You have an awesome top hacks in mind, a bunch of eager kids and a spot picked out to play. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing hopefully… however, to ensure your success with running youth group games, here are my top 10 tips.
Fire Everyone Up!
It is imperative that you come with high energy! Before facing the kids, take some big breaths, jump up and down and get pumped! If you are flat, then the kids will be flat too.
Next, fire the kids up! Get them excited. Their energy will ignite those around them. You can do this by asking choral questions, “Who’s ready for an awesome game of… ?” “Blue Team, are you ready? Red Team, are you ready?” Get them to repeat their answers until their energy level matches yours. Maybe they can come up with their own team names and team chant.
Love the Game
You must believe in the game yourself. Any hint that you are not one hundred percent certain that this is a great game, the kids will pick up on it. So, get to know the game well, ensuring it is a perfect fit for the youth group you are working with. Read the rules, watch a video of other kids playing the game and ask questions of other teachers or youth leaders who have run the game before. Keep it simple, especially if it is your first-time running youth group games for kids.
Preparation is King
You can never be too prepared. Once you have studied the game rules, jot the rules onto a palm card to have with you when instructing the kids. Select a suitable place to play the game. If outdoors, consider the weather, safety, and boundaries for the kids. Ensure you have the equipment you need to play the game and set up as much as you can before the kids arrive to play. Think about where the kids will be when giving instructions. For example, do not have them squinting into the sun, and make sure their eyes face away from distractions.
Consider drink stops and catering for kids with special needs. Consider how you will fire the kids up and how you will deliver the game rules. Identify the boundaries for play and have a plan for managing behaviors. Will you use a whistle to gain the kids’ attention, or will you use another signal?
Have the Goal in Mind
Before launching into all the game rules, make sure the kids know the goal, or aim of the game. If they have the goal in mind, they will better understand the rules. If you have the goal in mind, you will find it easier explaining the game rules.