Without a doubt, the Bible studies and the overall message of God's work is the focus of our lock-in's, but at the same time we realize that the kids are there for fun. We have included some information about various games that we play throughout the night.
Typically we start with the "name games," then we move into "time fillers," and we end the night with some more "intensive activity" games.
Who am I?
In this game, we have a set of prepared note cards ready for when each of the students walk into the lock-in. On the note cards, various Disney and common cultural figures are written, for example "Bambi." The card is then taped to the back of the students, while not letting them see it before hand. Each student then has the responsibility to walk around the room and mingle with others to try and figure out who they are. The trick to the game is that the students are only allowed to ask yes or no questions, for example "Am I a boy?"
At this point the group gets into a large circle of chairs, and everyone goes around saying their names out loud to the group, as well as introducing their age, and their response to a predetermined question. (For example: My name is Mike, I am in the 12th grade, and my favorite cereal is Crisp)
Who's your neighbor?
In this game, everyone is still sitting in the same large circle. You should encourage them to learn the names of the neighbors on each side of them. For the first round of the game, there will be one, or more depending on the size of the group, person walking around, trying to get out of the middle. They do this by walking up to someone in the circle and pointing at them while saying "Who's your neighbor?" The person in the middle counts to 10 out loud as quickly as they can, while making sure to pronounce each number clearly. While this is happening, the person who was pointed at is trying to say the name of their neighbors (For example: "Jeff and Melissa!") before the counter gets to 10. If they are unable to do so, they move into the middle, and the counter gets to sit down. The person who just sat down then has 10 seconds to learn their neighbors names before they can be called on again.
For the next few rounds the following motions are introduced, allowing the person in the middle to call any of which during the rest of the game:
"Elephant" : With this addition, the person being pointed at becomes the middle of the elephant. They must quickly put their arm in front of their face to simulate a trunk. Their neighbors try to turn their arms side ways to form the large ears of the elephant. There is no counting involved, but the last person to finish the elephant has to go to the middle, and the one in the middle takes their spot.
"Jello" : This motion is similar to Elephant, but in this case, the person in the middle throws their hands in the air to form the jiggly jello. Their neighbors turn their arms sideways around the jello to form the bowl. Again, the last person to finish the whole process is in the middle.
"Cow" : For this, the person in the middle interlocks their fingers with their thumbs pointing up. They then bring their thumbs towards their body, and eventually point them down, so that they may demonstrate the udders of the cow. The neighbors must then grab onto the middle persons thumbs, and milk the cow.
In this game, one person starts out in the middle, while the rest remain in the giant circle (the persons extra chair should be removed.) The person in the middle will say their name, "Hi my name is Nick," at which point everyone in the room will enthusiastically, preferably with their bodies, shout "HEY NICK!" Nick would then continue the thought saying "And I like people who like _____!" If nick were to shout that he liked people who wear sandals, everyone with sandals would get up, and try to find a new seat, at least two away from the one they were just sitting in. The person without a chair at the end goes to the middle and the game continues. If anybody is unable to think of something that they like, they could say "I like people who like......Train-wreck!" at which point everyone would get up and have to find a new seat.
Pillow Wacky Game
(For this game, you will need a medium sized stuffed animal.) It's best to start this game by going around one last time and re-saying everyone's names, trying to weed out repeats. You could do this by making one of the two Amy's "Amy O." with the O representing their last name. A person is then selected to stand in the middle with the stuffed animal, and the group is told that we are only allowed to "wack" the other students, gently, on the knee. The game starts with a leader standing up and saying their name, and someone else's name in the circle. (For example: "Brian.....Alex") the person in the middle would have to rush to "Alex" before he could pass it to the next person, such as "Alex....Molly." If "Alex" was unable to pass the name, he would have to stand up in the middle, and take the place of the "wacker." The person who was just in the middle would then, while continuing to stand, say their name, and restart the whole process. If the person in the middle were to sit down without doing this, "Alex" would be able to tag them back.
Everyone gets broken up into smaller groups, preferably the desired Bible study groups. They then all stand in a small circle, and reach across to grab the hand of someone else, not someone next to them. Once everyone is holding a hand, the game begins, and the students try to untangle themselves without letting go of the hand in their hand.
Two truths and a Lie
In this game, each student comes up with two truths, and one lie, and then each gets a turn to tell the group the list of three, trying to keep them from guessing which is the lie.
Creature creator game
(For this game, you will need a few different objects, such as cups, tape, paper scraps, spoons, feathers, etc.) While the previous games are being played, a youth leader should take the time to build a crazy object using the resources that are made available to them. This should be something somewhat complex, but at the same time not to difficult for the students to describe and recreate. Once the object is done being built, the groups should be given the same supplies used in the original object, as well as some extras to through them off. One student should be elected as the "viewer" of each group. They will have to stay with the object the whole time, and it will be their responsibility to look at it, and then describe it to their group. This "viewer" is not allowed to be looking at the object during the description, and is not able to go more than 10 feet from the object. Here a "runner" is selected from the group to go ask the "viewer" to try and describe what the object looks like. Once they have an adequate idea of what it is, they run back to their group to tell them what to start building. Only one runner may be sent at a time, and the "viewer" cannot view the groups project while it is being made.
This game last for 10-20 minutes. Typically, the group goes into Bible study after this so that the leaders can "judge" each of the creations. What we have learned is that it's best to have each of the groups to win at something (For example: "Best dressed," "Biggest disaster," or "Most original design.")
