Teens seem to party in two ways: They either go buck wild when parents aren’t around or they sit (separated by gender) on opposite sides of the room, staring at each other. If you’re planning a party for your teenie bopper, you’re probably hoping for a party that lives somewhere in between. A few game ideas can go a long way in helping to get the ball rolling, the hormones to simmer, and the sweet baby turtles to come out of their shells.
You don’t have to be afraid to let your teens have a get-together. There are a million things they can do besides the things that raise your blood pressure and although they’re not our little chicken nuggets anymore, teens are still like kids, which means they can lose their minds over a good game too. Fun is fun, and that’s all your kids want to do when they’re with their friends. So toss this list their way if they keep asking to have a party. It might help keep them on the right track (maybe).
So good luck finding the perfect balance… and with getting your teen to allow you to make these suggestions without rolling their eyes.
1. Never Have I Ever
This game might best be played in small groups, where kids know each other really well. The fun is in getting to shock your friends. Give each kid some candy. Each teen takes a turn saying, “Never have I ever…” followed by something they’ve never done (“Kissed someone I’m not related to” or “Crossed the Mississippi”). If any of their friends have done that thing, they eat a piece of candy.
2. Knees and Elbows
This is pretty much a classic passing game. Have party-goers stand in a circle and give one person something to hold between their knees. It can be anything — a water (or air-filled) balloon, a ball, etc. They have to pass it around the circle using only their knees and elbows. To make it more competitive (or in bigger groups), have the party split into two teams, and work to get the item down the line.
3. Honey, If You Love Me…
This is another game that gets better if your party-goers know each other well. There’s only one major rule: No touching! “It” must try to make any “honey” smile or laugh by saying some version of, “Honey, if you love me, won’t you please just smile?” The longer it takes, the harder they’ll work. Once someone smiles or laughs, they become “it.”
4. Pass the Peanut
You don’t have to use peanuts. Have your gang stand or sit in a circle or in two lines. Each person should hold a plastic spoon in their mouths. The person at the start of the line should have a peanut, cotton ball, M&M, or something light on their spoons. Without using hands, have them pass the item around.
Have everyone sit or stand in a circle, looking down at the ground. On your “go,” everyone must look up. If two people make eye contact, they must scream and play dead. This continues until there are only two people left. You could call them the winners, but the real “winners” are everyone who gets to see their friends’ dramatic deaths.
6. Would You Rather?
Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck? Would you rather walk to the North Pole or the South Pole? Would you rather be born in the 1960s or in the year you were actually born? Would you rather have a cool car you could only drive on weekends or a crummy car that could get you anywhere, any time? You get the idea.
7. Singing Bingo
There are two ways to play this game. You could either make BINGO cards with overused words in songs (like “Baby” or “Oh”) and scan the radio for a BINGO (or have your teens take turns singing their favorite songs). Or, you can make up flashcards with those same popular words and have teams take turns drawing cards and trying to sing a song that contains the word. (You could even only let a player from each team see the card and start singing and see who can guess the “keyword.”)
8. Yard Twister
If you have great weather and a tiny house… or if you just want your teens to scram for a bit, this is a great option. Get some yard paint and paint a giant Twister board out on the grass. It’s pretty harmless, but teens always love the chance to be in close proximity to one another.
9. Scavenger Hunt
We’re sure that you’ve been to a mall and seen giggling teens scurrying from one store to another, clearly on a mission. Be the person giving the mission. Come up with a list of fun things for them to hunt down and either buy or take pictures of. Great examples are, “The cutest employee at Zumies” or “With a Narwhal.” You can scout the mall ahead of time to find things super specific, or be vague and see where the hunt takes them. If you’re social media savvy, definitely consider making an Instagram hashtag for the night. Then you have a great way to keep track of your kids’ adventures while allowing yourself to be more hands-off. Plus, then you’ll have your memories all in one place.
10. Suck and Blow
It sounds dirty, right? However, it’s fairly innocent. Have your teens stand in a circle and give one person a playing card to hold on to using only their mouths. (They’ll need to suck in to keep it up.) Have them pass the card around until it reaches the other end. If anyone drops it, they’re out, and the card starts back at the beginning.
11. Sleeping Beauty
This is similar to, “Honey, if you love me.” Have one person lie down and pretend to be asleep. Everyone else must try to “wake them” by making them laugh or smile. No touching!
12. Taste the Rainbow
Dump Skittles into a bowl in the middle of the table and arm each player with a straw and a cup. Everyone must use their straw to suck up Skittles. The first person to collect each color Skittle into their cup is the winner.
Think of this as the opposite of hide-and-seek. You’ll need a lot of space. One person hides and then everyone else splits up and tries to find them. The twist? When a person finds the hider, they hide with them. The game is over when the last person finds the group.
14. Selfie Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt but coupled with the activity teens love most of all, taking selfies. You can have them taking snaps with objects or at a place around the neighborhood.
