6 Easy Game Ideas (In Case Your Lesson Runs Short)

Kids Whispering Game Ideas

This happens every Sunday morning somewhere to someone and it will most likely happen to every one of us at some point during our time serving in children’s ministry.

You have studied your lesson and planned in advance the answer to every question the children might ask.  You are well prepared for your lesson.  The curriculum states the lesson should take approximately forty-five minutes and you are prepared to teach for forty-five minutes.  Or so you thought…When Sunday morning comes, the children sit before you and you teach your forty-five minute lesson.  At its conclusion, you check the clock in anticipation of dismissing the children only to find your lesson did not take forty-five minutes.  You finished with time to spare.  You are stuck with extra time and think to yourself, “What do I do now?”

This scenario may be happening to your volunteers more often than you know.  As leaders it is our responsibility to equip our volunteers to be prepared for these occasions of having extra time to fill.  You can provide support to your volunteers by having a prepared list of filler games ready for them in advance.  This list can be printed on cardstock, laminated, and posted in their room or put with the supplies they access every week.  These games do not require materials and therefore can be played on the spur of the moment lasting anywhere from two to fifteen minutes depending on how much time the teacher has to fill.

Game One: Going on a Trip

The first child says, “I am going on a trip and I am taking an (child inserts an item that begins with the letter A).”  The next child says, “I am going on a trip and I am taking an (inserts the A item) and a (child inserts an item that begins with the letter B).”  The third child says, “I am going on a trip and I am taking an (inserts the name of the A item), a (inserts the name of the B item), and a (child inserts an item that begins with the letter C).”  This pattern continues around the room until the group of children has exhausted the entire alphabet.

Game Two: I Spy

One child stands and silently chooses an object they can see in the room.  The child then whispers the name of the object in the teacher’s ear, so the teacher can assist in the game as needed.  The child then declares, “I spy something that is (the color of the item).”  The rest of the children then take turns guessing what the object is until the class has identified the item the child was spying.  Whoever guesses the item correctly gets to choose the item for the next round.

Game Three: Four Corners

The teacher assigns a number to each corner of the room, so there is corner number one, corner number two, etc.  The children divide up and stand at a chosen corner.  One child is chosen to be “it” and stands in the center of the room with their eyes closed.  When “it” yells, “Go!” the other children proceed to walk about the perimeter of the room moving from corner to corner.  When “it” yells, “Stop!” the children must go to the nearest corner and wait.  While keeping their eyes closed the child in the center of the room will call out one corner number.  The children standing in that corner are then out of the game for that round.  This procedure continues until there is only one child remaining.  That child will then become the next “it” and play continues with another round.

Game Four: Heads Up 7 Up

Seven children are chosen to stand in at the front of the room.  The rest of the children close their eyes and lower their heads with one thumb held up in the air.  Next, the seven children silently walk about the room looking for someone to choose.  They each choose one seated child by touching their raised thumb.  When a child’s thumb has been touched they will lower their hand into their lap.  After all seven children have made a choice, the children return to stand at the front of the room.  The teacher calls out, “Heads up, seven up!”  The children whose thumbs’ got touched stand up and make a guess at who from the front of the room picked them.  If their guess is correct, they will switch places with the child in the front of the room.  If their guess is incorrect, they will sit back down.  Play continues like this for as many rounds as you desire.

Game Five: Simon Says

One child or the teacher is Simon.  Simon yells out a command such as, “Simon says, march in place!”  The students would then follow the command because “Simon says” to do it.  If Simon does not use the phrase “Simon says” before stating the command and a child still follows, then that child will be seated and is out of the game until the end of the round.  Play continues with eliminations until one child remains who will become the next Simon.

Game Six: Telephone

The children make a line across the room.  You can use one line or the children can form several lines, which could make for a more entertaining game.  The teacher thinks of a phrase and whispers it in the ear of the first child in line.  That child then turns and whispers the phrase to the next child.  This chain of whispers continues down the line until it reaches the last child.  The last child says the phrase out loud to hear how much the phrase changed as it traveled down the telephone line.  The last child in line then moves to the front of the line and the next round begins.


  1. ginny mccleary says

    A fun activities for talking about prayer, have the children write prayer request on small pieces of paper, insert in latex balloons one balloon per request, talk to the children about how our prayers go up to God, have the children blow balloons up, do not tie, then let them go, they fly up wards.

  2. ginny mccleary says

    I also put memory verse on poster board, I do two, for teams, cut up as puzzle pieces, the children race to put it together.

  3. ginny mccleary says

    I bought the scrabble crackers at market, two boxes, for two tables, pour out on table, write memory verse one for each table, decide children in to teams to see who can get it first. It’s great fun, you can even go one on one!

