Aaron Waid
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“Where IS everyone!?” Everyone loves hide and seek, and Sardines is a variation on the traditional hide and seek that encourages comradery and teamwork, as well as a hilarious group experience! Rather than joining the hunt, students will actually join in with hiding with the rest of the group as they discover them. In this post, we’ll provide to you the original game instructions, as well as a modified version of the game that is perfect for social distancing. We’re sure that your youth will love playing Sardines – and the best part…no preparation, no materials needed! Sardines is the perfect game to play during youth group meetings, as well as at retreats, missions trips, or any other situation where you need a game that uses up time, but doesn’t require resources.

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Number of Players – 6 Minimum, No Maximum

Materials Needed – None

Can Be Modified For Social Distancing (See Variations Below)


Preparing The Playing Area

Sardines is a game that requires hiding places. Your church campus might be a good area to play itself if you have lots of rooms and spaces. Be sure to tell the youth any areas they need to avoid beforehand! You can also play this at retreat centers, wooded areas, parks or any other large area where there are places to hide. Again, if there are no natural boundaries, you’ll definitely need to spell those out to the students beforehand.

Game Instructions (Read Aloud To Group)

We’re going to play a game called Sardines! This game is a variation of hide and seek. To begin, one player will be selected to be “It”. This player will be given the number of other people playing the game and will keep track of the number of players who find them in order to know when the game is over. After choosing the first player as “It”, they will be given two minutes at the beginning of the game to find a hiding spot out of the sight of the rest of the group. After two minutes are up, everyone will spread out and begin searching for “It”. When each player finds “It”, they need to join with them and enter into hiding in the same spot themselves. The game continues as players find the growing mass of people surrounding “It”. The game ends when everyone finds “It,” and “It” is able to count and see that all the players have joined with them.

Variations – Social Distancing Modifications

When playing Sardines with standard rules, students tend to pile near one another in close proximity. If you’d like to play this game, but avoid the close contact, have “It” be given a large stuffed animal or another easily identifiable and unique object to represent them instead. When the game begins “It” runs off to hide the stuffed animal, then returns to the rest of the group, where they will remain to offer vague tips and advice on how to find the stuffed animal. Likewise, each player should have a piece of paper with their name written on it, and when they find the stuffed animal, they leave their paper with it to show that they found it. Afterward, each player returns back to the beginning to join with “It” to offer cryptic clues on how to find the location.

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Sardines Youth Group Game Instructions | Youth Group Games | No Prep Games