Throughout all of time, the teenage years have been awkward ones for social interaction. But today’s teens face even more barriers when it comes to good social skills.

Teenagers spend so much of their time on phones or electronic devices that it seems many of them don’t know how to handle normal social situations such as meeting new people, having a conversation or just hanging out with friends. All you have to do is look around a group of teens to see them all texting on their phones or on social media instead of interacting with each other.

In a high-tech world that limits face-to-face interaction, here are a few ideas to help parents teach their teens valuable social skills like how to positively interact with others and build healthy relationships.

 

TEACH THEM BY EXAMPLE

 

Even when you don’t realize it, your teens are watching you and leaning. That means that what you do is often more important than what you say. It’s up to the parents to consistently model positive social interaction.

When you act kind to neighbors, smile at strangers and treat others with respect, your kids are watching you and learning. When you listen to people without interrupting, show interest in a conversation and make small talk to be friendly, they are watching. And, when you avoid gossip, look for the good in others and try to make the best out of a negative situation, they are learning.

When you model all of these things for your children, you are teaching them that other people are important and that being considerate is always right. Be sure you show respect to others you meet in little ways like listening to their side of the story, saying “please” and “thank you,” or offering your place in line. In addition, help your teen talk through peer problems with positivity and coach them through awkward situations with an optimistic view of others. When you do this, your teens will reflect your actions and attitude with a more positive approach toward social situations.

 

TEACH THEM BY PRACTICE

 

Like everything in life, you can only get better at social interaction with practice. While your teens do learn from the actions you model, they also need to have plenty of social opportunities with their peers to practice them.

Research shows that social interaction in teen years is important for both physical health and mental well-being. Social relationships help teens cope with the stress and pressure of teenage life. Encourage and support your teens’ friendships, and help them find activities that involve putting down their phones and connecting with these friends.

The more opportunity they have to fosters these relationships, the better. Look for fun games for teenagers that they can play with their friends like Capture the Flag REDUX, an active and socially interactive outdoor adventure. It’s the classic Capture the Flag game revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights.

Perfect for encouraging strategy and interaction, as players break teammates out of jail, sneak into enemy territory, protect base and steal the glowing flag to win. Each game box includes two glowing orbs to use as the “flags,” color-coded LED bracelets to differentiate team members, glowing jail markers, and a rulebook. As an extra bonus, each kit includes 12 game variation cards that offer even more ways to play Capture the Flag, as well as other games. Capture the Flag REDUX is available here.

 

TEACH THEM THROUGH SPORTSMANSHIP

 

Studies show that team athletics are a good way to encourage social skills especially if parents use them to teach good sportsmanship. When you give your teen specific ways to practice good sportsmanship, they develop conflict-resolution and leadership skills.

If your teen likes athletics, help them find a recreational or school sports team that they want to participate in like basketball, soccer, swimming or archery. Letting your teen join athletic teams lets them have social interaction with other teammates and gives you a chance to remind them of good ways to practice good sportsmanship before each game. These can include being a good winner or loser, respecting other teammates, as well as respecting the opposing players and the game officials.

 

TEACH THEM THROUGH TEAMWORK

 

In addition to athletic teams, teenagers can learn social skills from other activities that teach teamwork such as games that require cooperation, leadership and decision making skills. These type of games require teens to discuss strategy and tactics and encourage compromise.

The game Glow Battle is a fun way to have healthy battles and release some of the energy and frustration that comes with being a teen. The game encourages players to use strategy, and teamwork to run and take down their opponent using harmless, glowing batons. Teams are designated by different colored LED bracelets and can be played anywhere that you have open space – inside in a dark room or outside after the sun goes down. It’s an exciting way to get active and foster social interaction.

 

TEACH THEM OPENMINDEDNESS

 

Good social skills for teens should include an openminded attitude to people that are different from themselves.

Teens should be taught to imagine another person’s perspective and know that there is always more than one way to look at a situation. Aside from telling your teens this, there are also games that can help encourage this and reduce social biases. For example, the Awkward Moment Party Game requires players to find solutions to awkward social situations. The game includes Reaction cards and Decider cards. Players get dealt the Reaction cards that have them face awkward, embarrassing or stressful situations. Then, the one with the Decider cards gets to choose the best response from the players. It helps broaden perspective and reduce social biases.

Another game that helps teens recognize and check their social biases is Buffalo The Name Dropping Game. It requires players to name real or fictional examples of people who fit a random combination of descriptors (like tattooed grandparent, misunderstood vampire, or skinny superhero). Both of these games are available at major retailers like Amazon or Walmart.

