Top 4 Big Youth Group Games - Dare 2 Share
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Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

Top 4 Big Youth Group Games

Whether you have a large youth ministry or participate in events with other youth groups, every youth pastor needs big youth group games!

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Whether you have a large youth ministry or just participate in events with other youth groups, every youth pastor should be equipped with big youth group games. The list of youth games below for big youth groups even includes spiritual applications, that way your students can have fun and be edified at the same time! Looking for more games? Head over to our ultimate youth ministry games list, featuring 19 games with full instructions!

Big Happy Family

This is an awesome game to play at the beginning of the school year or new semester, when you have new students, or really any time you want your students to connect. It’s a fun name-memorization game and a great way for your students to learn each other’s names. 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Slips of paper and a pencil
  • A hat, bowl, or bag (to shuffle the paper in)
  • A whiteboard or chalkboard

HOW TO PLAY THIS BIG YOUTH GROUP GAME

The goal is to have the biggest family at the end of the game.

  1. Have everyone sit facing the same direction, except for one person, who will sit facing the rest. The one person versus the group represents the two “families.”
  2. Everyone except for the one person facing the group writes down the name of a real person or a fictional character. 
  3. All names go into the hat/bag/bowl and are given to the family of one.
  4. The family of one writes the names on a whiteboard or chalkboard.
  5. Then the family of one picks someone from the other family (family two). The student from that family picks one name from the board and guesses who from their family wrote it.  
  6. Correct guess? The student who was correctly guessed goes from family two to family one. The guesser stays on family two and sits back down.   
  7. Incorrect guess? The student who was guessed stays on family two. The guesser switches to family one.
  8. Someone from family one picks someone else from family two and repeats steps 5-7.
  9. This goes on until you are out of time or until all the names are picked.
  10. The winner is the one with the biggest family at the end of the game.

SPIRITUAL APPLICATION

This is a great game to warm up with if you’re teaching a lesson about how someone joins God’s family! Explain that while every person is beloved by God and created in His image, one becomes a child of God by trusting in Jesus as their Savior. When someone accepts the Gospel, God becomes their Father (Galatians 4:6, 1 John 2:29) and all Christians become their brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 3:14, 1 John 4:20).

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Four on the Couch

“Four on the Couch” is also a great connection game and a fun girls vs. boys competition! It also requires less supplies than “Big Happy Family” and has an app you can use!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

One chair for each person + one extra chair (can use a couch for the four primary spots)

HOW TO PLAY THIS BIG GROUP GAME

Set up

If you don’t have a couch large enough to fit four people, just designate four chairs as the “couch”. Circle the chairs, with the couch (or four “couch” chairs) included in the perimeter of the circle.

Divide the group into two teams, guys versus girls (if you have an odd number of one gender, some people will have to play for the other gender’s team to make it even). Have them sit boy-girl-boy-girl in the chairs and on the couch, but leave the chair to the left of the couch empty.

Rules

  1. Have everyone write their name on a slip of paper, fold it up, and put it in a cup. Shake the cup and have everyone draw a name from the cup without letting anyone else see what it is. The name they have drawn from the cup is their name for the game.
  2. The person to the left of the empty chair calls out the name of someone sitting in the circle. The person who drew that name (NOT the person actually named that) gets up and sits in the empty chair. Now there is a new empty chair and the person to the left of the new empty chair calls out a different name. Play continues until only one gender (the gender they are playing for, not the gender of the name they picked) is sitting on the couch.
  3. As the game goes on, more and more names will be called, and the players should start to remember who is who. It’s helpful to remember players on their team and on the opposing team. So, when it’s their turn to call a name out (because the empty chair is to their right) they will be able to call specific people away from their chairs, or onto the couch (if that’s where the empty seat is).
  4. After a name has been called, it cannot be called again until after a different name is called (e.g. if the person sitting next to the empty chair calls out “Tom”, the next person to call out a name can’t say “Tom”, but the person after them can).
  5. The object is to have only their gender (the gender they are playing for, not the gender of the name they picked)sitting on the couch.

Modifications

To add a different twist to this youth ministry game, you can make it so that when someone calls a name, they swap their name with the person they called. So, if someone had the empty chair next to them and called out “Tom”, the person who has the “Tom” name will move to the empty seat and then swap their name slip with the caller. So, the caller will now have “Tom” and the person who did have “Tom” will have the caller’s old name (which may not be known to the group yet). This adds another layer of complexity, so only attempt it after your group gets proficient at the original version.

Web app helper

Instead of using paper, if all players have access to a phone or tablet with internet access, you can use this great helper website. It allows everyone to enter their name and then shuffles them with the click of a button.

