Youth Ministry Ideas or Resources During COVID?

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Hello, I am a member of River Park CRC in Calgary, Alberta (Canada). During COVID we have been unable to have our regular Youth activities and have not been effective in reaching out to our Youth. I am wondering if you can point me to "COVID-friendly" ideas or resources for Youth Ministry.

Thanks!

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I drive a 14-year-old to youth group, so I see a little of their activities.

These days, there is always a Zoom link to the physical youth group meeting.

This group does quite a lot of preaching/teaching on topics that concern youth.  There was one about the use of media and applications.  I am sure there is plenty of room for feedback and questions.

Last week, for fun, I suppose, they did something with Kahoot, whatever that is.  My youngster said they use that in school, also.

I suppose a photo rally is conceivable in Covid times.

Do you have a Facebook or other group?  Here there is one for announcements and another for conversations, to share questions and photos and prayer requests and videos throughout the week.  At the moment there are a good handful of young adults who participate in keeping the group interesting.

Best wishes for your young people.  May they see themselves as the servants of Christ and the future of the church.

Admin

Jumping in on this one! The article COVID-19 and Youth Ministry includes helpful resource links for youth leaders and others who minister to teens during the coronavirus pandemic. And here is a Coronavirus Challenge and Photo Scavenger Hunt for Youth

I'll keep brainstorming. Thanks for the good question! 

Back when Advent started, one of our volunteers put together take-home Advent wreath boxes for families to light during the holiday season. Depending on what your restrictions look like, you might be able to put materials or activity ideas in boxes for home use.

There are companies, like Orange Kids Media, where you can buy access to videos and resources that you could post on your website for the kids to watch at home as well. They have different programs for different age groups, like one for Pre-K, one for kids, and one for teens.

I'm not a youth anymore, but my friends and I have been engaging in weekly game nights online. You might be able to find different online games that you could play together online by streaming through Zoom or Discord.

 

A few weeks ago I put this list of COVID-friendly youth games for the youth leaders in my classis.  The subheadings are not quite as clear in this cut-and-paste version, but the info is there. Hope this helps!  

 

Non-Contact Youth Group Games

 

I found this list of general guidelines.  It seems to be a good place to start when trying to find or adapt games.  The games listed below may or may not fully adhere to this list, and it is up to your discretion to use or adapt these games. (from https://youthgroupgames.com.au/collection/non-contact-youth-group-games/)

Avoid games involving physical contact

Avoid games involving high movement

Avoid games involving food

Mark out social distance spacing on the floor

Keep kids distanced using objects like tables and chairs (or duct-taping pool noodles to them)

For circle games, spread the chairs out to maintain social distance

Clean surfaces and equipment regularly

Ensure kids wash hands at regular intervals

 

CIRCLE GAMES

Mind Stopper

Form a circle. In the middle stands the person who is "It." She quickly points to someone in the

circle and says, "This is my toe." At the same time she points to her chin with her other hand.

The person pointed to must grab his toe and say, "This is my chin" before "It" counts to five. If

the person pointed to goofs or doesn't make it by five, he becomes "It."

 

Buzz

 

This is a good indoor game. Players sit in a circle and begin counting around the circle from one to 100. Whenever someone comes to a number containing seven or a multiple of seven, he or she says "Buzz." (Example: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, BUZZ, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, BUZZ, 15, 16, BUZZ, 18, 19, etc.) Anyone who makes a mistake or pauses longer than an agreed upon number of seconds is out.

 

Make the game easier for younger kids by using the number five and multiples of five, and saying "Fizz" instead of "Buzz." To complicate things, play a combination of Buzz/Fizz, using sevens and fives and their multiples.

 

Zip Zap Bong!

For the most fun play this game with at least eight people, but you can play with any number of students. Have everyone stand in a circle. Tell the group that the word zip should be passed verbally in a clockwise motion around the circle, while the word zap moves counterclockwise. And when the word bong is said, the direction of play is reversed.

One person starts the game by saying "Zip" and "Zap" to the appropriate people next to him in the circle. Those people must respond properly or they're out and should sit down in the circle. Continue playing until only two people are left.

Thirteen

Starting with one person in the circle, everyone says a number 1-13. Whoever says 13 gets to make up a rule. Which is only limited by creativity, such as the following: 2 and 7 switch, instead of saying “3” you say “bark,” do a burpee for #10 and on and on, 9 is change directions. If someone goes out of turn or forgets, they are eliminated. It is a great memory game.

