Category | Game Ideas, Icebreakers

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There are times when we have fun, draw closer to one another, talk about all kinds of things, and experience the joy of being together. Other times though it seems that the things we say, or things that are said to us seem to hurt even more when it involves our families.

We often hear it said that the people we hurt the most are often the ones that are closest to us. There are times I wish I could have taken back the words the moment I’ve said them, but it’s often too late; damage done.

In all our relationships the things we do can say can either build up or tear down. This wacky youth group game presents the same choice to teams of youth.





  1. Plates and cups – You want an even number of plates and cups so they can be stacked. Don’t use breakables ones as they will be knocked over and dropped. Plastic works great, but you can also use disposable ones. Be warned that if they are too light, they can be easily blown over.
  2. Balls – Tennis balls work well but you can use a smaller ball to make the game more difficult or a bigger one to make it easier.
  3. Instead of cups and saucers you can use other objects but must take into account the weight of objects and the ball used. A light ball won’t be able to knock down heavy objects. Other options include using just cups, jenga blocks, shoe boxes, empty food cans (beware of sharp edges), Pringles cans, cereal boxes, wooden blocks, etc. The only requirement is that the objects must be easily stackable by the youth.


  • Create an open space in the middle of a room or of an outdoor area.
  • Place the cups and saucers in a pile for each team.
  • Set up teams an equal distance from the piles in the center. The further away, the more difficult the game becomes.
  • Give each team a ball.

What to Do

  1. The first person on each team must run to the pile in the center for his or her team in the play area and stack all the plates and cups. The cups and saucers must be stacked so that each cup rests on a saucer, then the next cup and saucer is placed on top, continuing until a tower of cups and saucers is built.
  2. After the tower is built, the youth runs back to his or her team and tags the next person.
  3. The next person has a choice. EITHER run straight to their own team’s tower in the center and unstack and re-stack the cups and saucers OR
  4. Toss the ball to knock down another team’s tower. If the ball is tossed, the next person in line must retrieve the ball and bring it back to the group before the person who tossed it can run to their tower in the center and unstack and re-stack the plates and saucers.
  5. If a team’s tower is knocked down by another team, the person who originally stacked that particular tower must run to the center and stack them again before the next person can go to the center and unstack and re-stack the plates and saucers.
  6. The first team to have everyone on the team finish unstacking and re-stacking their tower wins.
  7. Strategically, a team has a choice to focus on building their own towers or taking time to knock down other towers so that they slow others down. Bear in mind that they could knock down more than one tower with one throw – including their own!


Take It to the Next Level


In all our relationships the things we do and say can either build up or tear down. It always seems easier to tear someone down rather than build them up. It takes a long time to build someone up with positive words, words of life, words of blessing, but only a moment to tear them down. And often, all the positive that was done before is wiped out in an instant.

We can all remember occassions when we have personally been torn down by someone’s hurtful words. Most of us have been intentionally, or unintentionally torn someone down with our words or actions.

  • Paul tells the Christians to let no “unwholesome talk” come out of their mouths. What are some things that might be called “unwholesome talk”? Words that tear down?
  • Why do people speak to others with hurtful words?
  • What are some examples of words that build up?
  • Before we do or say things to others, we need to ask ourselves, will this build up or tear down? Will it benefit, or harm?
  • How should we respond when we have been hurt by words?
  • How should we respond if we have hurt others? What can we do to make it right?
  • How can we build up others who have been hurt?


Give each youth some adhesive address labels and a something to write with. They must write down encouraging remarks on the stickers and place them on the backs of other youth with a personal comment to encourage them. Be sure to let the youth know this is a time to be serious and if they can not do it in a meaningful, caring way you’d rather them not participate. You might want to have some soft music playing while they do this. Tell them to go build each other up.

Then ask for volunteers to come to the front and read the words on their back. Let the youth keep them and ask them to place them some place at home where they will be reminded of the encouraging words.

Action Point

Issue the youth a challenge to speak positive words to at least 2 persons everyday for the next week and then in the next meeting ask them to share their experiences.

Scripture References

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there be any virtue, and if there is anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8)

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)


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This 170 page resource not only provides 52 of the world’s most popular group icebreaker activities and games, but also includes lesson ideas and discussion questions to smoothly transition into conversations about the issues common to most groups.

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