Planning youth group games requires a high level of creativity at the best of times, but as the pandemic continues and our youth groups are in various states of meeting online or in person, it’s important to ensure teens can still feel safe and have fun.
Youth will likely require encouragement to maintain a safe distance and need guidelines for how close they should sit or stand together. While this is relatively simple to achieve when people are sitting down, it gets harder when it comes to less structured time.
Here are six old-school youth group games that naturally lend themselves to social distancing.
A great icebreaker game with no prep – and once people have spread out, they don’t move from their place. You can find the instructions here. Things to look out for: it could be helpful to have markers on the ground showing where people should stand to ensure they don’t shift around during play.
Another fan favourite that you can play with just a set of cards. This game is all about the intrigue and discussion, rather than running around. You can find the instructions here.
Things to look out for: make sure you have a plan to clean the cards after they have been used, or in between rounds. We recommend having several decks of cards, so you can easily swap them out.
Some may be concerned that games like mafia promote lying and deceit among young people. When explaining the rules, leaders should take time to emphasize the fictional nature of the role playing game and also encourage truth and honesty in all areas of the Christian life. If people in your church feel uneasy about a game like this, the most loving thing to do is choose another game.
3. Life-size foosball
All you need for this is a soccer ball and two ropes with notches. Split your groups into teams and have them try to play a normal game of soccer, while only able to move backwards and forwards. If the ball goes behind the ropes, or reaches a certain point, it can count as a goal. You will need one leader to bring the ball back when it goes out of bounds.
Things to look out for: this has a bit more movement, so make sure you are keeping an eye on how people are using the rope.
4. DIY mini putt-putt golf
Set up your own putt-putt obstacle course and let the fun begin.
Things to look out for: make sure you have enough equipment so that each student can use their own, or have systems in place to clean it as you go. It could also be helpful to have markers where youth can line up safely.
Anybody can create a Kahoot game, or select one that’s already on the website and the youth can all play remotely or in person, competing for points.
6. Pictionary with whiteboards
Just a few whiteboards allows the visuals to be larger and easy to see, so there’s no requirement to bend over a piece of paper. It also means the game will work for
a larger group.
Things to look out for: make sure each individual player can have their own whiteboardmarker and consider wiping down the board between each round.
There are also helpful resources for all areas of youth ministry available on the Youthworks website.