Children sometimes seem to have boundless energy and need an outlet to get those “wiggles” out.  Whether at home, during the week, or at Sunday School, you don’t want to have to compete for their attention.  We’ve got an answer for you!  

Keep reading if you need:

  • Quick and easy games
  • Activities that get “the wiggles” out
  • free or low budget children’s games 

Make Time for Fun, Movement, and Wiggles

I learned a very important lesson early on in the ministry, children need a combination of active and quiet learning. Child psychologists will tell you that children learn best when we alternate active learning with listening skills. It pays to have time built into your lesson plan to have some movement and fun, a time to get up and use those gross motor skills. 

If you teach preschoolers, we refer to it as, “It’s time to get the wiggles out!” Having a file of high-energy, engaging games is a great way to keep your students happy and as well as equip them to have a more successful classroom experience. 

I’ve gathered some game ideas for you to put in your children’s ministry toolbox. You will find that many of them are wonderful to use as review games and that most of the games can be used with very small class sizes. 

Active Games for Sunday School Classes

1. Sword Drills

You need: 

  • Bibles for each child 
  • List of Bible verses to search for 

Directions:

  1. Kids each have a Bible, which is closed and held in between their hands.  
  2. The Teacher gives a specific Bible verse and when he says ‘Search’, everyone looks for the verse.
  3. First-person to find the verse, stands, and reads it aloud. 

Spice It Up

You can get creative with what the Winner gets to do, i.e. take a shot at a Nerf Basketball Hoop or a Trash Can to earn points, roll a ball to knock pins over (2-liter bottles with some pebbles in the bottom), etc. use what you have on hand to make it fun!. 

Super Small Class Game Alternative

if you have 1-3 kids, turn it into a ‘Word Drill’. The teacher still calls out a verse, but everyone looks it up together, then as the teacher reads the verse children are instructed to do certain actions every time they hear certain words: 

Whenever you hear the word ‘the’ – spin around twice. 

Whenever you hear the word ‘and’-reach down and touch your toes. 

You can add in words you know are specific to that verse. 

2. Memory Verse Balloon Volleyball 

You Need: 

  • An inflated balloon (an extra on hand, just in case) 
  • Masking tape to mark the net line 
  • Whiteboard, chalkboard, or poster board with a memory verse written on it
  • Put a piece of masking tape down the middle of your designated court area, this is your ‘net’. 

Directions: 

  1. Split the class into 2 teams [and it may only be 1-person teams, that’s fine]. 
  2. Toss a balloon into the air, the idea is to keep hitting the balloon back & forth over the ‘net’ keeping it in the air. 
  3. If one team/side lets the balloon hit the ground, they have to read the Memory Verse for the day. 
  4. Then the next team who drops the balloon has to say the memory verse, but the teacher erases 2 words from it. 
  5. Continue playing in this same fashion, removing words from the memory verse each time, until the verse is gone and they have to say it all by memory. 

3. Silent Ball 

Explain to the group that this game is unique because it is played in complete silence!! As the ball is tossed back and forth with no speaking –  if you do you will pay the penalty!! 

You need: 

  • A rolled-up sock or a small stuffed animal, or a small soft nerf ball to toss 

Directions: 

  1. Everyone stands in a circle in silence.
  2. The teacher gives the ball to the first person, who then tosses the ball to someone else. If the person they toss it to doesn’t catch it, then that person has to sit in the middle of the circle. 
  3. However, if the person who threw the ball made a bad throw (out of bounds or over their head), the thrower has to sit in the middle. 
  4. People in the middle can try to distract the other players (not with voices- but by waving hands or feet). 
  5. The game keeps going but all in silence-if someone is caught speaking they have to sit down. Play until only 1 person is left standing. 

Super Small Class Game Alternative

Stand in a circle if you can or a line will do. The teacher plays music and starts passing the ball back and forth. When the music stops-if you are holding the ball, you get to take a shot with the ball into a pail (basket, whatever you come up with). If they make the shot, they get to control the music and the teacher has to play the game. 

