Youth group activities play a pivotal role in helping children and teens grow in their faith. While powerful sermons are important, if a person can't see the purpose behind the words, then their passion for serving others and following the pillars of the Christian faith will fall flat.
Youth leaders can change this by finding meaningful and fun church youth group activities to bring everyone closer and encourage the younger members of the church to work together for a greater cause. This list of youth ministry activities covers kids of all ages and ranges from silly to serious!
Fun Ice Breaker Youth Group Activities and Games
Sometimes building meaningful connections starts with a little silliness! These Christian youth group activities can bring shy individuals out of their shells and serve as spectacular icebreakers for big groups.
Minute-to-win-it competitions are fantastic, fast-paced youth group activities that get everyone involved, no matter your group size. Some are silly and some test their brain power, but all require teamwork and communication. Best of all, you can choose just one or you can do a handful of them back to back.
- Sensory Search: For this relay game, you will need a collection of small objects. Animals, shapes, and holiday items are a few ideas. Just pick a general theme so that the kids have a clue as to what they're guessing. Then, fill large clear bins with white rice and bury your different mini objects. Next, separate everyone into groups and line them up. Blindfold the first person and start the clock. The kids have one minute to identify as many objects as possible, before the next blindfolded player steps in. The first team to get all the objects right wins!
- Egg Race: Everyone is familiar with the spoon and egg race! This old-timey relay is popular for a reason — it's harder than it looks! Mark start and finish lines on either side of the room, divide everyone into teams, give each child an egg and a spoon, and see which team can complete the race first without dropping any eggs.
- State Game: How well does everyone know their geography? The state game tests everyone's ability to list all 50 states in one minute. This can be done individually, but when you put the kids on teams, they can combine their answers and increase their chances of winning!
- Cup Stack: In this youth group activity, kids will team up to see who can stack the highest solo cup tower without it crashing down. It seems like an easy task, but when you rush, you risk the tower falling!
- Balloon Flights: For this youth ministry activity, mark a start and finish line, divide everyone into groups, and give each person a balloon. See which team can get their balloons to the finish line by only blowing on them! Remember, if the balloon hits the ground, they have to start over.
Celebrity Match Up
This is another fun icebreaker game that creates natural conversations and allows youth members to meet others in the group. Participants will have the name of a celebrity on their back that is part of a pair, like Minnie and Mickey or Scooby-Doo and Shaggy. The intent is simple — they must first figure out who they are and then find their partner.
The only caveat is that they must only ask 'yes or no' questions. For instance, "Am I an animated character?" or "Am I in a Disney movie?" The first three matching pairs win a prize!
Before everyone arrives, youth leaders need to cut out strips of colored construction paper and write questions on each strip. These can range from 'What is your favorite animal?' to 'What is a secret skill that you have?' to 'What is something kind you have done for another person lately?'
Make sure that there's an array of questions for each color. Place the colored question strips in cups or place them in color-specific piles on a table face down. Then, snag a few bags of M&Ms or Skittles.
Once everything is set up, have everyone sit in a circle. The first person will select a piece of candy. The color they draw determines the question strip they can select. This can be a wonderful way for kids to get to know each other and find commonalities.
Would You Rather
Would You Rather is another fun youth group activity that can be used to get to know other members of the group and even as a way to sneak in bible lessons! This silly youth group activity also builds their critical thinking skills and allows them to meet people with similar interests and beliefs.
Participating in age-appropriate board games can be a fun activity for youth group members. Consider setting aside time during one gathering per month to play time-tested traditional or religious-themed board games. Christian board game options include Bibleopoly, Outburst Bible Edition, and Proverbial Wisdom Bible Edition.
Another great game for groups is Giant Jenga Bible trivia! Split the kids into teams and then have each child answer a bible trivia question. If they get it right, then they get to pull a block off the tower. If they get it wrong, they go to the back of the line. If the tower falls, the team loses.
Fellowship Youth Group Activity Ideas to Increase Camaraderie
Fellowship is a favorite activity, especially for new members who don't know everyone. The following activities can help youth group members get to know each other better and further build relationships.
These dinners require the members involved to visit each others' homes for a specific course of a meal. This activity will require parents or chaperones to be involved to assist with transportation. Each participant makes one course of the meal or provides a form of entertainment.
This activity gets everyone involved, from the youth ministry leader to the parents and other members of each family. Plan to spend 20 minutes to a half-hour at each person's home.
A to Z
Assigned teams have to find an item that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet. This game works well outdoors in warm weather because the teams can get creative in finding their items. As each team discovers an item, they have to get it approved by a youth leader. This game gets more difficult as the end of the alphabet approaches. The team that finishes the alphabet first or can find the most corresponding items wins.
Divide youth members into teams and give each group a list of items that they need to find. Be sure the list contains things they can reasonably find on the grounds of the church or in their own homes. Offer a prize to the first team that successfully collects all the items on the scavenger hunt list.
Related: Blank Scavenger Hunt Sheets
Prayer Power Hour
Life isn't always butterflies and rainbows. Sometimes it's downright hard, but having people to lean on and a strong faith in God can make these times easier. For well-established youth groups, having a prayer power hour is a meaningful activity.
