Earlier in the week we shared our top 10 screen-based games for kids. Today, we’re sharing 10 non-screen-based games! Play these social-distanced games with the kids in your ministry to encourage laughter and help kids engage with the Bible story!
BUST A RHYME – Ideal for more than five players, so this game is perfect for small groups to play together, or you can play as one large group! Invite all participants to stand in a circle 6 feet apart. Next, choose a leader to say a word from the Bible story (you can provide the words for them, or let kids come up with their own), then have the child to their right say a word that rhymes with it. Continue around the circle until it gets back to the leader! The next person is now the leader and the game continues. If someone gets a word wrong, can’t think of something, or says something not in the dictionary, then all participants do five jumping jacks.
MAD LIBS – In this classic game, ask kids to provide you with certain words (nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.) to fill in and tell a funny story! There are lots of Mad Libs printables online (like our free VBS Mad Libs game), or you could create your own Mad Lib based on the Bible story! Play your Bible Mad Libs game, then tell the real Bible story and ask kids to compare!
STORYTELLER – Either by going in a circle around the room or inviting kids to raise their hands, have each child tell one line or sentence of the story. The story can be one that you make up together as a group, or you can base it off of the day’s Bible story. This can be a fun way to review what you’ve learned and invite kids into the storytelling action!
HEART SMART – This is a fun game to play when you’re talking about loving others, guarding your heart, or God’s love for us! Invite kids to stand. Call out things that are good ways to show God’s love, guard our hearts, or learn about God’s love (praying, reading our Bible, being careful what we watch or say, serving others, saying an encouraging word, etc.). When you call out a positive thing, players perform an action of your choice (jump up and down, toe touches, wave their arms, etc.) Also call out things that don’t show God’s love (pushing, saying mean things, leaving someone out, disobeying our parents, etc.). When you call out a negative thing, players should freeze and remain still. If someone messes up, they do a silly dance and then rejoin the game, or they sit down and are out.
STARTING LINES – I LOVE this game! It’s the perfect way to encourage creativity in your group! Give each child a piece of paper and a drawing utensil. Show a line (any random squiggle line or shape) on the screen. This line/shape is the kids’ “starting line,” which they will draw on their paper, then use that starting line to create a scene, character, event, prop, etc. from the Bible story. You’ll be amazed at how creative kids are! There is a board game version of this game, but you can also download a printable version here that will give you some starting line examples and instructions for playing in a large group.
BIBLE EXPLORERS – Give a cone, hula hoop, or another grounding object to each child. Kids will make lots of movements, but they won’t move away from their grounded object. Invite the kids to “explore” the Bible story with you and go on an adventure! As you teach through the Bible story, kids listen for directions to follow or offer directions of their own to add to the story. For example, if you’re teaching the story of Jonah, you may invite kids to climb aboard the boat, make the noise like the storm, jump overboard, swim, smell the stinky belly of the fish, etc.
BIBLE SNAPSHOTS – Kids will do a lot of moving, but must stay in their spot. Either after teaching the Bible story or as part of your teaching time, tell kids you need their help to imagine what it may have been like to be part of the Bible story or there when it happened. Describe different scenes or situations in the Bible story, then invite kids to try and recreate them in 30 seconds using only their bodies and their imaginations. They can choose to be a moving element in the story or a single “snapshot” of a moment. Pick a child who does it best each round.
PASS THE MOVEMENT – This game is just like telephone, but with body movements! Have everyone line up, 6 ft apart and close their eyes. The first person will say the name of the person behind them, who will open their eyes. The first person then does a series of 3 body movements. The second person must copy them. Then the first person closes their eyes, the second person turns around and says the name of the 3rd person in line. The 3rd person can now open their eyes and try to mimic the 3 movements of the second player. Continue passing the movements down the line to see if your kids can keep the same movements the whole way!
TEMPLE RUN – Have all of the kids sit in their chairs and face the front. Explain that you will be playing “Temple Run” (remember that phone game?) and kids will be helping you collect “coins” and avoid the obstacles, but no one will have to leave their seat. Call a series of commands like Run (kids move their feet as quickly as possible, while remaining seated), Stop (freeze), Reach (kids reach up to collect “coins”), and Lean (kids lean their body to one side or the other). Tip: Create a storyline for your Temple Run, using a generic ancient temple setting or adapting a setting from the Bible story!
COPY CAT – Invite kids to stand in a circle, spread out from one another. Choose one person to stand in the middle. The person in the middle should close their eyes while the leader secretly chooses one person in the circle. The person chosen will do different movements, and everyone else must copy them. The child in the middle will open their eyes, the person chosen will change their movements whenever they want (and everyone else follows), and the child in the middle will try to guess who everyone else is copying!
Note: Many of these games were inspired by games from Asphalt Green. I just added a Bible-based twist!