So you have a group of teens or kids staring at you wondering what you're going to do to keep them interested. Countless games would be hits with young people, but some would completely lose them. A good game leader knows the difference and is able to make the game time fun for everyone.
What kind of games you can play will depend on how much indoor space you have. The ever-popular dodgeball requires a gym or large open room. Kids and teens of all ages can play dodgeball. Be sure to use soft, spongy balls that don't hurt when they hit you. If you have some prep time, try playing a game called "Balloon Stomp." Participants receive a string and an inflated balloon. They are to tie the balloons around their ankles. The object of the game is to pop everyone else's balloon while keeping yours from being popped.
When the weather is cooperative and you have some outdoor space, get the kids outside into the fresh air. Several classic games are great for all ages of kids and teens. "Capture the Flag" is one that works well in both open fields and wooded landscapes. The game of tag has a number of variations that will keep it interesting. Freeze tag requires a person who is tagged to freeze until another participant tags the frozen player to become unfrozen. Cartoon tag is played just like freeze tag except that, in order to be unfrozen, the player needs to shout a cartoon character. On a sunny day, try shadow tag. Instead of tagging the actual person, you must tag the person's shadow.
You may need to break the ice with your group of kids or teens. "Clumps" is an excellent game to get everyone mixing together. When you call out a number, players must form groups of that number. Those who do not find a group are out. "Signs" is an exciting mixer suitable for older kids and teens. Each person comes up with a sign. It can be anything, such as flipping the hair, scratching a knee or giving the thumbs up. The game starts with one player flashing his sign then another player's sign. That player signifies he has received the sign by flashing his sign then yet another player's sign. A designated person in the middle tries to catch someone passing a sign. The person caught is then the one in the middle.
Games with a Point
Using games to teach a point to a group of teens or kids can be very effective. For a lesson in teamwork, try playing "Alphabet Pockets." With the participants in groups of four or five, have all the kids empty their pockets. The objective for each team is to have as many items as possible from their pockets that start with different letters. The team with the most wins. If you want to teach the kids about trust, create a circle with one person in the middle whose eyes are closed. She then falls, allowing the circle to catch her.
Donivan Gillis began writing professionally in 2010, with his work appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM. He has been studying martial arts since 1996 and has been teaching since 2002. He studied business management at Polomar College in San Marcos, Calif.