Community Games

Originally from  Return to Campus Ministry Handbook.
Here are my favorite games. I like them because they are fun and they get people chatting.They are listed below in no particular order and will take about 10- 15 minutes to complete.  At the end of the list of shorter games  are games that will take 20- 30 minutes.  But don’t let the length put you off.  The longer  games are always played enthusiastically.


If you have a favorite successful game, let me know. I am always looking for new ideas.  Thanks.

1. Charade Race– for large groups

Object- to see which team can guess the series of words given the fastest.

The game facilitator will have cards of categories such as sports, kitchen, school, business, and routines. On each category card, there will be words that fall under that category.  For example, “school” would have words like desk, computer, pencil, paper.
Divide the group into groups of 5 or 6.  At the starting signal, each team sends one person to the facilitator to receive a word.  They then race to their team and act out the word. The person who guesses, or the next person in line, races out to get the next word.  Use  7 words for each team. The first team to finish wins. It may be helpful to have different lists for each team to avoid getting hints from other teams.

2. Line up– for large groups

Object- to see which team can organize themselves the fastest.

Divide the group into teams of 10-15.  Have everyone stand in a line.  The facilitator will call out a subject, such as birthdays.  The line of students will organize themselves according to the month they were born, from January to December.  When they are arranged, the team sits down.  Other subjects can be; shoe size, number of siblings, shortest to tallest, short and long hair, number of years in school, numbers of letters in name, etc.

3. Two Truths and a Lie- for groups of 3 or 4 people

Object- to learn something new about other people

Each person takes a turn telling two things that are true about themselves and one thing that is not true.  The others in the group will guess the lie.

4. Matching- for large groups

Object- to help people meet other people

Each person receives a paper with phrases.  People must then circulate to find people who can sign their name by the phrases.  For example, the paper might have; lives on the 10th floor, has a dog for a pet, speaks more than three languages, has been to South America, etc.

5. Never Have I Ever,or  I Have Never– for groups of 10-20.

Object- to help students identify experiences they have done or not.

Make a large circle.  One person in the middle begins with “Never have I ever…” or “I have never…”, and then they name an experience. For example, one might say, “Never have I ever been to Mexico,” or “I have never been to Mexico.”  After the words are spoken, people around the circle who have been to Mexico must run out and exchange places with others who have been to Mexico. Most likely, there will be a new person in the middle who must then announce something they have never done.  This continues until everyone has had a turn in the middle or at the end of a certain set time.

6. Sorts and Mingle– for a large group of 10-30 people.

Object- to help people identify words, preferences, and to help people meet and talk to new people.

The game facilitator will announce two contrasting things or preferences like Wal-Mart and Target, pointing at a side of the room for each word.  Students race to the side of their preference.  Other contrasts could be; apples and oranges, sweet and salty, cold and hot.  The second part of the game is “mingle.” Now the facilitator announces a topic and people have to talk to each other to find people who like the same thing.  These categories are things like dessert, sports, movies, shoes, and so on.

7.  M & M Sharing– for small groups of 3 or 4.

Object- to help people share their experiences.

Each group receives M&M’s of different colors.  Each person in the group takes a few.  Then, questions are handed out to each group. The questions have to do with the colors of M&M’s.  For example, red M&M’s mean you share the name of a close childhood friend. Green means you share your favorite vegetable. Brown, a most disliked subject or class.  You can make up the questions to fit your group.



8. Guess What?- for large groups of 15 or more.

Object- to help people mingle and ask questions of each other.

Put a post -it note on each person’s back.  The note will have a word of a category chosen.  For example, if you choose world famous cities, then a note will have the name of a city such as Sao Paulo, Rome, Beijing, Tokyo, or Toronto.  People must then ask others yes or no questions to help them identify the word on their back.

9. Jigsaw Autographs– for large groups.

Object- to help people meet others and learn something about them.

Each person is given a piece of graph paper.  They write their name in the middle.  Then they collect other names that will intersect with the letters in their own name.  In addition, on the back, they write the name of their favorite musician, or some other topic of interest.

10.  Interview– for groups of 4.

Object- to encourage conversation and to learn about someone new.

Each person chooses another person they do not know.  They must identify two areas they have in common and two areas that are different.  They then introduce their friend to the group small group of four.

11Fish, Mosquito, Bear, which is a variation for Rock, Paper, Scissors– for large groups of people.

Object- for fun and mixing people up.

At the word, “go,” people find a partner and try to win in a series of three contests.  The fish eats the mosquito, the mosquito bites the bear, and the bear eats the fish.  Before you start, identify the action for these three animals.  From this point on, the winners of the first contest play the other winners, until all are eliminated except for one.


