Water Balloon Wiffle Ball
Get slips of two different colored paper (to randomly divide the teams) and on these slips, write the following roles (one for each color). Be creative and add your own. (I made extra and mixed them up a little so that there would be some variation in the teams.)
College kid (Plays sometimes)
Step-dad (Alternates every other inning with the dad)
Oldest kid (first in the line-up)
Spoiled 2 year old
Angry middle child
Shy junior high kid
Physically handicapped child (specify handicap)
Boyfriend/girlfriend of rebellious teen
Here is how the game is played:
First, begin by telling the players that the youth minister (or other adult) is the umpire, and calls that the umpire makes are not up for discussion. Then, make sure that each team comes up with a batting line up according to their roles (and sticks to it – call outs and runs accordingly). Flip a coin to determine who bats first. Now, here’s where the umpire’s calls can come in to play. Depending on which team shows the most team spirit or support of the person calling the coin flip – this is the team that gets to bat first (whether they win the toss or not). Umpire needs to award runs or outs depending on how the team acts and reacts as a family. Is the mom loving and supportive? Does the dad provide direction? Do the children respect the parents and follow their rules? If the handicapped child is up to bat, does the family supports and helps out the handicapped child? Make sure that the umpire makes some calls that will cause someone on the team to say “that’s not fair!” (We had a team be punished and not get to use water balloons for an inning – they had to play straight whiffle ball – and it was amazing to see them pull together as a team.)
Here’s how to use the water balloons: each team member in the outfield gets ONE water balloon per batter. This balloon can be used to throw a runner out by a direct, balloon busting (below the neck) throw. Otherwise, batters must be tagged out with the ball (usual baseball rules). The pitcher can also pitch a water balloon to a batter, but if the balloon bursts and drenches the batter, it is an automatic double. If the balloon does not break at all, it is an automatic out. Umpire has final call to the “sharing” of outfield water balloons. Umpire can award runs if the outfield does not follow rules about water balloon usage. Umpire also can call a player out for not playing their role in the team family.
Discussion: After the game is finished, call the youth together for discussion. Discuss that like a family, the youth didn’t get to pick which team they were on. They were also given roles to play, but they could decide how they wanted to play the roles and how well they wanted to act them out. Remind them that because we don’t get to pick our family members, we don’t always “like” our family, but must continue to work and play and love them anyway. Also discuss that life is not fair, sometimes the umpire made random calls that didn’t seem to make sense and that sometimes life is a lot like that. Discuss that how well we work together and live together as a family make a big impact on how we play the game of life. We had a youth that didn’t want to play because he was dressed up, but the youth begged him to play, so he played anyway and ended up getting really wet. The umpire gave his team a home run because of his attitude. We had a great discussion about how sometimes we are not prepared (dressed) for what life throws at us or we are really reluctant to undertake something that we don’t really want to do at the time but our attitude makes a huge difference in whether or not we have success in our endeavors.
We also talked about how families need to have rules, and that those rules need to be followed. Then talk about how God gave us rules (10 commandments) and that there is even a rule about how to live in your family (several of my junior highers said “thou shalt not kill” as the commandment for living in a family) and that even if our parents are cold and distant, that we still need to honor and obey them. If parents are good, Christian parents, they will lovingly and gently discipline their children. A good Christian family will relate with each other through compassion and love. Discuss how we are all members of God’s family adopted into it by the redeeming blood of Christ and that we need to learn to work and live together will all of God’s children. Learning to live and work together harmoniously with our own family will help us in life. (Suggested Bible verse: Ephesians 6:1-4)