7 Games You Can Make Life-Sized

From someone who grew up going to youth group all her life, some of the best and most memorable activities were when leaders made board games and video games come to life. If you want to plan a fun activity for a group, life-sized games will surely do the trick.

What do we mean by life-sized? Instead of using a character or a game piece, life-sized games make YOU the game piece.

Keep reading to learn exactly how that’s possible for many games.

Battleship

The famous board game Battleship involves guessing, luck, and strategy to find where an opponent has placed their pretend ship.

With a little bit of effort, you can create a life-sized game of Battleship.

Materials:

Instructions for Set-Up:

Use the painters tape to set up a perimeter of the space you want to play in.

Set up your volleyball net in the very center of the space.

Lay your blanket/sheet over the volleyball net – make sure that the blankets cover the whole length of the net and extend all the way to the floor. In short, you want to make sure that one side of the playing field can’t see the other.

Get your water balloons (for outdoor play) or soft squishy ball (for indoor play) ready.

Instructions for Play:

Have all players sit down in a line on the perimeter of their designated side. Once everyone on both sides is seated and nobody can see the other side, instruct them to scoot on their bum to any spot they want to sit in. They can sit near or away from others, but everyone must stay within the designated perimeter.

The players have now become the ships.

Assign a facilitator to each side. The facilitator’s job is to make sure that each participant gets a turn throwing, and to tell their side whether or not they’ve hit a “ship”.

Have each side take turns launching a ball or a water balloon over the net. The launcher should be a different participant each time so that everyone gets a turn.

If someone acting as a ship gets hit by a ball or water balloon, they’re out, and they exit the perimeter of the game.

The game is played until one side has no more ships left!

Rules:

  • Pick a spot – once you’re situated, NO MOVING.
  • No dodging – if a ball is coming for your head and you dodge it, you’re still out.
  • Bums must stay seated on the ground the whole time. No scooting, sitting on another person’s lap, etc.

A more high-budget version of what we’re describing:

Hungry Hungry Hippos

The game of Hungry Hungry Hippos is played on a board game set where each player is in charge of a mechanical hippo. The goal: have your hippo eat as many little pieces as possible.

In terms of life-sized games, this is definitely one of the most iconic. Let us show you what we mean.

Materials:

Instructions for Set-Up:

For this game, you’ll need to set up in a large space with hard floors, like a church gym.

Fill as many balloons as possible with air and place them in the center of the room.

Make sure there’s a scooter for every team, and place scooters around the room equal-distance from the balloons in the center (we recommend 4 teams, one established in each corner of the room). Tie a long rope to each scooter (by long, we mean long enough to reach the balloons in the middle and then some). For each scooter, place a laundry basket near it.

Instructions for Play:

Assign players to a team. Start a countdown. At the end of the countdown, all players race to collect as many balloons as possible.

To collect the balloons, one player lays down on the scooter while also holding the laundry basket. A second player is in charge of the movement of the scooter by pushing it and holding onto the rope (if you have a rope – if not, they hold the scooter player’s legs).

Once the scooter is launched into the middle of the room, the one riding it uses the laundry basket to collect as many balloons as possible. Then, the player holding the rope (or legs) uses it to pull the scooter back. They release the balloons into a pile on your team’s side and, with an empty laundry basket, go again.

Players on each team rotate between being on the scooter, pushing the scooter, and watching.

Continue playing until all the balloons in the center are gone!

Rules:

  • Make sure all the girls have their hair up to avoid getting caught under the scooter wheels (I’ve been there and OUCH).
  • All collected balloons must fit in the laundry basket – no holding balloons with arms or legs.

Foosball

Foosball is a favorite tabletop game that can be found in family basements, college dorm activity rooms, bars, restaurants, etc. It’s singular downfall is that it can only be played by two people … until now.

Foosball as a life-sized game is fun, cooperative, and easy!

Materials:

Instructions for Set-Up:

Lay out the PVC pipes horizontally down the playing field (or gym). Set up the soccer nets at each end, or at least put down cones or something to determine where the goals are. Have a facilitator hold the soccer ball.

That’s it – easy set-up!

Instructions for Play:

Split players into two teams. Assign each player to a PVC pipe and direct everything to look like a foosball game (# players to a pipe, direction they face, etc). Also determine goalies for each team.

Have the facilitator launch the soccer ball into the center. Each team fights to get the ball into the other team’s goal.

The catch? Once a player is in a spot, they can only move their legs. Hands must stay firmly locked in place on the PVC pipe. This means that each row of players on a PVC must coordinate their movements together to reach the ball – just like foosball!

Rules:

  • No moving your hands! Firmly lock them in place.
  • No moving forward/back, only left/right.

Here’s a higher-budget version of what we’re describing:

Guess Who

Guess Who is a board game that has really risen in popularity over the last few years. It’s easy to see why you would want to play in a large-group but, like foosball, it was made for only two players. So make it into a life-sized game and get everyone involved!

Materials:

  • If your group doesn’t already know each other, you’ll need a small whiteboard for everyone.
  • A large, even-numbered group of people.

Instructions for Set-Up:

No prior set-up required!

Instructions for Play:

Hand out whiteboards and have players write their name on their board (if you have them). Divide players into two teams, pick a “guesser” for each team, and have the guesser stand at the front of the room. Have each team stand or sit in lines. You want both guessers to be able to see both teams, like this:

Infographic showing the proper set-up for life-sized Guess Who

After setting up players, have each guesser randomly choose someone from their team and tell the facilitator who they choose. Now, the object of the game is for each guesser to figure out which person the other chose from their own team. Each guesser takes turns asking yes or no questions about the features of the selected person – “Does this person have brown hair?”, “Does this person wear glasses?”, etc.

