However, sometimes thinking of exciting VBS games can be a challenge. With all the crafts, lessons, and snacks to plan for, your plate is already full! And that's on top of all the Sunday school lessons you're planning in the weeks leading up to the big week.
Of course, classic games like duck duck goose, musical chairs, and Simon says are great options. But you already know about those games! And the kids in your care have probably played them many times before. You need your games to be unique and truly memorable to help the entire program be memorable for the children God has given you.
This is a list of indoor and outdoor Vacation Bible School games and activities that you have probably never heard of that are sure to make your VBS week the most fun thing the kids do all summer!
These are indoor games you can use if you don't have enough outdoor space (or if the weather doesn't allow you to go outside). I made sure to focus on fun games that can be played in small rooms so that you can use them even if you don't have a large sanctuary, auditorium, or gymnasium.
Have kids lie in a row head to toe. Hand one child on one end a medium-sized ball (we used a volleyball, but any object will do. I've seen some churches get messy and use a fruit, like a banana!). Have that child pass the ball using only their feet to the next kid in line.
This game is tag with a twist. Half the kids line up along one wall and the other half line up against the opposite wall. One kid is chosen to be "It" and stands in the middle of the room. On your signal, both sides try to run across the room to the other side without getting tagged. The kid who is "It" tries to tag as many as they can. If a kid gets tagged, they join the kid originally dubbed "It" and a new round begins. The game ends when all the kids that started along the walls have been tagged.
Line one wall with bowls full of M&Ms, then line the opposite wall with an equal number of empty bowls and give each child a plastic spoon. Each child must hold the spoon in their mouth and scoop an M&M without using their hands, then walk across the room to drop the M&M into their empty bowl without dropping it. The first kid to move all of their M&Ms across the room is the winner!
This game can be indoors, outdoors, played with individuals, or with teams!
The kids must try to be the first to hop all the way across the room like a kangaroo. But here's the catch: They have to hold a tennis ball (or any other ball you have) between their knees the whole time!
This is a new take on a classic!
I remember playing "Over Under" with a balloon. Two teams line up in a row. The kid at the front of the row passes a balloon behind them over their head. The next kid passes it behind them under their legs. This is repeated until the first team gets their balloon from one end of their row to the other.
Roll Over-Under swaps the balloon for a roll of toilet paper. The first kid begins unrolling the TP, and the next kid continues unrolling it. When the roll gets to the kid at the back of the line, they wrap it around their waist and pass it forward. This is repeated until the first team can unroll the entire roll!
Grab 12-20 buckets (preferably 5-gallon buckets) and split them evenly at opposite ends of the room. Place them in a triangle formation with open sides up. Split the kids into two teams and give them each some balls (tennis and wiffle balls work best). Have them take turns tossing balls across the room into the buckets. You can ascribe a point system to each bucket or just say that the team with the most balls in the buckets is the winner.
Separate your children into two teams and place the teams on opposite walls. Give each team an equal number of newspaper sheets. Have the kids crumple the sheets into "snowballs". Play some fun music and have the kids throw their snowballs at the other team. The objective is to get more "snowballs" in the other team's area when the music stops.
It's just like normal ring toss, but on a huge scale!
Buy 6 or more pool noodles. Bend the ends together and wrap duct tape around the seam to form a permanent ring shape. You can use anything for the post, like dowel rod or a traffic cone.
Divide the children into two teams. Give each team half of the pool noodle rings. Each kid on the team tosses each ring, then goes to the back of the line. The team with the most successful tosses wins!
Pour the balls into the middle of the room and have the kids evenly spaced around the balls. Hand each kid a basket and tell them to lie in their stomachs with the tops of their basket on the floor. On your signal, the kids will crawl on their bellies and use the baskets to gather as many of the balls as possible. Any ball not contained in a basket is fair game! Once all the balls are collected, have the kids count how many they have in their basket.
This one is limited only by your imagination.
Set up a fun obstacle course. Use hoola hoops, traffic cones, and whatever else you have at your disposal to lay out a course or track. Set whatever rules you want (perhaps the kids have to kick a ball or balance something on their heads through the course) and let the kids go crazy!
