The Ultimate Youth Ministry Games List (19 Games!) - Dare 2 Share
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students to reach their world.
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

The Ultimate Youth Ministry Games List (19 Games!)

Students who play together, stay and pray together!

Youth Ministry Games That Create Unforgettable Moments

Youth pastors long to see their students equipped to change the world for Christ, but that’s challenging when teens are distracted, apathetic, or disconnected. Often, students don’t open up to God’s plan for them until  they feel accepted, seen, and are having fun. Enter youth ministry games!

Youth ministry games are an amazing tool to bring students closer and break the ice in your group. And when students feel comfortable with each other, they are more likely to move into leadership within your youth ministry.

Today we’ve got a list of 19 energetic, engaging, and fun youth group games for every occasion and setting. Just click on a category to find the youth ministry games that will help you the most this week.

Small Group Games

This is a great game for when you’re filling an unknown period of time because you can just call the last round when it suits you!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Chairs for each person playing

HOW TO PLAY THIS SMALL GROUP GAME

  1. Each person has a chair. Put 4 chairs in a row (or use a couple of couches) and the rest in a circle. This works well with a range of players. The four on the sofa, or in a row, are named in order as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The rest are numbered in order. The last person will sit on the other side of Matthew. Make sure everyone knows their name or number.
  2. The basic action for each person in the game is:
  • Slap their knees
  • Clap their hands
  • Snap right-hand fingers
  • Snap left-hand fingers
  • SLAP, CLAP, RIGHT, LEFT and get a rhythm going.

3. Matthew always starts and says “ready” and all start SLAP CLAP RIGHT LEFT 2 or 3 times until all are in rhythm.

  • Matthew says when slapping, “Mathew”
  • Matthew says when clapping “to”
  • Matthew says when right snapping “7” (or any number)

4. Player 7 only has the left snap to react.

  • Player 7 then says when slapping “7”
  • Player 7 says when clapping “to”
  • Player 7 says when right snapping “Luke” or any name or number

5. If you don’t react fast enough you are out. Stop the actions.

6. All with a higher number stand up and move up one seat and the lowest number goes to the end next to Matthew.

7. The number stays with the seat, not the player. Give name and numbers to the students again with new seat numbers. Matthew starts again. The aim is to end up on the couch.

This is a fun twist to the classic game charades!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • A list of random items

HOW TO PLAY THIS YOUTH MINISTRY GAME

Getting started

  1. Divide the group evenly into two or more teams.
  2. Have the group spread out so that they cannot overhear the surrounding teams.
  3. Review the basics of charades.
  4. One person will act out a word or phrase without speaking while the team is trying to guess the word.
  5. Show an example.

Rules

  1. Start a charades race and name the categories such as fast food, electrical appliances, and cartoon heroes.
  2. Teams compete against each other trying to be the first to guess all of the items on the list.
  3. To start, ask one member from each team to come to you. Whisper the first word into their ear and return them to their group to be acted out.
  4. Once a member of the group guesses the word correctly, someone new runs to the instructor for the next word. No one can come up twice until everyone has acted out an item from the list.
  5. The new member must tell the instructor the word they just guessed to receive the next word from the list.
  6. The game is over once a team completes the entire list. 

Sample list

  • Superman
  • Storm
  • Blow Dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • Milkshake
  • Watermelon
  • Taco
  • Captain America
  • Computer
  • Blender

Psychiatrist is a fun, silly game where students pretend to have bizarre symptoms that another player has to guess! It’ll have everyone laughing.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Nothing!

