When working with children and teenagers, keep a list of activities to suggest to the group. As they try the different types of activities, you will learn from their reactions which ones resonate with them. Boys typically have a lot of energy, so they appreciate activities that allow them to burn some of it off while bonding as a group. Boys can also enjoy quieter and gentler endeavors. Let their likes and dislikes guide the exercises.
When you have a group of boys, try to get them to bond and learn to trust each other with team-building exercises. Remind them that they are to work as teammates and not individuals for these activities. Scavenger hunts, complete with compasses and maps, are an excellent team-building activity with a competitive edge. Letterboxing is a type of scavenger hunt that all of the boys can do together as one team. Send each group out with one or more adults for safety.
Relay races encourage boys to encourage one another while putting forth their best efforts. Camping trips are fun, and teach important cooperative skills, such as tent-pitching and fire-building.
Although athletic boys often enjoy team sports such as football, baseball, basketball and soccer, boys who are less physically fit might balk at the suggestions, being well-versed with the embarrassment of being chosen last for a team and not being able to keep up with teammates.
All of the boys in your group might enjoy non-competitive physical activities such as swimming or playing a variation of tag. Younger boys often like games such as "Mother, May I?" "Follow the Leader" or "Red Light, Green Light."
"Sharks and Minnows" is another game that is non-competitive: the boys attempt to run through an "ocean," where one player, the shark, tags as many minnows as possible before they reach the other side. The tagged players also become sharks, so no one is "out" while waiting for the game to end.
Your group of boys can learn important skills while also helping members of their community. If your group consists of older boys, befriend an elderly person and complete necessary work at her home, such as cleaning gutters, raking leaves, planting grass or shoveling snow.
Have the boys work together collecting cans for recycling, and using the proceeds to purchase food for the local food pantry or soup kitchen. Volunteer to deliver meals or visit with those who are housebound. Encourage the boys to learn a craft, such as knitting hats for premature infants or sewing small quilts for a children's hospital.
Adopt a struggling family during the holiday season, and take the boys to purchase and deliver food and gifts for the family. These activities will foster a sense of goodwill among the boys, teach them empathy and will encourage them to help others in the future.
Michelle Kulas worked in the health-care field for 10 years, serving as a certified nurses' assistant, dental assistant and dental insurance billing coordinator. Her areas of expertise include health and dental topics, parenting, nutrition, homeschooling and travel.