Middle school and high school parties can be awkward, and when you add both boys and girls to the mix, it can become a recipe for the perfect awkward storm.

They either stand around in groups without talking to each other, or they get out their phones and all stand around looking at their individual devices. It’s hard to keep a big group of tweens and teens entertained especially if you don’t want them on their phones all night. They definitely don’t want to play cheesy games that make them even more uncomfortable.

Be prepared for your next boy/girl party with this game list that lets them be active, mingle, practice their social skills and have a great time, too!

BLINDFOLD OBSTACLE COURSE

The great thing about this game is that you can either play it inside or outside, and all you need is a sackful of blindfolds and a little preparation. Create an obstacle course in your backyard or a larger room with whatever you have on hand – pool noodles, hula hoops, chairs. Have the partygoers get into boy/girl pairs and blindfold one partner in each pair. Then, have the other player navigate their blindfolded partner across the course or through the room. Time the teams and the pair that gets through the course the fastest wins.

GLOW BATTLE

Because a lot of boy/girl parties happen after the sun goes down, Glow Battle is the ideal game to keep them outside and active in the evening. Players have to strategize and take down their opponents using harmless glowing batons. Physical activity becomes part of the fun as players run, jump and swing at each other to win. Available for purchase here at Starlux Games, each game box comes with 10 weapons, 10 glowing wristbands, 8 regeneration station markers and 10 game playing cards. Glow Battle can be played with 2 to 10 players and comes with different game variation cards that both boys and girls will love.

STACK IT

Stack It is a really simply game that tackles the entertainment and the snack at the same time. Really any number of people can play and all you need is a big supply of chocolate sandwich cookies or some other sort of stackable cookies. Each player takes turns bending backwards and stacking as many sandwich cookies on their forehead as they can. They keep stacking as many as they can balance until the stack falls off. Then, the next person gets a turn. Keep track of which player can stack the most and they are the Chocolate Champion. To add some friendly competition, you can play as a relay race and divide into boys against girls. Have each player stacks two or three cookies and then race down to the next player on their team without dropping them until all of the players on their team have gone.

CATCH PHRASE

Sometimes you just have to break out the electronics to get boys and girls to start interacting with each other and laughing. Catch Phrase is a hand-held electronic game that includes 5,000 words and phrases. Players pass the device around and try to describe the word or phrase on the screen to their teams without saying any part of the phrase. But they have to do it fast before the timer goes off. Categories include Fun and Games, Entertainment, Everyday Life, Variety, and The World. Every time you get caught holding the device when the buzzer goes off, the other team scores a point. The first team to reach 7 points wins. Cath Phrase is available at major retailers like Walmart or Amazon.

IMPROV FREEZE TAG

This is a fun game to play once your boy/girl party starts getting a little warmed up. It pushes tweens and teens to get a little creative and out of their comfort zone. Two players stand up in front and other players shout out ideas for a funny scene like “buying a new tractor” or “lunch ladies in the cafeteria” and then the two have to start improvising the scene. Any time during the scene, someone from the audience can shout out “freeze” and the two performing have to freeze in the act. The person who yelled “freeze” taps the shoulder of one of them and replaces them up front. Then, someone else has to yell out a new situation or a change in the current situation. Keep playing until everyone has a turn or two as the performer.

HASHTAGS

Because teens do love their electronic devices so much, they will have a definite connection with this party game. The objective is to create a tweet that is related to the selected #hashtag. You can be as funny and creative as you like. Players then get points for guessing who wrote each tweet, in addition to points for having the funniest tweet.

Players can either respond traditionally on included sheets or text/instant message their responses on their cell phones. For four or more players and for ages 14 plus, #Hashtags is a fun party game to get the boys and girls really mixing at your next tween or teen party.

BALLOON BLOW

This is a fun and simple game for all ages to play at either inside or outside parties. You will just need a good amount of space so that the players don’t bump into each other. Purchase a bag of different colored round balloons and blow them up. Then, divide the group into boy/girl pairs and give each pair a different colored balloon. The object of the game is so simple – each pair has to keep their balloon up as long as possible by blowing at it and not letting it touch the ground. The pair that keeps their balloon in the air the longest is the winner.

CAPTURE THE FLAG REDUX

Because all aged boys and girls love to chase each other, they will love this Capture the Flag REDUX game that uses glow-in-the-dark LED lights. Each kit includes 25 battery-powered, reusable lights that transform playing fields and players into glowing teams of blue and green. Watch them get moving as they break teammates out of jail, sneak into enemy territory, protect base and steal the glowing flag to win. Complete with lit jail markers, territory lights, light-up wristbands and glowing crystals that serve as each team’s flag, this is game they will want to play over and over again. Plus, each game comes with 12 exciting game variation cards. Purchase the game here.

