Bible Games for Church School, Anna Baker. Graphic Gallery, 1984. This resource provides directions for teachers to make 48 games for use in a variety of educational settings.
The Christian at Play, Robert K. Johnston. Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1995. Johnston explores current attitudes toward and descriptions of play and looks at three representative theological positions in hope of clarifying the reader’s understanding of the human player—life-style, mission and opportunity.
Creative Nylon Hoseplay, Glenn Bannerman. Bannerman Family Services. This 90-minute video or DVD provides instructions for making balls, flying discs, jump rope and other recreational equipment as well as suggestions for using the items for dancing, exercise, decorating and games.
Do Something Different this Sunday: Bible Comedies, Donald Black. Fairway Press, 1993. These eight creative Scripture-based drama ideas written for worship services, but applicable for other occasions, require minimal props and costumes.
Games, Mary Hohenstein. Bethany House, 1980. This older resource contains classic games for every age and occasion. It suggests games for outdoors and indoors, circle games, musical games, games for getting acquainted and brainteasers.
Games from Bible Lands and Times, Allan MacFarlan, Paulett MacFarlan. Association Press, 1965. This older resource may be sitting on a shelf in your church. It contains 153 games with 47 variations based on material in the Bible or suggested by Bible stories, scenes and the life of the people of the biblical times.
Games Grandmas Play, Joan Jacobs. Geneva, 2001. Jacobs, a wise and experienced grandma, wants grandmothers everywhere to love what they do and to grow in faith. She brings her theological training, life experience, good humor and imagination together in an inspiring reflection on one of life’s greatest opportunities—being a grandma. She explores the grandmother/grandchild relationship, showing grandmas how to offer practical guidance and spiritual wisdom in a way that encourages the development of their grandchildren. Study guide available on line at www.ppcbook.com
Games 2 for Youth Groups: The Ideas Library. Youth Specialties, 1997. This resource is filled with an alphabetical listing of games for youth, a valuable resource for anyone working with young people and planning retreats and camping experiences.
Godly Play, Jerome Berryman. Church Publishing, 1995. A practical, yet innovative, approach to religious education—becoming childlike in order to teach children. Berryman considers spiritual development as a process in which the creative spirit is alive in the education of both young and old and awakens us to new ways of seeing ourselves and helps us to discover “our deep identity as Godly creatures.”
Guide for Recreation Leaders, Glenn Bannerman, Robert Fakkema. Bridge Resources, 1998. Part 1 includes a brief philosophy of recreation and play along with general helps for the leader. Part 2 has instructions for a wide variety of specific activities such as ice breakers, camp songs and a multitude of games.
Knit One, Purl a Prayer, Peggy Rosenthal. Paraclete Press, 2011. This new spirituality of knitting addresses such topics as knitting as a popular pastime; what knitting does for our minds, bodies, and spirits; and how knitting helps people reduce stress, overcome loss, form friendships, and connect with a community.
Making Worship Real: A Resource for Youth and Their Leaders, Aimee Wallis Buchanan, Bill Buchanan, Jodi B. Martin. Westminster John Knox, 2002. Many youth attend church regularly without fully understanding what worship is and why it is the central action of our faith. Aimee and Bill Buchanan, along with Jodi Martin, provide effective new ways for pastors, Christian educators, and youth leaders to help young people learn about the various elements of worship. This book is that rare resource that will help youth and their leaders understand why worship is relevant while encouraging youth to lead and participate in worship, using their own authentic voice.
Mudpie Olympics and 99 Other Nonedible Games. Abingdon Press, 1994. One hundred ideas and directions for games, icebreakers, and bonding exercises along with races and relays are found in this resource. A few events for large crowds are offered as well.
99 Things to Do between Here and Heaven, Kathleen Long Bostrom, Peter Graystone. Westminster John Knox, 1999. Bostrom and Graystone provide the ultimate to do list: ninety-nine things that everyone should experience during their time on earth. From the sublime (watch the sun rise) to the wonderfully silly (ride a roller-coaster), the activities will breathe new life into readers’ lives while opening them up to new spiritual experiences. Each entry provides a description of the activity, what the reader can expect to gain from it, and how much time it will require.
