules are very simple. Someone shouts "llama llama" and points at themselves, then points to someone else in that circle and say "llama llama." By doing that, they have passed the "llama." It sounds confusing so far, keep following me here. The person they pointed to is now the one who has to pass the llama - but there's another factor. The two people beside that person must, obnoxiously, shout "boom chicka boom chicka boom chicka boom" in their ears to try and distract them and get them to mess up, thus kicking them out of the circle. The game continues of lots of people shouting llama and boom chicka until there are two remaining victors.


2. Lizard Detective

This game will probably be way more easier for you to follow than Llama Llama (that game is really only something you can teach in person). Once again, as most youth games go, everyone stands in a circle. At the start of the game everyone shuts their eyes and bows their head - as if they're going to pray but they're not.. but I mean, they can if they really want to. The youth leader will then go around and pick two people the "lizard" and the "detective." To choose they tap the lizard once on the back and the detective twice. Once they have finished picking and have moved away from the circle and they call everyone to look and from there all youth members must keep in constant eye contact with one another, if anyone tries to look away or look at the floor they immediately loose. The lizard in this game's job is to stick their tongue out at anyone who makes eye contact with them. If you are not the lizard and someone sticks their tongue out at you, you then have to fake a very dramatic and highly entertaining death. (Or you can just sit down if you're boring). The detective's job is to find out who is killing people. Once they see the person stick out their tongue they shout "j'accusé!" (aka, "I accuse" in french... idk why we yell it in French, it just makes it more dramatic). If the detective accuses the wrong person, everyone dies and the lizard lives. If the detective guesses right, the lizard dies and everyone else wins.


3. Ho Ho Homicide

I have played this with my youth group, don't worry - it's totally appropriate. What's the best way to spread Christmas cheer? Singing loud for all to hear? Not exactly, more like solving a MURDER!

Here is how the site for the game introduces the game: "With the Christmas season well on its way, everyone at the North Pole is working hard to make this a holiday to remember. Despite the efforts of the arctic inhabitants, productivity is at an all-time low, upsetting many and putting Santa’s legacy at stake. Desperate for a change, there are many who are willing to do almost anything to increase efficiency and restore peace at the North Pole. But only one who will go too far and commit an act of murder in this mystical place. Will it be the audacious elf who believes they could run the workshop better? The remorseful reindeer ready to hide their secrets? Or possibly the unwavering wife who will do anything to protect her family through any ordeal? As you join together for the Holly, Jolly Christmas party you will mingle with magical guests. In the end, you will need to decipher between the evil and the innocent, the righteous and the responsible, the naughty and the nice. To insure that the Christmas legacy continues unchanged, you will be called upon to employ your sleuthing skills to make certain that the criminal is caught!" You can download the instructions/plots/testimonials/ect. here.


4. Steal the Bacon

This game doesn't actually involve bacon, but if you wanted to cook some up and serve it on the side of this game... I bet your youth would love it. Steal the bacon is all about strength, integrity, passion, drive... and awkwardly standing in the middle of a group of people wondering who will do it first. So, how do you play? Break your group up into two even teams and put them on either side of an empty room. (Or doing this in just a big, empty field is also a wise decision). From there you are going to have some kind of item; it could be a bandana, a bag, a ball, a bag of chips, a stuffed animal or whatever your heart's desire is - this item it going to be your "bacon." You are then going to number off everyone in the team so that both teams have someone with the same number. You will place your "bacon" in the middle of the two teams and call out a number, or you can call you many numbers at a time. For example, if you called out "two!" the people from both teams they you assigned the number two then have to run out to the middle, grab the "bacon" first and make it back to their team before the other person tags them. If you are tagged before making it back, the other team gets a point. If you make it back without getting tagged, you get a point. It's simple and fun and requires little to no planning.


5. Marshmallow Dodgeball

Who knows marshmallows could be so painful? This is exactly like dodgeball, just use marshmallows instead!


6. Crab Soccer

It's basically soccer just get on your hands and feet, backwards, and make it a huge ball instead of a tiny soccer ball... watch and laugh.


7. Human Hungry, Hungry Hippos

I have played this and it was actually really fun... and slightly dangerous but aren't all youth games like that? Eventually my team went so hard that we busted our basket... whoops? This game is too strange to explain into words, but you can watch it here.


8. Scavenger Hunts

Who doesn't love a good scavenger hunt? Make clues all around the church, get them to learn church trivia, have them learn a Bible - the church is your oyster!


9. Hot Wing Roulette

Honestly I sat out of this game when we played cause I'm a hater of all things spicy foods, but everyone else in my youth group loved it. Here's how it works, and I suggest you play it during lock-ins so you have a while to do it: make a batch of hot wings but make a couple of them extra-burn-your-whole-soul-and-chug-50-gallons-of-water spicy, but make sure you can't tell the difference between the soul burning wings and the regular ones. Then, put them all on a pan and let your youth group at it and watch the ones who end up with the super hot ones.


