Fun Event & Activity Ideas

Piano Smash

The Day the Music Died

I am constantly amazed at the variety of activities that people send in. I know many of you might not like this idea . . . but I gotta give Pastor Kevin McIlhany credit for thinking “outside the box” on this one. I bring it to you to simply report what someone else did- not to recommend it to you.

DISCLAIMER: This idea may not be for you. You need to use your own discernment and judgement as to the applicability of this event. This is not for everyone, and those who choose to use the idea, do so at their own risk. Please use caution and discernment, thinking through all safety issues and all future implications.

Pastor Kevin McIlhany submits: If you need a good attendance builder, try the piano smash. We have a hayride followed with the piano smash on a local farm. The object is to have team members use sledge hammers to crush a piano and get all the pieces of the piano through an 18″ hole into an area where you have a bon fire. Get 4 worthless pianos (Put an add in the paper, “Looking for old pianos, will haul away.” I have always gotten more pianos than I wanted. REMEMBER to cut the strings of the sounding board so the strings cannot injure someone.

Spread the pianos out equal distance from a middle bon fire location. Give lots of room. Place one sheet of plywood with an 18″ hole in between the piano and the bonfire area.

You can borrow from the Fire Department fire helmets, fire jackets, gloves, and safety glasses. The gloves and safety glasses are for those swinging the hammer. The helmet and jackets are for those who carry the “debris” to the plywood to pass it through the circle and into the fire.

The person putting the pieces through the hole can do so ONLY when the sledge hammer person is NOT swinging the hammer! You do not want someone picking up pieces when the sledge hammer person is swinging. Make sure each team has at least two adult leaders.

We have done this with 2 to 4 teams competing at a time. The ideal is to have about 10 people on a team. The plywood needs bracing with 2 x 4 braces, so the plywood stands up solid as the students put the wood through.

NOTE: While this event is LOADS of fun, do not forfeit common sense. Make sure to have plenty of adult leaders and several fire extinguishers!


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.


  1. Travis Lee
    August 12, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    We did this and it was AWESOME!! Once word got out that we wanted pianos, we had to turn them away. We did 4 teams, and the kids ended up breaking up EVERYTHING including the cast iron harps inside. Fair warning, a piano bonfire burns HOT… Years later my kids are still talking about this one.

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