4. Bible Baseball or Bible Kickball

This is a great game to use as a review lesson or with Bible Trivia questions. 

You need:  

  • Before class get your questions ready.  They will need to be categorized in the following ways- Singles (easiest questions) Doubles (a bit more difficult) Triples (a detailed question) Homeruns (the most difficult questions). 
  • Make ‘bases’ out of construction paper (or you may have some from the playground).
  • Make a ‘Home Plate’ where you will stand to answer your question. 
  • Have a whiteboard, chalkboard, or poster paper to keep track of scores. 

Directions: 

  1. A Child comes up ‘to bat’ (standing at home plate). They choose which kind of question they would like, (single-double, etc.). 
  2. If they answer the question correctly they run to that base. 
  3. Another child from the same team comes up ‘to bat’, if they answer the question correctly, you have kids run the bases as you would in a real ball game, points are given when a child gets to home plate. 
  4. If the child answers the question wrong or does not know, it is counted as an out. 
  5. Each team gets 3 outs and then the other team gets to have their turn at ‘bat’. 
  6. Keep playing until you’re out of questions or the game has run its course. 

**You can make your own rules depending on the number of children you have- each team only gets 1 out, everyone has to answer at least 1 question in each category (you can’t always ask for a single, etc.) Make it work for your group. 

Super Small Class Game Alternative 

If you don’t have enough kids to break into two teams, then just play everyone as their own team. Play the same basic rules, but once they get “a hit” the child will stay on that base, until their next turn and can move on from there. (This means you could have kids sharing a base, but that’s okay, it makes it more fun!) 

5. Human Burrito

You need: 

  • A flat sheet (any size-full is best)-this is your tortilla 
  • 2 pieces of construction paper in each of these colors: Yellow, Brown, Red, & Black 
  • Place the construction paper on a table at one end of the room (just scattered on the floor). These are your ingredients: 
  • Yellow is for cheese 
  • Brown is for refried beans 
  • Red is for salsa 
  • Black is for meat 
  • At the other end of the room, place the sheet on the floor-opened up flat. 
  • In the middle of the room make an X or a square from masking tape. Label it ‘Oven.’ 
  • Have review questions or Bible trivia questions ready (questions about your town or church could also be added for fun).

Directions: 

  1. Make 2 teams (it’s okay if there are only enough kids for 1 per team) 
  2. Ask team 1 a question, if they get it right they have to run to the other side of the room and grab an ingredient to put in their burrito (a piece of one of the colored papers). Hold on to your ingredients until you have everything you need for your burrito.
  3. Once you have all the ingredients, run up and place them on the tortilla, one person on the team must lay down on the tortilla (the sheet) and be rolled up like a burrito. [with the help of his team or by themselves if they are a single team]. 
  4. After the tortilla is all rolled up-the person in the burrito must get up (while still wrapped in the tortilla) and hop over to the ‘oven’. 
  5. When they get to the oven, they are officially declared a burrito.  Time to celebrate with chips & salsa!! 
  6. The First team to get ‘in the oven’ wins!! 

6. Four Corners for Review Game

You need: 

  • 4 different colored squares taped to the wall in the 4 corners of the room 
  • Mark each square with a letter: A-B-C-D 
  • Have 4 answer multiple-choice review questions or trivia questions ready to go before class.

Directions: 

  1. Gather class in the middle of the room (you can have 10 kids or just 1, play the same way!). 
  2. Explain to them that you will ask a question or give a statement and then you’ll list 4 choices (a-b-c or d). 
  3. They will need to choose one and run to that corner before time is up (30 seconds is good). 
  4. Once everyone is in their corner you reveal the answer and if you’re keeping points, record the winners of that round. 

Spice it up 

Give students a 10-second ‘change your mind’ time, just before you reveal the answer. 

Have them do a crab crawl to their corner or a bunny hop, baby steps-heel to toe, walk backward, ballet dancing, etc. 

