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In this Christmas team building game for youth, each team of youth will form a circle holding hands with each person on the left and right and then pass a wreath around the circle as quickly as possible without letting go. The fastest group wins.


  • Hula Hoop for each team. If you can’t find hula hoops, plastic tubing that can be shaped into a circle and secured with duct tape. Warning: Hula Hoops tend to get stretched or may be damaged.
  • Green garland, red ribbon and other Christmas decorations as needed
  • Stopwatch


  1. Obtain a Hula Hoop for each team. Wrap each hoop with a green garland and tie a red ribbon on each so they look like large Christmas wreaths.
  2. Divide the youth into teams of an even number participants and ask each team to stand in a circle by clasping hands with the person on either side of them. With a smaller groups, form only one circle and have them compete against the clock instead of against each other. The ideal group size for one circle is 5-10 youth.
  3. After the group(s) form a circle holding hands, separate the hands any single spot in the circle and have the two youth whose hands you have separated to reach through the wreath to reconnect their hands.

What to Do

  1. The object of the game is to pass a wreath around the circle as quickly as possible.
  2. The wreath must move around the circle in a clockwise direction.
  3. Youth may not let go of the hands they are holding at any time. If they lose their grip or let go, the wreath must start back at the beginning again.
  4. Fingers cannot be used to grip or move the wreath
  5. The youth must remain in a circle. Players bend and twist their bodies through the wreath to get it around the circle.
  6. The fastest group wins.

Important Notes

  1. Glasses may sometimes fall off and break so those youth wearing glasses need to remove them before the game starts.
  2. Make sure the hula hoop you use is big enough for everyone in the group to fit through so that there are no awkward moments for larger sized youth.
  3. Youth should be in generally good shape as some flexibility and balance will be needed to complete the task.

Youth may question whether this challenge is possible, but assure them that it can be done. Repeat the process until the team is satisfied with their time and their system. Generally, groups get it down to less than 2 minutes. The people directly involved work together to fit their body into the hoop and those waiting for the hoop to get to them, watch, give suggestions and encourage. Once it has made it around the circle, the task is complete.


  1. Provide two wreaths for each team. Start the wreaths in the same location but ask the group to pass one wreath in a clockwise direction and the other wreath in a counterclockwise direction. When they get to the midway point there is usually some confusion.
  2. Time the group as they pass the wreath to see how long it takes them to get it all the way around. Allow another attempt to break the “record”.
  3. Ask players to stand with their back toward center of the circle.
  4. Ask the youth to complete the task without talking or while blindfolded.

Take it to the Next Level

Make it Practical

Have you ever heard of the phrase “Jumping through Hoops”? Know what it means?
“Jumping though hoops” has typically meant “going to great lengths” or “much effort” in order to accomplish something.

People jump through hoops on a regular basis. Either to fulfill some kind of requirement to gain acceptance into a group, to meet some kind of standard to satisfy others, to follow some set of rules.

  1. What are some of the hoops in your life that you have had to jump through?
  2. Are there hoops we jump through as Christians? In the church? In the youth group?
  3. What are the expectations for each of these groups?
  4. Are these hoops good or bad? Explain.
  5. Do some people have more to deal with than others? If so, why?
  6. Are hoops necessary? What hoops would you add/remove from/to your life if you could?
  7. What is the purpose of rules and expectations? How are they useful / harmful?

Take It Spiritual

In the Old Testament, the people of God went to great lengths to be accepted by God. To be accepted by God required jumping through a lot of hoops – following a long list of God given laws, and requirements in order to be accepted by God. To make matters worse, by human standards, it was impossible to be accepted by God, because the hoops were beyond the ability of the people. And on top of that, tradition added even more rules and expectations so that by the time Christ had his encounters with the Pharisees, it was an even more impossible burden.

“They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matthew 23:4)

I wonder if any of these hoops sound familiar? Christians must not drink. They must not smoke. They must dress appropriately (according to a myriad of opinions of what is proper). They must be timid, and peaceful and submit when others want to walk over them. Youth cannot have tattoos, or earrings, or unnatural colors in their hair. You must be in church every time the doors are open. You must give to every cause. You must put on a smile even though you are deeply hurting and tired and weary. The list goes on… We sing about grace, yet are quick to condemn, proclaim the blood of Christ in forgiveness, yet hold grudges, preach of freedom in Christ, but add a plethora of rules and expectations. The Bible is full of imperfect people resting in the loving care of a perfect God, many of which would never be allowed in any kind of public position in the church of today. But is a list of rules what defines the Christian? What does define a person as a Christian?

A look at Ephesians 2:1-10 and Romans 5:6-8 makes it clear that Christ loved us and died for us even though we were ungodly, sinful, and dead in our trespasses. We were unworthy, yet God reached out to us.

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Make It Personal

  1. What are some of the things that you do simply for show?
  2. In what ways do you conform to expectations?
  3. How can you personally focus more on the relationships rather than the rules and expectations?

Most people would prefer to follow a bunch of rules, to “jump through hoops” as it were, than to actually give up their own lives and follow Christ. Yet Jesus did not call us to a set of rules, but to a relationship. He asked people to take up their cross and follow Him. But it’s so much easier to carry a hoop than a cross.

“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Scripture References

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
– Luke 9:23

“They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”
– Matthew 23:4

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
– Ephesians 2:8-10

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
– Romans 5:6-8

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