Sometimes working with kids or teens, things don’t seem to go your way. You have a game that doesn’t work, bus doesn’t arrive on time, you don’t have much space, or the weather is bone chilling or a sweat fest. You may need to go into your back pocket, and try one of these games or contests. Youth Programs are all about fun and small moments that can make or break a child’s experience. Kids like to be engaged! The more they sit around, the more problems you will have. Staff are the same way, give them the resources to be successful. Your staff will even come up with their own games once they see how some of these games or contests are done. No one wants to go to a youth program where the kids are just sitting around.
1. I Spy I spy something __, then they guess.
2. Telephone Whisper something in one person’s ear and let that person whisper in the next person’s. Watch as it gets distorted.
3. Indian Chief One person goes away while you pick a “chief.” The chief does an action and everyone follows. They keep changing it up. Bring the person back to guess who the chief is (or who is changing it up).
4. What’s Different Pick one person and let everyone look at them. Then take them away and have them change one thing (untied shoes, no nametag, etc). and let everyone guess.
5. Who’s Missing Pick one person to leave the room (the guesser). Then let everyone re-arrange and take one more person away (to a different spot than the guesser). The guesser must try to figure out who is missing.
6. Seven Up Heads down, thumbs up. Pick seven (# varies) people up front. Let them each touch a thumb. Let everyone pick their head up again and stand if their thumb was touched. They have to guess who.
7. Simon Says Simon Says and everyone follows. If you do something that Simon didn’t say, you sit down for that round.
8. Counselor Hot Seat Let the campers ask a counselor questions.
9. Good Morning, Mr. Judge Pick one person to be the judge. The judge has his back to the group and his eyes closed. Pick other camper’s to go say “Good Morning, Mr. Judge” in funny voices. The judge must guess who said it.
10. Bop diddy bop bop Everyone is in a circle with one person in the middle. They point at someone. If they say “bop diddy bop bop,” then the other person must say “bop” before they finish or they are it. If they say “jello” they also count to 5. The people beside them must form a bowl and the middle person dances. “Elephant” makes two big ears and a trunk.
11. Flu Outbreak Everyone closes their eyes and you pick one person who has the flu. Everyone wakes up and begins walking around the room shaking hands. The flu person shakes hands, but uses their finger to rub the inside of their palm. If your hand gets rubbed, you cannot guess. You shake 2 more hands and then lay down. Everyone is trying to guess the peson who has the flu.
12. Charades Act out short things and let the others guess. Teams work great.
13. Sausage One person stands in front of the group. Pick people to ask question. The answer is ALWAYS ‘sausage.’ If they laugh/smile, they are out and the person who asked is it..
14. 7-11 Buzz You go around in a circle counting, but on the numbers 7 and 11 OR multiples of them, you say buzz. If you say 7, 11, 14, 21, 22, etc. then you are out. Go fast.
15. Continuing Story Start a funny story and point to someone to continue it…
16. Countdown Skits Make up a really short skit (10 seconds). Then count down fast or slow to see how well they can adapt it.
17. Trivia Show off your knowledge.
18. Jokes Show off your sense of humor.
19. Would you rather Make up odd things. Would you rather eat only hotdogs for your entire life or live in a pool? Take a poll with your huddle
20. Make up a new cheer This is always a great idea… share it at flagpole!
21. Chicken in the Coop Everyone holds hands to make a fence/coop. Pick a couple chickens in the middle. They close their eyes. Two people in the fence let their hands go, forming an opening. While squawking, the chickens must find their way out.
22. Honey if you love me “Honey if you love me, you’ll give me a smile.” “Honey, I love you, but I just can’t smile.” Smile? You’re it.
23. Look up, Look down Stand in a circle with everyone looking down. When you say “look up” you must look directly at someone. If you are looking at each other, scream and sit down.
24. Alphabet Relay Form two lines sitting down with your eyes closed. Tell the last two people a letter. They must write on the person in front of them’s back until it gets to the front. See if they still have it right…or let them draw it and see how off it is!
25. Crazy Line Up Line up without talking in height/alphabetical/bday order.
26. Spirit Check We’ve got spirit, yes we do, we’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you? Spirit check someone and make sure you win!!!
27. Who Knows Me Best? If you think I like the beach, make a sun. If you think I like the mountains, make a mountain. Aww, the sun is right!
28. Down by the River Down by the River, by the hanky panky… Where the bullfrog jumps from bank to banky. Singing east side, west side, east side, west side. Diddly ding dong. The person who’s hand gets hit on “dong” is out
29. Never Have I Ever Each camper puts up 3 fingers. Go around the circle saying things you’ve never done. If you have done what they say, put one finger down. Just fun to see. Examples: I’ve never flown. I’ve never been to Disney.
30. Conversation Starters Ask a question and allow the campers to talk to their neighbors. Encourage connections!
31. Everybody’s It! Partner up. One person chases the other until caught. At that point, the chaser becomes the chased. It just never ends!
32. Huddle Time Take time to create a new huddle cheer, silent cheer, dance, huddle prank, song, etc. Challenge another huddle to a spirit war!
33. Pocket Scavenger Hunt Get in teams and call out something. See which group can come up with the most… beads, toothpicks, water bottles, etc.
34. Math Hands Start with pairs. Each person puts out a certain number of fingers. The first person to add up the total correctly wins. Combine into larger groups, continue on.
35. Mingle Call out a number and have kids scramble to get in that group size. If they don’t find a group, they become cheerleaders.
36. People to People Everyone has a partner except the caller. The caller calls out things like “elbow to elbow” or “foot to shoulder” and partners have to get in that formation (adding as you go). When the caller yells, “people to people” everyone finds a new partner and the person without a partner becomes the new caller.
37. Sing a Song Boom Chicka Boom, Mama Wears Army Boots, Singing in the Rain, Boomerang, etc…
38. Captain Midnight Everyone lines up in a row. The caller stands a ways away (50 yards or so). The group yellow “Captain Midnight, what time is it?” The group steps forward for each hour. When CM yells “Midnight,” he runs after them. Everyone tagged becomes a cheerleader. 39. Electricity Two lines sitting down holding hands with their eyes closed. Two people on the end have their eyes open. Flip a coin… if heads, start squeezing. If tails, don’t. They squeeze moves down the line and the last person reaches for a ball. Whoever gets the ball first gets a point. 40. Show and Tell Bring stuff from home or found in nature. 41. Bob The Weasel The group forms a circle bobbing up and down singing “Bob, the weasel, Bob, Bob, the weasel” while moving their hands behind their back and out towards their neighbor. They pass a small pebble or coin. There is someone in the middle trying to figure out who has it! 42. Pipecleaner Animals Give each person a pipe cleaner and let them go to town. They can free form or you can name an animal and see who’s is the best. 43. Name that tune Play a kid friendly song and see who can guess. 44. Sidewalk Chalk Just easy and fun. 45. Tic Tac Toe Have a tournament where the winner moves to the left and the loser stays. 46. Hangman Use fun quotes, mission statement of the YMCA, character words, fast food restaurants, fun stuff around your camp or program. 47. Madlibs Make up a story on the spot and let them fill in the blanks. 48. Object Devotions Find an object in nature, or something you have to use as a visual for a devotion.
I hope you enjoy all 48 ideas! I have included this in the Resource Zone. Check this out for more fun ideas.