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Let the Games Begin!

Mary J. Davis

Use these "everyone-wins" games and activities at any event you plan this fall. As children play together, they'll discover new things about one another -- and they'll have a blast! You'll build unity in your group, and kids will clamor for the next event when you use these 10 new ideas.

RUG-WEAVING RELAY
Ages 6 and Up

Form groups of four or more. Give each group a roll of bathroom tissue. To weave the rug, groups lay out four 6-foot rows of tissue. Then they must weave four 6-foot rows across the first rows. Tell groups to weave their rugs tightly so the rugs will be sturdy. Once the rugs are finished, have groups raise their rugs and hold them in the air.

HUMAN-SCARECROWS GAME
Ages 8 and Up

Form groups of four. Give each group paper bags, newspapers, scissors, and tape. Have each group choose a person to "turn" into a scarecrow. Allow 15 minutes for each group to cut and tape the scarecrow outfit onto its person.

Take pictures of all the scarecrows. As a prize, give each person a piece of Tongue Splashers bubble gum to "paint" their tongues different colors. Tongue Splashers are available for $1.99 for 15 pieces. Order from Pop 'N Stuff Flavor Emporium at www.popnstuff.com or call 800-735-5440.

CORNSTALK HOCKEY
Ages 8 and Up

Form two teams. Give each teammate a cornstalk, broomstick, or tree branch to use as a hockey stick. Use a newspaper-stuffed paper lunch sack as a hockey puck. You'll need several of these since the game action will shred them quickly. Set a trash can on its side at each end of the play area to use as goals. The object of this game is for each team to get the puck into its team's goal.

HAYRIDE GAME
Ages 7 and Up

Everyone takes a turn in this game. Have each person use the first letter of his or her name as the starting letter of each word in a sentence of four or more words. For example, Rhonda may say, "Rhonda runs road-rat races." Bill may say, "Bill beats bats but barely beats bulls." The sentences can be silly, but must make some sense. For added fun, play the game with the starting letters of people's last names.

HARVEST-STEW SNACK
All Ages

To celebrate God's faithfulness at harvest time, ask each child to bring an ingredient for a Harvest-Stew snack. Kids might bring popped popcorn, peanuts, raisins, small chocolate candies, or pretzels. Mix all the ingredients in a large clean container, such as a plastic barrel or bucket. Drizzle melted butter over the snack and sprinkle it with cinnamon. Serve in paper cups. Provide plastic sandwich bags for children to take home any leftovers. (This same concept can be used for punch with everyone bringing a different juice.)

TEAM BINGO
Ages 4 and Up

Form teams of equal size. Then ask the questions in the list below (you may need to add more questions depending on children's responses). If children can answer yes to any question, have them stand up. Children can stand for only one question. When all the team members on a team are standing, the team yells, "Bingo!"

The questions:
• Are you wearing braces?
• Do you have a barrette in your hair?
• Are you wearing shoes without shoelaces?
• Did you eat breakfast this morning?
• Did you make your bed today?

CATERPILLAR RELAY
Ages 5 and Up

Form teams of three or more, and have each team stand in a single-file line. Give each team a roll of bathroom tissue. Have teammates wrap the tissue around the first person in line, then pass and wrap the tissue around the next person in line. Continue until everyone on the team is wrapped, then wrap the tissue around the entire team to bind the team together.

Once the caterpillars are formed, have teams race to a specified spot. Each team must complete the race as a unified group or start over.

HARVESTING GAME
Ages 7 and Up

Form teams of 10. Have teammates stand side by side in their team's line. Give everyone a 24-inch piece of yarn or string. Have teammates tie their ankles to each other. If children are wearing lace-up shoes, they can tie their shoelaces together. Once each team is tied together, have the team walk together to a specified goal line.

PROGRESSIVE BANQUET
Ages 6 and Up

For this fun meal, ask church families to prepare and serve a different part of a meal at their homes or in different rooms of your church.

Have children meet at your church around 4:30 p.m. Then load the kids in vans or your church bus with plenty of adult supervision. Have your group travel together or split into smaller groups and travel to different areas at the same time.

Food Stops:
1. Drinks and appetizers-This can be as simple as cheese and crackers or raw veggies and dip.
2. Salad-Serve fruit or tossed salad with ice water.
3. Main course-Serve child friendly fare such as sandwiches and chips or pizza. Have plenty of soft drinks.
4. Dessert-Kids can make their own ice cream sundaes.

For added fun at each stop, have the children perform for their hosts, using these performance ideas.
Stop 1: Kids sing "Amazing Grace."
Stop 2: On the front lawn, kids build a giant pyramid with their bodies.
Stop 3: Kids sing "Jesus Loves Me"-backward!
Stop 4: Kids each tell one thing that God has done in their lives (guests can be exempt from this one).

SCAVENGER HUNT FOR CHARITY
Ages 8 and Up

Form teams of four kids and one adult. Have teams go to homes in the church neighborhood or go in vans to church members' homes. Each team must collect only one food item at each stop. Once all the items are collected, teams meet back at your church. Then donate all the food to a local charity.

The food list per team member:
• one can of vegetables,
• one can of fruit,
• one can of soup,
• one cake mix, and
• one box of cereal or other breakfast item.

Mary J. Davis has worked in Christian education for more than 30 years and lives in Montrose, Iowa.

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