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES

Boy and girl groups love to play “truth or dare” and this is a fun way to let them play and still supervise it. Let your group write out some fun dares on small pieces of paper. Help them think of some fun, challenging dares that aren’t too embarrassing like eat a weird food combination or pull their socks off with their teeth. Then, insert each one into a balloon, blow it up and tie it off. Next, get your group of boys and girls to sit in a circle and take turns picking a balloon to pop. Then, they must do the dare or face the consequences. You will want to glance over the dares and the consequence to agree on ones that are safe and appropriate in your home.

 

The featured image used in this post is a public image from Joint Base San Antonio and can be found here.

When you have decided to have a party or a get together, there are often instances where strangers are expected to get to know each other in short order. By selecting fun icebreaker games for your next shindig, you can provide your guests with ample amounts of enjoyment and allow them to even make a new friend or two in the process. We’ll go ahead and skip the most obvious choice, which is that Capture the Flag REDUX is an amazing such game!

Mute Organization

If you’ve never heard of this game before, think of it as a variation of the “quiet game.” This game is played by giving your group a simple objective, but requiring them to reach it without making any sort of noise whatsoever. For example, they will be asked to arrange themselves by some sort of determining characteristic (such as age or birthday), but they are not allowed to make a single utterance during the process of doing so.

2 Minute Mixer

While some might hear the word mixer and think of speed dating, this is the furthest thing from the truth. This game is great for parties, as hosts are able to encourage further mingling among their guests without having to purchase mass quantities of alcohol or any other supplies. The premise is ridiculously simple: every guest has to go up to a new person and speak to them for 2 minutes before the bell rings, with no repeat visits.

Photo Scavenger Hunt

This is an especially useful game for longer get together, such as work conferences or retreat. The guests are all given a list of weird and interesting objects that they need to take photographs of and they are dispatched in groups to find them in a predetermined amount of time. Games of this nature are exceedingly easy to organize, since everyone and their mother owns a smartphone capable of taking crystal clear photographs.

Two Truths And A Lie

This one’s an oldie but goodie, making it especially useful for occasions where you are pressed for time. For those who have never played this game before, all you need to do is think of three statements about yourself, the stranger the better. One of these statements will be untrue and it is the group’s responsibility to figure out which one is the lie.

Looking for more great icebreaker games? Make sure to check out our top 50 best outdoor games list.

Most of the games and activities that we post in our blog are often of the same vein: outdoor games and activities. But we at Starlux Games are also interested in bringing you games that are just unique and fun in other ways, too. Here are a few of them.

Whiz Tag
This is basically the traditional game of Tag but it does have a very interesting twist here. Players are randomly assigned a number from 1 through 10. The number is their point value. They go ahead and tag one another. However, they need to keep track of who they tag so that they can then add up the total of points they earned. The player who gets the highest amount of points wins. Not only is it fun, but Whiz Tag can be quite interesting since it helps kids practice math while also being a cool experience!

Puppet Show
This game basically requires kids to create a show with puppets. It can be a fun experience and one that’s actually very enticing. The great thing about making a puppet show is that they are creative and will be equally fun for girls and boys. It’s a really interesting experience and you will certainly enjoy seeing your kids enjoy these fun activities.

Scarf Tying
This is a cool, simple game with a very simple twist. The idea here is that you need to use a single hand in order to tie the scarf around the neck of any player. It might sound easy, but it’s not. It’s a game that can be played by all boys and girls alike, not to mention that you don’t need a lot of space to play it either. It’s really fun for everyone.

As you can see, you can find lots of fun games for girls and boys. All of these are a pleasure to play and they can keep your kids busy for a very long time. Plus, there’s no denying that such games can eat up a lot of hours, so if kids are bored, give these a shot!

To shift an old adage: families that play together, stay together. The importance of family games in helping family members bond and share with each other is immense. What’s difficult to find, though, are games that eight, fifteen and 45 year-olds will all find fun to play together.

Here are some fun games to make those family game nights one to look forward to every time.

PICTIONARY

The point of this game is to try to draw something while other family members try to decipher what you are drawing. Interestingly, good artists sometimes get bogged down in detail and don’t make it far in their drawing when time expires, while poor artists are just funny to see what they come up with. Everyone is bound to get a good laugh deciphering if that is an airplane or a duck. Plenty of lists of what to draw can be found online for all ages.

CHARADES

Paying charades is basically watching one person act out a section of any movie, while the others try to guess which it is as well as who acted the part. Apart from being a really fun game that puts people’s memory to test, it also has the extra advantage of helping shy family members express themselves in a comfortable setting under as little pressure as possible. And it costs nothing at all – except maybe we consider the cost of pop corn and a few drinks.

