4 Outdoor Youth Group Games [With Spiritual Applications] - Dare 2 Share
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students to reach their world.
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

4 Outdoor Youth Group Games [With Spiritual Applications]

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For many teenagers, some of their most fun memories are from the many games they play in youth group! Outdoor youth group games in particular are a fantastic way to keep kids active and for your students to bond. Depending on how much space your church has, outdoor youth group games are a perfect warmup right before worship and the lesson starts. They are also great for youth group events, like a picnic in the park. 

Outdoor Youth Group Games

Here are 4 fun outdoor youth group games with instructions! If you like tying a spiritual component to games, we’ve included that too!

Kenya Ball

Kenya Ball is super simple and doesn’t need a lot of setup. It’s a fantastic last-minute game and students will be immediately able to pick up the rules. 

What you’ll need 

  • Boundary markers (tape, cones, etc.)
  • Tennis ball(s)
  • Dodge balls, basketballs, rubber four-square balls (any decently sized ball)

How to play this outdoor youth group game

  1. Create a large square out of your boundary markers.
  2. Divide everyone up into four teams.
  3. Each team is assigned to a side of the square. Teams move to their side and stand on the OUTSIDE of the square. 
  4. Place a tennis ball in the center of the square.
  5. Distribute all other balls evenly among the teams. 
  6. Start the game by saying “go”. When the game starts, all teams must use their balls to try and hit the tennis ball across another team’s side, or redirect the tennis ball away from their own.
  7. Players may not enter the square. 
  8. When a tennis ball crosses a team’s side, they gain a point. The game is over when a team reaches five points. Lowest score wins!
  9. To make the game harder, add more tennis balls or make players throw with their non-dominant hand.

Spiritual application

There’s nothing wrong with playing a game just for fun, but if you desire, you can use this game to start a conversation on boundaries. Just like there was a boundary in the game that the students couldn’t enter (the square), it’s important to set up boundaries in our lives to avoid falling into certain temptations. Those boundaries can be with people or things, like not hanging out alone with the opposite sex in a private place or keeping a screen time limit on your phone to avoid mindlessly scrolling for hours. 

Ultimately, the boundaries we create should always honor God, whether it’s with our bodies, time, or hearts! 

Spud

Spud is a silly, outdoor youth ministry game that’s sure to get lots of laughs! It’s also a great way to motivate students to memorize each others’ names. We recommend playing it at the beginning of the year or semester with new students. 

What you’ll need

  • A dodgeball or any type of ball that’s soft

How to play this outdoor youth ministry game

  1. Have everyone share their name aloud. Then, choose someone to be “It.”
  2. “It” gets the ball and the rest of the players stand in a circle around “It.”
  3. “It” throws the ball up into the air and calls out any one person’s name.
  4. As soon as “It” throws the ball into the air, everyone runs as fast as they can.
  5. The person called out by “It” runs back and grabs the ball and screams STOP.
  6. Everyone must stop at once. Be aware that youth will try to get away with not stopping immediately. It might be good to have another adult just watching and making sure everyone is stopping when STOP is called.
  7. Once STOP has been called, the new “It” (the person whose name was called and is now holding the ball) has 4 steps they can take (S P U D) to reach the closest player.
  8. The “It” can’t jump, but can take the biggest steps they can – no more than 4.
  9. The “It” then picks out a target person to throw the ball at, to try to get them out.
  10. The “It” must hit the target they choose, but no head shots.
  11. If the “It” misses the target, or if the target catches the ball, then “It,” is now out and the the target is now the new “It.”
  12. If the “It” successfully hits their target, then that person is now out, and “It” remains “It.”
  13. Return to Step 2 and keep playing until only one person is left.

Spiritual application

There are a couple of simple spiritual applications you can choose to apply from this game. One is paying attention. Similar to how students need to pay attention when their name is called, Christians need to pay attention to what God’s Word and the Spirit are telling them. 

Another spiritual takeaway is discipline. When “It” yelled, “Stop!” everyone had to stop immediately. But many students probably didn’t stop right away or were at least tempted to take a few more steps. When God makes it clear that we should stop doing something, we need to obey and pray that He helps us resist temptation. 

Fake Out

“Fake Out” is an awesome game for your uber-competitive students and, like Spud, it doesn’t need many materials. Students who enjoy running or flag football in particular will enjoy this game!

