It’s Saturday night and when you wake up in the morning you will have a room of teenagers whose attention it is yours to capture. Thankfully you have two thirds of your Sunday school lesson done. Now it’s just a matter of thinking of the beginning ice-breaker and you can brush your teeth and call it a night. Why are you suddenly drawing a blank?
The next time you find yourself in this situation, consider these low-prep activities, listed in order of intensity.
1. Pass the Face
Very much like the game Telephone, in this version students are not passing words, but facial expressions. Have students form a circle. Choose someone to make a silly, hard to copy facial expression (Note: This may need to be you the first time around). The first person looks to their right and the next person copies and so on. If you laugh while trying to pass the face, you are out. If you hesitate, you are out. See how many times you can make it around the circle until there is a single stoic victor!
2. M&M’s for the Win.
Step one: before you leave your house, grab a bowl or plastic bag. Next, stop by a gas station on your way to church. Buy some M&M candies. You want enough for each student to have between 3-5 M&Ms. Pour the candy into the bowl/bag. When you are ready to start, pass them around and instruct student to take a very small handful. Tell them not to eat them yet. If you have a marker, write this down where students can see it. (If no marker is handy, be prepared to repeat yourself):
Blue = hobbies
Red = school
Brown = random/you choose
Yellow = family
Green = If I weren’t a student I would be______ (e.g. an astronaut, a circus performer, an underwater landscaper, etc.)
Explain that each M&M represents a fact about your life from this category. Go around the room color by color and see what you can learn!
3. Noodle Joust
This is the most intense game in terms of preparation and silliness.
Step one: before you call it a night, go purchase two pool noodles, two pairs of goggles, and four rolls of aluminum foil. Prepare for an odd look when you say it’s tax deductible at check out.
The next morning, separate the pool noodles, goggles and rolls of foil into two boxes or piles. Make two teams out of your students. Explain each team needs to choose a jouster to represent them. That jouster needs to be armored up (armor = foil and goggles). Set the time for three minutes. When the three minutes are over each team sends their armored representative to the middle where they joust with noodles. The game is over when one person has been sufficiently poked, has stepped out of bounds, or the time is up.
Pro tip: for extra intensity and group involvement, have each team come up with a name and an anthem. That anthem must be chanted when their jouster enters the ring.