These Sunday school games are active, fun and are played indoors. Plus they help kids grow their faith and work out the squirm!
Not going outside can make kids stir-crazy. Stuck inside, they dream of a warmer season when they can run and play with endless energy outdoors. And then they enter your Sunday school classroom, after a week of being cooped up at school and home, with a God-given, wiggly case of the fidgets and squirms. So tap into kids’ natural energy and exuberance with these active indoor Sunday school games specially designed to let kids move while teaching them more about their faith.
1. Sunday School Games: Angry Ping-Pong
Use this game to talk about the effects of anger.
You’ll need a Bible, ping-pong balls, fine-tipped permanent markers, slingshots, and a supply of cardboard building blocks.
Put kids in groups of 10, and give them a few minutes to build towers with their blocks. Then give each group four or five ping-pong balls. Have each person write at least one thing on each ball that makes him or her angry.
Say: Let’s play a game. Your team’s goal is to knock down any other team’s towers. Use the slingshots and the pingpong balls to do this, but stand at least 15 feet from any tower you’re aiming at.
Show kids this distance. Then say: Think about the things you wrote on your ping-pong balls. What things has that anger “knocked over” in your life or in others’ lives?
Read aloud Ephesians 4:26-27. Say: What does it mean to you that anger can be a foothold for the devil? What can you do to deal with your anger in a Godhonoring way?
2. Sunday School Games: Elephant Stampede
Use this game to discuss the benefits of teamwork.
You’ll need a Bible and one pool noodle that’s been cut in half.
Choose two kids to be the Elephant, and give them each one of the noodle pieces.
Say: We’ll work as a team in this game. Our Elephant will chase everyone else and try to tag you with a noodle. If you’re tagged, you become part of the Elephant by holding hands with the person who just tagged you with a noodle. The person who tagged you will hand you the noodle piece, and you’ll work with the rest of the Elephant to tag others, handing off the noodle piece to the person you tag. The object is to be the last person tagged.
Check for understanding; then let kids play. Afterward, ask: Explain what you enjoyed more—trying to escape being tagged or being part of the Elephant. What did you do to work as a team in this game? What do you like or not like about working with a team? Read aloud 1 Corinthians 12:20-25. What are the benefits of working as a team? What adjustments can you make to be a team player?
3. Sunday School Games: Cotton Nose
Use this game to practice encouraging others.
You’ll need a Bible, masking tape, petroleum jelly, cotton balls, a table, and paper plates.
Have kids get in groups of five to eight, and put a dab of petroleum jelly on the end of each person’s nose. For each group, set a plate of cotton balls on one end of the table, and set a second empty plate on the opposite end of the table for each group. Then designate a start line and have each group form a line behind it.
Read aloud 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Say: Let’s use this game to practice encouraging others. This is a relay race, and your team’s goal is to get all the cotton balls on your plate to your team’s empty plate at the other end of the table. Only one person can go at a time, and you must use only your nose to pick up the cotton balls. Got it? Check for understanding. This is going to be tough, so cheer on your teammates as much as you can. Shout encouraging words, clap, and chant for your teammates.
Begin the race. Afterward, ask: When it was your turn to race, what encouraged you to do your best? What ways did you notice others encouraging their teammates? How can you apply this kind of encouragement to your life?
4. Sunday School Games: Balloon Bop
Use this game to talk about keeping God’s commandments.
You’ll need a Bible, a beach towel, and 10 inflated balloons.
Say: Pretend each of these balloons represents one of the Ten Commandments. Let’s play a game to try to keep all 10 balloons in the air at once.
Have kids each hold the edge of one end of the towel and stand apart so the towel is taut. Then have the kids shake the towel. Encourage them to continue to shake it as you add each balloon—each time naming one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). Continue for 30 seconds after you’ve added all the balloons, and replace any balloons that fall.
Ask: What was it like to keep all the balloons in the air? Explain whether that’s like or unlike trying to keep all of God’s commandments. Why do you think it’s helpful for your life when you keep God’s commands?