7. Trash-ketball 

You need: 

  • A wadded up ball of paper (recycled trash) 
  • An empty trash can 
  • A Free Throw line made on the floor (masking tape or ribbon) Review or Trivia Questions Ready 

Directions: 

  1. Divide into two teams. (just 1 on a team is fine!) 
  2. Call the first team member up to the line. 
  3. Ask them a question, if they get it right they earn a point for the team.
  4. If they answer incorrectly, the other team gets a chance to earn a point for themselves by stealing it. 
  5. After the question, the player gets a chance to earn an extra point for their team by throwing the ‘trash’ (paper wad) into the ‘trash-ket’ (trash can). 
  6. Call up the next team and continue until questions or time is up. 

Spice it up 

You can have trick shots round for double the points -do a bucket shot (between your legs), turn around and backward and shoot over your shoulder, spin 3 times, and make a dizzy shot- think of your own crazy shots for added fun!

8. Captain of the Boat

You need: 

  • 2 crosses cut out of poster board (taped to opposite walls in the room) Timer (or your phone) 
  • Great for any size group 

Directions: 

  1. Captain of the Boat (start with the teacher being this role first) stands in the middle of the room. 
  2. Have each child stand at one of the crosses at either end of the room.
  3. Explain that when the Captain says “MARCH,” you’ll start a timer with 60 seconds, and everyone will try to march to the other side, and tag the cross on the opposite wall-then turn around and march back (continuing to do it as many times as they can) before you the timer goes off. (You may need to adjust the count based on the size of your room.) 
  4. If the Captain says “SWIM” – you move your arms in a swimming motion WHILE you walk towards the wall.  (You can walk faster, but NO running.)
  5. If the Captain says “SCRUB THE DECK” – you kneel on the floor and pretend to scrub the floor while you make your way to the wall.
  6. If the Captain says “CLIMB THE RIGGING” – you pretend to climb the rope towards the top of the sail, while walking to the wall and back.
  7. YOU MAY NOT bump or touch any other player when moving across the room, if you do, you are frozen at ‘attention’ until the Captain taps you and says ‘At Ease’ -then you can continue. 
  8. When the timer goes off-record the scores of how many times each child crossed the room. 
  9. Pick a new Captain and now lower the timer to 25 seconds, the next round to 20, and so on, until you get down to 5 seconds. 
  10. Tally up the scores and see who wins! 

REMEMBER, no running, you must march or walk-if you are caught running, you will be sent back to start again!! 

If a child is frozen at the end of a round, he or she can be unfrozen in the next round. 

[After the game is done, you can relate it to obedience, learning to do what the ‘Captain’ says – He is in control, just like God is in control of our lives, we need to obey and do what He asks us to do!] 

8. Freeze Dance 

This is a classic and it’s always a hit, plus it’s simple. Students dance when the music is on and freeze when it is off. You can use whatever Christian music you want. It’s a great way to get the wiggles out for any age!

You need:  

  • A way to play your music 
  • A drink of water, ready for the kids to cool down when they’re done. Some awesome dance moves, so you can show ‘em how it’s done!!! 

9. Four Corner Roll Out 

This is a little twist on the classic game of Four Corners. Instead of calling out the numbers of the corners, the person who is ‘It’, rolls the die to see what number will be called out. 

You need: 

  • Signs for each corner (1-2-3-4) 
  • A large die (that is altered to only have 1-2-3-4 numbers showing on it, use the other 2 spaces and put paper or tape over them and write ‘Scramble’ on one and Lose a Turn on the other one. 

