The Mask Game: I’ve used this game for 1st- 5th grades, and it’s always worked really well!
Prep: Either bring in an assortment of masks, or have the kids make their own masks, using paper plates with holes for eyes and yarn stapled to the sides.
Setup: Clear a large area of the room. Have another adult help you hold up a large blanket, and ask girls to sit on one side, facing the blanket; boys on the other. You want the blanket to create a sight barrier, so have the kids scoot to the middle so they can’t see, and make sure the blanket reaches the floor.
Play! From your spot, holding the blanket, point (don’t use names) to one boy and one girl and have them stand up with a mask on, facing the blanket. When everyone is quiet, drop the blanket, so that the two standing kids see each other. Whoever names the other person first wins, and the loser has to go to the other side. Keep playing until there is only one person left on one side or the other.
The magic: The thing I love about this game is that everyone gets quiet each time, waiting for the blanket to drop, so the noise level in the room stays relatively low. (Can you tell I used to be an elementary school teacher? Believe me, your teacher will appreciate this, too!) Tell the kids that you will only choose someone sitting quietly with their hand up. It’s like magic!
Variation: When I was a teacher, I often used this game on the first day of school (without the masks) to help the kids (and me!) learn each others’ names. I’ve also used it when I’ve directed children’s choirs or taught Sunday School. It really helps to accelerate name learning. The masks just make it more challenging for groups that are familiar with each other.
Sunday School Application: After playing, talk to the kids about how they identified the other person behind the mask. How did they recognize each other? It’s always interesting to me, as I watch kids playing this game, that they usually look at the other person’s eyes to identify them. But they might also talk about recognizing the other child’s shoes or hair color. Talk to the kids about how we look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. We can try to mask our hearts, but God sees it just as clearly as we see each others’ faces right now.
It’s comforting to know God sees us and knows us, but it can be scary too, because we can’t hide anything from God. Remind the kids that since there’s no where we can run from God… we should run to him! He always welcomes us with grace and forgives us every single time we ask.