Color Wars: A Youth Group Take

Color Wars: A Youth Group Take

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Add “color run” style color throws to your next youth event!

Ever been to or seen ads for Color Me Rad or one of the many Color (insert random word here) events, and thought, “Wow! That would be an awesome youth event!” I did and then googled the cost of doing said event and realized that my entire year’s youth budget wouldn’t suffice to pull it off!  However, after months of research, trial and error, we were able to pull this off and stay in budget for our annual big event!

The Important Prep:

  1. You need to have a fairly large outside area that is not near or can be cleared of parked cars. Imagine all your choir members turning on their A/C and being covered in colored dust… yeah.  Clear the cars.
  2. Have a meeting with your pastor/maintenance guy/trustees and ensure them that you have it on good authority that the residue left over after said event will
  3. (This is optional, but it makes for a great souvenir of your event) Purchase a bunch of white t-shirts and have them screen printed in black with your youth logo or event name and pass them out with the cost of admission.

Game Play

The game works like this. Divide your group into two equalish teams. The game is played in three rounds, utilizing two different colors for each team each round.  For instance, round one Team A was assigned Red and Team B was assigned Blue. The goal get as much of your color on to the opposing team as possible. Rounds two and three continue the same assigning contrasting colors each round. Each round last as long as the color holds out. Let the air clear a little, have volunteers set out the next boxes of color and start again. At the end of the day you will have lots of very colorful kids that have had an amazing time pelting their friends with color.

More Logistical Crud

– store your color in boxes lined with garbage bags to keep it dry (

– Guard your color stash prior to the event, lest a misguided Middle School boy were to unleash his fury on the entire unarmed crowd.

– Pre-game have your volunteers set out the predesignated boxes of color on opposite ends of the field.

– On “GO” Get out of the way and let the malay commence, students grab handfuls of colored powder and set out to pummel their peers.

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– We decided it was a good idea to purchase inexpensive safety goggles and paper masks to cover students faces and noses to guard against anyone inadvertently swallowing a mouthful.

The Recipe

Here is the recipe that we used. You can modify the ratios up or down depending on how dark you want the colors.

1lb of tempera powdered paint
3lb of cornstarch

Mix thoroughly

Note: if you are doing a large quantity, I recommend a giant plastic tub and a drill with a long paint mixer attachment. Also, you definetly want to do the mixing outside, as it produces a lot of dust. (“Funny” story about how I didn’t do this).

Helpful Links and Information



Tempera Powder

Corn Starch

Bulk cornstarch can be purchased at Sams Club and most any restaurant supply company.



7 Responses

  1. “Have a meeting with your pastor/maintenance guy/trustees and ensure them that you have it on good authority that the residue left over after said event will…”?

    We suspect that the end of this sentence is as useless as the entire exercise.
    Youth activity of any ‘games’ seems counterproductive in perpetuation of Christianity.

    1. MikeWon,
      Thank you for your well thought out comment…..
      I apologize for the incomplete sentence. The remainder of the sentence should read “…… come out with water”

  2. Followed your lead last year at retreat. Slight difference is we put a small handful (of each of 12 colors) of the powdered paint into cheap snack size baggies. Students would then grab a bag and run around and hit multiple people instead of just throwing whole handful on one person. We also did guys against girls. It was a great game and went fast. Students loved it.

  3. Bill,
    I applaud your grace and restraint in your response above… Anyways, thank you for the great idea as well as sharing the links for all the materials. I know from personal experience that planning exciting, engaging events for youth takes a lot of brain storming and hard work but you have definitely come up with a gem here. In my area color runs are a big thing and I never even thought about adapting the idea to become a youth event before. That being said, I will definitely be putting this on my youth calender next year. About how much did this event cost to pull off? Also, how much did you charge for cost of admission?

  4. Important prep item #2: I “have it on good authority that the residue left over after said event will…” will what?! the suspense is killing me. This looks great and am looking to use this over the summer.

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