Sermon not finished? Need to fill in a bit of time while you wait for parents to pick up their children? Try one of these games. They don’t require much, if any, equipment or planning, so you can slot them in if your session finishes early or the service is unexpectedly long!

Bring me…

This game can fill as much time as you need, but beware – it can get very competitive! As the game progresses, you’ll need to manage behaviour carefully, because spirits will get high. Split the children into four groups. Station these groups around the edge of the room and position yourself in the middle, equidistant from each of the teams.

Call out, ‘Bring me… a hairband!’ Each group finds a hairband from within their team members and races to be the first to bring it to you. Give the winning team a point, and send everyone back to their teams. Carry on shouting for items and awarding points. At the end of the game, the team with the most points is the winner.

Team skittle ball

Another team game, for which each team needs a ball (sponge footballs are ideal) and a target (such as a small waste-paper basket). As with ‘Bring me…’, split the children into four teams and send each one to a corner of the room. Give each child in each team a number. Place the balls and the targets in the middle of the room.

Call out a number. The children with that number run to the middle, collect a ball and then run back to their teams. They should roll the ball and try to hit their target. The first one to do so wins a point for their team. If they miss, they collect their ball, go back to their team and try again. Continue to shout numbers out, being careful to call out all the numbers at least once. At the end of the game, the team with the most points is the winner.

Splat

Stand all the children in a large circle, with a leader in the middle. The leader points at a child and shouts, ‘Splat!’ That child has to duck down, while their two neighbours have to point at each other and shout, ‘Splat!’ If the player doesn’t duck down in time, or either of the two ‘splatters’ are too slow, they are out and should sit down. Indeed, if other children duck or ‘Splat!’ for no reason, they are out too!

The final two players should stand back to back. You then start saying names of desserts (eg trifle, apple crumble or jam roly-poly) and the players take one step away from each other for each pudding. When you say, ‘Custard!’, the players turn to face each other and shout, ‘Splat!’ The quickest splatter is the winner!

Undo the knot

With a group of eight to ten children, stand in a close circle and everyone puts both hands into the middle. Each player has to grab someone else’s hands, making sure that they are holding the hand of two different people. The challenge is to untangle yourselves without anyone letting go – you might have to duck under some hands or climb over others (make sure everyone is playing safely). This game is good for promoting teamwork and discussion. For a trickier version, make everyone play silently!

Do you have any good games that children love to play? Why not share them with us? Tweet us at @DioLondonCYW or post them to our Facebook page.

Alex Taylor is the Diocese of London’s Children’s Ministry Trainer and a fan of games of all kinds