by Jared Massey/ June 2, 2016
Games and play can serve so many purposes in a children’s ministry setting. They can be used as a time-filler when the main service goes long, they can reinforce a lesson, or be just for fun. It’s a good idea to keep a few games ready at all times, just in case.
The Karate Game: Time Filler
Supplies Needed: none
This game has many names, Ninja, Power Rangers, and others, but the rules are generally the same. After forming a circle, the students bow to each other and assume a fighting position. On their turn, they can do one move to try and strike the hand of an opponent. If they touch the opponent’s hand, that person is out. If they miss, they just freeze and wait for their next turn. Their opponent may attempt to move out of the way. Just continue around the circle until only one player is left standing.
When we play this, we’ve learned to force the kids to keep their hands out in front. This keeps the hands away from awkward areas and also keeps them from putting their hands behind their back, which is awkward, but also lessens the fun of the game. This game is easy to play on the spot and can be played many times, so it makes for the perfect game when the main service goes long.
Angry Birds : Review Game
Supplies Needed: building materials, plush Angry Bird
While there are some awesome and elaborate versions of this out there, because of our space and budget limitations, we have a smaller version. We have purchased a few sets of these cardboard bricks. There are many varieties out there, so find the ones that are right for you. When a kid correctly answers a review question, they are given a plush Angry Bird and get to throw it at the structure, attempting to knock down as many green pigs as possible. We currently just use green dixie cups with faces drawn on them as the pigs, but I’m hoping to upgrade that. Another upgrade possibility is adding an actual slingshot, but our space is pretty small, so we have stayed away from that.
Tic Tac Toe Relay : Just for Fun
Supplies Needed: beanbags, something like masking tape to make a 3’x 3’ game board
Here’s a fun game that our kids have really started liking. We cannot play this in our regular space, but now that the weather is nice, we’ve been able to do it outdoors a few times. We set up a 3’x 3’ game board a distance away from the kids, who have been divided into two teams. Each team is given three beanbags in their team color. At the start, one player runs to the game board and drops the beanbag in any square, then runs back and tags their teammate who repeats the process. Once a team has placed all three of their beanbags, they can move any of their color bags to another space. The game ends when one team has three in a row.
When it comes to games, I’ve learned it’s often beneficial to opt for simplicity, especially when working with children. These three games have served us well time and again and all require very minimal instruction, so newbies can jump in pretty quickly.