The first step in running a youth group game is choosing the game that your group will play. As I stated in the first post of this series. I’ve already created two resources that you can use to choose a youth group game.
- A Youth Group Games series on my blog which includes 11 posts with 9 games in each post for a total of 99 games.
- An iPhone App called Group Games which allows you to easily search through over 100 (and growing) games to play with your group.
Sure, it’s easy enough to find a game but how do you know that you’re choosing the right one? If you choose a game that is right for your group, then the group will have a great time with the game and they may even learn something from it. But if you choose a game that isn’t right for your group, then it’ll be no fun and achieve no goal other than to annoy everyone in your group.
So how do you choose the right game?
Well there are 7 things you need to think about when choosing a game for your group.
- Child protection
- Group size
Keep on reading to learn more about each of these 7 things.
When running a game, you need to ensure that your group is safe. This means that the game you choose needs to not endanger them in any way. Things to think about include (but are not limited to):
- The space you play in: is there adequate space for the game you want to play (i.e. don’t play soccer inside a classroom, somebody will trip on a chair and hurt themselves)
- Food allergies: if you are using any food in a game, make sure that nobody has any allergies. This can be a serious issue for some.
I could have included this under safety but I believe it is big enough to deserve it’s own section. Child protection is a vital consideration when choosing a game for two reasons.
- To keep your youth safe.
- To keep your leaders safe from accusation.
You need to make sure that the youth cannot be put in any situations in the game where they would be in a compromising situation with a leader. This involves excessive touching (tip is fine) or being in a space alone together. Both of these need to be avoided.
Your youth will then feel safe and there will be no situations when an accusation can be made about a leader. Please take child protection into consideration when choosing a game.
You need to consider what the purpose of your game is. Would you like your group to just be able to blow off some steam by running around? Or perhaps you would like to make the game into a meaningful lesson. Either way, you need to consider the purpose of the game you are looking for before you choose a game.
If you have a big group, you need to find a game which will work with a big group. If you have a small group, then you need to find a game which will work with a small group. It is not going to be fun to play a game of tip (tag) with 3 players, nor will it be fun to play a game of bang with 100 players.
Think about the size of your group when choosing a game.
How long would you like your game to go for? Are you trying to fill in time between a talk and small groups? Or are you looking for a game which will last the whole night. Know this, simple games will not entertain for a whole night. You need to consider the duration of the game you are looking for when choosing a game.
How much time can you devote to preparing for a game? Some games require no preparation whatsoever, and if you don’t have time to prepare a game, then these could be for you. But if you do have a lot of time available to prepare, then great! You can search for a game that may require a little more preparation, but that preparation is sure to pay off in the long run!
If you have a group of teenagers, they are probably not going to be entertained by duck duck goose. Likewise, a group of young children will probably not understand how to play a more complicated game like Vampire which involves many rules and complex strategy.
When you find a game, think about how suitable it will be for your group before you lock it in.
Choosing a game is the first step in preparing for running a youth group game. If you don’t get it right, then the rest of your plans don’t matter. Make sure you take the time and energy to find a game that will be right for your group.