Non-competitive Games: For People of All Ages, Susan Butler, compiler. Bethany House, 1986. This wonderful resource promotes play where winning is about the whole group and having fun together. Games are divides in 15 categories with complete instructions for numbers of players, time, purpose and benefit of the games.
101 Games That Keep Kids Coming, Jolene Roehlkepartain. Abingdon Press, 2008. Teaching children how to make friends and creating a sense of community are two key factors in building a strong Christian education program. Many children resist coming to Sunday school and children’s ministry events because they do not know the other children, who live in other communities and attend other schools. Here are 101 opportunities to help children make friends at church—and keep them coming!
101 More Great Games for Kids, Jolene Roehlkepartain. Abingdon, 2007. The upbeat, easy-to-use activities are divided into four sections: activities for ages three to five years, grades K-3, grades 4-6, and groups of mixed-aged children. This is a great resource for professional educators and lay leaders to turn to for quick ideas.
Palestine 39 A.D.: You Are There, Colleen Britton. Educational Ministries, 1987. This experiential curriculum supplement for church school, VBS, or intergenerational events gives children the opportunity to sample Bible-times tools and costumes as well as participate in activities of the times, such as baking bread, making pottery, playing musical instruments, building tents, etc.
Playbook: A Resource for Games, Roger Maness. Playbook Publishing, 1995. Lots of help for planning games and recreation including ice breakers, active and quiet games, cooperative play, energizers, mind bogglers and group participation stories can be found here. It also has a chapter on planning recreation with details that help you take into account participants, the space and time available, and the occasion.
Quick Games for Children’s Ministry, AUTHOR. Group Books, 1992. Using few supplies and easy to prepare this book helps with planning games with a purpose for preschool and elementary ages. The activities are designed to build teamwork, increase sensitivity to others, increase Biblical knowledge and are just plain fun.
“Rest for the Weary, Being Renewed for Life and Ministry,” Rachel Boehm. Article from Christian Courier, February 2011 and available at http://www.crcna.org/pages/spe_published.cfm
Treasury of Celebrations: Create Celebrations that Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth, Alternatives. Wood Lake Books, 1996. This book is for those who are searching for more than the models of celebration offered by a consumer society. It is about joy, spontaneity, caring, justice and concern for nature. The wide variety of celebrations means readers will use this book all year long.
Uprooted, The Game. Common Global Ministries, 1998. Players choose a refugee piece to represent them as they travel through many dangers towards a refugee camp. Game pieces include names and stories that help connect players with the many people around the world who face such situations daily.
What the Body Wants, Cynthia Winton-Henry, Phil Porter. Wood Lake Books, 2004. Readers can learn the practice of Interplay—a practice for creative and spiritual development that re-integrates the body into all aspects of life. An audio CD is included with the book.
When I Relax I Feel Guilty, Tim Hansel. Cook Publishing, 1985. Is fatigue next to Godliness? When was the last time you laughed until tears poured from your eyes? Are you truly able to relax? Or are you still convinced of the notion that the world might just cave in if you dare to stop for a while? Do you have time to rest? Do you even know what it means? Interestingly enough, Scripture not only calls us to enter God’s rest, but to live out of that rest. The temptation to overwork is potentially one of the greatest problems for dedicated, sincere Christians today. We are more often characterized by frantic activity, fatigue, and weariness than love, compassion, and joy.
A World of Children’s Games, Mary Duckert. Friendship Press, 1993. Children throughout the world play games with great enthusiasm. Those who learn to play games with fairness as well as a spirit of fun will be better prepared to face the tasks of negotiating, problem solving, and peacemaking that await them in adulthood. This wonderful resource includes more than 100 indoor and outdoor games with information about the country where it is played, ages and numbers of players recommended, easy to follow rules and simple equipment as required.
Websites and Blogs
Glenn Bannerman, resources for recreation from Bannerman, retired professor of recreation and outdoor education at Presbyterian School of Christian Education. www.bannermanfamily.com
The Sabbath Project. An experiment in rest, play, renewal and delight started by MaryAnn McKibben Dean. http://www.sabbathproject.org
A Serious Theology of Play, http://www.qideas.org/blog/a-serious-theology-of-play.aspx
Mary E. Speedy is a retired certified church educator living in Mechanicsburg, PA.