What you’ll need

  • Traffic or sports cones

How to play this outdoor game

Before you start
  • Designate a rectangular play area large enough to run in. You may want to place a cone across from each other on each sideline.
  • Split the group into two teams with each team lined up on opposite base lines. Have cones placed a few feet behind the baseline marking where the single file line should start.
  • Demonstrate safe tagging:
    • Light touch, on the back or shoulder.
    • Unsafe tags: hard contact that might cause the person being tagged to fall.
  • Demonstrate how someone can move their body to “fake out” the person trying to tag them.
  • Have a few players demonstrate for others to see.
  • Designate one side as the “Taggers” or “Offense” and the other side as the “Fakers” or the “Defense.”
  • Make sure everyone knows which line is the “Fakers” and which is the “Taggers,” the roles of each, where the boundaries are, and the importance of safety.
The rules
  • The objective is for the “Faker” to run past the “Tagger” and reach the opposite baseline without getting tagged.
  • The “Faker” can move in any direction while making their fakes but must stay within the boundaries.
  • The “Tagger” is trying to tag the “Faker” with two hands.
  • The first two people in each line begin the game by stepping into the playing area.
  • The play is done when either the “Faker” reaches the baseline or is tagged. In either case the players switch lines each time. Make sure players stay in a single file line a few feet away from the baseline (not across the baseline) so the players don’t run into each other.
Variations
  • Each “Tagger” can get one or both of the “Fakers.”
  • If players are tagging safely, the boundaries can be increased and each side can have two or three players go at the same time.

Spiritual application

You can use this game to point out that when it comes to fakers, no one’s a greater trickster than the enemy of God. Scripture describes the devil as crafty (Genesis 3:1) and one who wants to outwit us (2 Corinthians 2:11). Christians should be aware of the enemy’s tactics (1 Peter 5:8). 

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French vs. English

Is it okay to steal? Maybe only while playing French vs. English! This game requires both speed and the ability to be sneaky. This is a fantastic big group youth ministry game where lots of different students can shine!

What you’ll need

  • Random objects
  • Traffic or sports cones

How to play this outdoor youth group game

  1. Set up two teams and three dividing lines in a gym or playing field.
  2. Place an equal number of objects behind both baselines.
  3. The objective is for each team to steal as many objects as possible without getting caught.
  4. To steal an object, a player must reach the other team’s baseline without being tagged.
  5. When at the other team’s baseline, the player can steal 1 object and release 1 captive teammate (if there are any).
  6. If a player is tagged while on the other team’s half of the field, they are caught and must wait at the opposition’s baseline until rescued.
  7. The goal is to avoid being tagged while getting the opposite team’s items over to their side. Find more detailed instructions here!

Spiritual application 

In French vs. English, if a player was tagged on the other team’s half of the field, they had to wait there until one of their teammates rescued them. Our sin holds us captive and no matter how sly we think we’re being, nothing gets past an omniscient God. But God, in His infinite love and mercy, sent His Son to rescue us from the captivity of sin! (Romans 6:17, Romans 6:22-23).

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Become a Gospel Advancing Leader

Preparing and facilitating games are just one tiny part of youth ministry. As a youth leader, you have the power to equip young people to become evangelists and disciple makers who will impact other teenagers for Christ.

If you’re interested in mobilizing your students to share Jesus with their friends, become a Gospel Advancing leader. You’ll join a community of like-minded youth pastors and leaders committed to sharing Jesus themselves. and equipping their teenagers to share the Gospel. You’ll also receive the resources you need to transform your youth group. 

Outdoor Youth Group Games FAQs

Why are outdoor youth group games beneficial for youth ministries?

Outdoor youth group games provide an engaging and interactive environment for young people to learn about faith. The combination of physical activity and team-building exercises promotes active learning, teamwork, and a sense of community. They also provide an opportunity for youth pastors to teach biblical lessons in a fun and engaging way.

Why should youth pastors always have outdoor youth group games prepared?

Having outdoor games prepared is important because they serve as an effective tool for youth pastors to engage with the youth. These games can serve as icebreakers or energizers during youth gatherings. They also provide an avenue for youth pastors to discuss deeper spiritual lessons in a more relaxed and friendly environment.

How do outdoor youth group games tie into the Bible lesson that the youth pastor will preach on?

Outdoor youth group games can be designed to tie into the Bible lesson by representing key themes or stories from the scripture. For example, a team relay race could represent the Israelites’ journey to the promised land, or a scavenger hunt could symbolize the parable of the lost sheep. This helps reinforce the lesson memorably and interactively.

Why should outdoor youth group games have a spiritual message?

Including a spiritual message in outdoor youth group games reinforces the teachings of the Bible and the mission of the youth ministry. It provides a unique opportunity to teach spiritual truths engagingly and practically. By integrating the spiritual message into the game, youth pastors can make biblical teachings more relatable and memorable for young people.

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