Instant Games - Without Equipment
Instant games are a youth leader's dream. They require no set-up, no preparation, no equipment - and yet children generally love them. What's more, there is a never-ending supply of instant games, as the only limit to their use is one's own imagination. However, if you're really stuck for ideas, this article will provide you with some instant games with which to get started!
Instant Running GamesThese are the bedrock of any youth group games session. Elsewhere on this site you can find relays and races discussed in more detail, but here are some more ideas for instant running games:
- Duck Duck Goose - a very popular instant game with children of all ages. The group sits in a circle and one volunteer is chosen. This person must walk slowly around the circle tapping each person on the head and saying 'Duck', until they reach their chosen victim. They must then tap this person and say 'Goose'.
The object for the first player is to race around the circle and sit in the Goose's place; the object for the Goose is to catch the other player before he gets all the way around the circle. This instant game is very easy to play, and leaders can easily intervene if they perceive any unfair play.
- All Hands on Deck - this instant game is great to play because it helps children to learn about the anatomy of boats, and it's great fun into the bargain. Best played indoors in a rectangular space, the leader must stand in the middle and shout instructions to the group thus: "Hard a-Starboard" means they must run to the right wall (from your perspective), "Hard a-Port" to the left, "Bow" means they must run to the wall in front of the leader, and "Stern" to the back of the room.
The person to arrive last each time is out of the game - make sure a leader is there to keep them occupied in case they get bored.
- British Bulldog - a true classic of the playground, this instant game is hugely popular with children of all ages. Although it is best played in a long, narrow space, it can still be played almost anywhere.
The leader chooses volunteers (usually two or three, but use your discretion depending on the size of the group, and the size of the space). These volunteers must tag the rest of the group, who are attempting to get past them to the other end of the space. Whoever gets tagged joins the volunteers, making the task of getting past proportionally harder as the game wears on. Whoever is last to be tagged wins the game, and becomes the (sometimes unwilling) volunteer for the next round!
Other Instant GamesElsewhere on this site, you can find other instant games which have a more calming effect on the children. Here are some of those:
- Sleeping Lions
- The Minute Game
- The 'Erm' Game
These instant games are just perfect for times when you don't have any equipment, and you need to fill up a little bit of time while at the same time maintaining a calm atmosphere - perhaps before a talk, or just before the kids are due to go home. Do remember that these games can be varied and changed depending on the needs of your youth group, too - the only limit to the number of games available is your own imagination, so get out there and be creative with the ideas you have. Enjoy playing these instant games of all kinds with the children in your youth group!