6. TRIVIA NIGHT
Prep time: 1–2 hours
Supplies: Paper and pens
You can run a trivia night however you want, but you may want some optional supplies to make it feel more official: tables, chairs, lamps (for ambiance), a projector, a microphone, speakers, a whiteboard, and snacks.
The bulk of the prep work is coming up with trivia categories and questions. Obviously, the more categories and questions, the longer your trivia night will last. This is a good task to delegate to leaders or work on as a team. Make sure your categories and questions are relevant to kids (the broader the better). Categories you might use include:
- Social media
- Youth leaders
Resist the temptation to make every question ridiculously hard. At most, have one really tough question per category.
To transform trivia night into a memorable, out-of-the-ordinary event, put additional effort into the ambiance. Use lamps instead of the regular lights for a café feel. Let kids enjoy snacks while they discuss the questions. You can even create a snack menu and have leaders be “servers” for the night, bringing students their “orders.” As the host announces each question on the microphone, include it on the projector too. Keep track of each team’s score on the whiteboard.
You can do a minimal version of this with just paper and pens, but if you take the time to make trivia night more elaborate, it could easily become an annual tradition and one of the highlights of your youth group.
Outdoor Youth Group Games
When the weather is nice (or at least tolerable), it opens up opportunities to play some messier, more involved youth group games. Some of these can be played inside, but they’ll be easier to clean up if you offer a change of scenery and head to a field or parking lot.
7. FRUIT BASEBALL
Prep time: About an hour
Supplies: Lots of fruit (and/or vegetables), baseball bat, goggles (optional)
Fruit baseball is exactly what it sounds like. You could go out and buy a bunch of cantaloupes, tomatoes, grapefruit, bananas, and other produce, but there’s a free way to run this game too.
Most local grocery stores have produce that’s too old or rotten to sell. They may already have a program they send this produce to, but if you ask the right store (or the right employee), you can probably get all the spoiled fruit and veggies you need for free (or at least a significant discount). If you tell people you’re seeking items for youth group games, they’ll probably be more likely to help.
Keep in mind, some produce isn’t just messy but also an irritant. If you use peppers or citrus fruits, have batters wear eye protection.
Remember: Give everyone at least one opportunity to obliterate a piece of fruit. Feel free to modify the rules or be lenient with strikes so kids have more chances to participate.
8. ICE BLOCK RACING
Prep time: Less than an hour
Supplies: Blocks of ice, cones (optional)
A store near you probably sells large blocks of ice. Buy at least two (one for each team you plan on having). This is a good old-fashioned relay, and you’ll want to do it on the grass. Have one kid from each team lay on top of the ice block and hug the sides with their arms. Someone else will hold their legs and either push or pull them to a cone (or whatever you use to designate the end of the course) and back. Then they switch: the student who was pushing or pulling hugs the ice block, and the next student in line takes their place. Have kids sit in the back of the line when they finish their leg of the relay.
9. “SNOWBALL” FIGHT
Prep time: about an hour
Supplies: Tons of jumbo marshmallows
This youth group is a total free-for-all where kids and leaders get to pelt each other with giant marshmallows. (Regular marshmallows will work in a pinch, but if you can find jumbo ones, they’re a lot more fun!)
If you want, you can form teams and turn this into marshmallow dodgeball, but it’s still plenty of fun to just spread out the marshmallows and let kids go crazy.
10. THE AMAZING RACE
Prep time: 2+ hours
Supplies: Envelopes, paper
If you have the time to plan and prepare, you can turn part of your town or a local park into a course for The Amazing Race.
Choose a series of popular, easily recognizable locations to form your course. You’ll need to create easily solvable clues that lead teams from one location to the next. To begin, each team gets a clue to the first location, and as they complete challenges at each place, they’ll get clues to the next location until they finish the course.
At each station, you’ll need to come up with a challenge kids have to complete which may or may not be related to the location. (Example: Make a three-point shot on the basketball course, send your whole team across the monkey bars backwards, guess the flavors in a smoothie, take a picture with a stranger wearing green, etc.) Have a leader at each station to explain the challenge and hand out the next clue.
Set a time limit, and make sure everyone knows what time the game ends and when they need to be back at the starting location–whether they completed the course or not.
Pro tip: As much as possible, avoid busy intersections. Review basic safety guidelines before you begin—teenagers can always use a reminder.