High Energy Game Idea for Children’s Ministry or VBS

Do you need a large group game for your children’s ministry? Then watch this video as I explain the game we call “North – South – Central.” It has been one of the most popular with the kids at our church and it is really simple to play. This game would also be a handy idea to use for a Vacation Bible School recreation game.

You need a large area with three lines, a basketball court or miniature soccer field works well. Sometimes we just mark off an area in the grass with cones to make the three lines.

Game Instructions

Start by lining up the children on one end line “North.” Then stand at the edge of the center line and call out “Central.” The kids will all race to the line you called out. Repeat this and call out “South.” Again, the children will sprint to that line. After a few practice calls, begin to eliminate the players. This can be discouraging for some children, so I always give them a big high-five and praise them for trying so hard. Plus the kids that are eliminated get to help as line judges. In the end there is only one winner in this competitive children’s ministry game.

Some Game Variations

You can change the game by changing the way the kids have to sprint. Wheelbarrow teams or crab walking works well. Another angle is to have the children cheer for one another, boys versus girls is always popular. One other time, I changed the lines to be New Testament, Old Testament, No Testament. This makes an easy way to review where books are in the Bible. This is also a way to run this game without the competition element.

Have fun and please share your ideas about this game in the comment section.

Need More Help? Then check out all our game ideas or read our tips for Vacation Bible School.


  1. Kristie says

    When I use this game I do not eliminate kids, I just wear them out with the running back and forth. It is a great fun way to let them use up pent up energy so they sit more later. I added a fourth command and upon hearing that the kids would drop to the ground panting. After a moment of rest I had them up and running again. I used this game when teaching The Great commission and the three areas were Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. the “drop to the ground” command was “the ends of the earth”.

  2. Rebecca Kanini says

    I’m happy and grateful for enlightening us about these great games for children may God bless you mightily for the good work.

  3. Karen says

    Dear Tony
    Thank you for sharing your ideas so generously for the kingdom of God. May God contiue to bless you for your love towards His children.


  4. Mayan says

    Hi Tony, thanks for sharing this. I think the New Testament, Old Testament, No Testament variation is more dynamic. Another way to do it could be, instead of lines, there would be circles which could also vary in sizes. And there could be more than 3 circles if the options are the Prophets or the Gospels or the Letters of St. Paul. Elimination would be a lot easier because those who could not fit inside the circle (the name of which is being called out) would be out of the game. The winner would be a group of kids not just one child. I guess this is already an offshoot of your original idea:)

  5. Casey says

    Hey My name is Casey. I just wanted to thank you for the north south central game. I am going to be running something like VBS. I am most likely going to use this game for our church. I has helped alot. I am 13 and i need some help with games :) thanks.

  6. Judith says

    We play a variation of the ‘North, South, Central’ game inside. Ours variation is “North, South, East, West” and each wall of the hall is designated one of these directions. Starting with the children all in the middle the leader calls one or other direction (north, south, east or west) and the children have to remember which wall that was and head for it, fast.
    Again, children can be eliminated to make it fun – although that’s not fun for all.
    Another variation of N,S,E,W is to play it a bit like ‘Simon Says’. Another team member may call a direction but the children should NOT obey the voice if it’s not the proper games leader. Those who do can be eliminated. But this variation also nicely leads into a lesson about needing to be sure of the voice we’re following and not just responding to any old voice out there that is clamouring for our attention (Jn 10:4,5)

  7. says

    I agree.
    . . . But it was cold when I made it and I’m still a little shy about putting our church kids on the website.

  8. says

    Hey Tony,

    I appreciate these videos you have been doing and the idea for this game. I have used it occasionally in my setting as well. I wonder if viewers might be helped by seeing the game in live action with a group of kids? Just a thought…

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