If you want to find out what someone is really like, see what happens when they’re under pressure.

For some people, it doesn’t take much to push them over the edge.

Preteens have spent their whole lives watching how people respond under stress, and now it’s their turn.

Use this fun game to show preteens that even when you’re under pressure, you can still choose joy.

-Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry



Bible: Psalm 119:143 (NLT)

Bottom Line: Even when you’re under pressure, you can still choose joy.


One coin

Candy (enough for half of your group)


Have students form two teams with each team standing side-by-side, in a row, holding hands with each other.

Next, the two rows will stand a few feet apart in parallel, but with one team facing one direction and the other team facing the opposite direction.

Place a ‘judge’ at one end and a leader at the opposite end.

The leader will be the ‘coin flipper’ and position himself so that only the first two members of each team can see the result of the coin toss.

Make sure that the first two team members know what the head of the coin looks like versus the tail.

Instruct the first two team members to pass the signal down the row by hand pressure.

Two squeezes will indicate that it’s heads and 1 squeeze will be the tail.

Students are not allowed to talk or make any gestures other than the squeeze of the hands.

Have a couple of leaders watching  the students to ensure there is no cheating on either team.

To begin, the leader flips the coin so that only the first member from each team can see the result.

The first team member will squeeze the hand they are holding with either 1 or 2 squeezes.

Then, each member will pass the signal onto the next person until it goes all the way down the line.

The final team member from each team will announce to the judge what the result was.

The judge will need to remember which team was first and also what each team guessed.

The judge will then announce the result and the leader will disclose whether the answer was correct.

Award 1 point to each team with the correct answer and 1 point for being the first team to pass it all the way down the line.

After the teams have lined up to play the game, say: Today, we’re going to play a game called “Pressure Test”.

When I say, GO, the first person in each line will be shown the result of the coin toss from the coin flipper.

Then, you will squeeze the hand of the person beside you – squeeze it once for tails and twice for heads.

Next, as quickly as you can, pass the signal to the person beside you, and then all the way down the line.

The person at the end of the line will tell the judge whether it was heads or tails.

If you are the first team to get the signal all the way down your line, then you will get a point.

If you give the judge the correct answer, you will get a point.

Get ready… GO!

Give candy to everyone on the winning team.


After the game, say… Wow! I have never heard anyone have so much fun while they’re under pressure!

In our game, it was important to give the right signal, in a super fast amount of time.

It was also important to work together and encourage each other.

Did you feel like you were under pressure in our game? Why or why not?

Allow students to respond.

It would be great if the game we played was the most intense pressure that we would ever face, but that’s not true.

Some of you have had experiences that have left you feeling overwhelmed.

Maybe it was stress from school, home, or even from church.

But, you can trade the pressure and stress that you feel, for joy.

Read Psalm 119:143. (NLT)

“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.”

Even in the times that you can’t express why you are feeling stress – God knows.

When the pressure from school – tests, grades, and homework make you feel overwhelmed – realize it’s temporary and God will help you get through it.

So, how do you trade pressure and stress for joy?

Allow students to respond.

It starts with reminding yourself that you are unable to handle the stress of life without God’s help.

It should bring you comfort to know that God is with you through it all.

Find friends, hopefully even people that are in this room, that can encourage you and hold your head up when you are discouraged.

And take time to pray – empty your mind, heart, and everything that’s weighing you down and give it to God.

As we close, we’re going to take a few minutes to do just that – pray and ask God to help you find joy, even while you’re in the middle of pressure and stress.

Stress will never go away, but we can choose to accept the joy that God offers those who have put their trust in Him.

Close in prayer.

If you liked this game, then be sure to check out the New Year’s Preteen Bundle, which includes 3 brand new series: New Beginnings (New Year’s series), Spiritual Gifts Unwrapped, and The Power of Words.

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  • Great game idea! We use this game in our ministry, but with a slight variation. In stead of doing to two hand/one hand squeeze thing and guess the answer at the end. We have an object at the front of the line and the last person to have heir hand squeezed jumps up and runs to grab the object before the other team does! First team to get to 5 or 7 wins. Our Preteens love it and get on each other if the squeeze doesn’t make it all the way to the end, making the team feel stressed or “pressured”.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Awesome! Thanks Dan! I’ll share the variation with the writers. We love the feed back and blessings to you and your preteen students.

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