HOW TO PLAY THIS SMALL YOUTH GROUP GAME

  1. Select a Game Leader who will administer the game (such as yourself).
  2. Ask everyone to gather in a group. A circle, line, or seating arrangement is fine – as long as the Psychiatrist is able to easily walk to all of the Patients.
  3. A Psychiatrist is selected to begin the first round using whatever method you prefer to select the starting player.
  4. The Psychiatrist leaves the room where they cannot hear or see the rest of the group.
  5. The Game Leader instructs The Patients (the rest of the group) on a secret Symptom which every Patient will display.
  6. Once The Patients have the Symptom in mind, the Psychiatrist is invited back into the room.
  7. The Psychiatrist questions the Patients freely, seeking to uncover a correct diagnosis.
  8. The Psychiatrist is allowed to question the Patients as long as the Game Leader sees fit, but there should be a time limit to their questioning, such as 5 minutes, in order to allow everyone to have a turn as the Psychiatrist.
  9. Game Leader should listen closely to all the questions and answer to make sure the Patients are being accurate in their responses. If a Patient gives a misleading answer, the Game Leader should tell the Psychiatrist to try the same question again with another Patient, without giving too much away.
  10. The round ends when the Psychiatrist announces the correct diagnosis or comes very close.
  11. If it becomes obvious the Psychiatrist is not going to figure out the diagnosis, the Game Leader should ask the Psychiatrist to make one final guess before revealing the correct Diagnosis.
  12. After the round ends, another Psychiatrist is selected (using whatever method you prefer to pick) and the game continues as time permits or until everyone has had a turn as the Psychiatrist.

This is just like those “spot the difference” picture games you played as a kid, come to life!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • A piece of paper for each team
  • A pen or pencil for each team

HOW TO PLAY THIS GAME

  1. Divide your group into two teams.
  2. Stand the first group in a line facing the second group. The second group have a set amount of time (you decide) to look at the appearance of the other team.
  3. Once their time is up, the second team (observers) will leave the room, and the first group must change ten things about them. The ten things must be noticeable (ie. they cannot change things in their pockets or other things previously out of view).
  4. When the second group returns, they must observe the first group and work out what ten things have changed. They may write them down if this is helpful. It’s best to give a set amount of time for this to happen.
  5. Once this is done, you can swap the roles of the groups.

Try out Boppity Bop Bop at youth group this week! This is a hilarious youth ministry game that’s kind of in the same vein as Duck-Duck-Goose. You’ll need at least 4 players but there’s no limit on the number of people who can join in!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Nothing!

HOW TO PLAY THIS SMALL GROUP GAME

  1. Gather everyone in a circle.
  2. Choose a player to start the game as “It”.
  3. “It” begins the game by pointing to another player and saying “Boppity Bop Bop Bop.”
  4. The other player must say “Bop” before “It” completes the phrase “Boppity Bop Bop Bop.”
  5. If the other player says “Bop” first, “It” must move on to another player.
  6. If “It” finishes saying “Boppity Bop Bop Bop” before the other player responds with “Bop,” they trade places and the other player becomes “It.”
  7. “It” can try to fool players by only saying “Bop.”
  8. If the other player responds by saying “Bop” when “It” hasn’t yet begun saying “Boppity Bop Bop Bop,” then the players switch places.
  9. “It” can attempt to fake out players into prematurely saying “Bop” by only saying “Bop” themselves.
  10. “It” can also quickly move or point to another player and say either “Bop” or “Boppity Bop Bop Bop.”
  11. Any disputes are resolved through Rock-Paper-Scissors.
  12. Encourage the youth to switch places to keep the game moving quickly.
  13. The game continues as long as you’d like it to.

Get the full instructions for Boppity Bop Bop here.

A group of teenagers looking at the instructions for a youth ministry game together.

Big Group Games

This low-intensity, interactive game is great for learning new students’ names. This is a good one to do at the beginning of the school year when you want to help students connect with others they may not know.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Slips of paper and a pencil
  • A hat, bowl, or bag (to shuffle the paper in)
  • A white board or chalk board

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. 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 2 to family 1. The guesser stays on family 2 and sits back down.   
  7.  Incorrect guess? The student who was guessed stays on family 2 stays. The guesser switches to the other family, family 1 .
  8. This goes on until you are out of time or until all the names are picked.

