If you are running a youth group or an after-school program you want to make sure that you are letting the kids have fun without promoting a contradictory message. There are games that convey a positive message, as well as a life lesson, that let kids learn while still having fun.
If you are running a religious youth group, this is an activity about faith in God. Gather all of your students in one location that doesn't have any dangerous objects they could trip over. Have all of your students wear blindfolds and have them separate and try to make it back to a certain location. After a few minutes, try the same activity in pairs with one partner wearing the blindfold and one not. The seeing partner can guide their blindfolded partner but only using their voice. This will show the difference between walking in faith with God and walking blindly.
Know Your Neighbor
Put everybody's name into a hat on a slip of paper and have everyone draw until they get somebody they do not know very well. Have each of them conduct a little interview with their partner in pairs and then have them come back and present their findings to the rest of the group. Make sure to ask the question "what surprised you about so-and-so?" This game shows that we can never really know a person until we talk to them so don't ever judge someone until you know them.
Whatever It Takes
This is a good game to show that discrimination is wrong. Pick five or so people to be the outcasts and have five groups huddled together. The object of the game is for the outcasts to try to get into the groups however they can, by pushing, shoving and pleading. The groups are supposed to try to resist. Keep switching around until everybody has had a chance to try to get inside. At this point, you should convey the message that it isn't right to try to keep people out of their groups of friends no matter what race they are or where they come from. Have them make sure they aren't pushing people out of their groups in their own lives.
Have everybody gather in a circle ready to sing. You suggest a word and then a person jumps into the middle and starts singing the first song they can come up with. When the people in the circle recognize the song they can start singing along right away. When someone in the circle thinks of another song, they can bail out the person in the middle by tagging them and singing a new song. The pattern continues until everybody runs out of songs. Try to encourage the "wallflowers" of the group to sing as much as they can. This game shows that when someone puts themselves out there boldly, you should support them as much as you can. The game rewards bravery and support.
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Bryan Cohen has been a writer since 2001 and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double degree in English and dramatic art. His writing has appeared on various online publications including his personal website Build Creative Writing Ideas.