To do this, first have everyone submit prayer requests anonymously by writing them down on a blank sheet of paper, folding them up, and mixing them in a bowl. Once everyone has submitted their requests, discuss them, brainstorm possible ways to help, and then pray!
Bible-Themed Youth Group Activities for Teens
Youth groups are, after all, focused on the church and should include some Christian activities. When looking for something spiritual but not dull, consider playing a Bible game to get kids focused and excited about learning.
Chapter and Verse
Give your youth group members a chapter in the Bible to memorize. Designate a set number of minutes to see how many verses they can commit to memory. The person who can memorize the most Bible verses in the set amount of time wins. You can also play this as a team — the group who can memorize the most verses wins the game!
Memorization and teens don't always mix well because the activity reminds them of school. This makes prizes a great incentive. These can include candy, $5 gift cards, pop-it games, pens, or slime cups.
Bible Quiz Master
Give each team the same passages to read and learn about. Separate the teams to study. After a set amount of time, they will meet again and sit at separate tables. Then, youth leaders will ask the teams a set number of questions about the chapter they have studied. The team that answers the most questions correctly wins.
They can respond to the questions by raising their hand or by using a bell. The team who signals first is allowed to answer first, but if they are wrong, the second team who has their hand raised (or rings the bell) gets to answer, and so on. The team that answers the most questions correctly, wins.
Divide members into groups. Give each group a specific section of scripture to analyze. Have each group lead a discussion about the scripture and what it means. Then, the youth group leader can provide feedback to each group individually, recognizing participants for their unique contributions to the discussion.
Meaningful Youth Group Activities That Share a Faithful Message
Sometimes the most important activities for your youth group are the ones that convey messages of kindness, love, and compassion. These youth group activities can allow you to talk about the meaning of our actions and why it's so important to take moments to think of others.
In God We Trust
Not only must we trust in God, but it's important to trust in one another. This activity will teach teens how to trust their friends and neighbors.
- Cones and other obstacles
- Large space
Before playing the game, create an obstacle course using cones, pool noodles, and other soft materials. Then, follow these instructions:
- Create multiple groups of 3-4 teens.
- Blindfold one teen.
- Spin the blindfolded teen.
- Using their hands and verbal commands, the group will lead the blindfolded teen through the course.
- The blindfolded teen must follow the commands to try to make it through the course first.
- After the course is completed introduce the verse Psalm 56:3: "When I was afraid, I put my trust in you." Then, have the youth explore together how they had to put their trust in one another.
Kindness Is Key
During the teen years, it's vitally important to think about being kind to one another. This activity will have youth thinking about ways to be kind to friends and strangers.
What You Need
- Writing utensils
- Slips of paper
- Hat or bag
How It's Done
Introduce the verse Ephesians 4:32 and talk about ways that we can be kind to one another. Allow teens to offer different suggestions. Then, follow these simple steps:
- Hand out the slips of paper.
- Have each person write their name on the paper.
- Put the slips of paper in a bag or hat.
- Have teens draw a name. They should keep it secret.
- Choose someone randomly to start.
- They should say something descriptively nice about the person whose name they have drawn, without blatantly giving away the identity of the person.
- Have the teens guess the identity of the person.
- The person to guess right goes next. Continue until everyone has gone.
- When the game is done, talk about how the activity made them feel.
Love Is All You Need
Another important message that should be reinforced to youth is the significance of love and compassion. This activity can go along with several verses like 1 Peter 4:8.
- Create groups of 5 or 6.
- Have each group develop a short skit that shows an act of love or compassion and then act it out. For example, they might act out the scenario of forgiving a friend who lied or giving food to a homeless person.
- After each skit, talk as a group about the importance of love and compassion and why the teens chose that specific act for their skit.
Love Thy Neighbor
This can be another great kindness-themed youth group activity! There are tons of people in need in every community, and bags for people who are unhomed can be a simple way to ensure that these individuals have the basic necessities.
To complete this project, ask kids in your youth group to sign up to bring one item for the bags. Possible supplies include rolls of toilet paper, paper grocery bags, water bottles, unscented baby wipes, individually packaged snacks, or large socks. Once all the supplies have been gathered, assemble bags to keep in parents' cars to hand out when they see someone in need.
While assembling the bags, take a moment to discuss the importance of loving thy neighbor and brainstorm other simple ways that youth members could give back in their free time.
Pay It Forward Park Edition
Another spectacular show of kindness is to upgrade other children's park experiences. Ask youth group members to all head to their local dollar store and purchase non-toxic bubbles, sandcastle-building supplies, balls of various sizes, and small cars and trucks. Then, spend a youth group session crafting small "Enjoy Me!" tags and distributing them in area parks. This can enhance outdoor experiences and bring joy to others in unexpected ways!
For all the ideas on this list that involve collecting items to share with community members, consider asking church leaders to ask church members to donate. This can cut back on costs and get the entire congregation involved in the initiative.
Regularly Change Up Youth Group Activities
With so many available activity options, there's no reason to do the same things week after week. Help young youth group participants stay engaged and involved by providing a variety of age-appropriate faith-based activities on an ongoing basis.