Of course, this one can be done both indoors and outdoors. Speaking of outdoors...
These games are best played outdoors. Most of them involve water games. Make sure the parents know to put their kids in clothes they don't mind getting wet or dirty.
Set a row of buckets and fill each bucket with water (keep in mind, the more water you put in the bucket, the longer the game will take). Then set a row of empty buckets on the opposite side of your area. Each kid gets a car wash sponge. The point of the game is for each kid to soak the sponge and carry it to the empty bucket to squeeze out. The kid to empty their bucket the fastest while retaining the most water wins!
Have the kids sit in a circle and hand one a soaking wet sponge. The kids toss the sponge around the circle as you play a fun song. When you pause the song, the kid holding the song has to wring the sponge out over their head! Alternatively, you can let the kids decide to empty the sponge on the head of one of the kids next to them!
The bigger the sponge the better. For maximum fun, use a car wash sponge.
The rules of tag apply, but instead of the "It" kid tagging someone with their hand, they throw a soaking wet sponge at another kid to tag them. The "It" kid has to keep the sponge wet, so place a bucket full of water in the middle of your play area.
The same as "Wet Spong Tag" above, but with a water balloon instead of a sponge. Make sure to have a bucket or kiddie pool filled with balloons to use.
Pair everyone up and give each pair a water balloon. Have the kids toss their water balloon back and forth with their partner, taking a step back each time they successfully catch it. The pair that makes the most tosses without dropping wins.
For this, you will need several boards or planks to use as the skis. The skis must have straps or ropes the kids can slip their feet into so that their feet remain in place (you don't want any twisted ankles).
You can decide how long each board will be, but a minimum length of 24in is recommended. You can have kids do this in pairs or have several kids do it at once depending on the length of the boards.
The game is played by having kids team up and walk in unison using the ropes on the boards to lift their feet up at the same time. This one is all about teamwork!
This one is a personal favorite!
Mark out a large area in the shape of a rectangle, with a line dividing the area in half. Separate the kids into two teams. Have everyone find a partner and give each pair a towel.
The game is played by players holding their towels with their partners and catching a water balloon using only the towel. They then toss the balloon back to the other team using only the towel. If the balloon lands on the ground, the other team gets a point.
Separate the kids into teams and give each team a pool noodle. Have the kids hold their pool noodles upright and place a frisbee on the top end of the noodle. The point of the game is for kids to run to the end of your area and run back while balancing the frisbee at the end of the noodle, then pass the noodle to the next kid in line on their team. The first team to have every kid complete the relay is the winner!
Separate kids into two teams and give each team a beach ball. The rules are that they must keep the beach ball in the air at all times by batting it into the air with their hands. The trick is that they cannot move their feet! The team that keeps their ball in the air the longest wins!
This one is pure chaotic fun!
Pair your kids up and give each pair a towel. Have the pairs hold their towel together at the ends, then place 3 or more balloons on their towel (the more balloons, the better). The point of the game is for the kids to toss the balloons in the air with their towel, keeping all of their balloons from touching the ground.
There is no "winner" of this game because it'll be too difficult to monitor everyone at once. This one is just hysterical and the kids will love it!
This one is sort of like ring toss, but way more active!
Grab 4-6 hoola hoops and tie about 6ft of rope or yarn to each one. Toss several balls into the middle of your area (the balls can be a variety of sizes) and hand out the hoola hoops. Have the kids stand in a circle around the edge of where the balls are. Each kid must try to toss their hoola hoop around a ball, then pull the ball to them using the string. The kid with the most balls wins. Yeehaw!
The best game ideas are the ones that fit the VBS theme. This will help kids be more likely to retain the lessons you're trying to impart. But all of the games on this list will help your kids have fun and make long-lasting memories of their time at your church this summer.
These great VBS game ideas will help make your week of VBS truly impactful by making sure the kids will have a blast. No matter if have outdoor space or will be in a classroom the entire time, this list of the best VBS games for kids will make your VBS the one every kid looks forward to!