Directions: 

  1. There is one person who is “It”. They stand by the door with their eyes covered. 
  2. The person who is “It” counts to ten. While they count, everyone else picks a corner to stand in (which are labeled with the signs). 
  3. Once the counter has finished counting to ten, they turn around and roll the die. 
  4. They call out the number rolled and everyone standing in that corner gets a point. 
  5. If the die lands on ‘Scramble’, the person who is ‘It’, yells ‘Scramble’, and everyone must run and switch corners. Then ‘It’ will roll the die again and call a corner number.
  6. If the die lands on ‘Lose a Turn’- the person who is ‘It’ has to go to a corner and tag someone else to now become ‘It’-they will now roll the die and call out the number. 
  7. The teacher keeps the score of everyone’s points and at the end of the game, you can announce the winner if you’d like-or just play for fun. 

10. Mary/Martha Relay 

You need: 

  • You need identical sets of cut-outs and print-outs for each team.
  • Identical baskets or other containers for the game pieces- one for each team
  • A Cut out of a Black Kettle Pot 
  • Printed pictures of stew vegetables: a potato, a carrot, an ear of corn, celery, onion, garlic, etc.  
  • A printout of a picture of meat: either lamb or beef would work for a biblical times meal. 
  • A printout of an earthen-type jar of water. 

Ahead of time:

  • Place the printouts in the containers.
  • Put the containers at the front of the room where the teacher will be positioned. 
  • Place the black kettle pots at the opposite end of the room on the floor.  This is where they will place their ‘ingredients’ into their pot. 

Directions: 

  1. Have kids sit in a line on the floor (2 lines if you are playing teams). 
  2. When you say go, the last child in line runs up and grabs an ingredient for their stew out of the container. 
  3. He hands it off to the first child in line, then he runs down to where the pot is located, becomes “the team cook” for that round, and waits for the ingredient to be passed down the line. 
  4. Each child passes the cutout over his head to the next child and so on until it reaches the end of the line. 
  5. The last child in the line then runs and hands it to the ‘cook’ who puts the ingredient ‘in the pot’. 
  6. That child now goes up and sits in the front of the line and you start the process all over again, (the last child in line runs to get the next ingredient and so on) until all the ingredients get into the stew!! 
  7. If you are competing team against a team – the team who completes their stew first stands up, and yells – “Dinner is served!!”

Hint: Save all your print-outs to play with another group of kids another day!

12. A Trip to Jerusalem 

Here’s another way to get the wiggles out and it’s also a good listening skills game! 

Explain to the children that people traveled to Jerusalem several times each year to worship God in the Temple in Bible times. They usually traveled by walking. 

Have the children all gather at one end of the room and get ready for their trip. Tell them to follow your directions and to do all the actions (like charades) as they travel around the room in a large circle. 

(Show them the ‘path’ you want them to follow or perhaps put a circle of chairs to mark the path) 

Directions: 

Say: 

Start walking.

The worshippers walked quickly because they were excited to go to Jerusalem. (STOP.) 

There were many hills and valleys. Now, walk on your tiptoes to show that you’re going over a hill. (STOP.) 

Now squat down as you walk to show you’re going into the low-low valley. (STOP.) 

Here comes another hill–walk on your tiptoes again. (STOP.) 

Here comes another valley–squat while you walk. (STOP.) 

Oh no! You have a rock in your sandal. Now, walk with a limp because your foot is so sore! (STOP.) 

You can’t take that pain anymore- you need to fix your shoe- Sit down, take off your sandal, shake it out. 

Now that feels better, let me hear you say AWWWWW. 

Now, put your sandal back on and stand up. (STOP.) 

Time to get back on the road-we’re walking again. Oh boy, That sun is so hot–wipe the sweat off your forehead. (STOP.) 

Wouldn’t a nice cool drink taste good? Oh, Look! There’s a well. Stop by the well, and dip your bucket in to get your drink (STOP.) 

[**it might be fun to have cups of water ready to give them]

We’d better get back on the road-One more hill, now, upon your toes-we’re almost there. (STOP.) 

Look-take your spyglass and see what’s up ahead. 

I see the gates of the city up ahead. Let’s walk a little quicker as we get closer to the city! (STOP.) 

