Finding a fun activity for our small, 2-4 member, youth group is often a challenge. Most games designed for youth start to gain momentum at 5 with a sweet spot nearing 20 participants.
My search for this week’s activity returned a post from seedbed.com entitled “Top 20 Youth Group Games”. This list of games offered a wide variety of options, many of which could be used outdoors. Most of the games were designed for the medium to large youth group but there were a few that could be quickly adapted for small groups. For our April 30th activity, I chose “Lifesize Clue”.
Lifesize Clue can be best described as a cross between a scavenger hunt and flashlight tag. From Seedbed:
The youth group gathers in the evening when the church is dark. They congregate in one lit room and one person goes to hide a large doll (any stuffed animal will work). That person also hides a “murder” weapon (hint: use goofy items to keep it light such as a spatula or telephone), then comes back and releases people out of the room one at a time. One random person will be given a flashlight and they are the “killer.” Players walk around and have to find the weapon and victim (doll). Players also need to know who the “killer” is without getting caught. Players are caught when the “killer” flashes the light at you. If the “killer” catches a player, they are out and have to go sit in the main room.
Our adaptation of this activity featured our beloved Rose The Red Prayer Pig being turned into sausage, by the butcher, who used a plunger and Thor-like hammer. The group had to go and gather evidence by documenting where they found the victim, plunger, hammer, and the identity of the butcher. Evidence collection was limited to areas of the church not hosting Children’s or Adult activities. The first one back with the correct evidence would win one Dove Chocolate Mini.
The result of this activity was that one of the youth spotted me putting on a jacket and mask, so ID’ing the butcher, without getting caught, was not a challenge. They worked together to share locations of the bits of evidence. This led to a footrace back to be the first to submit their findings.
My real test of an activity is usually the groups level of participation and the direct feedback that teens are known to give. Our theme for the week was “Do Unto Others”. So, it turned out to be a good thing that they ignored the individualistic nature of the activity to help each other achieve the goal. As for the feedback, I was greeted with, “Why don’t we do stuff like this all the time.”.
The conclusion is that this one is a keeper. It was able to hold their attention plus had the unintended consequence of team building. The only thing I will change for next time is the time of year for late Fall and Winter. The instructions say that “evening when the church is dark” for a reason. As for seedbed.com’s Top 20 list, I will definitely be using more of their activities in the future.