Telephone Pictionary

Summary: Similar to the game of telephone, except with using pictures and phrases! See how distorted the flip books become as each person goes through it.

Goal: To interpret the pictures and phrases as accurately as possible.

Preparation:

– Making Paper Booklets: Take 8 x 11” pieces of paper (portrait). Fold and cut the pieces of paper in half horizontally, so that they will be 8 x 5.5″. Then, give each person 5 pieces of paper. Have them fold the paper in half vertically (4 x 5.5″) and make paper booklets. Staple the pieces of paper at its book spine.

– A pen for each participant

– Chairs and a table which people can sit around

How to Play the Telephone Pictionary game:

1. Ask everyone to sit in a chair around the table. Once everyone has been given a paper booklet and pen, you can explain the game. Each person is to write a short familiar phrase or sentence on the cover of the booklet, for example: “I believe I can fly” or “Rock paper scissors”. Give everyone one minute to write a phrase down. Next, tell everyone to pass their booklet to the person to their right.

2. Each person will read the phrase on the cover of their new booklet, flip the cover page, and draw a picture of their interpretation on the right side of the booklet. Give everyone one minute to draw a picture of the phrase. Then tell everyone to pass their booklet to the person to their right, with their picture open and visible.

3. Next, the person will look only at the picture that the person to their left has drawn. In their new booklet, tell them to flip the page, and draw a short phrase that interprets the picture (on the right side of the booklet). Give everyone one minute to write a phrase down.

4. Continue this pattern of drawing pictures and writing phrases until each person receives their own booklet back. Then, have each person go through their own booklets and showcase each page in front of the group.

Variation for Large Groups:

1. Split everyone up into teams of 7-10 players and ask each team to sit around a table. Give every team a booklet and a pen.

2. Announce an initial phrase for the first person to write on the cover. Then, have the first person flip the cover and draw a picture of their interpretation on the right side booklet (complete steps 2-3).

3. Once the booklet reaches the original person, you’ll be the judge on whose booklet is “the most accurate” OR “the most creative” (your choice) to the original phrase.

Initial Phrases:

– “I believe I can fly”

– “Show me the money”

– “Gone go fishing”

– “Life is like a box of chocolates”

– “I’ll be watching you.”

– “Three blind mice”

– “E.T. phone home”

– “I’m the king of the world”

 

Fishbowl

Summary: Fun-filled word and memory game- Charades, Taboo and Password combined! Little preparation required.

Goal: The team with the most points wins the game.

Preparation:

– Pens

– Paper (3 pieces of paper for each person playing)

– A container to hold the pieces of paper

– Timer

How to Play Fishbowl:

1. Separate everyone into two equal teams (Team A and Team B). Have each person take three pieces of paper and write any word or familiar short phrase on each piece of paper. Have each person fold their pieces of paper in half and put them into the container. There are three rounds in Fishbowl: 1) Taboo 2) Password 3) Charades.

2. Round 1: Taboo

Team A needs to select someone to go first, while Team B needs a volunteer to watch the timer (set at one minute). The person from Team A will grab a piece of paper from the container and try to have his/her teammates guess the word on the paper using only use words and sentences as hints, without using any motions, “sounds like…”, or spelling hints. (For example, if the word is “ribs”, the person can say “baby back ___”). The person tries to have their team guess as many words as they can within one minute. The teams will need to remember the guessed words/phrases for subsequent rounds.

If the team is unable to guess the word/phrase, the person has the option to “pass”, puts the word/phrase back into the container and continues with a new word/phrase. The person can only pass once during his/her one minute.

After one minute, Team A counts the number of successfully guessed words/phrases. Each guessed word/phrase counts as one point. Team B is next, and selects a volunteer from their team to start. A person from Team A will watch the timer, to be set at one minute. This alternating process continues until all of the words from the container run out. When the words run out, place all the words/phrases back into the container for the second round.

3. Round 2: Password

With the same style as the first round, the next team will select someone to go first, with the other team sets the timer for one minute. However, in this round, the person can use only one word as a hint for their team to guess. (For example, if the word is “ribs”, the person can say the word “bone”). The team needs to recall the words/phrases in the previous round. Once all the words in the container runs out, place all the words back into the container for the third round.

