Funny Games for Youth Groups
Funny games are a great way to break the ice with youth groups, but they are also an excellent tool for maintaining a positive and congenial atmosphere within an established group. This is an important thing to strive for, as children are liable to join social cliques if left to their own devices, which will have a fragmenting effect on the interaction of the group as a whole.
Funny games help to foster an environment where everyone is equally respected and valued, paradoxically, by giving everyone opportunities to laugh at each other; humour has that strange effect of building people up by poking fun at them. The funny games listed here are mainly 'up-front' games; that is, games which are played in front of the audience, so they are excellent as ice breakers but also very good for pre-talk sessions or for introducing members of staff.
BarnyardThis is a funny game which involves a large amount of noise, and usually, hysterical laughter. Set-up involves choosing farm animals and making small cards. The number of animals you choose will be the same as the number of teams. You should also over-cater; e.g. if you expect 35 kids, make 40 cards in groups of ten. Each group of ten cards will have a particular animal written on it (so you might have 10 chicken cards, 10 cow cards, 10 donkey cards and 10 pig cards).
When the children arrive, they receive a card which they must keep secret from their friends. When everyone has a card, you give a loud signal which signifies that the animals must find each other by the use of their particular noises! So the cows moo, the donkeys neigh, the pigs snort, etc. The winning team is the one that is complete in the fastest time. This is a great game to play and you can also use the teams for other games later on, saving you the trouble of having to come up with any other innovative ways to make up the teams.
ClapThis is a much funnier variant of the old Hot/Cold game, where the audience must tell a volunteer how close he or she is to achieving something by varying the volume of their clapping. It is a much more sophisticated game, however, because the audience is able to be much more specific in their hints to the volunteer, so the activity you choose for the volunteer can be made proportionally harder. For example, you might wish to make the volunteer do a press-up, or pick their nose, or perform a handstand. This is, of course, a very loud game, so you may want to play it very quickly between other activities - it doesn't repeat very well!
Air Guitar ContestThis is one to be done before an audience - it's a great way to introduce any new leaders you might have, and often becomes a sort of initiation ceremony. The equipment required extends to a CD player and a famous rock song with a solo in it - something by Eric Clapton or Guns 'n' Roses usually works well. Then you ask for two volunteers, or two leaders to step forward and show the audience their air guitar skills. The audience then votes for the winner based on their moves, entertainment value and hilarity. You will find that after a couple of performances, the number of volunteers from the audience will suddenly sky-rocket!
Celebrity ImpersonationsThis is a funny game which showcases the talents of the youth group. When the children arrive, ask each of them whether they'd be prepared to take part in a little game. The game pits the impersonation skills of the kids against the leaders, so you'll need to check who is willing to participate from the adults, too. Then the fun comes in the people that they have to impersonate - think male leaders impersonating the Queen, or female children impersonating Brad Pitt or Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Once again, the audience decides who the winner is by their applause. If you really want to go to town, you could even provide some props and a selection of clothes for the contestants.
Hopefully you, and your youth group will enjoy these funny games. Don't be afraid to go all out - kids love displays of over-the-top humour and outlandish behaviour, so make sure everyone who plays the games is encouraged to really express themselves and hilarity will follow!