#207 – Banned Youth Group Games


One of the most fundamental aspects of youth group is the game. I’ve been playing games at youth group since I was 12 and they’ve been a big part of our youth group since before I was the pastor. There’s nothing better than a bunch of students running and screaming at the beginning of a doge ball game.

Some games, though, are too dangerous even for youth group. Much to the disappointment of our students, there are a few games I’ve had to ban.

Kajabe Can Can

Kajabe Can Can, also known as the Trash Can Game, is a lot of fun. The potential for serious bodily harm makes it a lot of fun. The game is played with students grasping straps around a trash can. The goal is to drag opponents into the trash can or get them to release the strap. The students begin my moving in a circle, like they’re attempting to create a whirlpool in the middle of a field. Eventually one edge of the circle moves closer to the trash can until students are pulled into or jump over it. The most entertaining moments are when a student overestimates his or her vertical leap and ends up wishboning the trash can. I’ve had to ban this game because the potential for injury is too high, especially on hard, worship center carpet that has as much cushioning as a brick wall.

American Eagle

American Eagle is the land version of Sharks and Minnows. One student starts as the lone eagle and attempts to capture other students as they run from one end of the playing field to the other. If the eagle simply tagged the other students then the game would be fairly safe. Instead of tagging, though, the eagle has to take the other students down, like a linebacker tackling a running back. At 8 or 9, children can do little damage to each other. When 185 pound senior boys are tackling 95 pound freshmen girls, though, things can get a little hairy. I generally appreciate when students are into the game. However, we had some students who ratcheted up the American Eagle intensity to Hulk-like levels, so it earned a lifetime ban.

Trash Can Relay

This may have been the greatest youth group game ever, but it didn’t even last one night. We had the idea to line two teams up at the north and east ends of a cross. A runner from each team put a trash can on his or her head and took off for the opposite end of their line and ran back. Below is a diagram of what the game looked like.

The game was so great because of the potential for a collision. At the same time we were both hoping for and dreading a collision. The rush of seeing students almost plow each other over was exhilarating, exhilarating enough to drown out the fear of a collision. Eventually, though, two students collided. One student got up quickly but another stayed down on the ground. We heard the muffled sound of crying coming from beneath the trash can. At that point we knew the game was over…forever.

I love youth group and I love youth group games. They provide an opportunity for students who may not connect as well with a message or small groups, to really engage with the group. Some games are better than others and, unfortunately, some of the best will never be seen again.

What are some of your favorite youth group games?


4 comments on “#207 – Banned Youth Group Games”

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