Archives For Group Games

Tried and tested games for using with groups of young people

Drip, Drip, Splash!

22 January 2008 — 1 Comment

'Splash' by Vitor Guerson on Flickr

This is a fun adaptation of the familiar children’s game ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ that makes it slightly more interesting!

Numbers: groups of around 6 or over.
Suitable for: older children and younger teens (8-14’s) but some older teens might enjoy it too!
Preparation time: none
Venue: suitable for a small hall or especially outside due to the water
Safety First: watch out for water on the floor when people are running around. Non-slippery surfaces are advised.
Equipment needed:

  • A disposable cup (or two)
  • A supply of water
  • Some towels

Get the group to sit on the floor in a circle, facing inwards. One person is ‘it’ and is given a cup full of water. They must then walk round the outside of the circle, stopping at everyone sitting on the floor to ‘drip’ water on them by dipping their hand into the cup and flicking a small amount of water at them. At the same time, they must say the word ‘Drip’.

In this way, they will continue round the circle repeatedly going ‘drip’, ‘drip’, ‘drip’ until they decide to pick on one individual. At this point, they must tip the remainder of the cup over that person’s head and say ‘Splash’. The person splashed must jump up and chase them around the circle trying to beat them back to their space on the floor.

If they are caught, they must stay ‘it’ for another turn. If they manage to sit back down before being caught, then the person who was splashed becomes ‘it’ instead and the game starts again. Obviously, the longer the game goes on the more wet everything and everyone becomes.

River Crossing

20 December 2007 — 1 Comment


This is less of a game and more of a simple logic puzzle. However by dressing up and acting out the scenario, our Ignite group (11-14’s) has had a lot of fun playing!

Numbers: groups of up to 10. Around five or six works well.
Suitable for: older children and younger teens (8-14’s).
Preparation time: Around 10 minutes
Safety First: There are no real safety concerns with this game.
Equipment needed:

  • An empty space.
  • A ‘river’ marked out on the floor.
  • Props for each of the 3 objects; chicken, fox and corn. You could use clip art pictures printed and laminated for them to hold while playing. We have been lucky enough to have costumes to dress up in.
  • Optional: a ‘boat’ to cross the river in!

The premise of the river crossing is very simple, a farmer has to get his three items (chicken, fox and corn) to the market by crossing the river. Unfortunately he can only carry one in his boat at a time and if he leaves certain items on the riverbank together, they will get eaten! (If left together, the fox will eat the chicken and the chicken will eat the corn). The team have to work out how to get all the items across the river without losing any items.

When we’ve played this game, we’ve given out roles of farmer, chicken, fox and corn to members of the team and they’ve had to act everything out in the space we have. The other members have to direct them and work out the solution. For example, if they want to take the fox across the river, the farmer and the fox have to get in the boat, row across the ‘river’ and climb out the other side. This adds a touch of silliness to the whole thing and helps to give it a practical focus rather than simply an abstract problem.

To make it easier for you if you want to play, I’ve created some instructions and images which you can print out and use with your group. Download here (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader).

The solution:

  1. Take the Chicken across, leaving the Fox and Corn together.
  2. Come back with an empty boat.
  3. Take the Fox across, leaving the Corn behind.
  4. Bring the Chicken back across.
  5. Take the Corn across leaving the Chicken.
  6. Leave the Fox and Corn on the far bank, come back with an empty boat.
  7. Take the Chicken across.

We’ve found that most children initially get confused about bringing items back across the river. There have been times when we’ve needed to suggest it as an option. Normally though they crack it in about 10 minutes.

Speed Pictionary

16 December 2007 — Leave a comment


I mentioned this game before as it is one we’ve used quite a lot over the years. Because it’s so simple to play and requires hardly any preparation, it has become a back-up safety net for when we’ve got some spare time. However like anything, it can become boring if overused!

Suitable for: most ages and abilities.
Preparation time: Little to none
Safety First: There are no real safety concerns with this game.
Equipment needed:

  • Plenty of paper for drawing on
  • Various pens and pencils for each team
  • A list of words for the teams to draw (could be made up on the spot if necessary)

Speed Pictionary is based on the board game, but has been adapted so that it can be played anywhere without the board.

Split up the young people into teams (they don’t have to be equal) sitting down around the pens and paper. To start the game, the first word on the list is given to a representative from each team simultaneously who then have to run back to their teams and draw out the word for the others to guess.