Tip

It’s usually best to play until most everyone has switched families at least once.

It’s always fun to throw a girls vs. boys competition into the youth group game routine. “Four on the Couch” is a game for just that!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • One chair for each person + one extra chair (or a couch)

HOW TO PLAY THIS BIG GROUP GAME

Set up

  1. If you don’t have a couch large enough to fit four people, just designate four chairs as the “couch”. Circle the rest of the chairs, with the couch include in the perimeter of the circle.
  2. Divide the group into two teams, guys versus girls (if you have a larger number of one gender, someone will have to play for the other gender’s team). 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 (team) 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 your gender 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).

Web app helper

Instead of using paper, if all players have access to a phone or tablet with internet access then you can use this great helper website at 4onacouch.com. This website allows everyone to enter their name and then shuffles them with the click of a button.

“Change Places If” is a wonderful ice breaker game or game where students can get to know each other!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Chairs (one less than the number of students playing)

HOW TO PLAY THIS YOUTH GROUP GAME

  1. Sit everyone in a circle of chairs with one student standing.
  2. Have that one student call, “Change places if…” Example: “Change places if you have brown hair.”
  3. 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).
  4. 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!

The “Crab Soccer Game”  is a great group game for your youth nights. All you need is at least 10 students, a large space to play, and a ball.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Traffic or sports cones

HOW TO PLAY THIS GAME

Setting up the playing field

  1. 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+).
  2. Divide the playing field into two sides for each team to defend. No marker is needed if not available.
  3. Create goals for each team using portable soccer goals or traffic cones spread out about 6 feet apart.
  4. Optionally, designate an “imaginary top” of the goal, about 4 feet above the ground, to exclude excessively high shots.
  5. Alternatively, use a designated space on a wall as a goal.

Instructions

  1. Set up the playing field.
  2. Divide the players into teams.
  3. Have the teams move to both sides of the field.
  4. Explain that only one player at a time can defend the goal.
  5. Explain that only one player at a time can be close to the opponent’s goal if the ball isn’t close by.
  6. Toss a ball into the center of the playing field.
  7. Each goal is 1 point.
  8. After each goal, players move back to their side of the field and must sit before the game begins.
  9. The game continues until 10 points are scored.

Find the full instructions for Crab Soccer here.

“Blow Wind Blow” is a super fun game to use as an icebreaker and it’s perfect for large groups!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Chairs (one less than the number of students playing)

HOW TO PLAY THIS BIG GROUP GAME

  1. Select one player to start in the middle.
  2. The middle player calls out, “Blow wind blow,” and the group responds with, “Blow what?”
  3. The middle player makes a conditional statement like, “Everyone with red hair,” or “Everyone not wearing shoes.”
  4. Players who fit the category must quickly switch chairs with another player.
  5. The middle player also has a chance to steal a chair.
  6. Once everyone has finished switching, one player will be left in the middle.
  7. Repeat the process with the new middle player.

Find more detailed instructions here!

Outdoor Youth Ministry Games

A personal pick by one of our Dare 2 Share employees, Kenya Ball is a perfect game for every youth group. High intensity, easy to play, requires very little setup, and can be altered and adjusted to your heart’s content. 

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 YOUTH MINISTRY 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 same 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.

If you combined tag and dodgeball, you’d get a game like “SPUD.” This is a great game to get some energy out and put a fun twist on a classic youth group game.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

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

HOW TO PLAY THIS OUTDOOR YOUTH GROUP 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’s 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 “New It” can’t jump, but can take as big as steps as they can – no more than 4.
  9. The “New It” then picks out a “Target” person to throw the ball to try to get them out.
  10. “New It” must hit the “Target” they choose, but no head shots.
  11. If “New It” misses the “Target,” or if the “Target” catches the ball, then “New It,” is now out and the “Target” is now the new “It.”
  12. If “New It” successfully hits their target, then the “Target” is now out, and “New It” remains “It.”
  13. Return to Step 2 – Gather everyone in a circle again and keep playing until only one person is left.

