Did you just ask your tween or teen about what they want to do for their upcoming birthday party or other celebration, only to get a bit of side eye or even an eye roll? If so, fear not! You’re in the same boat as millions of other parents. Even though your child might be expressing some boredom at the idea of a “typical” party (i.e., games, cake, activities, gifts, and so on), it doesn’t mean they’re entirely over the idea of a celebration in their honor.
Because of that, we’ve pulled together some ideas for fun activities for teens that take into consideration their changing needs, wants and capabilities.
After all, as a parent, your idea of fun activities has had to evolve along with your child’s personality and level of maturity. The party idea that they adored at the age of eight is now something they’d never be caught doing at the age of 13 or 14. However, many of their likes and interests will remain fixed over time, and that can help with your party and activity planning. As a simple example, the child who loves arts and crafts or cooking is pretty likely to remain interested in those same ideas. The kid who loves photography and making videos…well, they’ll probably enjoy a party that includes activities with those hobbies or pursuits in mind.
Making Fun Activities for Teens Even More Fun
Take one minute to jot down a list of what you think fun activities for teens might be…we’ll wait.
Okay! What did you pull together? If you’re like other parents, you might have written words like bowling, pool party, mall, or theme park.
These are relatively accurate, and they are fun activities for teens, but if you’re looking for group activities for teens that are something special and out of the ordinary, you’ll have to dig a bit deeper.
The above ideas are perfect, but can be made into even more fun activities for teens with a little work. Loading the car full of kids and heading to a bowling alley can be fun, but couldn’t it be even more so? As an example, themed parties can still be teen activities, and can still happen in those places kids would like to visit. Let’s just use one common example – a pool party.
#1 Pool Parties for Teens Are a Classic Idea
If you’re the owner of the pool or have one as part of your community’s amenities, then spending some time swimming and sunbathing would make a great part of the party. However, don’t just offer use of the pool. Instead use these ideas to make it fun and unforgettable:
- Theme It. Use a tropical theme, tiki theme, pirate hideaway theme, “Survivor” theme, surfing theme…you get the idea!
- Unique Invitations. As an example, don’t send E-invites or paper invitations; send deflated pool balls with the details neatly written in Sharpie marker, or include some sunglasses with the invite, or even make it a pirate theme and send the invite as a treasure map.
- Setup. For the party setup, use beach towels as tablecloths, give each guest a themed towel as a gift and use fun, island-themed décor.
- Play to the Theme. Pool games are ideal for the party and then as an activity, have kids make flip-flops or do a beach ball exchange (like a yearbook) in which everyone writes messages on all of the other guests’ beach balls. Do a fun photo booth with pirate or island-themed photo props and serve a fun menu of unusual food.Within that theme, you can also do a scavenger hunt as a game or activity and any number of the popular “minute to win it” party games (the players have to complete nearly-impossible tasks in a minute – such as stacking as many marshmallows as they can, and so on). Fun activities for teens at a party of this kind might include making tie-dye t-shirts or even writing a script and creating a “Survivor” spoof to be enjoyed for years to come.
That’s just one concept built around the pool party, and there are scores of other fun activities for teens that you might opt to do for your child’s upcoming event. After all, it’s not always about birthdays. There are graduations and other celebrations that would require identical party planning as the usual birthday event.
Group Activities for Teens Begin with Ice Breakers
Before looking at more of the fun activities for teens, remember that you need to get things started. It’s important to note that group activities for teens can be as challenging as those for younger kids. Not everyone in a group is familiar to the rest or comfortable in a social setting. Because of that, one of the best things you can do when looking for activities for teens is finding icebreaker activities that can help kids get into the party mood, get to know one another and start the event with a light-hearted and more carefree spirit. Help guests get over any teen angst or nervousness with these simple, non-threatening and non-competitive games. Then they’ll probably be ready to play games and do the activities that make the party memorable.
Games and Activities for Teens
Once guests at a teen party have broken the ice, things typically become far more relaxed. That’s when you can begin the different games and fun activities for teens based on a party’s theme. We strongly urge you to consider a theme, even if it used more for planning than anything else. Many teens resist a theme except the most general one (sweet 16, pool party, and so on). Yet, there can be other themes that your teen does not actually recognize, but can help develop and plan teen activities for the party.
Favorite Activities for Teens
- Complete the Song. Choose a few famous songs and jot down a few lyrics. Cut the sheets in half and place them (folded) into a bowl. Each guest picks one as they arrive and then it is the job of the guests to find whoever has the missing half of the lyric.
- A New Bingo. Create grids with 25 squares. In each one write out a “yes/no” question. Good ones include “do you ride a bike”, “have you visited a Disney park”, “have you climbed a mountain”, “did you ever meet someone famous”, “have you lived in a different state”, “did you ever walk or talk in your sleep”…think up as many funny questions. The kids then have to go around and ask others to give answers. Each yes can be marked off, and the first child to build a BINGO on their card wins. Add an element of challenge by having them give the name of the person who answered yes to each question.
- Without Words. This is a lot of fun as it forces the guests to develop a way of communicating without words OR hand gestures. As each guest arrives, they take a number from a bowl and cannot tell anyone what it is. Then, after everyone has arrived, they must be instructed to arrange themselves in numerical order. However, they cannot use their voices or hands to explain their number. They must cooperate and pay attention to one another, and it is a great group activity for teens.
- Scavenger Hunts. Finding things may not sound like your typical teen game, but if you are creative, it is a great activity. For instance, a day at the mall can be the concept for the scavenger hunt and you can make up fun activities for teens beyond wandering from store to store. For instance, kids love their cell phones, and this would be an excellent way to do a scavenger hunt. Make a list of a dozen or so things they must find and photograph and a time limit. They must be back at a specific point within that set window of time, and whoever arrives with the complete collection of images wins. Naturally, make the photos challenging and funny, and even yet also ensure that kids don’t have to exit the mall to get any of the images. When they start comparing their shots, it is sure to be one of the most memorable parts of their experience – they might even do a slideshow of the wackiest photos.
- A foodie’s favorite party. A mystery dinner or meal is among the many fun indoor activities for teens. They are given menus in a bizarre language and have to order something to begin breaking the code. Let your teen build a menu (we recommend something simple like pizzas, snack foods, sodas, and so on). Then rename them. For instance, pizza can be “round moo,” and clear soda could be “light sparkle”. See how fast guests can figure out what they order.
- Video maker. Give the teens some of your 80s and 90’s albums and ask them to make videos for your favorite songs. Give them props and costumes and a good space to work, and then watch the magic begin!
- Backyard barbecue. There are so many teen activities at a backyard barbecue, but you can liven things up with active games like water balloon and pool noodle games, squirt gun games and minute to win it games. Team games are good, but station activities where kids might make stuff works well for this age group. Spin art, tie-dye, and even sand and bottle art keepsakes are still appealing to teens and can let them have a party favor without the usual gift bag approach.
Don’t forget a day at the races, fashion or craft-oriented ideas, biology and nature activities like hiking or bird watching events. There is no limit to the outdoor and equally fun indoor activities possible for teen parties.
The point, as we noted, is to use your child’s interests and then expand on them. Don’t do a make-your-own-pizza party; instead, do a mystery pizza party that challenges kids to order something odd and see what they get. Don’t do a day at the mall; do a scavenger hunt that asks you to collect images and take funny selfies. You can still be a big part of a teen’s party, and these activities prove to your child that you care about their day being all about fun, friendship and memories.
Did we miss any of your favorite activities for teen parties? If so, or if you have great ideas to share, use the comment section to share your top rated games and activities for teen parties
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