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
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
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.