Teenagers can sometimes have difficulty finding fun solo or group activities. Making plans fun and enjoyable for all can be done with a bit of creativity, getting into the teen mindset, and asking teens for their input.
Tried and True Activities for Teenagers
The easiest way to update any classic activity is to add a unique twist to it. Reimagined for today’s teens, these tried and true favorites are sure to delight.
For some teens, a group bowling trip might seem fun, but for others, it might feel more like something their parents would enjoy. With all the different types of bowling available today, modern bowling can be enjoyed by all ages.
- Midnight Bowling: As the name suggests, midnight bowling takes place late into the night and is often marketed toward teenagers. Even if they decide to watch rather than a bowl, teens will love the opportunity to stay out later than usual.
- Glow Bowl: Some bowling alleys offer this fun option with black lights, disco balls, and glow-in-the-dark paint. In an instant, white lights transform an ordinary space into a party atmosphere.
- With shorter lanes and smaller, lighter balls, mini-bowling adds an unexpected twist to the classic game.
- Despite its popularity in the United States, candlepin bowling uses lighter balls without holes and thinner pins.
- There are many ways to put together a bowling match at home or school for teens who are stuck at home or like creative projects. Find some objects that can serve as pins and something that resembles a ball. Challenge teens to come up with the most difficult lane setup or the best ball substitute.
Create classic bowling team shirts for everyone to wear on any bowling trip. Identify a funny team name and ask each teen to select a nickname for the shirt and scorecard.
School sporting events
There’s nothing better than supporting the home team and getting swept up in the spirit of the crowd. Despite the fun of attending school sporting events, there are also many ways to make them more memorable.
- Tailgating parties are typically associated with national sports teams. You can make any high school match or game more exciting by organizing a tailgating event. Friends and community members can get involved by meeting up in the parking lot before a game and sharing food. Make it a fun event for all ages by adding music and outdoor games.
- Shirts emblazoned with the school’s colors and mascot can be worn by anyone. Make a DIY tutu featuring school colors or add some face paint to create some school spirit.
- Teens can prepare crowd participation chants ahead of time to increase team spirit. Teens can make sporting events more enjoyable by handing out signs, starting ‘the wave,’ or chanting with the crowd.
Films are a staple in teens’ social lives, from movie nights at the theater to binge-watching sleepovers. These creative suggestions will give your classic movie night a unique twist.
- An outdoor drive-in movie can be created right in the backyard with a white sheet, a digital movie projector, and some blankets. Make some popcorn and serve it with pop and classic candies to enhance the mood.
- Host a themed film festival that shows only movies that fit the chosen theme, such as cult classics, horror flicks, Oscar winners, or animated movies. Hang movie posters that match the film selections near the viewing area as a bonus.
- It will be most fun to find books that have been made into movies, both original movies, and remakes. Read the book first, then watch the movie (or movies) and compare. What was the better option? In the movie version, what information was changed or omitted? A few great examples are My Side of the Mountain, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Fault in Our Stars.
Local Museums and Attractions
While teens may not seem interested in local tourist attractions, museums and zoos can be turned into fun activities.
- Instagram is a popular app for sharing stories and experiences through photos or videos. See who can create the best image from the trip or who can tell the best story using only pictures from the attraction. The other option is to see who can get the most likes or shares on other social media sites.
- With a bit of creativity and preparation, any activity can be turned into a scavenger hunt. Check if the attraction’s website already has an interactive element like this. Alternatively, create a list of items one might find at the location that is obscure or obvious.
Table Games for Teens
Teenagers love anything that involves competition, especially if there are edible or monetary prizes to be won. Any teen game collection should include a variety of entertaining cards and board games, whether you’re hosting a game night or organizing an after-school program.
- This party game can be played seriously or with a silly focus. It can be played with four to ten players. An adjective card is placed in the center of the playing area. After that, each player must choose a noun card from his hand that best matches the adjective card. Each hand’s best noun card is then chosen by the judge. This fun group game comes in several versions, but Apples To Apples Freestyle might be the best choice for teens.
- Take any version of poker and make it teen-friendly by substituting candy or snack foods for money. The use of household chores as currency would be a creative, family-friendly option.
- A unique card game, Exploding Kittens, is easy to learn and the length of gameplay depends on the cards drawn. The concept is simple; if you pick an Exploding Kitten card, you’re dead. Unless you have a card that can defuse the situation, like a laser pointer or a catnip sandwich. Teens can now play Exploding Kittens with their friends even if they are not in the same room thanks to an Exploding Kittens app.
- A trading card game with over 20 million users worldwide, Magic: The Gathering is one of the most popular trading card games around. Two or more players can play Magic: The Gathering, each with a customized deck of cards. During the game, each player is a Planeswalker, and each card is a weapon she can use to deplete the life energy of her opponents. Magic Duels offers online and in-person gameplay options.
- The goal of the Pandemic is to develop a cooperative strategy in which each player is designated as a specialist in a particular field. A series of diseases threaten to wipe out most of the world’s population, so players must use their strengths to stop them. An intense sci-fi scenario and teamwork make Pandemic an engaging game for teens.
- In this thrilling game, players crank the handle and hope they end their turn with a clean face. In any turn, the mechanical hand could fling whipped cream or a wet sponge into the player’s face. This hilarious game of Pie Face will have teens laughing as they watch family members, friends, or teachers get a face full of pie.
Outdoor Activities to Engage Teenagers
Teenagers can be encouraged to be active and adventurous by getting outside. When teens are so focused on technology, it can be refreshing to see what the great outdoors has to offer.
- It is typically a winter sport, but people of all ages can enjoy tubing down a steep hill. It is common for ski resorts to offer snow tubing.