As you would expect, the drawer is not allowed to make any sound and cannot draw letters or numbers. The team must keep guessing until they get the right word at which point someone else from the team must run up to the leader and get the next word. The game continues in this fashion until a team completes the list, winning the game.

In order to make the game as fair as possible we get the leader with the list of words to stand in the middle of all the teams so no-one has to run further than another. Also we encourage the teams to take it in turns to send the next person up rather than whoever guesses it. This means that everyone will get a go.


This is definitely a summer game for outside but a firm favourite with the young people round here! We’ve used the Wet & Wild Human Bowling game every year as part of our big summer festival and even those who’ve done it many times still come back for more.

Suitable for: most ages and abilities (as long as safety issues are thought through)

Equipment needed:

  • A length of tarpaulin or plastic sheeting (10 metres is probably minimum)
  • plenty of water (preferably via a hosepipe)
  • 10 or more 2-litre plastic drinks bottles
  • Washing up liquid or other product to make the plastic slippery
  • cushions, padding or crash mat to put under the start of the tarpaulin
  • Swimming costumes/suitable clothing and towels

Essentially it’s a ‘slip n slide’ where people throw themselves along a length of wet tarpaulin on the ground in order to knock down the skittles/pins. It works just like a bowling alley with points awarded for the number of pins knocked down. Individuals can take it in turns to have a go, or you could pair them up for a doubles attempt!

Lay out your tarp on a flat piece of grass, allowing enough space each end for a run up. Place the padding under the tarp at the beginning where people will dive. At a suitable point along the tarp (around 7 metres) mark out where the pins should stand and place the bottles there (put some water in the bottom to balance). Spread the washing up liquid across the surface and spray with plenty of water. Start the competition!

Safety First: There are various safety concerns with this game, so please think them through in advance. The two main issues that could arise are:

  1. Injury when diving onto the ground at the start of the tarpaulin. This can be addressed by putting some form of padding or crash mat under the tarp so they land on something soft or by using an inflatable to slide on.
  2. Getting soap in eyes from, or allergies to, the washing up liquid used to make the tarp slippery. Either provide goggles for each person or find an alternative way of making it slippery.

When played safely, this game is a guaranteed fun for everyone. Even the parents will want to play!

Giant Stingball

11 December 2007 — Leave a comment

This is one of our favourite games at Ignite and we play it all the time!

It works like traditional stingball where everyone is in the centre of a large room or hall and leaders (or those nominated to be ‘on’) are stationed around the outside. When the game starts, the ones on the outside throw balls into the middle to try and hit everyone else. If someone gets touched by one of the balls, then they are out and have to come and sit at the side. The game continues until only one or two are left in.

We call this version Giant Stingball though because instead of using kickballs or sponge balls, we use giant exercise balls which are harder to avoid and bounce off people! The young people love diving out the way Indiana Jones-style to avoid getting hit.

In order to make it safer and fairer, we usually say that balls have to touch people below their knees in order for it to count. This avoids head shots!

This game works best with lots of people but you can play with about 10 individuals.

Equipment Needed:

  • A large Hall
  • 2 or 3 Excercise Balls (used for aerobics)

Butt Charades!

10 December 2007 — 1 Comment

We tried this game at Ignite last week as part of our Challenge Night. I first heard about it on the source for youth ministry podcast and thought it could be a lot of fun! The premise is that someone has to spell out a word to their teammates simply by wiggling their derrière in the shape of the letters until the word is guessed. Here are the original instructions:

Cut up slips of paper with words on them and put them into a bag. Break up your audience or group into two teams. Get a volunteer from each team to spell the word he/she took out of the bag by moving their hips (spelling the words with thier butts!). (Make sure they do not say a word to give away clues.) If their team (or their side of the audience) does not figure out the word after two spellings, the other team gets to guess. Make it interesting by the words you choose, try to keep it clean. We don’t want any dirty butts!

We played it slightly differently from the instructions by running it more like a speedPictionary competition. We had four teams competing at the same time in order to be the first to have spelt a list of ten words that got progressively harder. This enabled the game to last a little longer, involved everyone in the room and gave it a more competitive edge. Those who weren’t confident in waving their backside could simply guess the letters with everyone else so there was no pressure on anyone.

It was absolutely hilarious to watch as the teens jumped, shuffled, clenched and wobbled their bums to spell out things like apple and it’s certainly a game we’ll use again! If you’re looking for Butt Charades on The Source site, it can be found under Audience Games.