Backpack Scavenger Hunt

12. Backpack Scavenger Hunt– for small groups of 5 or 6

Object- for fun, and conversation

Each team receives the same list of items that may be common or uncommon in a backpack.  Then the teams pool the items on hand to find all the items first.  Some items might include, a credit card, highlighter, penny, eraser, organizer, photo.

13.  Gestures– for a large group of 15 or more.

Object- for fun, to notice people in the circle.

Form a large circle.  One designated person leaves the room and one person standing with  the circle is chosen.  When the designated person returns, he stands in the center.  The person chosen begins an action when the person in the middle is not facing her.  The rest of the people in the circle begin to repeat the action as quickly as possible.  The person in the center tries to guess who started the action.  The person chosen to do actions can and should change actions at any time to keep the person in the middle guessing.  This continues until person in the middle guesses the originator of the actions.  Actions include  scratching head, waving, clicking fingers, putting thumbs up, and so on.

14.  Connections– One person stands in front of a group of 10-15 people and begins to say short phrases about themselves.  For example, they may say they like to cook or read science fiction or ride a bike or take photos.  When someone else hears something they have in common, they get up, stand by the first speaker and begin to name things about themselves.  This process continues until everyone is standing in a circle.  Each person on the right and left of the individual will have a connection.

Games that take 20- 30 minutes.

1. Jeopardy– for large groups divided into smaller groups of 5-8.

Object- to develop teamwork to answer the questions and win.

The game facilitator prepares categories and questions that range from difficult to easy, with accompanying points.  We usually use a wipe board for this with someone designated to keep points for each team and erase the level chosen.  Each team takes turn choosing a category and the level of difficulty.  The team can collaborate to come up with the right answer.  The team also rotates people who choose questions so everyone has a chance to choose.  Among the questions, put in a daily double occasionally.   If a team cannot answer, or answers incorrectly, another team may raise their hand to answer.  If that team answers correctly, they get the points assigned to the question.  If they answer incorrectly, the points will be subtracted from their total.

2. The Name Game– for groups of 8-12

Object- to test memory and to get to know other people.

Each person writes the name of a famous person on a piece of paper.  The person can be real or fictional, alive or dead.  It is helpful if everyone know the name.  The papers are collected and read aloud two times by someone who is not familiar with everyone’s handwriting or who is not playing the game. One designate person asks another person if they are one of the names read.  For example, Tiffany might ask Liming if she is Hillary Clinton.  If Liming says “yes,” then she sits by Tiffany and together they ask another person.  If Liming says, “no,” then Liming stays where she is at and asks another person about a name.  This game continues until all have been guessed.  The teams get larger when individuals and whole teams are guessed.

People do not get tired of this game.  It seems new each time it is played and more strategies are recognized.

3.  The Movie Game– for large groups of 20 or so divided into groups of about 5.

Object- to help people use words in a selective way.  It also is a good memory game.  Overall, it is plain fun!

Each person writes down four movie titles, all on separate pieces of paper.  The papers are folded in half and put in a large bowl.  Now the fun begins.  The designated person on the first team picks a paper from the bowl.  He then will give verbal or action clues to his team to help them guess the movie title.  The verbal clues cannot have words from the title.  When his team guesses the correct title, he draws another paper from the bowl and continues for one minute.  When the minute is up, the unguessed clue is put back and the next team begins.  The guessed movies are kept by each team.  Each person on a team will have a turn to give clues. When all the movies are guessed, the totals for each team are tallied and the movie titles are put back in the bowl.  This is the end of round one.

Round two continues in the same fashion with one minute time allotments per team.  The difference in round two is that each person giving clues may only use 3 words, and words like “umm,” count, depending on the English level of your crowd.  Round three is actions only, no words.  The team with the most point wins the tournament.

4. Telephone Pictionary– for groups of 10-14

Object- to enjoy the funny outcomes of statements and drawings.

Each person is given a stack of papers according to how many people are in the group.  They then number the papers.  On the top paper, number one, each person writes down a short phrase. such as , “the bear went over the mountain, I love you, once upon a time,” or some such thing.  Then they pass the whole stack to the person on their left.  That person reads the statement and then puts the statement at the bottom of the stack and draws a picture of the statement.  Then the whole stack is again passed.  The drawing at the top is considered and put on the bottom of the stack.  On the paper on top, they write a statement that describes the drawing.  Again it is passed.  This pattern of statement, drawing, statement, drawing is continued until one receives their original stack. Then each person shares with the entire group the progression of the stack.

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