We finally made it, let’s stop and sit down, it’s time to rest and listen to our lesson today! Great traveling everyone. 

13. Exodus Energy 

A good review game to use after studying Moses and the Exodus. 

You need:

  • Make signs:  ‘The Promised Land’, ‘Egypt’, ‘The Red Sea’, and ‘The Ten Commandments’ (you could even do a picture of the stone tablets) 
  • Designate one end of the room as Egypt and the opposite end as the Promised Land, hang the signs on the wall. 
  • Place a piece of masking tape down one section of the middle of the room and place a sign ‘Red Sea’. 
  • In another area of the room, place ‘The Ten Commandments’ sign. 

Directions: 

  1. Here is how we play, when I call out “Egypt,” you all run toward Egypt. 
  2. When I call out “Promised Land,” you run toward the Promised Land. 
  3. If I call out “Gather manna,” you have to drop to the floor on your knees and pretend you’re gathering food into a basket. 
  4. When I call out ‘Red Sea’-you walk across the tape line-heel to toe all the way across and then celebrate with shouts of praise at the end.
  5. When I call out ‘Ten Commandments’, you must run to the sign and do 10 Jumping Jacks of Obedience! 
  6. I may call these out in any order so you need to pay attention and be ready to go in any direction at any time!! 
  7. Play the game for five minutes, calling out the commands in any order.  When you feel they’re sufficiently worn out, announce: Now let’s get ready for the rest of our lesson. 

14. Prayer Volleyball 

Try a game of Prayer Volleyball to let kids move around as they call out people or things to pray about. 

You need:

  • A balloon inflated and tied off. (have an extra one, just in case!) 
  • Place a masking tape line across the center of the floor-this will be your net. 
  • Have children form two teams, one on either side of the line. 

Directions: 

  1. Say: Did you know that God loves it when we pray. We can talk to Him about anything and ask Him about everything, He loves us to spend time with Him. No matter where we are, we can pray. 
  2. Today we’re going to use this balloon to play Prayer Volleyball. Think about someone you want to pray for.
  3. Tap the balloon back and forth across the line. Each time you tap the balloon, I want you to call out somebody that you can pray for, like a family member, friend, or someone at church. 
  4. You can also call out something that you want to pray about, a test, something you need, something you’re worried about. Remember, we can bring any of our concerns to God. This is a fun way to think about that. 
  5. After you play the game, sit down and pray for some of the things that were named in the game. 

Super Small Class Game Alternative: 

If you only have 1 or 2 children-just play.  Keep the balloon in the air and let them hit it anywhere in the room -as long as it stays up in the air! Use the same premise of naming a prayer request when you tap the balloon. 

15. Pizza Pan-Plunger Relay

You need:

  • Pizza Pans (8-10 of them, available at the Dollar store) 
  • 2-Plungers (the simple kind-orange rubber on the bottom) Masking tape or painters tape 
  • A sharpie 
  • Ahead of time, use the Sharpie to write random point values (5, 10, 15) on the tape.  Put the tape onto the bottom of the pizza pans. Lay the pans out on the floor in your classroom in a random pattern – away from wherever you determine is your starting point. 

Directions: 

  1. This game can be played in 2 teams competing against each other or as individuals. 
  2. Hand the player the plunger-explain that you will give them 90 seconds (or whatever you determine for time). 
  3. When you say GO-they run with their plunger and pick up one of the pizza pans with it. 
  4. Run back to the start line and pull off the pan and drop it on the floor. 
  5. Run back and plunge another pan, bring it back and pull it off-keep repeating this process until the time is up. 
  6. The teacher then turns the pans over and adds up the points and records them on the score chart.

**If you want to do team play, after the first player gets his pizza pan, he hands off the plunger to the next player who plunges a pan and hands it off to the next player and continues until everyone has played. You will want to increase the time limit for the team play** 

At the end of the round, the player or team with the highest point total wins!

Have Fun!! Please let me know which of these ideas your children enjoy in the comment section below. 

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