5. Sunday School Games: Reaching for Hearts
Use this game to teach kids how important it is to support each other as Christians trying to spread the good news about Jesus.
Stuff: You’ll need candy bars and clear packing tape.
Play: Before kids arrive, tape candy bars onto the wall high enough so kids can’t reach them without standing on chairs.
Tell kids the object of the game is to reach the candy bars without the help of furniture or other people.
Let kids try to grab the candy bars. Once they’ve given up, have them form groups of three and work together to reach the candy bars. Two kids can form a step by locking their hands together and lifting the third person high enough to reach a candy bar for all three.
Ask kids to compare their first attempt to reach the candy bars with their second. Ask: What ways do you tell your friends about your faith? Why is it important to work together and support each other as Christians? How can you support a friend this week?
6. Sunday School Games: Protect Me
This game teaches kids that it’s important to surround themselves with good influences for protection from temptation.
Play: Ask for two volunteers-one to be the Tempted and the other the Temptor-in a group of no more than eight kids. The object of the game is to protect the Tempted, who’ll stand in the center of the group’s tight circle. The Temptor tries to tag the child in the center by reaching through the circle. Kids in the circle can maneuver to keep the Temptor out, but they must stay locked arm-in-arm. When the Tempted gets tagged, new kids get to be the Tempted and the Temptor.
Cool Down: Ask: How have you been tempted this past week? How does having Christian friends’ support help you resist temptation?
7. Sunday School Games: Snowball Fight
This game reminds kids of the power of God’s grace.
Bible Connect: Isaiah 1:18
Stuff: You’ll need newspapers, masking tape, a timer, and disposable wipes.
Play: Form two groups. Divide your classroom into two equal-sized areas with a masking tape line. Give each group an equal amount of newspaper. On your signal, let kids make newspaper “snow” balls and quickly throw them back and forth at the opposing team for two minutes. The object is to get more “snow” on the opponent’s side when time’s up.
At the end of the game, have kids collect the newspaper and place it in your church’s recycle bin. Have kids clean their hands with disposable wipes.
Ask: How did your hands look after the snowball fight? How is the newspaper like sin? How are the wipes like God’s grace?
8. Sunday School Games: Sock It to Me
Just as socks protect our feet, kids will discover that God protects us.
Bible Connect: Psalm 91:14-15
Play: Ask kids to sit in a tight circle and remove their shoes. Choose two kids to be It. They’ll sit on their knees in the center of the circle. The rest of the kids forming the circle must stay seated with their feet in the center of the circle. The object of the game is for the It kids to take off the circle kids’ socks before those kids can get the It kids’ socks off.
Ask: What kinds of things are you exposed to in the world? How are socks like or unlike God’s love? How does God’s love protect you from inappropriate things?
9. Sunday School Games: Belly Laugh
This silly game reminds kids that God loves a joyful heart.
Play: Have one child lie on his or her back. Then have another child lie with his or her head on the other child’s belly. Have the remaining kids lie down with their heads resting on another child’s belly.
Choose one person to start the game by shouting, “Ha!” The next person will shout, “Ha, ha!” and each child continues to add a “ha” as they work around the group. Sooner or later the group will burst into laughter, with heads bouncing off bellies with joy.
Cool Down: Let kids take turns telling a funny story or joke. Tell kids that God wants us to experience joy every day through fun and laughter.
10. Sunday School Games: Pressure
Getting “pushed around” by others in this game lets kids think critically about peer pressure.
Play: Form groups of eight. Have seven kids form a close circle with their arms on each other’s shoulders. One child stands in the middle, crosses his or her arms, and tries to keep his or her feet firmly in place on the ground while the circle presses in. Kids in the circle work together to force the child to give up his or her ground. Give every child a chance to be in the middle.
Cool Down: Have kids discuss how they experience peer pressure at school. Kids can brainstorm how they can work together to tackle negative peer pressure. Talk about the importance of relying on God when the pressure is on.
4 Bonus Sunday School Games!
11. Sunday School Game: Unlocked
Use this game to encourage kids to be patient and listen for God’s instruction.
