Coed birthday parties are exciting for teens, but parents might worry about what could go wrong. Plan a variety of indoor and outdoor games to provide structure and organization, while making sure the teens have fun.
Give the classic “Hide-and-go-seek” a new face by playing an aliens variation. Designate certain rooms or a specific floor of the house for this game. Choose two players to be “laser guns” and two to be “aliens.” Instruct the alien and laser gun players to hide somewhere within the designated area. After 60 seconds, allow the remaining players to hunt the alien and laser gun players... The object of the game is to catch an “alien” with a “laser gun,” meaning that first, the hunters must find a laser gun player, and then the hunter and the laser gun player will then find an alien. The first hunter-and laser-gun player combo to find an alien player is the winner. Make Hot Potato and Musical Chairs fun by playing them to popular songs and putting a G-rated “truth or dare” twist on them. Require those players who are caught to draw a “truth or dare” slip from a bowl and to answer the question or carry out the dare. Write questions and dares ahead of time to keep them appropriate.
Tag and relay races are popular outdoor party activities, but they can turn ugly for coed birthday parties when ability levels and interests vary. Bobbing for apples is fun for the cooler autumn months, while Marco Polo is ideal for a summer pool party. Organize an outdoor scavenger hunt by hiding a few party favors somewhere in the yard. Leave note cards that contain directions at various locations for finding the next clue -- ultimately leading to each prize. Make the game challenging by planting a few “dead end” or “go back” clues, as well. Keep the game organized by hiding a favor for each player, and establish the rule that each player can only find and keep one prize.
Team games can be a hassle when too many groups are playing, so keep it simple, and form only two teams per game. Airplane races are a fun option for two large coed teams. Give everyone a piece of paper and instruct the teens to make a paper airplane from the paper. Divide the kids into two rows, facing each other, about five or six feet apart. Place a divider or lay a piece of tape down on the floor between the two teams, and instruct them to fly their planes over to the other team’s side when you say, “go.” The teams should continue to pick up and fly the planes out of their space, as fast as they can. After two minutes, stop the game. The team with the fewest airplanes on their side wins.
Quiet games are useful for bringing teen energy levels down at the end of the night. Board or card games are a good choice for smaller groups. If “Telephone” is too juvenile for your teens, play Movie Treasure Hunt. Put on a movie or a favorite television show, and pass out a list of keywords, objects or articles of clothing for kids to be on the lookout for as they watch. The first person to hear or spot each item on the list should raise their hand to get a small prize.
Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. She has worked professionally with children of all ages and is pursuing a second Masters degree in education from Monmouth University.