Church festivals are a fun occasion to introduce a church to the public, provide an event for members of the congregation to socialize, and strengthen the bonds between church and community. They can also raise money for the church, or let a youth group try out its organizing skills as a leadership activity. Fun games in a variety of styles will help make any church festival more successful.
Church Scavenger Hunt
For any church festival, a scavenger hunt is a great way to get people learning more about the church and working together in groups. You can base the scavenger hunt on the time of year the festival is held, such as a harvest or Easter festival, or you can base it on a particular Bible or church theme, depending on the purpose of the festival. For clues, include common items found around the church, and have scavenger hunt groups find the answers to church questions such as the rectory phone number, the date the church was built, or the name of the choir director. Add Bible knowledge to the hunt by asking facts about Jesus or what Biblical person is mentioned in a specific verse. If the festival has the option for participants to go outdoors, add natural objects like leaves, stones or acorns, depending on the time of year.
Recruit teams of at least six people each to play “Fruitless.” You need a round piece of fruit for each team, such as an apple or orange. Each team lines up in a row, and the first person in each line is given the fruit to hold under his or her chin. Without using hands, the fruit must be placed under the chin of the next person in line, and so on down the line. The first team that gets its fruit to the end of the line wins, but dropping the fruit means it starts at the beginning of the line again. Another group game is “Balance the Bucket,” for which you need a bucket of water and a table for each team. A team consists of five people. Fill all the buckets to the same level, and place them all the same distance away from the tables, perhaps 10 feet or so. The tables should all be the same height, as well. If you use bigger tables, two teams can share one. The objective is to have the teams get the bucket of water on top of the table using only their feet, not their hands. If hands are used, the bucket spills, or another team’s bucket is touched, the team must start over.
If your festival needs to raise some money for the church, prepare some fundraising games to mix in with other carnival games. You can turn many carnival games into fundraisers. Try a ring toss where participants pay a quarter for five tries, or a fishing game where they pay a dollar for five minutes of “fishing” in a kiddie swimming pool filled with plastic penny toys. Other popular carnival games like a duck pond, lollipop tree, buried treasure dig and beanbag toss can also bring in money, with a fee of 25 or 50 cents per play. A nickel pitch is a popular church festival game, in which people toss nickels onto a board filled with colored dots, trying to land on specially marked dots. Landing on the few marked dots will result in winning a donated prize. The church group gets to keep the nickels at the end of the day. Other games of chance can make money too, such as Bingo or spinning a wheel of chance for prizes. Theme the small prizes on the church, such as plastic cross necklaces, glow Bible stickers, WWJD bracelets, Bible or cross-themed bookmarks, plastic toys and stickers. For larger prizes, ask community businesses for donations.
Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.