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More Than Fun & Games

Check out these 12 games that teach, challenge, inspire, and lead kids into deeper faith.

Together Again

Form groups of four, and have kids take off their shoes. Have groups each create the outline of a box on the floor, using their shoes.

Say: Now all four of you must stand in your shoe box for three minutes, but you can't help one another. You're on your own.

After three minutes, ask: How easy or difficult was that?

Say: Let's try the challenge again for three minutes, but this time you can help one another stay in the box.

Ask: How did helping one another compare to not helping one another? Have you ever experienced a time you needed friends' support? Tell your group about that time.

Read aloud Galatians 6:2.

Say: The Bible says that we need each other. There are times we're weak and we need each other to help carry our burdens. What kinds of burdens do kids your age have? How can you help your friends carry their burdens?

Say: A great way to help one another carry our burdens is to pray for one another. Find a partner, then write your partner's burden on your shoe. Then let's pray for one another and help carry one another's burdens.

Sharyn Spradlin

Snohomish, Washington

Doing the Impossible

Form groups of four. Give each group a bag of Hershey's Kisses. Say: Your group can eat as many Hershey's Kisses as you want -- as long as you don't use your hands to unwrap them.

Allow time. While this is a near-impossible task, applaud your kids' creativity and efforts.

Afterward, ask: Would you say this was an impossible task? Why or why not?

Read aloud Matthew 19:26.

Ask: What are things that are impossible for us to do that God can do? Is there anything that is impossible for God to do? Why or why not? What's something you're facing that seems impossible? What do you think Jesus would have you do about that "impossible" thing?

Gary Lindsay

Hudson, Massachusetts

Stressed!

Give each child a balloon to inflate and tie off. Have children each place the balloon under one of their feet.

Say: I'm going to call out things that can cause stress in your life. Maybe the thing I call out causes a little stress for you. If so, put a little pressure on your balloon. Or perhaps the thing I call out causes a lot of stress for you. If so, put a lot of pressure on your balloon. Don't release the pressure between things that I call out.

Call out things that can cause stress in a child's life, such as parents fighting, a test at school, a family move, being sick, a pet dying, too much to do, breaking a friend's toy, and so on. Continue to call out stresses kids face until the list is exhausted or the balloons are broken.

Have kids turn to a partner and discuss these questions: Which thing made you put the most pressure on your balloon? How did you feel as you pressed on your balloon? How do you feel when you're stressed in real life?

Read aloud Philippians 4:6.

Ask: How can God help us deal with the stress in our lives?

Say: Let's do what God tells us to do when we're anxious or stressed. Let's pray for one another right now.

Have kids pray with the partners they discussed the questions with earlier.

Kandi Elliott

Lansing, Illinois

Imitation

Form groups of four, and have one person from each group leave the room. Have the remaining three people in each group do an action of their choosing, such as waving their arms, jogging in place, or clapping. Ask them to continue their action and not say anything when the person from their group comes back in. Tell them the goal is to get the person who comes back in to join them in performing their action.

Once they've started their actions, have the people from each group who went outside come back in and rejoin their group. See how many of the people coming back inside the room join their group in the action they're doing. Let the groups continue their actions for a minute and then stop.

Ask: How many of you who came back into the room were influenced to do your group's action? What did you group members do that did or did not work?

Read aloud 3 John 11.

Ask: When is a time someone influenced you to do something good? Were any of their influential strategies similar to what our groups used today, such as enthusiasm?

Say: God is calling us today to become people of influence-people who influence others to do what's right, to make good choices, and to live full lives that honor Christ. If you'd like to do that today, just tell God silently that you want to be a person of influence while I pray.

Close in prayer.

Dale Hudson,

Las Vegas, Nevada

Pushed and Pulled

Form groups of four to six. Have the people in each group link arms. Then choose one person in each group to face the opposite way from the others. Then have the group travel together in the direction they're facing. The one person facing the opposite direction tries to pull the group his or her way.

Afterward, ask: How did you feel during this game? How is that like or unlike the way you feel when friends are trying to get you to go somewhere or do something you really don't want to do?

Read aloud Ephesians 4:14-16.

Say: Peer pressure is when friends -- or peers -- pressure us to do something. What does this verse say about peer pressure? How can we live out this verse in our lives this week?

Margaret Maddox

Florence, Kentucky


All Shook Up

Play this game outside because it's messy. Form groups of four, and give each group a can of a diet lemon-lime soft drink. Have groups each pass around their can as each person shares an example of something that makes them really angry-and shake the can a couple of times.

Then have each group toss the can quickly from person to person as they tell what they do when they get mad. The person who first drops the can must open it.

Ask: How was what happened to the insides of the can like or unlike what happens to our insides when we get angry?

Read aloud Ephesians 4:26.

