Indoor Group Games for Teens

By Erica Loop
Two teenage boys playing video games.
Two teenage boys playing video games.

Your teen is growing more independent and is spending more time with friends. Making it enjoyable for your teen and her friends to hang at your house lets her be social while giving you a greater sense of security, notes extension family and human development specialist Pat Tanner Nelson on the University of Delaware's website. From traditional favorites such as charades to more modern technology-based games, encourage the teens to choose games that provide a mix of maturity and youthful fun.

Act It Out

Charades is a party standard that teens of all ages can play. The trick to making it enjoyable is to match the subjects to your child’s age and interests. For example, new teens may prefer less mature subject matter such as pop star song titles, while older adolescents may prefer a broad range of literature or action movies.

If the kids don’t want to act out the answers, try drawing them instead. Give your teen and his friends a poster board and an easel. If you don’t have an easel, have the kids gather around a table. Like charades, divide the teens into teams. Each team member must take a turn drawing out an answer as the other kids guess.

Set some ground rules, making it clear that profanity or inappropriate drawings aren’t acceptable. Brainstorm subjects and answers to use for the games with your teen prior to the get-together, ensuring they are free from sexual content and don’t elude to illegal behaviors such as drinking alcohol or using drugs. If your teen and his friends are on the younger side of adolescence, avoid mature movies and TV shows as subjects.

Play a Video Game

Active teens can still take advantage of sporting fun while indoors. Many video game systems have games that require the players to engage in a mock version of a sport, dance or move to a beat. For example, your teen and her friends can play a game of visual tennis, go golfing or run a race against each other. Dancing games keeps the kids moving while they try to mimic the dance moves playing to some of their favorite pop music.

Another option is to set up a video game tournament. Pick a game that pits one team against another. For example, choose a car racing game. You can have racing rounds in which each team elects a player to race or add up each group's total time.

Trivia Time

Whether your teen and his friends closely follow pop culture, are history buffs or are really into science, you can create a trivia game that plays to their interests. Set up a trivia game in which you provide the answers, and the kids give you the questions. Write the answers on note cards, and give the teens bells to ring when they have the questions. Create categories that feature school subjects, famous figures from history, current celebrities, music or sports heroes.

For a more personal option, create a friends trivia game. Have the teens write answers and questions that feature each other or classmates, making sure to keep it clean.

Trivia-based board games keep your work to a minimum by providing the questions, answer and rules. Divide the teens into two or more teams. Each team must work together to answer the questions correctly.

Solve a Mystery

The teen years usher in a time when your child is beginning to think critically and solve complex problems. Now that she can reason her way through complex situations, set up a murder mystery game. Your teen and her friends can dress up as the characters in a story, follow clues and solve the mystery.

This type of game takes advanced planning, and isn’t easy to do on the spot. Use this activity for a birthday party or host a special themed night at your home. Create the scenario with your teen, writing out a story, creating characters and making clues. Send invitations that include each guest’s character. This helps the other teens to come up with costume ideas and get into the spirit of the mystery.

You can also test the teens' memories. Boost brain development with a memory-based mystery game. Give the teens a few verbal clues that they all have to remember, instead of writing them down. This adds another layer to the game, making it more of a challenge. Another option is to give each guest a few pieces of background information on the character that they are playing as they come in to the party. You can also provide lines for the teens to act out. The adolescents' short-term memory typically stores up to seven pieces of information at a time. Don't overload the kids; give them just a few clues or lines to remember.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.