Thanks for the email. Most "tough" kids aren't really excited about games. As a matter of fact, one of the worst things we can do with these kids is say, "Hey, now we're going to play a game!" That's one reason that I came up with THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF GAME LEADING:
Make sure that your "activities" meet the need you're trying to accomplish. If you've got a room full of junior highers that want to get their energy out, then don't do a game involving 3 people up front. Start with something they all like, involving ALL of them.
One type of game I NEVER use is relays. Think about it. Let's tell kids to get in line, not push or shove, and WAIT, while the guy 9 people in front of him does something stupid.
I find that kid's, even tough kids, don't hate games. They just hate being bored. If we bore them with our activities, we could lose them for the evening.
It's frustrating when something that we are trying to break the ice with becomes the very thing that chases them away. That's why I devoted several chapters to that very subject in my book:CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK
Try some up front activities with these kids- rougher kids seem to respond better to this kind of format. I have a bunch on this page:CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO OUR GAMES PAGE
Hope that helps.
Keep up the good work.
The Source for Youth Ministry