The name of this next game is "Grog." What does Grog stand for? Basically, a Grog is a monster of sorts that likes to hang out in the dark. The Grogs biggest enemy is the light, and that's where the game gets created.
(For this game, you will need a large open space, two flashlights, preferably made up of 4 pieces, and a dark church. We've found it safer to leave some light on near stairways, and near major obstacles, such as a room full of poles.)
The rules of the game are simple. Two of the youth leaders will take two flashlights, and hid their pieces in the dark. These pieces have to be found, so keeping them under lock and key normally doesn't work. While the pieces are being hidden, another youth leader should be explaining this game to the rest of the group. As you may imagine, it helps to describe what a Grog is before getting to much into the explanation of the game. Once they know that the Grog is, the next step is to start explaining to them that there are flashlights hidden around the church. (You may have places that are off limits, such as sanctuaries, but make sure that the kids are aware of these places before the game starts.)
From there on, the game becomes a fusion of hide and go seek and freeze tag. You should select two or more, depending on the size of the group, of the kids to be the Grogs. These Grogs, who will be in the dark, trying to tag the other players while they are looking for the flashlight pieces. Like in most tag games, kids are inclined to guard the tagged people, and to stand at the top of stairwells. This is not allowed, and the Grogs must be in constant, "un-guarding" motion. When someone is tagged by a Grog, they are frozen in place until someone comes and unfreezes them. In the rare chance that everyone is frozen, the Grogs win the game. As the kids are finding the pieces, they should have a safe room, where the lights are on, in which they can return the flashlight pieces. Here, the Grogs cannot get them, and the pieces are safe. If someone carrying a piece is tagged before they get back to the safe zone, the Grog may enter this area to give one of the youth leaders the piece to re-hide it.
Once all of the pieces are assembled, the kids go out with the flashlights and shine the light on the Grogs, immediately killing them, and ending the game.
MURDER IN THE CHURCH!
This game, with one of the most violent sounding names, is actually played in a very quiet and secretive way. Unlike Grog, the kids are not allowed to run, and everyone has the chance to be a "tagger."
The game goes like this:
Assemble all of the kids in one room to describe the rules of the game. The church should still be dark from GROG, so that the ominous feeling of "murder" is still in the air. During each round, the kids will be wondering around the church in the dark. They will be intermingling, and walking past each other, unaware that some of them are in fact murderers.
HOW TO PICK THE MURDERERS:
While everyone is sitting in a circle, let them know that whoever gets tapped on the shoulder in the next few minutes in a murderer. Have them close their eyes tightly, and begin to sing their favorite Disney song as loud as they can. As they do this, walk around the outside of the circle, tapping some people to be murderers. (Usually 20-40% of the group) Once that is done, you can tell them all to stop, to listen to the rest of the rules.
As they walk around, a preselected few of murderers will be trying to "kill" the others by tapping them on the shoulder, twice. This tap should be distinguishable from a gentle brushing of the shoulder, and should also be done in as much secrecy as possible. The murdering, however, may not begin until 40 seconds after the current round has started. (This gives the kids a bit more time to walk around and really spread out.) Once someone is tapped, they will, quietly and without making a scene, walk 10 steps in a random direction, and will fall down. Once they are down, they are dead, and are unable to talk during the rest of the game. When another play discovers the body, they yell "Murder in the Church" at which point, every player will yell it and will return to wherever the rules are being explained. The dead person will also return, quietly, and will lay down in the middle of the circle.
At this point, one of the youth leaders should be organizing the kids into a circle to begin to find out how the murder took place. (We've found that if you use a stuffed animal as a "talking stick" the kids won't all be shouting at once." The leader should really have fun with the whole thing, and build up the fact that this terrible murder has taken place.
In the first round: The leader will ask who found the body, at which point the finder of the body will raise their hand. They can describe only where they found it at this point, nothing else. (Typically, we only let two people talk for this part.) From there, the leader will ask everyone "Does anyone have any suspicious activity to report?" At this point, the kids will have the chance to describe more about the scene of the murder, or any other activity that could be called suspicious. During this time, we try to stay away from direct accusations, which come later, and stick to phrases like "I don't know exactly what happened, but the last thing I saw was the flash of a red shirt walking away from the scene." Once the suspicious activity is done, (typically 3-4 people), the round ends, and the group goes out again for another round of murder.
In the other rounds: These will be the same as before, but with one vital addition, in these rounds, after the suspicious activity is done, there will be one opportunity for a direct accusation at the end. One player will accuse another, who will then have the chance to defend themselves, and a third player will have the option to support the first players accusation. That's a bit complicated, so I'll use the power of example to best demonstrate it.
Player A accuses player B of being a murderer. Player B then gets the chance to defend themselves. Player C will raise their hand to support player A's accusation, or no one will, and the round will end.
If player C decides to support the accusation, and player B is a murderer, player B gets removed from the game, and the next round begins.
But have the kids beware, that if player C supports the accusation, and player B is not a murderer, player A, B, and C will be removed from the game.
Once all of the players are dead, or all murderers are out of the game, the game is over.
Rules on murdering:
1. Dead can not talk
2. Murderers should remain a secret
3. Murderers can kill other murderers
4. If someone is counting to 10 when "murder in the Church" is called, they still die.
5. No running
6. The murdering does not start until 40 seconds have passed. (Each round)
Most importantly for all of these games.......