- Typically, adventure courses feature a series of platforms connected by cable, rope, or wood bridges and zip lines at different levels. All participants on reputable courses receive a safety orientation and a secure harness system. People of all ages can participate in courses ranging from beginner to advanced.
- Participants use GPS-enabled devices to locate containers hidden at specific locations. There are sometimes group activities with other geocachers that make geocaching feel like a treasure hunt in real life.
- The classic camp-out can be enjoyed by anyone, whether it be in your backyard or at your local campground. For a memorable night, bring along some unique campfire recipes, flashlights for a game of tag, and lyrics to your favorite summer camp songs.
- There are now music festivals in many towns across the country. Despite media coverage depicting these festivals as dangerous and drug-filled, teens who are supervised can still enjoy these events. One-day festivals with a variety of artists and stages are a good choice.
Active Fun for Teens
Move teens so their endorphins can start flowing, bringing a smile to any smug face. Fun that is active can last longer and keep the attention of those who are easily distracted or bored for long periods of time.
There are many water-related activities teens will enjoy that might seem like child’s play, such as sprinklers and water balloon fights.
- It is likely that there is an indoor or outdoor water park nearby no matter where you live. Teenagers may have outgrown backyard water play, but water parks never lose their appeal. It is more fun for teens to go with friends and have some freedom from supervision. Establish a post in a lounge chair where teens can leave their towels and check in periodically.
- In the water park, River Tubing is one step up from the classic Lazy River and one step down from white water rafting. People get an inner tube and life jacket and are usually given the option of how long they want to float downriver. It is common for groups to connect their tubes to ensure no one floats away. There are many river tubing companies throughout the United States offering a wide variety of excursions. Teenagers can lie around for hours talking to friends or daydreaming.
- Teens can play a wet game of Capture the Flag with water guns, soakers, and blasters.
Using a smartphone, players can download the Pokémon Go app and set off on a real-world adventure to locate virtual Pokémon characters. With Pokémon Go, you can experience the fun of a fantasy world while exploring real-world locations.
It is based on the popular video game, turned trading card game, turned animated television show empire. Hundreds of characters can be caught, trainers can be leveled up, and digital medals can be earned by teens playing alone or in competition.
For teenagers who want to try new games that aren’t board games, these group games are perfect. Here are some options to consider:
- It is best to play Mafia with a group of teens who know each other. Your success depends on your ability to tell if others are lying and to tell if you are lying. The website Topped with Meat offers detailed instructions for playing Mafia and its variations.
- Playing Sardines in a dark building gives this childhood game a modern, mature feel. Two players will hunt for other players while the others hide in the building. As people are found, the number of hunters grows. Check out the location during daylight and equip players with glow sticks or flashlights for safety’s sake.
Indoor Activities for Teens
Teenage Group Activities
Here are some fun indoor activities for teens to keep you occupied when the rain won’t stop.
- Disneybounding is a themed fashion show that you may have seen if you’ve recently visited Disney. If this term confuses you, know that Disneybounding refers to creating outfits based on Disney characters. It is common for outfits to be color-coordinated and accessorized to match the chosen character, whether it is simple or elaborate. Pick a favorite movie and try Disney bounding at home, whether you’ve been to Disney or not. Choose a different movie with fun characters you and your friends would like to dress as if Disney is not your thing. In addition, you might want to try a 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s theme if your grandparents or parents have a habit of stockpiling old clothes in their closets.
- You and your friends can compete in rap wars using a phone. Use Spotify, Pandora, or Smule to listen to rap music and then write your own raps to perform for your friends. Give participants time to write raps or just wing it like the pros. If you don’t have your muse, the Smule app has an auto rap feature that turns your speech into rap.
- Would you be able to share a story about your life in sixty seconds or less? Give each player a minute to write down a funny story about their life that they will read out loud to the group (use your phone to time). If you would like to do a team building exercise, spend sixty seconds chatting with your partner and then take a minute to write down their “life story” to share.
- Make words starting with the first letter of each group member’s first name that also contain the letters I and N in that order later in the word. (Other letter combinations, such as E and D, may also be used) Example: If one player’s name is David, possible words would be: Darling, Duckling, Ducking.
- Make as many words as you can using at least three letters from the first names of the players to your left and right. Kevin is to your left and Elaina to your right; therefore, Vine, Even, Keen, or Linen would be appropriate words to use if Kevin is to your left and Elaina to your right. Repeated letters can be allowed or not allowed as you see fit. You should allow about one minute for each round. Use your phone to time each round. Feel free to use your imagination here as there are countless variations on games one and two.
- Images speak louder than words: Do images speak to you more than words? Decide who will go first in a circle. The first player should draw something on a large piece of paper and pass it to their right. Added to the picture, the next player will pass it on, again to their right. Continue adding to the picture until everyone except one has contributed. Using the picture as inspiration, the last person must tell a story. Play until everyone has had a chance to make up a story or pick a volunteer.
Instead of heading to the store and spending your hard-earned money on special materials and ingredients, try these craft activities you can make at home or at a friend’s house.
- Try making this starburst wrapper bracelet activity for a fun, fast, inexpensive craft made entirely from candy wrappers.
- Looking for a cheap and awesome piece of art for your bedroom? Check out Minecraft Iron Sword! Do you need something for your college dorm room? Using materials you probably already have at home, make a life-size replica of a Minecraft sword.
- Using this simple recipe for bath salts, you can turn an empty afternoon into a wonderful opportunity to create a gift for yourself or for someone else.
- Feeling crafty and hungry? Try edible stained glass. Create a delicious suncatcher from ingredients you probably already have at home, then eat it.
Fun for everyone
Teenagers can turn almost anything into a fun activity. In spite of this, even the most reluctant participants can have a great time with a bit of creativity.