Here are three fun and easy-to-do games and devotions with preteens.
Trying to break in a new preteen leader? Here’s a way to “bless” the leader with popularity! Create an opening segment called Weird Moments that your new leader hosts.
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Each week, introduce the leader and his or her Weird Moment. Fill this time with competitions such as these that are too weird for words:
- Diving for Dollars-Have two leaders compete for a dollar bill placed in a plastic bag at the bottom of a wading pool filled with ice. Leaders must keep their hands behind their backs and use only their teeth to retrieve the prize.
- Stick Around-Have two leaders compete to see who can stick to the wall the longest. Use duct tape to secure them with their feet off the floor. Then conduct your meeting and see who lasts the longest!
- Marathon Belchers-And, of course, don’t forget the oldies but goodies. After a soft drink, see which leader can burp the longest! Remember, your preteens love to live on the edge…even (or maybe especially) when we find that edge a bit gross.
This is another fun game to challenge preteens to communicate creatively. For each team of four, make a kit with four straws, a racquetball-sized lump of clay, three wiggle eyes, five 6-inch yarn strips, and a metal washer. Make an extra kit for yourself.
Using your kit, build a creature or contraption model using all the supplies. Then hide your model outside your room.
Once teams are formed, have teams each choose one preteen to be their director. Take all the directors out to view your model. Allow three minutes for them to memorize the object.
When directors return to their teams, they aren’t allowed to speak. They can only use gestures to give directions to their teammates. Teams have five minutes to try to build an exact replica of the model.
When time’s up, show teams your model. Ask, “How difficult was it to build an object you’d never seen? How did it feel to not be able to talk to your teammates? Could you understand what your silent teammate was trying to communicate? Why or why not?”
Read aloud Luke 1:11-22. Then ask, “Why did Zechariah lose his voice? How do you think he felt when he couldn’t tell anyone about the message Gabriel had given him?”
Read aloud Luke 1:57-64. Ask, “When we doubt God’s Word, what does that do to our ability to communicate it? How can faith keep you from being unable to deliver God’s message?”
How Do You Smell?
Illustrate for preteens that Christ makes them different from kids who aren’t Christians.
Before class, set up stations throughout your room or around your church. At each station, include items that smell sweet, overpowering, inviting, repelling, and downright stinky. Some suggestions are an onion cut in half, a cup of coffee, cotton doused in cheap perfume, a fresh flower, a dirty sock, soured milk, and vanilla extract.
Start your meeting by giving preteens scorecards. Have them move from station to station sniffing each substance and voting how many seconds or minutes they’d be willing to smell each item.
Once they’ve visited each station, ask, “Which smells did you like? Which did you dislike? Why?” Then read aloud 2 Corinthians 2:14-15.
Ask, “How did smelling the soured milk make you feel? the vanilla extract? How are those feelings like or unlike the ways people feel about being around Christians? How can we be more like the vanilla and give off the sweet aroma of Christ?”
To augment this discussion, spray air freshener. Then lead a discussion of ways to “freshen up” your youth group.
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