Kenn DeMoll

5 Awesome, Little Preparation Games for Teens

Part of the reason I got into youth ministry is to play games. Games are a great chance to help you bond with teenagers and kill extra time at the end of a Life Night or while waiting somewhere with your teens on a summer trip.

So, I present to you my top five favorite games to play with my youth group that requires little to no preparation so they can be done on the spot:

  1. Bear, Hunter, Ninja: You will need zero supplies and zero preparation to play this game. The concept is exactly like paper, rock and scissors. The bear eats the Ninja. The Ninja kills the hunter. The hunter shoots the bear. To play, you have the teens get into partners and stand back to back. On the count of three, they turn around and strike a pose to indicate which character (the bear, the hunter or the ninja) they plan on being. The winner advances to the next round. The loser sits down. If it’s a tie they’re both eliminated.
  2. Blob Tag: You will need a large open space to play where you can either use landmarks as boundaries to the game space or cones. This game is a tag game. Depending on the size of your group, one to five teens begin as “blobs.” Their goal is to race around the game space trying to tag teens. As they tag people they link arms and form a growing “blob.” As more teens get tagged, the larger the blob becomes. It’s quite funny to watch when you only have about five teens left and the gigantic blob is trying to trap the remaining survivors. Make sure the space you use to play this game is open (no obstacles) because teens will use them to hide behind and it can become dangerous to the blog trying to trap them.
  3. Ultimate Cabbage: You will need a few heads of cabbage and some cones. Set up the cones like a sports field with 2 in zones. This game is played exactly like ultimate Frisbee. Each team is trying to get the “cabbage” into the opposing in zone. When a player catches the cabbage, they can’t move until they throw it. If they drop the cabbage or it’s intercepted, it becomes the other teams cabbage. What’s great about this game is it’s high energy, has a sports appeal to your athletes, offers no contact and has an element of excitement because every time the cabbage gets tossed, it explodes on contact and becomes smaller. You’ll probably want one game for 14 or less teens so if you have a bigger group plan on multiple groups. I also find about three cabbages is perfect for about 30-40 minutes of game time per group.
  4. Consequences: You will need a way to play high-energy music for your entire group. This game is perfect for small to extremely large groups (I first saw this game get played with over 2,000 teens at a Steubenville Conference). The game is just like hot potato. First, have your teens get into groups of 5-7 (the actual size does not matter). Once they are in a group, have each group select an object they can use as a “hot potato.” Someone’s shoe is perfect for this but it should be something relatively small that can be passed quickly that won’t hurt anyone or break. You start the music and the groups begin to pass the hot potato. When the music stops, the person holding it has to do a “consequence” for the rest of the game. These consequences start at pretty mild (having to do the chicken dance) to ending with pretty wild and extreme ones (smelling someone’s foot). I’ve found this to also be a game that can last at least 20 minutes with teens.
  5. Ninja: A zero prep game. Teens stand in a circle and strike a pose like a ninja. One teen begins and tries to make a “karate chop motion” to hit another teen’s hands. If they hit the teen, that teen is eliminated. If they miss, they are frozen in place until it is their turn to move again. They can only move to dodge an attack. Play continues around the circle until you have a winner. A good game for around 10 teens.

Question: What are some of the best games you use in your ministry?

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Kenn DeMoll

About the Author

Kenn lives in Westminster, Maryland. He is married to his beautiful wife, Nicole. They have two wonderful children: Elliana and Gideon. Kenn is a convert to Catholicism owing a large part of his spiritual journey to Life Teen. He enjoys movies, running and video games. He does not like the color lime green, horses or carnival rides that spin you around in circles. He is the youth minister at St. Peter the Apostle in Libertytown, Maryland. If you have no idea where Libertytown is, that's ok because his slogan for the town is "you blink and you miss it." To connect with Kenn, email him at ymstpeter@gmail.com.