Nikomas Perez

7 Tips to Make Even the Lamest Games Fun

by on in Experience.
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Middle School Ministry is a fun ministry… and you can’t have fun without games!

But the thing about games? They’re often either hit or miss. Middle schoolers will either love it or loathe it. And when they loathe it, it’s tough to recover. These games are marked by awkward silences, confusion, blank stares, and disinterest.

In these situations, the games are rarely the problem. It’s usually the way the game is led that’s the problem. With a little tweaking any game, even the lamest ones, can be loved. So, here are 7 tips to making even the lamest fun!

1. PREP THE GAME, EXPLAIN THE GAME, PLAY THE GAME

Before you explain the rules to a game, make sure the game is ready to be played. Have everyone in teams, on stage, or holding their equipment before you explain the rules. If you try to explain the game before prepping 80% of your middle schoolers will forget how to play before the game starts. Once everyone is in place explain the game, then play the game.

2. START SIMPLE

If the game is super complicated, start simple. Play the game with fewer rules if need be. Once the students get the hang of the game, start to add the new twists and new rules. This lets them understand the game, but it also helps the game build in intensity.

3. MUSIC = ENERGY

You can make the lamest games fun, simply by adding music! While you’re explaining the game, have some upbeat music quietly playing behind you. And then when the game starts TURN IT UP! Music adds intensity to the game, but it also creates an atmosphere where spectators can loudly cheer.

4. INVOLVE EVERYONE

Everyone in the room should be involved in the game, even if it’s a stage game that only requires a few volunteers. Figure out a way to get everyone involved. Have the whole crowd count down to start off the game. Ask the crowd to decide on the winner. Have them cheer for the person they want to win. Whatever you do, don’t let the crowd just sit and watch.

5. BE THE BIGGEST FAN

Enthusiasm is contagious. Be the game’s biggest fan and your enthusiasm will spread. If you think this is the greatest game to ever be played, your students will too! While the game is being played, commentate what’s happening. Give an exciting play-by-play, get enthusiastic when the competition is nail-biting, cheer the contestants on when they’re not doing so well. Don’t just watch the game, cheer the game!

6. STOP THE GAME AT IT’S PEAK

Once your game has reached the peak of fun, once you realize your students are swimming in the deepest depths of delight… kill it. They’ll hate you for it, but it’s the best thing you can do! After all, once you’ve climbed to the peak of a mountain the only direction to go from there is down. If you wait too long to stop they will only remember the downhill spin and not the fun. If you end the game at it’s peak, they’ll be begging to play it again!

7. ___________________________

If you were to fill out the 7th pointer, what would you add? Comment with your tip below!

  • John V. D. Merwe

    Great post! My number 7 would be that if you are not the one leading the game, take part! Kids will grab any opportunity they get to beat you at anything! Even the dumbest game becomes a ton of fun if they have a chance to beat YOU at it, even if they don’t succeed in the end, which they won’t. We are pro’s after all!

    • Nikomas

      Yes! Apathy is just as contagious as energy. If the leaders are apathetic the kids will be too. If the leaders are participating the kids will too!

  • John V. D. Merwe

    Great post! My number 7 would be that if you are not the one leading the game, take part! Kids will grab any opportunity they get to beat you at anything! Even the dumbest game becomes a ton of fun if they have a chance to beat YOU at it, even if they don’t succeed in the end, which they won’t. We are pro’s after all!

    • Nikomas

      Yes! Apathy is just as contagious as energy. If the leaders are apathetic the kids will be too. If the leaders are participating the kids will too!

  • kevin libick

    My number 7 would be to vary up the game genres so that a variety of kids are engaged. Don’t just do messy games or athletic games. Mix in some games that highlight creative and cerebral kids as well.

    • Nikomas

      Those cerebral games are important…and hard to find!

  • kevin libick

    My number 7 would be to vary up the game genres so that a variety of kids are engaged. Don’t just do messy games or athletic games. Mix in some games that highlight creative and cerebral kids as well.

    • Nikomas

      Those cerebral games are important…and hard to find!

  • Josh Mitchell

    #7: Give SOME incentive for winning. A prize, candy, the privilege of having small group in the coolest area, a shout out on social media, lunch with a leader, anything!

    • Nikomas

      hmm…a shout out on social media. I like that. Maybe posting the winner each night on your youth ministry’s instagram account. I’m going to try that out!

  • Josh Mitchell

    #7: Give SOME incentive for winning. A prize, candy, the privilege of having small group in the coolest area, a shout out on social media, lunch with a leader, anything!

    • Nikomas

      hmm…a shout out on social media. I like that. Maybe posting the winner each night on your youth ministry’s instagram account. I’m going to try that out!

  • kentsanders

    Hmm. Interesting post! I don’t do junior high ministry but I teach college kids (sometimes there’s not much difference!). A lot of these principles apply to classroom learning also.

    • Nikomas

      College classrooms definitely need more music! 🙂

  • kentsanders

    Hmm. Interesting post! I don’t do junior high ministry but I teach college kids (sometimes there’s not much difference!). A lot of these principles apply to classroom learning also.

    • Nikomas

      College classrooms definitely need more music! 🙂

  • 7. Maybe if you have a volunteer leader who is fun and energetic, let them lead! Games are a great way to get your adult leaders in front of the students, changes up the energy and personality, and also gives the youth pastor a break from doing it all up front. Let’s be honest, students get tired of seeing us up there all the time. At my previous ministry, we even gave the adult leader his own segment each week, complete with graphics and theme music. The students looked forward to it and loved it!

  • 7. Maybe if you have a volunteer leader who is fun and energetic, let them lead! Games are a great way to get your adult leaders in front of the students, changes up the energy and personality, and also gives the youth pastor a break from doing it all up front. Let’s be honest, students get tired of seeing us up there all the time. At my previous ministry, we even gave the adult leader his own segment each week, complete with graphics and theme music. The students looked forward to it and loved it!