youth group games

50 Must-Try Youth Group Games for Unforgettable Fun

Games are the heartbeat of youth group gatherings, transforming ordinary meetups into adventures of discovery, laughter, and bonding. Whether indoors or out, for small circles or large crowds, these 50 youth group games offer a mix of strategy, physical activity, and sheer fun, ensuring that every participant leaves with cherished memories and strengthened friendships.

Indoor Games for Youth Groups

Indoor games offer a fantastic opportunity for youth groups to bond, have fun, and challenge themselves in a controlled environment. From high-energy competitions to strategic team-building exercises, these activities are designed to engage everyone and create lasting memories without stepping outside.

1. Charades

Charades

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 4+

Game instructions: Players divide into teams. One player from a team acts out a word or phrase without speaking, while their team tries to guess what it is within a set time limit.

Equipment: Slips of paper with words/phrases, timer.

2. Mafia

Participants needed: 6+

Game instructions: In this social deduction game, players are secretly assigned roles as mafia members, townsfolk, or other characters. Each night, the mafia secretly “eliminates” a townsperson, and each day, the surviving players debate and vote to “lynch” someone they suspect of being mafia, trying to eliminate the mafia before they outnumber the townsfolk.

Equipment: Playing cards to assign roles, notepad for the moderator.

3. Pictionary

Participants needed: 4+

Game instructions: Players split into teams. One player draws a picture to convey a word or phrase listed on a card, while their teammates try to guess what it is within a set time.

Equipment: Whiteboard or large paper, markers, word/phrase cards, timer.

4. The Floor is Lava

Participants needed: Any number

Game instructions: Players must navigate from one side of the room to the other without touching the floor, using only objects placed around the room.

Equipment: Objects to stand on or hold (pillows, chairs, mats).

5. Silent Library

Participants needed: 4+

Game instructions: Players draw cards to determine who will undergo a funny or mildly embarrassing challenge while trying to remain silent. The goal is to complete the challenge without making noise.

Equipment: Cards with challenges, any specific items needed for challenges.

6. Balloon Keep Up

Balloon Keep Up

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 4+

Game instructions: Players must keep balloons from touching the ground using only their hands. Add more balloons to increase difficulty.

Equipment: Balloons.

7. Spoon Relay

Participants needed: 8+ (in teams)

Game instructions: Players race to transport objects from one point to another using spoons held in their mouths. This can be done as a relay race between teams.

Equipment: Spoons, small objects (like ping pong balls).

8. Human Knot

Participants needed: 8+

Game instructions: The group stands in a circle, then each person reaches across to take the hand of someone not directly beside them. The challenge is to untangle the group without releasing hands.

Equipment: None.

9. Treasure Hunt

Participants needed: Any number

Game instructions: Hide objects around the indoor space. Give players clues to find them, either as a race or a collaborative effort.

Equipment: Objects to hide, clues.

10. Dodgeball Variant: Doctor Dodgeball

Participants needed: 10+ (divided into two teams)

Game instructions: Similar to traditional dodgeball, but each team secretly assigns one player as the “doctor”. The doctor can “revive” hit teammates by touching them, but if the doctor is hit, they can’t revive teammates anymore. The game ends when all players on a team are out.

Equipment: Soft foam balls, boundary markers.

Outdoor Games for Youth Groups

When the weather’s nice, there’s nothing better than taking the fun outdoors. These games not only provide a dose of fresh air but also encourage physical activity and teamwork on a larger scale. Whether it’s a classic game of Capture the Flag or a new adventure, outdoor games are perfect for energizing and entertaining youth groups.

11. Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 8+ (divided into two teams)

Game instructions: Each team has a flag placed at their base. The objective is to capture the other team’s flag and return it to your base without being tagged. Players tagged in the opposing team’s territory are sent to a “jail” and can only be freed by a teammate who tags them out.

Equipment: Two flags or similar items, boundary markers.

12. Ultimate Frisbee

Participants needed: 10+ (divided into two teams)

Game instructions: Teams compete to score points by catching the Frisbee in the opposing team’s end zone. Players must stop running while holding the Frisbee, but they can pass it to teammates. Physical contact is minimal.

