Teens can be the most difficult age group to work with because it's hard to keep them engaged. Activities that are usually a hit with teenagers are those that allow them to be creative and freely express themselves. Drawing activities can be an ideal way to get groups of teens to work together, cooperate and communicate.
Get teens involved in a game that fosters communication skills through drawing activities. Split the kids into teams. One person will take a picture of something that the second team member can’t see, and will have a certain amount of time to describe it in detail. The second team member will play the part of the sketch artist and try to draw what the first team member is describing. The teen describing the picture will be forced to call upon his powers of observation, to think about details and describe what he’s seeing. The sketch artist will be forced to pay attention to that description, ask questions and to ultimately visualize and recreate the picture without having seen it. When one round is finished, the kids can switch roles and try with a new picture. Changing partners each time you play will give kids the opportunity to practice those communication skills with different people.
Body tracing is when a child lays on a large sheet of paper and someone traces around his form. Teens can cut out the life-size figure of themselves, hang it on the wall and decorate it. This project is a hit in younger grades, but also works well with high schoolers, as they enjoy expressing themselves. Let each teen decorate her own paper figure to show off her style and personality. Another way to utilize this activity is to get kids thinking about their future; they may make an image of how they imagine themselves at age 25 or 30. Yet another option is to apply this craft project to literature or history, and have kids decorate their paper figures to reflect what a character in a book would look like, or how a person of a particular time period might have dressed.
No matter what the topic at hand, a mural allows kids to show how they feel about it, or what they've learned. Tie murals into any activities such as social activism and awareness, celebrating events and lessons in just about any school subject. From planning a mural to executing it requires a group effort. You don’t need to paint a wall permanently. Take a large roll of paper and tape the paper to the wall. Hand the kids some colored pencils and markers then stand back to let the ideas fly.
Working together in small groups, have kids collaborate on a drawing together. Select a theme or inspirational word or phrase for the teens, then encourage them to sit together and brainstorm ideas to create a story in images on paper. Give them drawing supplies and let each teen in the group take a turn adding elements to the collaborative drawing. Use dice, number spinners or put names in a hat to determine the order in which each group member will go. Set a timer for five minutes; when the timer is up, the child must pass the paper to the next member of the group. They may pass the paper around as many times as they like, but by using a timer it keeps the paper moving. Have kids present their drawings to other groups and tell the story behind their inspiration.
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