The amazing Newspaper Night is great for younger teenagers. Encourage your group to invite their friends to a suitable venue for a night to remember. Make sure you have a large supply of old newspapers collected in the preceding weeks.
Read through the games carefully before you use them. Many are based on common party games and adapted through generations of youth leaders. It's probably impossible to say who first thought up any of these games, but whoever you are, thanks!
Although most of the games feature friendly competition, please don't emphasise 'winners' or 'losers', emphasis the fun! Award a small prize for each game, as many of the young people could gain several during the course of the evening. The 10 games that follow are some of my favourite newspaper games and have worked with many different groups.
Pair off the group into couples. Supply each girl with plenty of newspaper and a roll of masking tape. The girls have ten minutes to re-dress their male 'model' (over his clothes!) using the newspaper and tape you have provided. Some amusing creations will emerge!
Divide the group into teams of 4-6. Give a stack of old newspapers to each team with one or two rolls of masking tape. Give each group a sealed envelope containing the theme of their fashion parade. All their newspaper costumes need to link to the theme. Allow 20 minutes to complete the challenge before you hold your fashion parade. Have the other groups try to guess the themes. Examples of themes you could use include Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, The Wild West, The Simpsons, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and other movies, TV shows or books. Have a camera ready to record the evidence!
Ask the group to pay careful attention. Make an origami newspaper hat, describing your actions as you go, and place it on your head. Give each person a sheet of newspaper and ask them to make their own hat. They have five minutes to create headwear based on your design, or more likely a loose interpretation of it! Invite the group to wear their hats and judge the winning creation. You can download template to make your hat from here.
Divide the group into two teams and give two sheets of newspaper to each team. Each person in turn has to place one piece of paper on the floor, stand on it, put the other piece down in front of it, step onto that one, pick up the piece from behind them and then put that down in front and stand on it. This continues up and down the hall or room, until every member of the team has completed the relay.
Divide into teams of five or six people and give each group a copy of the SAME newspaper. Ask them to spread the newspaper out in front of each team. Describe a particular advert, article, fact or picture from the paper and the group has to find it, rip it out and bring it to you. The first team to bring it gets a point. Continue calling out items and the winning team is the one with the most points. Watch the paper fly!
Divide your group into pairs and get them to stand in two circles, one inside the other. Each pair is given one sheet of newspaper. Play some music. When the music starts the inner circle walks anti-clockwise and the outer one walks clockwise. When the music stops, they must find their partner, put the piece of paper on the floor and stand on it. The last pair to do so is out. Repeat this and the next time the music stops, the teams have to fold their piece of paper in half, and stand on it. This continues for several turns with the paper getting smaller and smaller with each extra fold. The last couple in the game is the winner.
Divide the group into teams with equal amounts of newspaper and some rolls of masking tape. Within a time limit of five minutes, ask them to construct a paper tower. The winning team will be the group which manages to construct the highest tower without it falling over.
Ask the group to sit in a circle. Make sure everyone knows each other's names. Invite a volunteer to be 'it.' 'It' is given a newspaper roll and asked to name any person sitting in the circle to 'swat'. They run to that person and try hit them with the newspaper (gently on the legs!) and the person who is about to be hit must call out the name of someone else in the circle or become 'it.' 'It' then runs to the person whose name was called and tries to swat them before they call out someone else's name, and so on, until someone else becomes 'it.' Players in the circle are not allowed to call out the name of the person who just called them, or the names of the people sitting to the right and left of them. In my experience, this often causes just enough hesitation for 'it' to strike!
TAKE THE TREASURE
Ask the group to sit in a circle. Place a chair in the middle of the circle. On the chair place the treasure. A set of keys is ideal. Ask for a volunteer to be the guard and give them a rolled up newspaper. They will defend the treasure from thieves. However, they will be blindfolded! A thief is chosen from the circle to attempt to snatch the treasure, without making any noise to alert the guard in the middle. If the thief is swatted by the newspaper stick, he must return to the circle. If the thief succeeds in stealing the treasure, they become the new guard.
PASS THE OVEN GLOVES
A simple game based on the children's party game of Pass the Parcel. Prepare a present for the game i.e. a box of sweets or a book. Wrap it in several layers of newspaper that will be very difficult to remove. Tie each layer with tape. Ask the group to sit around in a circle. In the centre of the circle place the wrapped present and a pair of oven gloves or mitts. Pass a pair of dice around the circle. Large foam dice are the best. The first person to roll double numbers runs to the present, grabs the oven gloves and puts them, then tries to unwrap the present. The dice continue to go around the table until someone else rolls a double, at which point they rush out and replace the previous player, and so on. The dice need to move around the circle quickly. This is hilarious to watch and a lot of fun! The person to successfully get the last layer off the present wins it!
As the finale to your evening divide your group into two teams. Try to play this in a small room or enclosed space. Each team takes their position at either side of the room. Place a row of chairs down the middle of the room to separate the teams. Ask each young person to take several sheets of newspaper and roll it up, each sheet in a separate ball, to produce the newspaper 'snowballs'. Each team should have an equal number of snowballs and I would suggest about 3 or 4 snowballs for each team member. Once this is done you are ready to begin the 'Snowball War'.
On the blow of a whistle each team has 2 minutes to get as many paper snowballs as possible to the other team's side. This includes paper which has been already thrown over the chairs by the other team. This needs to be seen to be believed! Take a photograph and send it to your local newspaper to show them how your group recycles the news!
At the end of the 'war' comes the cleaning up, but even this can be made into a race to see which team can collect the most paper! Make sure you have plenty of garbage bags to remove all the newspaper.
GOOD NEWS FOR THE WORLD
If the youth group have invited friends I generally use the teaching time as an evangelistic opportunity. Illustrate using some topical stories from local or national newspapers that there is often a lot more bad news in the world than good. Explain that Christians believe Jesus came into the world to bring Good News to everyone. Good News that will never turn bad. This could either lead into a small group discussion, asking the young people what they think this Good News is, or a short evangelistic talk about God's purpose in sending Jesus into the world.
Luke 4:18 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News'
If the Newspaper Night is used during Advent link to the Christmas story.
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