Sometimes as a leader in children’s ministry you may find yourself in a most inevitable and unfortunate position: downtime. What do you do when you have 30 kids and 5-10 minutes to kill? When I worked at the YMCA we had a stash of ideas that we called “backpocket games.”
These games were a way for us to kill time that way the children wouldn’t kill themselves. Most of these games have nothing to do about Jesus, however, they are a good way to grab control over a group of kids when things seem to be going awry. In this post, I am going to introduce to you the wonderful game of Quiet Ball.
Children’s Ministry Game: Quiet Ball
For some reason, this game (read: ploy to make kids settle down) is always a child favorite (And all you need is a ball – or something you can throw) Here’s how you play:
- Have the kids spread out at least at arms length with each other across the room, field, gym, etc.
- Give the rules: Everyone must be quiet. If a child speaks, makes any noises, etc, he or she is out. Disclaimer: You’re sure to get the “What if I sneeze/cough/burp, etc.” question. If you do, just say, “one sneeze/cough/burp per person and then you’re out.”
- Demonstrate how to play by throwing the ball to a kid who you know will catch it.
- Have the kid throw it back to you. Drop the ball. Announce that when a player drops the ball he is out and must sit down.
- Have that kid throw it to another kid. Have that kid throw it back to the first one. Have the first kid drop the ball. Announce that if the person that got you out, gets out, (in this case the first kid) you can get back in. You’re now in the game and the first kid is out. He can get back in if you get out.
- Start playing. Remember, if any child talks or makes any noise he must sit down, he is out.
I’ve seen this game go on for over 30 minutes. Somehow it works. Plus, it’s fun. Especially, when the kids successfully get an adult out.
One other disclaimer: If a throw is too high, too low, or “un-catchable,” the thrower is out and he/she can get back in when the person that he threw it to is out.