About All play

Just like the name sounds, these are games where everyone plays! Includes circle games, wide games and games for large groups.

Newspaper Scavenger Hunt

Contributed by: Charlie Baker, Diocese of Auckland

Collect a bunch of old newspapers or magazines, enough for one per team. You will also need scissors. Print out a checklist of scavenger hunt items that the teams are to try to find and cut out from their newspapers. Award a prize for the team that spots the most of these things on the... See more

Egg Catcher

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

This classic egg catching competition is a great one for Easter!
Play in pairs. Each pair is given an egg that they must throw and catch between them without breaking.
Start 2 metres apart and with each successful throw, extend the distance they must throw between, until you have one pair... See more

Rock Paper Scissors

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

Play a group challenge of 'Rock Paper Scissors' where everyone plays. Give each person 9 wrapped lollies (lives). They must challenge someone to a game, best out of 5. If they win, they get to take one of the other persons ‘lives’. If they lose, they give up a life. If you’re challenged to... See more

Spoons of Glory

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

Set up a ring of spoons - one for each player minus one - on a table top. Youth sit around the table with their arms behind their backs. When the leader says the designated word, youth must lunge to grab a spoon. If they are successful, they stay in the game. If not, they’re out for the round.... See more

The Loudest

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

See who of your youth is the loudest at something. A great up-front challenge for a large group, or an all play challenge for a smaller one.
Good challenge categories include: loudest clap, finger click, burp, rooster crow, mouth pop, yell, car revving noise, foot stamp, whistle, wolf howl,... See more


Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

This is a thinking/strategy game. The youth are grouped on one side of an imaginary divide and must cross it to survive. The only way they can cross is if the ‘superhero’ (with a super prop of some kind) is carrying them.
However, once the superhero has crossed once, they can no longer be... See more


Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

Each youth is given a small number of green dot stickers (bogies) or red dots (chicken pox) - depending what you’re in the mood for.
Once time starts, youth have to run around the room and ‘stick’ their stickers onto other players.
The aim is to remove any stickers that get... See more

Secret Stash

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

Before the youth arrive, hide items around the room or buildings — a 'secret stash' or hidden treasure.
Provide a check list with different points for what the youth are to find.
Let them go for it - with a set time limit.
It also works well with chocolates. See more

Chicken Run

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

2 teams line up on opposite sides of a large playing area and choose a rooster each to wait in the middle. When the leader calls ‘chicken run’ each team has to swap ends without being tagged by the other teams rooster.
If tagged, a chicken must freeze until a fellow chicken frees them by... See more

Snake Tag

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

A good old fashioned tag game. Once the person who is ‘in’ has tagged someone, they become part of the snake (by linking arms) until everyone is tagged and the game begins again.
Add 2-3 snakes for more pace. See more


Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

A classic but a goodie. The group form a circle. 1-2 players are sent from the room to be the investigator/s while the rest of the group nominate a ringleader. Everything the ringleader does, the group has to do. The investigators have to try and guess who it is with just three... See more


Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

Play as individuals or in teams. Each person receives a balloon (or 2) and a piece of string. Each person blows up their balloon(s) and ties it to their ankle. When play begins, the aim of the game is to pop other players balloons to take them out of the game using your feet (or feet and... See more


Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

Spotlight is a classic night game. Play in teams or as individuals.
Set up a glowing goal that youth must get to from a designated starting point some distance away.
Youth must try and navigate through the dark to reach the goal without being ‘spotted’ by leaders weilding flashlights... See more

Mexican Weet-Bix Stand Off

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

Give each youth a dry Weet-Bix to eat. Youth have to stand in a row facing each other either playing as individuals or as teams. First to finish their dry Weet-Bix while staring out the person opposite wins.
Can also be played with multiple food items, saving the Weet-Bix for last. Also... See more

Speed Bible

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

A great game for small groups. Sitting in a circle, give each youth a copy of the exact same Bible to use. Bibles must be face down on a table to start.
From your Bible, say out loud a book, chapter, verse and word number for them to find, for example "Genesis, 1:1, 3". Then say,... See more

Human Keypad

Contributed by: Phil Trotter

Tape a large card bearing a letter of the alphabet to each person’s arm. Give each person a small card and a pencil. The goal is for letters to get together and spell words. Once they’ve spelled a word, they write it on their card. Then separate everyone and look for new words.
Award points... See more


Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

This classic game is the opposite to Hide and Seek. At the start, 1 person is chosen to go and hide somewhere. The rest count to 100 and then must individually try and find the hider. If they do, they then hide with them, waiting for someone else to find them and squishing into the hiding... See more


Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

Set up a course within your playing area made up of different objects and bits of furniture that can be safely climbed and walked on. Make sure there are multiple routes and ways to get around the room.
Split the youth into pairs. Each pair has a turn to be the ‘catchers’ and must chase... See more


Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

Divide the room with masking tape into 6 squares with a number (1-6) in each.
Youth have 10 seconds to decide which square to stand in before you roll a dice. If the square number they’re in comes up, they’re out and have to sit down.
Play until you have 1 youth (or team) remaining as... See more

Ping Pong Football

Contributed by: Luke Shaw, Diocese of Nelson

This is a great game for a smaller crowd. You will need a table tennis table or large table, ping pong balls, tape, and paper cups (optional).
Assign each person playing a goal - you can either use masking tape to mark it out or create a physical goal with 2 paper cups taped to the... See more


Contributed by: Phil Trotter

Put a scrambled word on the screen . . . first to unscramble it gets points for their team.  Play a couple of rounds.
Or… make a whole activity of it around a Bible passage as below  (Mark 4 or Matt 13) (click on the image to view larger).
  See more


Contributed by: Phil Trotter

All you need is a soft ball (not a softball!) and a minimum of four players. Two players step into the circle. One is the “President” the other the “Bodyguard”. Everyone else forms a circle around these two. The players around the circle throw the ball to try and hit the President. The... See more

Behind the blanket

Contributed by: Phil Trotter

A blanket is held up with the group in two teams obscured from each other on either side of the blanket. A person is selected from each team to stand in front of their team behind the blanket (effectively two opposing team members are facing each other but with a blanket between them.) When the... See more

Spell my feet

Contributed by: Phil Trotter

Take five people and have them take off their shoes and socks. Take a marker and write a large letter on the bottom of each of their feet so if they sit facing you and hold their feet in the air, you can read the letters. On the first person put an A and a N (one letter on each foot), on the next... See more

Double Dream Hands

Contributed by: Phil Trotter

Get everyone to do a 2-3 minute workout using this YouTube clip - Double Dream Hands.
Follow it up with Double Dream Feet at the next meeting (or the next day at camp).
You've just got to introduce it enthusiastically - after that it works a treat. See more

Make Me Laugh

Group sits in a circle and a volunteer in the middle selects someone whom they will try to get to laugh. If they fail, they move on to someone else. If they get the person to laugh, that person is ‘in’ and swaps places with them. Now it’s their turn to make someone else in the circle... See more

Fast Arms

Contributed by: Phil Trotter

Group forms a circle (minimum 7 people needed). One person starts off with a ball and throws it to someone anywhere in the circle. Someone catches the ball and the people either side of them have to put their inside arms up without hesitation. If there is reasonable hesitation that person has to... See more


Contributed by: Phil Trotter

Group forms a circle and someone e.g. a leader calls the name of a player. Immediately the people either side of the named player turn to that person, form their hand into a gun and say “Bang!” The person named tries to ‘duck’ by bobbing down.
The slowest person to ‘duck’ or to say... See more


Contributed by: Phil Trotter

Rapido is like Pictionary but with playdough (or Cranium's Sculpturades). Bring along to youth group some (bought or home–made) playdough - about an ice-cream container full is good. Split the group into two teams who will compete to be the fastest to complete each of 7-10 rounds. Give each team... See more

Move If

Contributed by: Phil Trotter

Have everyone seated. Instruct people to move according to your directions, if they fit the description. Soon you’ll have some funny pile ups and lots of laughter. Check beforehand for people with a disability or injury that may exclude them.
Move 1 seat to the left if …. you’re wearing... See more

Jesus Actionary

Contributed by: Phil Trotter, Diocese of Christchurch

Explain that this game involves miming to your team things that Jesus did in his time on earth - just like charades. There will be 10 rounds in which your team tries to guess the answer before the other teams.
Use the red Jesus cards (gifted to participants at The Abbey 2017) or print your own... See more