After each question, the guesser gets to tell players to step out of the board. For example, if it’s confirmed that the person wears glasses, the guesser would have everyone on the opposing team who does not wear glasses step off the “board” (or sit down, if everyone is standing).

Continue playing until one side guesses the right person – they win!

Switch up teams, choose new guessers, and play again.

Rules:

  • Keep your descriptions kind! No asking “is your person ugly or pretty?”, etc.

Angry Birds

We all remember the video game that swept the earth in 2010. It’s legacy lives on in many phones, Top Golf, and a few movies – but now it can live on amongst the list of life-sized games.

Materials:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Green balloons
  • Different-sized balls (each with a pair)

Instructions for Set-Up:

Build as big and complex of a tower you can out of the cardboard boxes at your disposal.

Blow up the green balloons and draw faces on them. Place the green balloons on the tower at various spots.

Instructions for Play:

Split players into two teams and give out each pair of balls to each team. You want each team to have the same variety of balls.

Pick a team to go first and have its players form a line from largest ball to smallest ball. Have each player on the team take turns throwing their ball at the tower until all the green balloons have fallen. Keep track of how many turns it takes to accomplish this.

Next, set up the tower again. Make sure it’s as similar to the first tower as possible. It’s now the second team’s turn. Make sure they’re also lined up from largest ball to smallest ball.

Whichever team takes fewer tries to knock down the green balloons – wins!

Rules:

  • All balls must be thrown from behind a designated line.

They have a catapult, which is cooler:

Pac Man

Yet another beloved video game is Pac Man. You may find it even more beloved when you get to be a Pac Man or ghost yourself.

A great tutorial for this game is found on YouthGroupCollective.com.

Materials:

  • Speaker and phone to produce music and timer.
  • Anything you want to create a maze. You can go as big as cardboard-box walls, or as lowkey as string.
  • Glowsticks (a few that are “special” – either bigger or a different color/shape)
  • A few headlamps for ghosts
  • Some rope, tape, or shoelaces.

Instructions for Set-Up:

Create a maze in your room – any way that works best for you! Make sure there’s a large area in the center for ghosts to hang out in, and four entry points throughout the room.

Place glowsticks intermittently throughout the maze (and crack them just before the game starts). These will function as Pac-Dots.

Find some good music to play, Pac-Man dubstep is recommended.

Instructions for Play:

Divide into teams, five teams are recommended (four teams of Pac-Men and one team of ghosts). Place each of the four Pac Men teams at a different opening in the maze, and instruct them to stand in a line. The ghost teams go to a spot in the middle.

Have everyone tie their legs together with rope, shoelaces, or tape. Otherwise, the game goes way too fast (unless you’re playing in a huge field).

Turn off the lights!

The goal of the Pac Men is to collect as many Pac-Dots (glowsticks) as possible, and the goal of the ghosts is to tag the Pac-Men out. If a Pac Man is tagged, they exit the maze and pool their Pac-Dots into a pile by their team. The next team member in line gets a turn.

If a Pac-Man picks up a “special glowstick”, they yell “PAC ATTACK”, and everybody must freeze in place. The Pac Man with the special glowstick can tag out ghosts (who return to the middle until the game is over) and freely collect all the Pac-Dots he/she wants – but only for 10 seconds.

The game is over either when 3 minutes are up or all the Pac-Dots are collected.

Rules:

  • No running! Only jumping with your legs tied together.
  • No circumventing the maze.

Tic Tac Toe

The simple game of Tic Tac Toe involves outsmarting your opponent to get 3 pieces in a line on a 9-square board. By itself, it’s not too exciting, especially for teenagers, but in the realm of life-sized games, it has potential to be way more fun.

Materials:

Instructions for Set-Up:

Use the painters tape to create large Tic Tac Toe boards on the ground throughout your designated area – as many as you think you’ll need for everyone in your group to play. For each board, make a separate line with tape that represents how far one must stand away from it (a throw line). Near that line, place 10 bean bags – 5 of one color, and 5 of another color.

If you don’t have like 100 bean bags to use for this game, consider using a different material to mark a square once it’s been achieved. After they get their bean bag in the square, they could use a piece of tape to mark it and re-use the bean bag, for example. You might also consider making your own bean bags as a cheaper option.

Feel free to make the different boards different sizes, as well as the throw line different distances, to make the overall game more fun!

Instructions for Play:

Split your group into pairs and assign them a board. Point out the throw line.

Have each player pick a color and pair do “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to determine who gets to go first.

Each pair takes turns tossing their bean bags onto the board until one player wins or nobody wins (all the squares are full but there are no 3-square lines).

Rotate the teams and the boards – variety is good!

After 5 rounds, ask the group who has won (or tied) at least 3. Those players keep playing, tournament-style, while the others are “out”. From this point forward, whoever loses a game is out.

Play until there’s one winner! Restart if you’d like.

Rules:

  • Only throw from behind the throw line
  • The first person to get a bean bag in a square gets to keep that square. If the opponent also gets their bean bag in that square, it doesn’t count and they lose the turn.

Conclusion

Whether you’re planning a youth group activity, a party, a summer camp, or any other group event, life-sized games are sure to be memorable and fun.

Have we missed anything? If you’ve successfully pulled off a life-sized game, let us know in the comments! Or if you try these out and have some suggestions, write that too!

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