Equipment: Frisbee, field markers for end zones.

13. Water Balloon Toss

Participants needed: Pairs of 2+

Game instructions: Partners stand opposite each other and toss a water balloon back and forth, taking a step backward after each successful catch. The game continues until the balloon breaks. The last pair with an intact balloon wins.

Equipment: Water balloons.

14. Obstacle Course

Participants needed: Any number

Game instructions: Set up a series of physical challenges across a designated area. Participants race through the course, and the fastest time wins. Can be done individually or in teams.

Equipment: Cones, ropes, tires, and other items to create obstacles.

15. Tug of War

Participants needed: 8+ (divided into two teams)

Game instructions: Teams pull on opposite ends of a rope, attempting to drag the other team across a central line.

Equipment: A long, sturdy rope; marker for the central line.

16. Relay Races

Relay Races

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 8+ (divided into teams)

Game instructions: Teams compete in a race where each member completes a segment of the course before passing a baton to the next runner. Variations can include obstacles, puzzles, or challenges that must be completed at each exchange point.

Equipment: Baton or similar item for passing, any specific items for challenges.

17. Dodgeball

Participants needed: 10+ (divided into two teams)

Game instructions: Teams throw balls at each other while trying to avoid being hit. Players hit by a ball or whose throws are caught are out. The game ends when all members of a team are eliminated.

Equipment: Soft foam balls.

18. Sack Race

Participants needed: Any number

Game instructions: Participants stand inside sacks and hop from a starting line to a finish line. The first to cross the finish line wins. Can be done as individual races or as part of a relay race.

Equipment: Sacks or large, sturdy bags.

19. Kickball

Participants needed: 10+ (divided into two teams)

Game instructions: Similar to baseball, but players kick a rubber ball instead of hitting a baseball. Teams alternate between kicking and fielding/defense. Runners advance and score runs by rounding bases without being tagged or having the ball caught.

Equipment: Rubber ball, bases (or items to mark bases).

20. Frisbee Golf

Participants needed: Any number

Game instructions: Set up “holes” as targets (trees, posts, or actual baskets if available). Players take turns throwing the Frisbee toward the target, with the aim of hitting each target in the fewest throws. The player with the lowest total throws after completing all the holes wins.

Equipment: Frisbees, targets for holes.

Games for Small Youth Groups

Smaller groups offer a unique chance for more intimate and engaging game experiences. In this section, we’ll explore games that are perfectly suited for smaller gatherings, focusing on creativity, problem-solving, and personal interaction. These activities prove that great fun doesn’t require large numbers.

21. Mime & Guess

Mime & Guess

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 4-10

Game instructions: Players take turns being the mime, acting out a word or phrase without speaking while their team tries to guess what it is. You can set a theme for the round (e.g., movies, animals, actions) to guide the mime’s choices.

Equipment: Slips of paper with words/phrases, a container for the slips.

22. Paper Telephone

Participants needed: 5-10

Game instructions: Each player starts with a piece of paper and writes a sentence at the top. The paper is passed to the right, and the next person draws a picture below that sentence. The paper is folded so only the picture is shown, and passed again. The next person writes a sentence describing the picture, folds the paper to show only their sentence, and passes it. Continue until the paper returns to the original writer, who reads out the original sentence and the final result.

Equipment: Paper, pens.

23. Escape Room Challenges

Participants needed: 4-8

Game instructions: Create a storyline and a series of puzzles that the group must solve within a certain time limit to “escape” the room. The challenges can be tailored to the age and interests of the participants.

Equipment: Various items depending on the puzzles created (locks and keys, puzzles, coded messages).

24. Word Chain Storytelling

Participants needed: 4-10

Game instructions: Sit in a circle. The first player starts a story with a single sentence. Each subsequent player adds a sentence to the story, but their sentence must start with the last word of the previous sentence. This game encourages creativity and listening skills.

Equipment: None.