  4. says

    A variation on “Going on a trip” for Christmas is this: I WANT TO TELL THE CHRISTMAS STORY AND NEED SOME WORDS. Take each letter of the alphabet and have kids think of a word from the story they will need. For example, A, angel. B, Bethlehem, etc. This can either be done in turn around the circle, or write each letter on the board and have the group think of the word. Say, “The one with a quietly raised hand can give us a word that starts with (A)… If someone shouts out a word, don’t use it but wait for someone with a quiet hand and use theirs.

  5. henrietta I. johnson says

    Those were really wonderful games. They truly will reinforce the lessons learnt. Tnx
    Grandma J

  6. anna bilbao says

    thanks for giving me another activity that could help me motivate my pupils. continue be good and be blessed . From the SPED family of ESVES, Taguig City, Metro Manila

  7. Becky says

    Love the game ideas. My class ranges in ages from 3 to 12 as we have a small church. I am in great need of ideas that can help with age span.

  8. Amber says

    The could use the last letter in the word for example: I’m going on a trip and I’m taking an apple then the next child could choose a word that starts with “e” so they can’t anticipate their letter. I teach fourth graders so they are old enough to spell.

  9. says

    Games are so exciting to children at our church. These games have made our services shine, and as a children worker am so proud of these games.

  10. Jason Brown says

    The kids at my church LOVE Four Corners! We use music like Musical Chairs, then have the person pick the number.

  11. sharon says

    Our Sunday school is going through both changes in teachers and numbers of children at present and some new ideas are very much needed. I am new to this team of teachers and these tools you have provided here are wonderful. I will certainly return again as we go through our revamping process. Thank you so much.

  12. Selma says

    Thanks, for so many great ideas. I am not creative and I want to make the classes I try to teach fun. I will use this site again.
    Thanks again

  13. kaye riley says

    we changed “Simon Says” to “JESUS Says” it reinforces that JESUS will not tell us anything bad to do in life on an everyday basic..(school, home, community)
    the kids love it..and they never say Simon says anymore:)

  14. Jennifer says

    We have also used 4 corners as a get to know you game. For example “which do you like best Pizza, tacos, burgers, or hot dogs”. It’s fun for the kids to learn more about their friends.

  15. Marea says

    Wow those are really great games. Thanks for adding them. I too look for games sometimes that will help the children learn more Bible skills. With you and Tony’s ideas I should never be lost for what to do with spare time. thx!

  16. Tammy says

    Our kids love the 4 corners game… try laminating signs with the 4 gospels and place in each corner, then the chooser calls out one of the gospels. Reinforces the names of the gospels.

  17. says

    Excellent ideas and Bethany’s comment added some great ideas too. This is definitely a post to print out and keep on hand.

  18. says

    great ideas, amy! it’s always great to be prepared like this! also, it’s a good reminder to just have fun with the kids. and allow them to have fun! thank you for sharing them:)

  19. marilou junio says

    thanks for this page,….its a great help for me….inmy ministry to sunday school in our church…To God Bet he Glory

  20. Patti Totren says

    Simon says is good but I put a differrent spin and say (“God says”) like for example, God says lift your hands and hop on one foot (praise) or God says sing and go round in circles (easy) also hangman is another good game but instead of a hangman I draw out an angel and use scripture or some saying such as WWJD(spelled out).Also tic tac toe is another I use felt board and instead of x and o I have fish and crosses or bread I tell a story from the bible and then ask questions put children in 2 groups(1Fish) and (1bread) whichever group has tic tac toe wins. they all win because its a good way to interact, keep their attention,learn more about the bible when big church is still going on

  21. says

    Amy Brown,

    Thanks so much for this! I needed these ideas desperately last night in Awana. I am printing this list off now and going to keep it in my Awana 3-ring binder that stays with me on Wednesday nights. This list is great with my 1st grade boy Sparks in mind (many ability levels).

  22. says

    These games are great time fillers, but I tend to suggest time fillers that will help kids with Bible skills or review what you’re learning…
    (1) have a book of the Bible wordsearch prepared
    (2) have kids draw what they learned tht morning to make sure they got the point of the lesson
    (3) play hangman with the week’s Bible verse
    (4) call out a letter of the alphabet and have kids name a book of the Bible that starts with that lettter, or open their Bibles to a book that starts with that letter
    (5) play a Bible book or Bible character 20 questions and have the kids guess what you’re thinking of using clues
    (6) write out as many books of the Bible as you have kids in your group and have them each take one and try to get in order
    (7) roll a dice (a big one makes it more fun) and have kids name that many books of the Bible… older kids have to name them in order
    (8) review last few memory verses by starting the verse and having someone try and finish it…or say the last few words and the reference and see if they can say the 1sy part
    (9) Keep a set of cards with all the books of the OT or NT written on them (one per card)… place them all (just OT or NT) face down and have them play a memory game…turn over 2 at a time looking for books that are next to each other. Can use an open Bible for reference.
    (10) get an old set of Jenga blocks and write the books of the Bible- one on each block…pour them out and have 2 teams race one to get OT in order and one to get NT in order

    There are lots more you could do, but that’s just off the top of my head!

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