SPIRITUAL APPLICATION

Use this game to transition into a lesson about how God knows us by name. In Exodus 33:17, God assures Moses that he can trust Him because He knows Moses by name. God also knew Isaiah’s name while he was still in the womb (Isaiah 49:1), and Jesus compares Himself to a gatekeeper who knows His sheep by name (John 10:3). God knows everything about us, including the problems we struggle with. He cares for us and loves us. 

An image of many pieces of paper with different names written on them representing Dare 2 Share's blog titled Top 4 Big Youth Group Games

Change Places if

“Change Places If” is a fantastic way for students to get to know each other better and see what they have in common. It’s great to play any time of the year, but lots of youth pastors love scheduling this at the beginning of a new year or semester. 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Chairs (one less than the number of students playing)

HOW TO PLAY THIS YOUTH GROUP GAME

  • Sit everyone in a circle of chairs with one student standing.
  • Have that one student call, “Change places if…” Example: “Change places if you have brown hair.”
  • Caller and students who match that call (like students with brown hair) change places as quickly as possible and try to find an empty chair until a student is left without a chair (this could be the caller again).
  • The student left without a chair becomes the next one to call “Change places if…”
  • The game continues as long as you’d like with more “Change places if…” statements.

This youth ministry game is sure to get the laughs going. Read the full directions here!

SPIRITUAL APPLICATION

You can use this game to talk about relying on God through life’s changes. With Abraham, for instance, everything changed – his name, his family, and his home. He had to trust God through all of these changes, and God counted His faith as righteousness (Romans 4:3). We need to trust God when He directs us toward change and believe that He will be with us every step of the way.

Crab Soccer

This game burns energy and gets everyone laughing! The silly side of your students will come out in this goofy version of soccer, and the best part is, it’s a short setup with barely any supplies needed!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Traffic or sports cones
  • A ball

HOW TO PLAY THIS GAME

Setting up the playing field

  • Find a suitable space for the game, considering the number of players. A large open room works for smaller groups, while a gym is ideal for larger groups (20+).
  • Divide the playing field into two sides for each team to defend. 
  • Create goals for each team using portable soccer goals or traffic cones spread out about 6 feet apart.
  • Optionally, designate an “imaginary top” of the goal, about 4 feet above the ground, to exclude excessively high shots.
  • Alternatively, use a designated space on a wall as a goal.

Instructions

  • Set up the playing field (as described above).
  • Divide the players into teams.
  • Have the teams move to both sides of the field.
  • Explain that players must sit down and only move with their hands and feet (like a crab).
  • Let them know that only one player at a time can defend the goal.
  • Explain that only one player at a time can be close to the opponent’s goal if the ball isn’t close by.
  • Toss a ball into the center of the playing field.
  • Each goal is one point.
  • After each goal, players walk back to their side of the field and must sit again before the game begins.
  • The game continues until ten points are scored.

Find the full instructions for Crab Soccer here.

SPIRITUAL APPLICATION

Crab Soccer is hilarious but hard and exhausting! Why? Because we aren’t meant to move around like crabs: it’s not part of our design. You can use this game to talk about God’s perfect design for the world and humans and the consequences that occur when we don’t follow His design. Because we live in a broken world, God’s design has been tainted by sin. But Jesus came to save us from our brokenness, and one day, there will be a new heaven and earth that’s perfectly aligned with God’s design!

An image of a soccer play on a field of grass representing Dare 2 Share's blog titled Top 4 Big Youth Group Games

Youth Game Ideas and More!

We all know leading youth ministry has many challenges beyond just picking the game. One of those important challenges is figuring out how to further the Gospel more effectively. That’s where Gospel Advancing Ministries come in. When you become a Gospel Advancing leader, you join a community of like-minded youth leaders who want to transform their students into disciple makers and passionate evangelists for the Gospel. You can subscribe to Gospel Advancing Weekly, where youth leaders receive a mix of the latest game ideas, curriculum resources, youth ministry tips, and more!

Youth ministry is more than games – it’s an opportunity to make a Kingdom-sized impact on your community through teenagers. Become a Gospel Advancing today and help more teens know Jesus!

Big Youth Group Games FAQs

What are some name-memorization youth games for big groups?

“Big Happy Family” is a youth group game where students can learn each other’s names.

Can you use youth group games to tie in spiritual messages?

Absolutely! Many games can be connected to a spiritual message or theme. 

How can youth group games help build relationships within the group?

Youth group games provide opportunities for students to work together, communicate, and have fun, which can ultimately lead to stronger friendships and deeper connections within the group.

What’s a good game to play with a big youth group at the beginning of the year?

“Change Places If” is a perfect game to play at the beginning of a school year or new semester because it allows the students to learn about each other in a fun way.

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