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?

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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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Happy Birthday To My Best Friend Since Literally Day One

Thanks for being the best, best friend ever


Dear Best Friend,

It's your birthday!! I've known you since literally day 1 when I was about 4-5 months old and I came to visit you, the newborn baby, at the hospital. Even though I was only 4-5 months old and didn't even know how to say "mom," I know I knew that you would be my best friend and partner in crime for the rest of my life. It's been about 17 years now and everyday is always a new adventure with you.

You make high school fun and bearable. You're there for me literally whenever I need you and I'm so thankful that I'll always have a shoulder to cry on and someone to laugh till I can't breath with. This year has come with its own set of ups and downs but we've faced each and every one together and got past it. Whether it be about school or life in general, I know I can count on you.

Throughout these 17 years, we've made like a million memories and inside jokes and I've cherished every single one of them. You're my sunshine on a rainy day and the peanut to my butter. I love our deep conversations about life just as much as our goofy ones where we're so sleepy that we can't even remember what we're even saying. I honestly don't know what I would do without you or how you deal with me and my craziness (but then I remember that I also deal with you and your craziness :) God made us best friends because he knew that if we were sisters, our parents would go absolutely insane. LOL

Your love and passion for everything is a daily reminder to me how lucky I am to have a best friend as amazing as you. Words aren't enough to express how much you mean to me and I really can't imagine how my life was before I met you.

There is no chapter in my life where you're not a part of. From facing our fears together to taking on challenges, you're always right there- standing next to me. You've made me a stronger person and let the best version of myself shine brighter and brighter. It's been 17 years since we met and not a day has gone by where I didn't think about how lucky I am to have met you.

"BFF" means best friend FOREVER. In the past, I thought a lot of people where my BFF but life took over and "forever" didn't really happen. But, you have completely changed that. You showed me that friendships that last "forever" really do exist. You made it into a reality that I didn't believe existed. Honestly, sometimes I don't think I deserve someone as amazing as you (I must have done something really, really good in my past life or something). You're beautiful (inside and outside) and one of the kindest souls on this planet.

You're 17 now and have become an incredible person. You're my role model and I love you for being yourself. You're the Blair to my Serena, the Cristina to my Meredith, the Ross to my Rachel, and the best to my friend. You are my person and nothing will ever change that.

Once again, happy birthday! I love you to the moon and back :) and have the best day ever <3

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