Bible Connect: Isaiah 30:18
Stuff: You’ll need two combination locks, two colored dot stickers with matching paper, candy, and a kitchen timer.
Play: Before kids arrive, place one sticker on the back of each lock. Hide the locks in the room. Print the corresponding combination numbers out of sequence on the lock’s matching paper, but keep both correct combinations with you.
Form two teams and give each team the scrambled combination numbers. Tell teams they’ll race each other to find their corresponding lock and figure out the correct combination. The first team to return with an open lock will get a reward. But first, teams must choose one of two strategies they’ll use to win:
- On “go,” a team will race to find its lock. Once they find the lock, they have to work together to decipher the correct combination using the scrambled numbers on the paper.
- Or, on “go,” a team will delay their search for 30 seconds (giving the other team a head start), but you’ll give them the correct combination to their lock. That way, all they have to do is find the lock and open it.
Once teams have chosen their strategy, give the signal. No matter which team returns with an open lock first, reward everyone for their efforts with the candy.
Ask: How did your team’s strategy work? Why did you choose that strategy? How is this game like or unlike being patient and listening for God’s instruction?
12. Sunday School Games: Focus
A new twist on this favorite game shows kids that God’s blessings are everywhere-all they need to do is look.
Stuff: You’ll need paper, pens, and a tray of theme-related items such as office supplies, candy items, or craft supplies. You’ll also need an assistant.
Play: Give each child a piece of paper and a pen. Tell kids your assistant will walk around the room with a tray of items. Kids’ task is to write down what they see (be precise with your wording here). Have your assistant walk around the room with the tray, allowing ample time for kids to write down the majority of items on the tray.
Once kids have viewed the tray, have your assistant leave the room. Then tell kids they can use their notes or memories to answer questions. Ask questions related to the assistant such as: What color were his shoes? Was she wearing earrings? Was he wearing a watch?
Then call your assistant back into the room to reveal the answers. Kids will realize their focus on the tray contents was so narrow that they missed the obvious.
Cool Down: Ask kids to discuss things they focus on, such as fear, jealousy, or grades. Challenge kids to name things they may miss out on when they focus on one thing or only on the negative. Remind kids that when we focus on God first, we’re able to see all he’s blessed us with each day.
Los Alamos, New Mexico
13. Sunday School Game: A Hill of Beans
Use this “hill-of-beans” game to teach kids how lies destroy trust.
Stuff: You’ll need pint-size Mason jars with lids, food-service gloves, and plastic tablecloths. You’ll also need one pound of each of the following dried beans for each group of five: black beans, lentils, green split peas, pinto beans, small white beans, red lentils, yellow split peas, and small red beans.
Play: Form groups of five and give each group a pound of each bean type. Place the tablecloths on the floor for each team’s workspace. Have kids wear food-service gloves and on your signal, work together to build the largest hill of beans in five minutes. When time’s up, kids can gather the beans and fill the Mason jars. Attach this recipe to the jar for kids to donate to a local food shelter.
Cool Down: Kids can discuss how building a hill of beans is like or unlike telling a lot of lies. Talk about what happens when lies pile up and how lying has negative consequences. Talk about how lies break trust, and ask God to help kids be honest and trustworthy.
14. Sunday School Game: Apples and Oranges
This crazy game will help kids discover everyone is important in God’s family.
Bible Connect: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Stuff: You’ll need an apple and an orange.
Play: Form a circle. One child will pass an apple to the right around the circle. Another child will pass an orange to the left around the circle. The key to this game is that kids can’t pass the fruit with their hands. Kids can use their feet, elbows, or knees to pass the fruit. If someone drops the fruit or it touches the ground, the child must close his eyes to continue playing. Play continues until only one person with his or her eyes open remains.
Cool Down: Ask kids to talk about what was easy or difficult about the game. Ask kids what it was like to play with their eyes closed and how that affected the game. Help kids make the connection between this game and God’s family. Celebrate everyone’s contributions and emphasize everyone’s special role in God’s family.