James and John are the cheeky rogues of the disciples, brash and outspoken they don’t always say the most loving and inclusive things but their proximity to Jesus means they get a front row seat to almost everything in his 3 years of ministry. The games are therefore tying into the big and bold and yet also trying to highlight servant-hood over greatness.
Supper time balance– This is a silly servant theme game where you give each child a tray and get them to walk across the room balancing the things you put on it. Start with simple things but add more and more paper plates, plastic cups, and random pieces of cutlery. When they drop something they are excluded. This game can be done in teams or individually.
Tall towers and small pieces – This game is about getting the highest tower built. Give each child/team a set time to use whatever you have available. Either in advance, or as an unpleasant twist at the end, measure each tower and divide the number by the number of pieces used. The winner is the one with the highest resulting number. Link into individual serving pieces are sometimes more important than the resulting structure.
Big actions – A copy the leader game for younger children. Place the children in a circle. The first person makes a little action (wiggle a thumb) and the group copies, once everyone has copied get their neighbor to make a bigger action (wave an arm), and continue round the circle until the actions are huge, then reverse the size. End by saying every action was copied and mattered, however big or small it was.
Musical chairs – A traditional game that ties well into the request that James and John made to be seated at Jesus’ right and left. Have one less chair than there is children in the group, when the music stops the children need to find a chair. The last one standing is out. Ask the children at the end if it mattered who they were seated next to.
All brothers – This game is a quick little icebreaker where you find out what you have in common with other people in the room. Start by telling the group a little about James and John, including that Jesus called them the ‘Sons of thunder’. Have the group partner off and decide a name for each pair. Examples ‘Sons of Football’ ‘Sisters of the cinema’, or ‘Siblings of chewed pencils’. End by saying everyone is a Child of God, and that means we are all in one family.