25. Puzzle Race

Participants needed: 4-10, divided into pairs or small teams

Game instructions: Each team is given the same puzzle to solve (this could be a physical jigsaw puzzle, a crossword, or a logic puzzle). The first team to complete their puzzle wins. This game encourages teamwork and problem-solving under pressure.

Equipment: Puzzles (ensure they are identical for fairness).

26. Balloon Pop

Balloon Pop

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 4-10

Game instructions: Balloons are tied to each player’s ankles, and the objective is to pop other players’ balloons while protecting your own. The last person with an intact balloon wins.

Equipment: Balloons, string or rubber bands.

27. Marshmallow Towers

Participants needed: 4-8, divided into pairs or small teams

Game instructions: Teams compete to build the tallest tower using only marshmallows and toothpicks within a set time limit.

Equipment: Marshmallows, toothpicks.

28. Blind Drawing

Participants needed: 4-8, can be played individually or in teams

Game instructions: A player is blindfolded and given something to draw by their team, while the rest of the team tries to guess what is being drawn.

Equipment: Blindfold, paper, markers.

29. Lip Reading Challenge

Participants needed: 4-8

Game instructions: Players take turns wearing headphones with music playing loudly enough that they can’t hear anything else. Others say a phrase, and the headphone-wearer tries to guess the phrase by reading lips.

Equipment: Headphones, music player, list of phrases.

30. Guess Who?

Participants needed: 4-10

Game instructions: Each player writes down a few facts about themselves on a piece of paper, and these are collected in a hat. Players take turns drawing a slip and guessing who wrote it based on the facts provided.

Equipment: Paper, pens, hat or bowl.

Games for Large Youth Groups

Coordinating games for a large group can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here, we’ll introduce games that are ideal for large gatherings, ensuring everyone gets involved. These games are tailored to keep large groups entertained, active, and working together toward common goals.

31. Sardines

Sardines

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 10+

Game instructions: In this reverse hide-and-seek, one person hides and the rest seek. When you find the person hiding, you squeeze into the hiding spot with them. The last person to find the group is the next to hide.

Equipment: None.

32. Giant Jenga

Participants needed: Any number, played in turns

Game instructions: Players take turns removing a block from a tower and placing it on top, without causing the tower to collapse. This version uses oversized Jenga blocks for outdoor play.

Equipment: Giant Jenga set.

33. Water Relay

Participants needed: 10+ (divided into teams)

Game instructions: Each team has a bucket of water and an empty bucket at the opposite end. Using a sponge, players must transfer water from one bucket to the other. The team with the most water at the end wins.

Equipment: Buckets, water, sponges.

34. Human Foosball

Participants needed: 10+ (divided into two teams)

Game instructions: Create a life-sized foosball game by setting up a rectangular field with fixed spots (using ropes or poles) where players can move side to side but not leave their row, mimicking a foosball table. The ball is kicked towards the goals at either end of the field.

Equipment: Soccer ball, ropes or poles for player positions, goals.

35. Blob Tag

Participants needed: 15+

Game instructions: Similar to traditional tag, but when the “it” person tags someone, they join hands, forming a “blob.” The blob grows as more people are tagged. Only the outer members of the blob can tag others. The game ends when everyone is part of the blob.

Equipment: None.

36. Ultimate Rock, Paper, Scissors

Rock Paper Scissors

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 20+

Game instructions: Players roam around a designated area challenging others to Rock, Paper, Scissors. Winners gain followers, forming a line behind them. When leaders with followers face off, the winner takes all followers. The game continues until one player has collected everyone.

Equipment: None.

37. Group Ski Race

Participants needed: 10+ (divided into teams of 5-6)

Game instructions: Each team stands on a set of long boards or skis, with each member holding a rope attached to the skis. Teams must coordinate their steps to move the skis forward and race against the other teams to a finish line.

Equipment: Long boards or skis, ropes.

38. Circle Soccer

Participants needed: 20+

Game instructions: Players form a large circle with goals spaced evenly around the perimeter. The ball is kicked around within the circle, and players can score on any goal. Multiple balls can be added to increase the challenge.

Equipment: Soccer balls, mini goals or markers for goals.