10. Punkin' Chunkin'

I don't know if this really counts as a game but I'm putting it here anyway. It would be super helpful if your church does a pumpkin patch, but it's not necessary. On November 1st, if your church doesn't have a pumpkin patch, go around town and see if you can get the leftover pumpkins that weren't sold during the Halloween season then bring all the ones back to church and go outside and just smash the absolute living Jesus into them. Again, it's not really a game but... it's a stress reliever.


11. Cheese Puff Toss

Break your youth off into pairs and give them shaving cream and cheese puffs. One player covers their face in shaving cream and the other throws cheese puffs at their face, from a distance, and sees how many they can get to stick. The team that has the most wins!

Happy playing, you can thank me later.

Cover Image Credit: Matt Luther

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Dear Mom, From Your Daughter In College

Here are all the things our phone calls aren't long enough to say.
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Dear Mom,

Do you remember when I was three and we would play together? It was the age of princesses and carpet that was actually lava, and you were the prettiest woman in the whole wide world. Do you remember when I was in high school and the world seemed too big and scary? You would know exactly when to take me on a mother-daughter date and have me laughing about anything and everything, and you were the smartest woman in the whole wide world. Now, I'm buried in homework and deadlines hours away from you and we don't get to talk as much you want, but you're still the prettiest, smartest woman in the whole wide world.

I'm sorry that I don't call you as much as I should, and you know a lot of what goes on in my world via posts and pictures. Our schedules just seem to never line up so we can have the three-hour conversations about everything like I want to. I know we don't agree on absolutely everything, but I cherish every piece of advice you give me, even though it probably seems like I'm hardly listening. I know that sometimes we get on each other's nerves, but thank you for putting up with me for all of these years. Thank you for listening to me cry, complain, question things and go on and on about how everything in college is. I know I don't come home as much as I used to, but I think about you all the time. After all, you're my first friend, and therefore, my best friend.

Thank you for celebrating my successes with me, and not downing me too hard for my failures. Thank you for knowing what mistakes I shouldn't make, but letting me make them anyway because you want me to live my life and be my own person. Thank you for knowing when to ask about the boy I've been talking about, and when to stop without any questions. Thank you for letting me be my crazy, weird, sometimes know-it-all self.

Thank you for sitting back and watching me spread my wings and fly. There is no way I could have known how to grow into the woman I am today if I hadn't watched you while I was growing up so I would know what kind of person I should aspire to be. Thank you for being the first (and the best) role model I ever had. You continue to inspire and amaze me every day with all that you do, and all that you are.

I don't know how I got so lucky to have a person in my life like you, but I thank the Lord every night for blessing me with the smartest, prettiest person to be my best friend, my role model, my confidant, my person and most importantly, my mother.

Love,

Your daughter

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm Proud Of My Friends Because They Show Me The True Meaning Of Love Every Day

In the midst of a competitive, harsh society of school and work, my friends teach me everyday what it means to love.

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Every Christmas, our friend group does Secret Santa, our little way of celebrating the holiday season even when all of us can't meet up at one time over the break. And every summer, we all meet up with each other and spend the entire day together, taking a slew of pictures and laughing nonstop.

I've come to realize in the past school year that competitive energy can bring out the worst in people, especially the ones you expected it from the least. But I have not seen my friends waver once against the hard, cold face of competition. They've stayed completely true to themselves and the bonds they have with their close friends.

One of my friends is one of the only people I spend more time with during the day than I do by myself. She and I are currently part of a philanthropic program dedicated to raising money for blood cancer research, and we think of each other as sisters.

She and I have shared tears, memories and laughs so close to me that I will never forget the impact she has left on my life. She has changed me as a person, and I think that's what it means to love. As one of my best friends, she teaches me every single day of my life what it means to be a strong, fearless woman.

I see a lot of my friends only once in a while, but it makes me think about the fact that no matter how little we get to see each other, we still have that same appreciation and respect for one another that started the friendship in the first place.

No matter how close I consider myself to each person I call a friend, they all think about me even when they don't need to. They give me little tokens and pep talks when I'm feeling down and make sure to focus on making me cheerful when I'm not myself. They carry themselves with so much emotional elegance, and I have never been more thankful to be a part of their lives.

Every single day that I see them, they teach me how to be a better person.

What makes me proudest of my friends is that they are not afraid to put me in my place. Everything they say to me is out of concern for my well-being, but they always make sure to tell me when I'm wrong. It's something I disliked at first (considering sugarcoating was just a way of hiding the truth when I didn't want to hear it) but came to enormously respect.

They teach me the meaning of love everyday by molding me into a combination of tough love and empathy.

The friend who fights by my side everyday against blood cancers gives me a hug at the first sign that I'm not happy, but she doesn't hesitate to stop me when I start blaming other details for my mistakes. The friends who love giving gifts every holiday season to show their love when we can't see each other are the same people who explain to me the rational reasoning of a situation when my emotions take over. The friends who I see only a few times a month also teach me that there is value to having distant friends who aren't always there.

It's so strange how much I've changed because of the people I've surrounded myself with because I always say I'll stay true to myself. But I'm a mix of their individual personalities, and I've never been happier.

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