CAPTURE THE FLAG REDUX

You know how Capture the Flag is played, of course – but here’s a fresh twist on a family-favorite game, Capture The Flag REDUX, which is an amazingly fun game for all ages to play together.

The beauty of our version of the game is that it comes with game variations that are sure to delight, even with their is a group of 30 or more. This is especially great news for parents who feel their children spend too much time couched in front of the TV every night.

Let the LED lights addition to Capture The Flag turn those slow nights into fast-paced, strategy laden moments. You will never go wrong.

Capture the Flag Redux Game Image

 

We all know that Capture the Flag REDUX is a great icebreaker for youth that don’t know each other, but they don’t actually learn details about each others’ life. So here are a few fun group games to help break the ice and lay the groundwork for youth to have more to talk about.

1. Mingle Mingle Mingle
Really simple, this game has the youth leader call out something that the youth would have a favorite of. For example, they call out “favorite band!” Then the youth all start saying the name of their favorite band. They have a minute (depending on the size of the group) to find other kids with the same favorite band and link arms with them, hunting for others. When time is up, the youth leader calls out another topic, like “favorite color!”

2. Penny for Your Thoughts
We really like this group activity that works for people of all ages. Setting up is simple, as you just need a bunch of coins, at least one for everyone. Each coin must be minted during the lifetime of the people participating and you hand them out. Then you go around the group and have them tell a story of something that happened to them the year their coin was made. That’s it.

3. Never Have I Ever
Another simple group icebreaker that teaches each other about everyone else. Everyone sits in a circle, holding up a hand. The first person starts a sentence with “Never have I ever…” and finishes it with something they have never done. Anyone in the group that has done it puts a finger down. Then the next person goes. When you have no fingers left, you’re out of the game. Obviously, you want to stay in the game, so the objective is to get others to put their fingers down. This is best done by stating things that you think lots of others have done but you haven’t.

If you are looking for more fun icebreaker games for groups, check out our exciting glow in the dark games.

Whether you are organizing a youth camp, a new scouting group, or organizing a team-building activity with colleagues, icebreakers for groups will loosen the party and immediately give them something in common to discuss. Here are four of our favorite icebreakers for small groups to get things started.

 

Elephant Rope
Good for groups of all ages
The only thing you will need is a long rope or string, the length being determined by the number of people participating. You should have about 3-4 feet for each person. Then make a loop by tying each end together. Now you’re ready. Next, have everyone stand in a circle, facing inward toward each other, and pick the rope up. Then have everyone close their eyes. Instruct them to create the outline of an elephant with the rope on the ground without opening their eyes. They can only discuss with each other how to do it. When they feel like they created it, they can open their eyes, step back, and see how well they did. As a moderator, you can debrief with them how well they did, how they could have improved their communication, and mention any other observations you made.

 

Fruit Salad
Good for young groups and ESL students
You need chairs for every participant minus one. Before everyone sits, divide the group into four groups and assign each of them a fruit (for example, oranges, bananas, apples and lemons). Then have them all sit in chairs arranged in a circle with one person standing in the middle. When the moderator calls one of the fruits by name, everyone that belongs to that group must find a new seat. In the meantime, the person in the middle tries to steal one of the vacated chairs. The person that doesn’t get a seat then stands in the middle. The moderator can call out fruits one after another, or they can call two at a time. Or they can call out “Fruit Salad” and everyone has to switch seats. This can be a surprisingly energetic and tiring game.

 

SPUD
Good for youth
You will need a ball for this. Players start out in a circle, and each person has a number. One person starts with the ball and throws it up in the air towards the center of the circle. While doing so, they yell a number. Whoever has that number must run to catch the ball. Everyone else runs away from the ball as soon as the starter yells the number. Once the person whose number was yelled catches the ball, they yell “Stop” and everyone must freeze. The person holding the ball gets four steps: “S”, “P”, “U”, “D” in any direction they want. Their goal is to hit someone, so it is best to take four steps towards the closest player. After taking the steps, they throw the ball. If they manage to hit someone, the circle reforms, and that person goes in the center, throws the ball up, and calls another number. If they do not hit someone, they have to throw the ball themselves.

 

Capture the Flag
Good for anyone
This is easily one of the best icebreakers for groups you could imagine. When people exercise together and work as a team, they naturally bond. They develop a sense of camaraderie during the fun. When it’s over, people who just met immediately have something in common and will more readily have something to talk to each other about. Click here to read our article on how to play Capture the Flag.

Capture the Flag Redux Game Image