39. Team Charades Relay

Participants needed: 20+ (divided into teams)

Game instructions: A traditional game of charades played with a relay twist. One member from each team performs a charade for only the next person in line, who then interprets the charade for the next, and so on, until the last person guesses. The first team to correctly guess wins the round.

Equipment: Slips of paper with charades prompts, container for slips.

40. Viking Chess (Kubb)

Participants needed: 12+ (divided into two teams)

Game instructions: Kubb is a lawn game where the objective is to knock over wooden blocks (kubbs) by throwing wooden batons at them. The game is played on a rectangular field, and the first team to knock over all the opponent’s kubbs and then the king kubb wins.

Equipment: Kubb set (king kubb, kubbs, batons), field markers.

Easy Youth Group Games

Not all games need extensive planning or materials. In this section, we’ll look at easy, go-to games that require minimal setup and can be played almost anywhere. These activities are perfect for filling in gaps in your schedule or starting your group meeting with some quick fun.

41. Duck, Duck, Goose

Duck Duck Goose

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 5+

Game instructions: Players sit in a circle, and the “it” person walks around tapping heads saying “duck” until they choose someone and say “goose.” The “goose” then rises and chases the “it” around the circle trying to tag them before they can take their seat.

Equipment: None.

42. Simon Says

Participants needed: Any number

Game instructions: One person plays “Simon” and gives commands to the others. If the command starts with “Simon says,” the players must do it. If it doesn’t, players must stay still. Those who follow incorrect commands are out. The last person standing wins.

Equipment: None.

43. Four Corners

Participants needed: 5+

Game instructions: Number the corners of the room 1-4. One person stands in the middle with their eyes closed and counts to ten. Meanwhile, players quietly choose corners. The person in the middle calls out a number, and everyone in that corner is out. The last person remaining wins.

Equipment: None.

44. Hot Potato

Participants needed: 5+

Game instructions: Players sit in a circle passing around an object (“hot potato”) while music plays. When the music stops, the person holding the object is out. Continue until only one player remains.

Equipment: An object to pass, music player.

45. Wink Assassin

Participants needed: 6+

Game instructions: One player is secretly designated as the “assassin” and can “kill” others by winking at them discreetly. If a player is winked at, they quietly sit down. Players try to identify the assassin before they’re all “killed.”

Equipment: None.

46. Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs

Image source: Pinterest

Participants needed: 5+ plus one chair fewer than the number of players

Game instructions: Chairs are arranged in a circle facing outward. Players walk around them while music plays. When the music stops, everyone must find a chair. The player left standing is out. Remove one chair each round until one player remains.

Equipment: Chairs, music player.

47. Telephone

Participants needed: 5+

Game instructions: Players sit in a line or circle. The first person whispers a message to the person next to them, and so on down the line. The last person says the message out loud. It’s often amusing to hear how much the message changes.

Equipment: None.

48. Freeze Dance

Participants needed: Any number

Game instructions: Players dance while music plays. When the music stops, they must freeze in place. Anyone caught moving after the music stops is out. The last dancer remaining wins.

Equipment: Music player.

49. Pass the Parcel

Participants needed: Any number

Game instructions: Wrap a small gift or prize in several layers of wrapping paper. Players sit in a circle and pass the parcel around while music plays. When the music stops, the person holding the parcel removes one layer of wrapping. Repeat until the final layer is removed, and the person unwrapping it wins the prize inside.

Equipment: A small gift or prize, multiple layers of wrapping paper, music player.

50. Alphabet Game

Participants needed: Any number

Game instructions: Players sit in a circle. The game starts with someone saying a word beginning with the letter “A.” The next person must say a word beginning with “B,” and so on through the alphabet. If a player hesitates for too long or can’t think of a word, they’re out. The game can be themed to make it more challenging (e.g., animals, places, food).

Equipment: None.

Conclusion

Youth group games are more than just activities; they’re catalysts for community building, personal growth, and unforgettable moments. By incorporating these 50 must-try games into your next gathering, you’ll not only entertain but also foster an environment where friendships flourish, and individuals feel valued and connected. So, gather your group, pick a game, and let the fun begin!

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