4. Round 3: Charades

In this final round, the person needs to act and use motions as hints for their team to guess the word/phrase. (For example, if the word is “ribs”, the person can point to their rib cage). When all the words run out, tally all the points. The team with the most points wins the game.

 

How's Yours?

Here's a simple living room game that's good for a lot of laughs. Everyone gathers in a circle while one person is sent out of the room. The group then chooses a noun (such as shoe or job). When the person comes back into the room he must ask "How's yours?" Each person he asks must then answer with an adjective that describes the noun chosen by the group. "It" must guess after each response and continue around the circle until he can guess the noun chosen. The last person to give an adjective before "It" guesses the correct noun becomes the next "It."

 

WRITING GAMES

Animal Rummy

 

Here's an enjoyable game if you don't want much physical activity, but still want to have some fun. Give everybody a piece of paper and a pencil. Then have each person write someone's name at the top of a sheet of paper, each letter to head up a column. Everyone should use the same name.

 

The leader now calls "Animal" and each player writes the names of as many animals as he or she can in each column-the animal names must begin with the letter heading that particular column. Set a time limit of about two minutes or so. Then the leader should ask for all the animals listed in each column and make a master list. Players receive points for each animal they have listed on their own sheet, plus each animal is given a bonus point value based on the number of players who did not have that particular animal listed.

 

This game can also be played with flowers, vegetables, trees, cities, or any other category you can think of. It's a lot of fun.

 

TALK IT OUT GAMES

Desert Island

Announce, 'You've been exiled to a deserted island for a year. In addition to the

essentials, you may take one piece of music, one book (which is not the Bible) and

one luxury item you can carry with you i.e. not a boat to leave the island! What

would you take and why?'

Allow a few minutes for the young people to draw up their list of three items, before

sharing their choices with the rest of the group. As with most icebreakers and

relationship building activities, it's good for the group leaders to join in too!

 

Tall stories

The leader starts a story with a sentence that ends in SUDDENLY. The next person

then has to add to the story with his own sentence that ends in SUDDENLY. Continue

the story until everyone has contributed. The story becomes crazier as each young

person adds their sentence. Tape it and play it back. For example; 'Yesterday I went

to the zoo and was passing the elephant enclosure when SUDDENLY.....'

 

 

STROBE LIGHT CHARADES GAMES

Strobe Light Charades

So, yes, you’ll need a strobe light.  You can order one on Amazon for $25-30.  Other than that, it’s a regular old game of charades.  But in the dark. Also, this game has a strobe light.  Added bonus to this game: you’ll own a strobe light.  This is such an awesome game idea, it needed its own heading.

 

OUTDOOR (or large space) GAMES

 

Manhunt

 

                Check out the rules here: https://www.instructables.com/Manhunt/

 

Fireball

 

A great gym game. Hula hoops (or similarly taped boundaries), bowling pins (or small pilons, or maybe even plastic cups), and balls are required.  Check it out here: http://greatcampgames.ca/ball-games/fireball/

 

Games using online resources

Scribbl.io  -  an online drawing and guessing game.  Can be used over Zoom calls

Kahoot –  set up a trivia night.  Participants use their cell phone for real time responses.  Can be done in person or over Zoom.

Spotify, Google Assistant (and I assume Siri) have various games, including “Name That Tune.”  How well do your teens know their 80’s music?  Grab a cell phone, a Bluetooth speaker.  Break up the group into teams, and go!

 

 

LEADERSHIP GAMES

Training Wheels is a great online resource for all things leadership training.  A few weeks back they blogged (and vlogged too, I guess) about some great social distance friendly leadership games.  Check it out here: https://training-wheels.com/category/tips-for-trainers/

 

OnTeamBuilding – Another great leadership resource!  Some notable podcasts that showcase distancing leadership games:

https://www.onteambuilding.com/askshownotes/19-team-builders-what-have-y...

https://www.onteambuilding.com/askshownotes/20-do-you-have-any-additiona...

 

OTHER RESOURCES

https://youthgroupgames.com.au/collection/non-contact-youth-group-games/

http://greatcampgames.ca/group-games-for-social-distancing/

https://youthministry360.com/blogs/all/socially-distant-games

https://stuffyoucanuse.org/7-tips-for-social-distancing-in-youth-ministry/