This game is a favorite that can be used with almost any group size and a rubber ball! BTW, get yourself a nice rubber kick ball! They cost what? A dollar? And you’re still using that beat up half flat kickball that has been in your church’s closet since the first Bush administration! C’mon man, loosen the purse strings a little!
The game mechanic is simple. The group forms a circle. In the center of the circle is the “body guard” and the “target”. [NOTE: at my last church I made the mistake of referring to the “target” as the “president” and from then on my Jr. High Boys referred to the game as “J.F.K”! Wrong Costner movie! If you want to keep the conversation at you recreation time from teetering between the distasteful and the treasonous, it’s best to refer to the person in the middle as the “target”.] Everyone else in the circle are the assassins. The object is pretty simple. The assassins are trying to hit the target with the ball. The assassins in the circle pass the ball to each other until someone has a clear shot. The body guard meanwhile is protecting the target by deflecting the ball with his body. If they pick up or catch the ball they can throw it to someone else in the circle. My group considers it bad form to hurl the ball way outside the circle but your group will have to determine its own circle game etiquette. Here’s the tricky part: once the target is hit, everyone moves up a notch. The target returns to the circle, the body guard becomes the target, and the person who hit the target becomes the new body guard. You can stop the game to engage in a peaceful transition of power but my group prefers the messiness of a South American coup. For us, as soon as the target is hit, the body guard becomes the new target so the one that lands the blow has to jump into the circle and protect their fragile new arrangement!
If you have a lot of power throwers who like to aim for the kidneys in your group, you may consider a two handed rule where the ball must be thrown with both hands. I find it prevents the chaos of everyone breaking the circle to run for a stray ball to say that if the ball leaves the circle to your left, you have a right to it. Assassins also should hold the shape and not enter the circle. If ball hogging is a problem, give each player ten seconds to shoot or pass.
Whitney Huston Tribute Edition. We all honor the passing of musical legends in our own way. Might I suggest this spin on the classic? Show your group the original Bodyguard trailer. Then play by the rules above except the bodyguard will be referred to as Kevin and the target will be referred to as Whitney. Also in the background play, “I Will Always Love You”. In a continuous loop. This will give your game a certain sensitivity and raw emotional power it was lacking before.
However you choose to play this game, I’m sure it will be a crowd pleaser. If only for that special moment when the big kid everyone refers to as Sasquatch becomes the target and the short sixth grade boy nicknamed “oompa loompa” becomes his new bodyguard. Hilarity is guaranteed to ensue!
Does YOUR group have a favorite circle game?
Noodle Hockey is a game that my students take SERIOUSLY!!! We have a saying: “Friends come and go but Noodle Hockey is life!” Whether or not your group takes this maxim to heart or not, they will have a lot of fun playing Noodle Hockey. Now is the perfect time to get your Noodle Hockey supplies because all the stores are selling pool noodles. Buy one pool noodle for every two students you expect to have playing!
To prepare, spend some time cutting these noodles in half. [NOTE: there is some division among Noodle Hockey aficionados about whether it is best to go half-noodle or full-noodle. My personal preference is for half-noodle. This is partly because full-noodling lends itself to a controversial practice known as “looping” in which the hockey player folds his noodle in half, creating a loop with which to make power shots. Another reason is that my Senior Pastor’s name is not Rick Warren and half-noodling is easier on the budget] Put your noodles in a box with a rubber ball roughly the size of a grapefruit. Noodle Hockey can be played with a beach ball but, again, this is a matter of preference!
The game area can be set up indoors in bad weather but it works perfectly on a lawn. Set up goals using two lawn chairs about 3 full-noodles apart. How big you make the rest of the space will depend on the size of your group. Close quarters works better for a smaller group while a larger field will work best for a bigger group.
Divide up teams via your preferred method. Avoid any situation where you might be facing off against the pastor’s kid. ESPECIALLY if he is asthmatic and/or wears glasses.
By now you have surmised that this game is played like field hockey only with foam noodles. You can make the rules as simple or as complicated as you want to. I tend to keep things simple so that my Junior High students can get most of the rules in between squirrel spotting sessions. Here are my simplified Noodle Hockey rules:
Danny’s Simplified Noodle Hockey Rules: Alright guys! Put those noodles down! No one pick up a noodle until AFTER I am done giving these instructions! Each team needs to choose a goalie… NOT RIGHT NOW! the goalie will be allowed in between the chairs and can block the ball only with his body or his noodle. If the ball goes in between the chairs and passes through, that is a point for the team that shot it! Are you paying attention, Timmy? This is important. No hitting eachother above the knees! I will put you in the penalty box for 5 minutes. If the ball goes out of bounds, everyone goes back to their goal and whichever team didn’t knock it out will start it! Look over here, Timmy! No holding the ball or pinning the ball with your noodle. You can’t kick the ball either. I think that’s it… LET’S GO!!!… Timmy, over here… We’re starting… It’s called noodle hockey… Just pick up a noodle and we’ll show you.
Okay so that’s about everything you need to know about Noodle Hockey. This is a favorite of students and volunteers alike. The other night I had a volunteer tell me that this game reminded her of how much she liked field hockey. She said it was great because it didn’t come with all the stick related injuries. All your volunteers may not share the same affection for Noodle Hockey but remember… volunteers come and go but Noodle Hockey is LIFE!!!
Does YOUR group play Noodle Hockey? What variations do you play?
Looking for a good game for close quarters? Q-Tip War will be an instant classic. This game is perfect for Sunday School classes and small groups. Just use masking tape (or painters tape) to divide the room in half. Give each of your students a straw and split them into two teams. Give each team an even number of q-tips (3-6 per player works well). The straw will be used to shoot the q-tips like poisoned darts across the room (junior highers, especially, will think this is awesome). Start a timer and have everyone fire their q-tips like mad to the opposite side of the line. When the time is up, whichever side of the room has the most cue tips on it is the loser.
Another variation on this game is to have one player on each team be the “King”. The King wears a paper cup on his head as a “crown”. The first team to make the other team’s king lose their crown by knocking it off his head (or it falling off on its own) is the winner.
Q-Tip War is cheap, easy, and fun. It will definitely get the giggles going before your next meeting!
Does YOUR group have a good variation on this game?