Church Bus Games
By David J. Stewart
Kids love excitement, and games are a lot of fun. Here's a few ideas...
Bible Trivia - Ask the kids questions from the Bible, such as--What were the dimensions of Noah's ark?, or how long were Noah and his family on the ark?... and so forth. Kids love trivia. Keep it simple. Ask them... Who was the greatest man born amongst women? What is the Golden Rule? What was Paul's name before he became a Christian? Who authored the Bible? How old was Jesus when He was crucified? Who is Jesus? This is an excellent way to familiarize your riders with the Word of God.
Bible Characters - Mention a character/hero from the Bible, and then ask the kids if anyone can tell you something about that person. Give candy as rewards. Pick popular characters such as king David, Samson, Moses, Paul, etc. Or you can tell the kids something about an anonymous Bible character, and then ask the kids if they know who it is.
Scripture Quote - Quote Scriptures such as John 3:16 and Genesis 1:1, but leave one word blank. Ask the kids if the know the missing word. It's important to get the kids thinking about God's Word continually.
Shoe Pass - Remove your shoes. Give one shoe to the person in the first seat on both sides. Pass the shoe to the back of the bus and then return it up to the front again. First shoe to return wins.
Guess what I am - One person states they are either a person, place, or thing and the others then ask questions (are you blue, can you speak, do you bark, can you be eaten, etc) until they guess what the person is, then they are next.
Simon Says - This is always a fun game. Ask the kids to follow what you do, but only when you say "Simon says." You might ask them to place their left hand on their right ear, raise both their hands, show their teeth, or stomp their feet, etc. If they follow you and you didn't say Simon says, then just say, "Simon didn't say." Kids love games where they can get involved and have a challenge.
Illusion - I don't know what else to call this, and it isn't really a game, but the kids love it. Have one bus worker stand behind another bus worker at the front of the bus. The worker in the front keeps his hands in his pockets, while the worker behind him placed his arms around him in front. The worker in back then plays with the tie of the guy in front, or his pen, or his glasses, or combs his hair, etc. I remember one time seeing a bus worker remove the guy's pen in front of him and start writing on his white shirt. I wouldn't recommend this unless you've got the worker's permission...lol. So all you see are the arms and hands of the worker in the back. It's an illusion. The kids have a lot of fun with this.
My father owns a grocery store - A bus worker begins the round by stating, "My father owns a grocery store, and in it he sells (something that begins with the letter A; e.g., apples)." The next player states, "My father owns a grocery store, and in it he sells apples and (something that begins with the letter B; e.g., bananas)." It goes around and around with each player having to recite the entire list and then adding a new entry for the next letter of the alphabet. If someone misses an item or gets completely stumped, they're supposed to be "out." But I have to say, we'd give them clues to keep things moving along. It's not a game which one needs to win; everyone wins by participating and making the trip more fun.
20 Questions - 20 Questions is truly a classic game. It can be played by children of all ages. There are many variations of the game. One person thinks of something which falls under the category of animal, mineral, or vegetable and then tells the other players which category is correct. The players then take turns asking questions which can be answered with a YES or NO. For instance, if the category is animal a player might ask "Can it fly?" or "Does it have four legs?" And after 20 questions are asked, if the players have not already guessed the answer, each player gets a last chance to make a guess. Afterwards, a new player tries to stump the group.
Name Game - Simple, yet a fun game. Perfect for children of all ages. Think of a name. Then tell the group whether it is a boy's or girl's name, and tell them the first letter of the name. The group then tries to guess the name by calling out all the names they can think of which start with the appropriate letter. That's it. Simple, but fun!
Read My Face - Think of an emotion (happy, sad, angry, jealous). Keep the emotion secret - don't tell anyone. Keep your face blank - try not to show any emotion. On the count of three, quickly make the expression that matches the emotion you're thinking of. The first person who yells out the right emotion gets to go next.
Spot the Red Spot - Here is a game that you can play on your bus each week that will only cost you a piece of candy or prize! Take a piece of red construction paper and cut out a circle that is 3 inches in diameter (about the size of a baseball). Before the bus takes off, place this red spot somewhere on the bus. The child who finds the spot first wins the candy or prize. To make it even more exciting, have a bus worker place the red spot while you are on the route or on your way back to church. Be sure no one sees the worker place the red spot!
The Clothespin Race - This game calls for items you may have lying around your house. (That is if you still do laundry the old-fashioned way!). You are going to need 20 clothespins, two sets of ten. This is a one-on-one competition. Ask for two riders that are behaving and have them come to the front. Give each player 10 clothespins (in a bag is best). The object is to have them get all 10 clothespins on their clothing. The first one to have all 10 clothespins on wins! This game will work for both the young and old riders.
Penny Jar Contest - Fill a plastic container with hundreds of pennies, but be sure you know how many you put in there. On the way home, for a 3-week period, let each boy and girl guess how many pennies there are in the container. Be sure to have your secretary write down their names and their guesses. At the end of the 3 weeks, the boy or the girl who guesses the closest or the exact number is the winner. Also, be sure that there are no duplicate guesses otherwise you will be giving away twice as many pennies as you had planned!
Clean the Bus - One of the best games to play on any church bus is to have the kids clean the bus at the end of the run. Whoever collects up the most garbage wins! Guaranteed, this will be the bus driver's favorite game.