Grass Stain: Outdoor Youth Ministry Games
Ever since I started in youth ministry in 1991, I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of youth pastors around the country and around the world. When asking them about their biggest challenge in programming for youth ministry, the answer that I get most often is coming up with creative and fun games for students to play week after week. Many of the youth workers I’ve talked to shared that they have about four or five games in their arsenal that they play over and over again all year long. They are often begging for new games and activities that they can utilize within their youth ministry.
This desire for access to more games and activities was the reason I birthed the website pastor2youth.com in 1995. It was my desire to provide youth workers with access to hundreds of games, activities, resources, and ideas—and to do so for free. It was also my desire for youth workers to be able to share their own ideas and resources with everyone else—and made a way for everyone to do so.
It is amazing that in 19 years of youth ministry, the number one challenge in programming that I hear from most youth workers has not changed—coming up with creative and fun games to play week after week. Therefore, I have created the resource that you now have before you. Included here are 20 indoor games and activities that have been tried and tested by many youth pastors and have been considered some of the most fun and most popular on my site. Each game includes clear instructions as to how to play the game, the supplies needed, and additional notes, ideas, and suggestions.
I hope that this resource will help you to have a new arsenal of games and activities to play within your youth ministry. God bless you in your ministry and may you have all kinds of new fun—enough to last you close to one entire year.
Outdoor Game #1 – Everybody’s IT Tag
This is an incredibly fun and active youth group game. It will get all of the students running and is an easy youth group game to use when you don’t want to buy any supplies or have time to set anything up. This youth group game has been one of the favorites of my teenagers in many different locations.
Outdoor Game #2 – Trash Can Dodge
This is another very active youth ministry game that is a “last person standing” style game. It can get quite wild, so beware. You simply need a space with enough room for your students to form a circle around the trash can, holding hands, and be able to rotate around right and left.
Outdoor Game #3 – Blow Cup Relay
This youth group game can be played simply for fun or could be used in a variety of different ways to be a youth group game with a point. It is a simple relay race that can be very entertaining to watch and has multiple levels of application that could be added to it. It is best played on a day with good weather and no wind.
Outdoor Game #4 – Amoeba Tag
This youth group game is a tag game that requires a lot of coordination and cooperation in order to win. It can be very funny to watch, challenging to play, and can also be used as a youth ministry game with a point.
Outdoor Game #5 – Knots
This youth group game is a bit of a puzzle game that can be done as an entire group or as a competition. It is also a youth group game with a point that can be used in conjunction with a couple of themes.
Outdoor Game #6 – Pool Noodle Joust
This youth group game can get pretty wild at times, but it is also crazy fun. This youth group activity can be played either with the entire group, as teams, as an icebreaker with just a few students, or any combination of the above.
Outdoor Game #7 – Egg on Your Face
This youth group game is best as an activity that is an icebreaker or done with only a few students. It can make a mess and if you decide to do it with the entire youth group, be prepared for a huge mess to clean up. In addition, it is important that your students know ahead of time that they will get messy playing this game, so they can dress accordingly, or you can have a set of clothes they can put on over their own clothes to get messy in.
Outdoor Game #8 – Steal the Bacon
This youth group game is quite active and can become even more active as you add more people attempting to “steal the bacon.”
Outdoor Game #9 – Bodybuilder Relay
This youth group game is great because the students think the competition is one thing, when the winning competition is actually something else, which comes as a surprise at the end.
Outdoor Game #10 – Body Part Matchup
This youth group game is a variation of a “musical chairs” style game. It is a lot of fun, and you can make it more challenging as you go along. It also tends to bring about a lot of laughter.
Outdoor Game #11 – Iced Marble Relay (with Jello variation)
This youth group game is a very fun game that causes a lot of squeals from the students as they play it. It is a unique relay race and has a variation for play—depending on what you prefer and what your group might enjoy more.
Outdoor Game #12 – Mummy Wrap Relay
This youth group game is a fun relay race that includes quickness of running, and rolling. But what makes this youth group activity even more fun is part of the running is much more difficult when the students are “mummified.”
Outdoor Game #13 – Balloon Stomp
This youth group game is a fairly active game that is a lot of fun to both play and to watch. It is a youth group activity that gets a lot of energy out and also is a great challenge to try and win.
Outdoor Game #14 – Thread the Frozen Spoon
This youth group game is a relay race of sorts and can be extremely funny to watch and to play. It takes some good coordination, and it also can cause a lot of shivers. It’s lots of fun.
Outdoor Game #15 – Frozen T-Shirt Relay
This youth group game is designed to be an icebreaker competition, with only a few students playing the game, but is still a lot of fun to watch. It seems quite simple when explaining the game, but it is not nearly as easy as it sounds.
Outdoor Game #16 – Peanut Butter Plexiglas
This youth group game is another activity that works best as an icebreaker competition with only some students participating. It is very funny to watch. I would encourage you to get volunteers who are outgoing and secure and self-confident, as this can be a little embarrassing for shy students.
Outdoor Game #17 – Sumo Wrestling
This youth group game is a wild and crazy competition. It is best done with only a couple people at a time, due to the supplies needed and the fun of watching. However, if you can get more supplies, you can do multiple competitions at the same time.
Outdoor Game #18 – Swat
This youth group game is another pool noodle game. This is a game that can increase in difficulty and fun as you move along.
Outdoor Game #19 – Turkey Bowling
This youth group game is a wonderful Thanksgiving seasonal activity but can also be hilarious and fun to play anytime of year. Make sure that all of your students wash their hands thoroughly after playing this game! This game can be played in any space with enough room that fits your group and is long enough to make a “bowling lane.” A parking lot is often the best space for this game.
Outdoor Game #20 – Run the Gantlet
This youth group game is a high-activity game that allows for a unique challenge. It is fun to watch the guys “survive” the girls’ “attacks” and to see which guy survives the longest. Both the guys and the girls tend to really love this game.