Whether you work or volunteer with teens or have some of your own, you may find yourself in a position where you have to get them to work together. If you find that it’s challenging to get them to come out of their shells or to get involved, you may want to try a team-building exercise. Here are 16 amazing team-building activities teens will actually want to do.
- The silent line-up: In this game, participants are told to organize themselves into a line ordered by a certain characteristic. So you could choose height, shoe size, birthday, etc. The catch is that they can’t talk. It’s interesting to see how teens work together when they can’t simply discuss the facts and act upon that information.
- The human knot: Have your teens stand in a circle and then put their hands in the middle. Once they do that, have them hold the nearest hands. They shouldn’t look at whose hand they hold and only hold one other hand. Now, they have to detangle themselves. They will need to work together to go over and under one another, to weave in and out. Once they’re back in an open circle, they’ve completed the challenge.
- Two truths and a lie: Go around the circle and have each person say three things about themself, two of which are true and one that is a lie. Then have the rest of the group figure out which is the lie.
- The scar game: Have each person in the group tell the story behind how they got a scar on their body.
- Photo finish: Find a straight line on the floor or use a piece of tape or string to make one. The goal is for everyone to stand on one side of the line. Then when you say go, they have to cross the line at the EXACT same time. This will take a few tries and some creative problem-solving to figure out how they can all cross at the exact time. Taking a photo for proof can make it even more fun (and precise).
- Antiques of the future: Grab a pile of random household materials (rubber bands, coffee filters, pipe cleaners, cardboard tubes) and give teams four minutes to choose one. Then, have them make up a story about the item if it were found as an “antique” 500 years in the future.
- Drawing challenge: Assign group members a partner and have them sit back-to-back. One person will receive a blank piece of paper and a pen or marker. The other will receive a piece of paper with a shape or simple drawing. The goal is for the person with blank paper to recreate the drawing using only verbal instructions from their partner.
- Rope challenge: Make a large circle out of rope for each team and put it on the floor. The entire team must stand at the edges of the circle so the rope is taut around their ankles while holding their hands in the air. Team members must take turns moving to work the rope up from ankles to wrists, keeping hands in the air at all times.
Related: 40+ Conversation Starters For Teenagers To Make Life Less Awk
- Human marble run: Give each member of the team a length of gutter or drainpipe. The team has to transfer a tennis or golf ball from one place to another by rolling the ball from one piece of gutter to the next. Make it interesting by making the team get the ball to traverse an obstacle course or to go up and down stairs.
- The egg drop: Give participants plenty of household materials and a carton of eggs. Have them create a container for the egg and then drop it off somewhere with some height (a person standing on a chair, out the window of a building, etc). The goal is for the egg (which is raw, not hard-boiled) to stay intact after it is dropped.
- Photo scavenger hunt: This is just like a regular scavenger hunt, where you give participants a list of things to find. Except instead of having to bring objects, they simply take photos of the items. Just make sure at least one participant is in the photo: Google Images is cheating!
- Grab bag skits: Fill bags with four or five assorted household items. Break the teens into groups, and assign each group a bag, without showing them what’s inside. Have each group put on a skit based on the items in the bag.
- Desert island: Go around the group and have everyone name the items they would bring with them to a desert island. Pick a category like foods, movies, books, or personal care products.
- Big Foot: This is a fun, but tricky game in which everyone must stand up in a single file line. All the players are then blindfolded so that they cannot see. Then they’re instructed to put themselves in a line in order of smallest foot to biggest foot. Caveat: They cannot ask or state anyone’s shoe size.
- Famous names: Write the name of a famous person, past or present, on a notecard, and tape one to each person’s forehead. (Just make sure the person doesn’t see whose name is on their head.) Then have the group give the person clues while the person guesses the famous figure on their forehead.
- Someone you admire: This one is pretty straightforward: Each member of the group shares the name of a person they admire and why.