I found some old notes from my days as a student and teachers assistant at Grace College and CE National’s National Institute Youth Ministry major.
What are the Benefits of Playing Games?
- Build Community
- Get people acquainted
- Burn off excess energy (and then it helps students focus)
- Strengthen teamwork and cooperation
- Create a welcoming, positive atmosphere
Why Do Some Youth Leaders Not Use Games In Their Ministry?
- Games can foster too much competition (Competition is not bad, but needs monitored)
- They forget the needs of students (youth meetings need to be planned for teens, not 40 year olds)
- They personally don’t like playing games—they would rather watch than participate
- They don’t understand there are various Learning Styles:
Things to Consider when Playing Games:
Questions About Safety
§ See Play It Safe by Jack Crabtree
§ Is there enough supervision?
§ Are there sharp objects in the area?
§ Is there any broken equipment?
§ Is the playing surface wet, clean, slippery…?
§ Is it acceptable to have older/younger or bigger/smaller students in the same game?
§ Is the game appropriate for the size of the group and the space provided for the game?
§ Do you have first aid kit?
§ Do you have a plan for a “worst-case scenario”?
§ Be aware of any games where things are thrown or when water involved
§ A Word about “Chubby Bunnies” and Bananas and 7-Up…don’t kill anyone
Choose Teams Carefully
· Not all the strongest or fastest or biggest on the same team
· Try not to name the teams as “1” and “2”
How to Start a Game
§ Be enthusiastic
§ Have all of the needed equipment ready
Give Good Instructions for the Game
· Get everyone’s attention
· Explain the rules as simply, clearly, and quickly as possible
· The number one rule: try not to have too many rules
· Speak loudly when giving instructions
Before Starting the Game, Consider:
§ Using a small group to demonstrate the game
§ Playing a practice round or two
§ Is there adequate supervision
A Truth Learned Over Time:
Stop the Game while it is still phone and leave them wanting more for next time
Gaming information gleaned from:
The Game Trunk! Bible Games for Elementary Kids. Susan E. Harper
The Game Box! Bible Games for Preschool Kids. Susan E. Harper
Instant Games for Children’s Ministry. Susan Lingo. Group Publishing
Play It! Wayne Rice and Mike Yaconelli. Youth Specialties