Here’s another fun, high-energy game that’s a fun twist on tag. Get your students competitiveness to come out and see which team can win, the “Fakers” or the “Taggers” in this amazing youth ministry game.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Traffic or sports cones

HOW TO PLAY THIS OUTDOOR GAME

Before you start

  1. Designate a rectangular play area large enough to run in. You may want to place a cone across from each other on each sideline.
  2. Split 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.
  3. Demonstrate safe tagging:
    • Light touch, like a butterfly wings, on the back or shoulder.
    • Unsafe tags: hard contact that might cause the person being tagged to fall.
  4. Demonstrate how someone can move their body to “fake out” the person trying to tag them.
  5. Have a few players demonstrate for others to see.
  6. Designate one side as the “Taggers” or “Defense” and the other side as the “Fakers” or the “Offense.”
  7. Make sure everyone knows which line is the “fakers” and which is the “taggers,” the roles of each, where the boundaries are at and the importance of safety.

The rules

  1. The objective is for the “faker” to run past the “tagger” and reach the opposite baseline without getting tagged.
  2. The “faker” can move in any direction while making their fakes but must stay within the boundaries.
  3. The “tagger” is trying to tag the “faker” with two hands.
  4. The first two people in each line begin the game by stepping into the playing area.
  5. 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 do not 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.

“French vs English” is a super fun group game to test out your students’ stamina and energy!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Random objects
  • Traffic or sports cones

HOW TO PLAY THIS OUTDOOR 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 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.

The goal is to avoid being tagged while getting the opposite team’s items over to their side. Find more detailed instructions here!

A group of teens with their backs turned, with wet clothes covered in paint after playing an outdoor youth group game.

Indoor Youth Group Games

“Mix It Up” is basically a scavenger hunt where students have to figure out what they’re even hunting for in the first place. This one is great for everyone to get to participate at once!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • A bunch of random objects of your choice for students to find
  • Lists of said items
  • A large area (like a church) to play in

HOW TO PLAY THIS INDOOR GAME

  1. Divide up the items evenly into four groups.
  2. Divide everyone up into four teams.
  3. List out the items on different sheets of paper, but mix up the letters. So, for example, RED BUCKET might turn into DRE KBEUCT.
  4. Distribute a list to each of the four groups.
  5. Release the groups into the church. Students must figure out what their items are and then search the church to find them. Students are not allowed to take any items not on their list. 

Once a team has all of their items, they must return them to a designated space, where a leader will check the accuracy of their finds. The first team to collect all of their items wins!

“At three bells we set sail! Ding! Ding! Ding!”

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Any random items you could use as obstacles (chairs, tables, etc.), just make sure they aren’t dangerous if bumped into
  • A blindfold
  • A large room to set up the course in

HOW TO PLAY THIS YOUTH MINISTRY GAME

  1. Set up a maze/course using chairs, tables, and whatever else you happen to have lying around. 
  2. Divide everyone into pairs. Have each pair choose who will be the ship first, and who will be the helmsman first. 
  3. Ships will be blindfolded and placed at the entrance to the maze. Helmsmen must then direct the ships through the maze with verbal commands, but CANNOT use “left”, “right”, “backward”, or “forward”. 
  4. Instead, Helmsmen must use “bow”, “port”, “starboard’, and “stern”, or whatever words you want to choose, to direct the ships through safely.
  5. Once everyone has gone through, have them switch places, so ships become helmsmen and helmsmen become ships. 
  6. For an added challenge, time everyone and see who can guide their partner through first!

