**This is a guest post from Nick Diliberto from PreteenMinistry.net
In a previous post, Harnessing the High Energy of Preteens, I wrote about using the high energy level of preteens (especially boys) constructively. One idea mentioned was to play a large group game at the beginning of your gathering. Below is a great example of a fun relationship building game that preteens absolutely love.
The Noodle Game
Supplies: 3-4 swimming noodles per 30 players. If your group is over 30 preteens, then add some swimming noodles.
Get Ready: Have preteens get in a circle and put the swimming noodles in the middle of everyone.
The Game: On GO, all preteens attempt to grab a noodle. Once you grab it, then it is yours. No fighting over it. Players then attempt to hit an opponent below the waist with a noodle. Only those holding noodles are in the battle. If a player does get hit below the waist, he/she drops the noodle and sits down somewhere in the circle. When a noodle is dropped by a hit player, then anyone from the circle can now grab it and begin playing. The new player is given 3 seconds before he/she can get hit by an opponent or attempt to hit another player. Continue playing until you have one player remaining and declare that player the winner.
- When you say scramble, everyone who was out comes back in. Do it periodically throughout the game. When you want the round to end, let it play all the way through without saying scrabble.
- Hits above the waist don’t count.
- Warn players not to avoid hitting in the face. If a player does it more than once, have him sit out of the game for a few minutes.
- Have adult leaders on the lookout for those that get hit. Sometimes players get hit and don’t realize it. And sometimes they know they’re hit but don’t want to get out. Tell preteens in the beginning that when leaders say they’re hit, then they’re out. No need to argue or complain, but trust that the leader saw a hit.
- If a leader is unsure of a hit, let the player stay in.
- Players who get hit cannot throw the noodle to a friend, but drop it where they get hit.
- If no players grab a noodle and it just sits there, give players in the circle 10 seconds for someone to grab it or they’re all out. This will only become a problem once kids play a lot and begin to strategically not grab a noodle till near the end, putting themselves in a better position to win.
Nick Diliberto is the creator of PreteenMinistry.net, which provides creative curriculum and resources for preteen ministry. He is also the preteen columnist for Children’s Ministry Magazine and Children’s Pastor at Seven San Diego Church.