The Barnyard Animals game is H-I-double L-arious!
It’s a good getting-to-know-you game, but also works really well for sessions about communication. For churches and other faith-based organizations, it works well as a ‘game with a point’ about hearing from God.
Youth workers also enjoy this game, so you might even find a good use for it at a training or team retreat. I’ve even played this with 5-11’s in a children’s ministry. So many uses and so much fun – how can you go wrong?!
- Lots of individually wrapped candy/sweets (I find Starburst works well)
(Yup, that’s it. Easy on the budget – this game just gets better and better!)
- Spread the candy around the field or large room – scatter it like seed all over the space
- Split your youth into groups of 3-6 (depending on your group’s total size)
- Have them choose who in each group is the ‘Farmer(s)’ and who are the ‘Animals’. If there are only 3 or 4 in a group have 1 Farmer, otherwise have 2
- Have the ‘animals’ decide on a barnyard or farm animal that they would like to be. They also need to come up with a motion for that animal and its sound.
- Farmers are the ONLY youth who can pick up the candy on the ground.
- Farmers can only pick up candy that ‘their animals’ are standing by, pointing at and making their animal sound and motion. So farmers need to really listen for their animal’s sounds.
- Animals do not need to stay together. In fact, you want them to spread out to collect the most candy, but they do need to point with their fingers or toes at the candy and do their animal sound (loudly!) and their animal motion. Animals CANNOT collect the candy – they can only identify it.
- Two different animals (e.g. cows and pigs) might be pointing at the same piece of candy. In that instance, it’s up to the farmers to get the candy for their team. You may want to encourage some competitive tactics, but definitely discourage too much physical violence, it is only candy.
- While rabbits are found on some farms/barnyards, they don’t make good ‘animals’. I learned that the hard way when some girls were just wiggling their noses and thumping their feet during the game and came last. Excellent choices include sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, cows and horses.
- Have each group show you their animal, sound and motion before the game begins. You might end up with sheep that sound like goats or two varieties of birds that sound similar (crows and falcons – yes, I learned this the hard way too!). Help encourage them to make very different and distinct sounds, because it will be important later.
Reflection – making it matter
You can reflect afterwards and make it a game with a point by asking questions about communication or other topics you want to draw out of the game based on your session.
- As the farmer, was it hard to hear your animals among all the noise of the other barnyard animals? How did you find your animals?
- As the animals, how hard was it to communicate with your farmer(s)?
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