15. Spin and Dare
Spin the bottle loses its luster after the tween years, and truth or dare is best played with the right company. So what’s a teen to do? Combine the two games for a really fun fusion of spin and dare. You spin the bottle and read out a wacky or funny dare from a bowl of dares placed in the middle of the room. The results should be hilarious and especially entertaining.
16. Name That TikTok Meme
Yeah, maybe we just made this game up, but we’re pretty positive any TikTok-obsessed teen will be on board to play this twist on Name That Tune. Some pretty notable TikTok memes could make for a fun time to see who identifies them fastest. Who knows, it could also lead to an evening of A+ TikTok satire that could end up, where else? On TikTok.
17. Wacky Duck
This game brings out the silliness in teens while also allowing them to get close to each other (and, let’s be real, their crushes). Everyone sits in a circle with one person blindfolded in the center. The blindfolded person gets spun around a few times as everyone else swaps seats. Once everyone has their new spot, the blindfolded player “feels” the other players with a wooden spoon or something comparable. If they stop at someone, they’ll sit on the person’s lap — who then has to quack like a duck or say something in a wacky voice. The blindfolded player tries to guess who the quacker is. If they get it right, they get to take a seat. Otherwise, play continues.
18. Speed Stacker
You ordered about a zillion Solo cups for your teen’s party, right? Well, good news! They can double as entertainment. Each player has exactly one minute to stack as many party cups as they can. The player with the highest number of cups wins. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.
19. Ouija Board
Originating as a novelty parlor game in the 1890s, this may be a game for a daring group of teens who are into the supernatural and scary. Want to know the rules of playing with a Ouija board? We have you covered on that front. But a note of warning: play this with a wink-wink attitude and understand it’s just a game… and maybe don’t shut off the lights.
20. Sock Wrestling
It sounds absolutely ridiculous; we know. But hear us out. It’s actually more exciting than it sounds. Two players lay down on the floor in their socks. The first one to get both their socks off without using their hands wins. You can even flip the game by tasking players with putting on their socks by just using their feet. None of this is easy, and that’s the point. It seems silly, but your teens will post the fight all over Instagram, trust us.
21. Wink Assassin
There are a few names for this whodunnit themed game, like Wink Murderer, Killer, and Wink Assassin. All you need is four players or more, and everyone sits in a wide circle. Do a hat draw with folded pieces of paper to decide who gets to be the killer. No one is allowed to reveal who they are.
When the game starts, everyone must make eye contact with the other players. The killer will wink at one person (or two), and then that person must wait five seconds before they announce their death. After someone dies, there will be a discussion. If living players have an idea of who the killer is, they can accuse someone. Each round, only one person can be officially accused.
If the killer is accused, the civilians win, and the game is over. If they guessed incorrectly, the game keeps going.
22. The Human Knot
Your teens have probably played this game before, but it’s one of those activities that never loses its charm. Have everyone stand in a circle, put their right arm out, and hold someone else’s hand. Then tell them to do the same with their left hand. They must use their communication skills to unknot themselves, which can be messy and a lot of fun.
23. Blind Makeup Artist
Break the teens up into two teams. On each team, there will be a designated makeup artist who will be blindfolded. Their job is to apply makeup on one player, while the rest of the team helps to guide them. The team with the model with the best makeup wins.
24. I Am
This is a great game for a group of teens who hang out regularly. Each player takes turns impersonating someone in the room or someone that everyone knows like a teacher, parent, or celebrity. It’s so much better than charades! Everyone writes the person they want to portray on a piece of paper. The player who guesses the most right, wins. The person who does the best impressions should also get a prize.
25. Escape Room
ICYMI, escape rooms are a huge trend at the moment — and we don’t think they’re going away anytime soon. But if you don’t want to shepherd a herd of teens out into the world, turn your home into escape room headquarters. Before the teens arrive, set up a designated area of your house as the escape room lair. Pick an escape room theme, sit back, and watch your kid and their friends spend the evening trying to figure out how to beat the game.
26. 7 Minutes in Heaven
OK, so maybe this is not one a parent should suggest at a teen party, but this is an oldie and a goodie passed down for over 60 years. That’s right! Your grandparents probably played this game, which has been recorded as early as 1953. Two people are chosen to go into an empty room or a closet and do whatever they like for seven minutes.
27. Stack ‘Em
Stack a bunch of plastic cups into a pyramid. Break the teens up into two teams. Then have each group take turns throwing a sponge ball at the structure. The catch is players must do it blindfolded. After the pyramid is knocked down, the thrower builds it back up so the next person can go. The team to go through all of their players wins.
28. Balloon War
Every party needs balloons, but why not turn it into a game! Guests write their names on three balloons, which represent each person’s number of lives (like in a video game). The point of the game is to have the last balloon standing. Everyone must try to pop each other’s balloons. The sharpest object players can use is a crayon. You may not hide your balloons, but you can hide with your balloons. This is a game of strategy and silliness your teens will love and play for hours.