Ask: Does this verse say it's a sin to be angry? Why or why not? What does this verse say to do with our anger? How do you think God wants us to deal with our anger the next time we're ready to blow?

Say: Let's ask God to help us with our anger.

Close in prayer.

Debbie Rowley

Santa Ana, California

Simple Math?

Have one person in your group quickly say a string of one-digit numbers while another adds the numbers in his or her head. The entire time, have other kids say random numbers aloud to distract the adding person.

Afterward, ask: How easy or hard was it to focus with all the distractions?

Read aloud Psalm 119:12. Ask: According to this verse, what does the psalmist concentrate on? What distractions do we have that keep us from doing what's right? How can concentration help us do what's right?

Scott Kinner

Loveland, Colorado

Off Balance

Form groups of four. Have one person stand on one foot in the middle of each group and try to balance as the other people in the group help the person balance. Then have the people in the group try to stop the person from balancing on one foot.

Afterward, ask: Which way was easier to balance-the first time or the second time? What did the people in the group do to help with balance? to knock the person off balance?

Say: Balance is a word people use to talk about when people are living by their priorities-by what's important. And when someone's life is balanced, they're not overdoing things in one area and neglecting other areas.

Ask: What are some ways that people lose balance? When people like parents get out of balance, what does that make you feel like? When is a time your life was out of balance? How is this experience like or unlike the things in our lives that cause us to lose balance?

Say: The best way I know to stay balanced is to live by priorities. Listen to this verse that tells us what our first two priorities should be.

Read aloud Luke 10:27.

Have kids list their top-10 priorities, with these two first. Then have partners share with one another how they can stay balanced with those priorities.

Gary Lindsay

Hudson, Massachusetts

Want-To

Form groups of four. Give one person in each group a balloon.

Say: The person with the balloon has the job of inflating, tying off, and then popping the balloon. The rest of you: Your job is to keep the person from popping the balloon. When I say "go," start! Go!

After three minutes, have everyone sit and discuss these questions: If you were able to pop your balloon, what strategy worked for you? What strategies worked for the rest of you who kept the balloons from being popped? For those of you with the task of blowing up the balloon, how much did you want to succeed but things got in your way? Explain.

Read aloud Romans 7:14-25. Say: This is a tough passage of Scripture, but Paul is saying that he wants to do right, but he keeps doing wrong. It's not that his "want-to" is broken; something stands in the way.

Ask: How is that like or unlike the game we just played?

Read aloud Romans 7:24-25. Say: If we had had helpers in this game, we might've been able to succeed. What does this verse say about the helper we have to do right in life?

Say: Let's thank God for Jesus, who helps us do right!


Close in prayer.

Gary Lindsay

Hudson, Massachusetts

Listening to God

Form groups of three. Have one person in each group close his or her eyes. Have the other two take the person at least 20 feet away from their group.

Say: You have one minute to get back to your seat with your eyes closed. Your friends in your group will guide you, but listen well.

The "blind" people can't be led by the hand; they must follow only their group members' instructions.

Play three times to let each group member have a turn being the blind one. Then ask: How easy or difficult was it to listen to your group members' voices? How did other people's instructions affect you? What techniques did you use to listen well?

Say: Listen to this story about a little boy who learned to listen well-and heard God's voice.

Read aloud 1 Samuel 3:1-11.


Ask: Think of the techniques we used in our game to listen well. How can we use some of those same techniques to listen well to God?

Danielle Bell

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Choose Life

You'll need one square of milk chocolate for half the kids and two squares of bitter chocolate for the other half of the kids. Place the squares in two separate paper bags.

Say: I have chocolate for you today, but you have to choose which kind you want. In this bag, you can have two squares and in this bag, you can have one square.

After everyone has chosen, let them taste the chocolate. Then ask: How do you feel about your choice? What other choices have you had to make this week, such as what to eat or which friend to hang out with? What choices have you ever made that were a disappointment to you?

Say: Let me tell you about a very important choice we all have to make.

Read aloud Deuteronomy 30:19.

Ask: What is this verse talking about?

Read aloud John 10:10. Ask: How can people choose the life Jesus promises?

Be available to kids after this game who may have questions related to their faith decisions.

Kandi Elliott

Lansing, Illinois

Beaten Down

Form groups of four, and have one person sit in the center of the group while the rest stand. Have the seated person try to stand while the others gently push him or her down for one minute. Play until everyone has had a chance to be in the center.

Afterward, ask: What was it like being pushed down by others? What was it like pushing your friend down? When is a time you've tried to do something and people around you pushed you down with discouragement?

Read aloud Hebrews 10:24-25.

Say: Now tell about a time some­one encouraged you and helped you do something. What are ways we can encourage one another this week?

Scott Kinner

Loveland, Colorado

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