“Ask the Sage” might not be very physically active, but it’s a hilarious and entertaining game to play with your youth ministry nonetheless!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • A piece of paper for each player
  • A pencil or pen for each player

HOW TO PLAY THIS YOUTH GROUP GAME

  1. Choose volunteers to be “Wise Sages” and have them wait in different rooms.
  2. Create question sheets for students with questions only Sages can answer.
  3. Students search for Sages, asking permission using the phrase “OH GREAT WISE SAGE, MAY I ENTER?”
  4. Once granted an audience, students ask a question. If the Sage doesn’t know, note it down.
  5. If the Sage knows, mark a correct answer on the sheet. First student with all correct answers wins.

Ask the Sage is kind of like one of those group BINGO games, but instead, the winner is the one who gets all the correct answers from the “wise sages” first. It’s fun to let students dress up and play the part of a sage, too! Find the full game instructions here.

“Name That Tune” is a fun game that only requires some music, paper, and pens!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • A piece of paper and pen or pencil for yourself
  • A piece of paper and pen or pencil for each team
  • A list of 25 songs (5 modern, 5 older, 5 Disney, 5 90s, and 5 country)

HOW TO PLAY THIS INDOOR GAME

  1. Prepare your list of 25 songs and mix them up.
  2. Create an answer sheet with the songs numbered from 1 to 25 in order.
  3. Divide the group into teams. Assign a youth leader to write down the answers and assist.
  4. Give the teams 10 seconds to choose a team name and write it at the top of their paper along with everyone’s names.
  5. Instruct the teams to number their paper from 1 to 25. Disqualify any team that fails to do so, or provide pre-numbered papers.
  6. Play 20 seconds of any part of each song without allowing time to recoup. If a team guesses the correct song but on the wrong number, it’s counted as a miss.
  7. Award one point for naming the song correctly and two points for naming the artist.

The team that gets the most songs right wins! Get full instructions for “Name That Tune” here.

  1. “Mafia” is a classic youth group game that will bring some healthy competition and give the shy kids a chance to shine! Get ready for the drama…

    WHAT YOU’LL NEED

    • A place for everyone to sit (chairs, logs, etc.)

    HOW TO PLAY THIS YOUTH MINISTRY GAME

    Assign everyone roles:

    • Leader: the narrator and game master who chooses players’ roles and gives instructions
    • Mafia: work in secret to take out villagers
    • Doctor: can save people
    • Detective: learns player identities in secret
    • Villagers: everyone else; they try to figure out who the mafia is and vote them out

    Have everyone sit in a circle with their eyes shut. The leader taps the head of one person or multiple people who will be mafia. Then the leader announces that the next person to be tapped is a doctor. After tapping the doctor, the leader announces that the next person to be tapped will be the detective. After the detective is tapped, the leader instructs everyone to open their eyes.

    Every round goes like this:

    1. The leader asks everyone to shut their eyes and then asks the mafia to open their eyes and point out who they want to eliminate. They close their eyes again.
    2. Next, the doctor is allowed to open his/her eyes. They point at someone to be immune to attack. The doctor then closes their eyes again.
    3. Next, the detective opens his/her eyes and points at someone who they think is guilty. The narrator nods yes or no. The detective then closes their eyes again.
    4. Now, all eyes open. The narrator tells a creative story of the murder that took place last night. If the doctor saved the right person, they say the person was saved. If not, that person has a dramatic death scene.
    5. Now the youth get to accuse people and try to plead their innocence. Eventually, the leader calls for a show of hands to see who the group thinks is mafia. The person they vote for is out of the game, but they don’t reveal their role. 
    6. The game continues night after night until any and all mafia are caught — which means the villagers win — or all the villagers are eliminated, which is a victory for the mafia.

A large group of students and youth leaders playing a popular indoor youth ministry game, dodgeball. The image is used to emphasize how youth group games can help grow your ministry.

And there you have it: 19 youth group games for any occasion to bring laughter and closeness to your group. For more weekly tips and youth ministry strategy, be sure to sign up as a Gospel Advancing leader. You’ll begin receiving the the Gospel Advancing Weekly—a newsletter with podcasts and articles from Dare 2 Share’s youth ministry experts, youth group activity ideas, and upcoming events you don’t want to miss!

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