Tempt your teen to turn off the TV and stop fiddling with his electronic gadgets by offering a fun and exciting outdoor game that he can't resist. Day or night, summer or winter, a game can make being outside fun. While he can play these games with just a few friends, they are also an excellent way to encourage socialization, teamwork and strategy when you're looking for an activity for a large group of teens.
Capture the Flag
The classic game Capture the Flag encourages teens to work together and use strategy to be victorious. It is a game best played with a large group of teenagers, who are divided into two teams and each given a flag to protect. Play in a large area and check the area first to eliminate any hazards. Start by sending each team to their own “territory” to place their flags and then the game is on as each team tries to make it into the other team's territory to capture their flag -- the ultimate goal of the game. However, if a member is caught, they are placed in jail. The jailed team member can be kept in jail until the end of the game or they can be freed by another team member and continue to play the game.
Volleyball with a Twist
Get your group of teenagers together for a volleyball game with a twist on a hot summer's day. You can even play this without a volleyball or net. All you need for this game of volleyball is a big package of water balloons and some teenagers who don't mind a good drenching. Divide the group into two teams and set up the volleyball net, if you have one. If not, make a middle divider in the yard so each team knows the boundaries. Introduce the water balloon volleyballs one at a time or make it a real watery mess and introduce several at once. While the goal of a traditional volleyball game is to accumulate points, the winner of this game is the team that managed to stay the driest -- though you can incorporate both score keeping methods into the game, if you like.
Whether you're camping in a campground, summertime resort or just hanging out in the backyard, flashlight tag can keep your teenagers occupied for hours. Provide each of your guys with a flashlight and let them designate the “it” person. The objective of the game is to avoid being found by hiding in the darkness and staying out of the “it” person's flashlight beam. Once the beam has found someone, it's their turn to take over and hunt for the rest of the teen crowd.
Instead of a single game, turn an afternoon with a group of teenagers into a series of Olympic events. You can customize the games to suit the location and season -- hosting hole-digging contests and long-jump competitions at the beach in the summer, or backyard snowshoe races and snow fort building in the winter. Divide the groups into teams, if you have a lot of teenagers, or let each young adult compete individually for the gold medal or chocolate gold-foil coin. Let groups come up with their own team name and keep track of the winners on a dry erase board. If you have a group of silly teenagers, don't be afraid to incorporate some silliness into the games. Child games such as a crab-walk race or an egg and spoon race, can get the group laughing fast.
- Tag, Toss & Run: 40 Classic Lawn Games; Victoria Rowell, et al.
- Great Games! 175 Games & Activities for Families, Groups, & Children!; Matthew Toone, et al.
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