Youth group leaders are always looking for the best group games to make their events more fun and engaging for the young people attending. Youth groups are community groups, often run by local churches, that organise socially inclusive events for school aged kids. In this article we aim to find 5 of the best active games and equipment for youth group events. Hopefully we can save you some of the research!


Tug of War (water edition)

Ok, so we all know how tug of war works, two teams, one rope, one team eventually overpowering the other to claim victory. Well we have blended a few different versions of tug of war with water to come up with our own.

So now we place a wading pool and insert some water balloons and things go up a notch. Players that get wet are now “out”, reducing pulling power of their team!

In the middle of the teams (the halfway point of the rope) place a soft plastic blow up wading pool. Give each team a bucket of filled water balloons (20-30) and allow each team to trade off tugging players for water bomb throwing players.

The tugging players compete against the other team to pull the opposing team into the wading pool in the middle (to get them out) while both teams’ water bomb throwing players throw from the back of field aiming to hit opposing players to get them out.

The winning team is the one who can pull the tug of war rope all the way across the the wading pool but points are awarded based on how many seconds the round lasts for. If the winning team blitzes their opponent and wins in 10 seconds, they get 10 points. If a round is in deadlock and stretches out to 60 seconds before a team can get the victory they will be awarded 60 points. So long rounds are worth more than short ones.

Now let the battle of strength and strategy begin!


Seated Basketball

Another favourite requiring strategy and teamwork. The game calls for two teams of equal numbers (5-10 will work depending on the ‘court’ size). Each player has their own chair and the game is played in rounds.

The goal is to get a ball into a basket, sounding familiar?

The basket can be as creative as you like, a laundry basket on a table or a traditional basketball hoop are always winners.

At the beginning of a round, the players have a short amount of time to place their chairs in a position. Once placed, they are not allowed to move from their spot. Players then pass the ball to each other, aiming to get the ball into their goal without it being intercepted by the opposing team.

After each round the players become more strategic and shift their focus from defense to offense. One round may see one team placing all their chairs around the opposing goal. They’ll quickly realise that they might defend well but goals are a long shot…

Likewise, a team that has no one in the middle of the field is unable to make an effective pass to their teammates.

Active fun while sitting down. Who would have thought it was possible?


Unlimited Ping Pong

If you have a table tennis table table just remove the net for this one, otherwise push the long sides of two rectangular tables together so you have a large rectangle with a long seam down the middle.


 The game’s rules/steps are:

- Player 1 serves the ball across the table

- Player 2 lets the serve fall off the table

- The ball must hit the ground once before player 2 serves it back up onto the table

- Player 3 is ready to repeat steps 2 and 3

- Player 4 goes next and so on

- The ball must hit the table (it can bounce any number of times on the table)

- The ball must fall off the table

- The returning player must let the ball bounce on the floor only once before serving it back up on to the table

- Remember who you go after, because you'll need to be opposite them as they serve the ball to you.

Have the players take up a position around the tables, (though you won't stay in that position, there is a lot of moving around the table and trying to stay out of each other's way!) Player 1 rolls the ball down the table serving to player 2, then player 3 goes, then on and on.

Points in this game are bad. You don't want to accumulate them. You get a point if you don't hit the ball back up onto the table, if the ball bounces more than one on the floor or if the ball doesn't fall off the table after your hit. Get 5 points, and you're out. The game goes until only one person is left.


Materials needed:

- 2 long tables

- 1 ping pong ball

- a ping pong paddle for each player


Bench Ball

Grab a bunch of chairs and line half up on one side of the room/hall and half on the opposite side. Split the group up into two teams at opposite ends of the hall. Players should select one member of their team to be the 'goal'. The 'goal' player starts on their bench (standing in one stationary position).

To start toss the ball up in the air in the middle of the hall. Netball rules when the player has the ball; no tackling, stepping or bouncing of the ball. Players must pass between their team mates to get the ball to the 'goal'. If the 'goal' catches the ball the player who threw it joins the 'goal' on the bench. This player now can catch the ball as well.

When one team get a goal, the throwing player joins the bench and the ball is handed to the opposite team. The objective of this game is to get all the members of your team onto your bench before the other team does.

When there are only a few members of one team left that team can bounce the ball off the wall to get it down to the other end. If someone falls off the bench they must stay on the ground and throw the ball to their bench again before they can get back up. Players cannot pull others off the bench.


Get the younger/smaller/less sporty people up onto the bench first, if you leave them till last they will never get on the bench. Use taller people to defend the bench, they can jump and hit the ball away.

Materials needed:

- Netball/Basketball/Rugby ball/AFL ball

-Benches/chairs – enough that everyone could stand on them – goes without saying, but make sure they are sturdy!


Now it’s your turn

Try these youth group games out at your own event and let us know how they go! If you have some favourite group games, please share them with the Kids Off Couches community here.