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Outdoor Games for Teens

author image Shelley Frost
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience come from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.
Outdoor Games for Teens
Teenagers in an urban setting, one of whom is holding a basketball. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Many teens seem constantly connected to electronic devices. Getting teens outdoors to play helps cut the cord -- at least for a little while -- and encourages physical activity. Teens need at least an hour of physical activity per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A roster of teen-friendly outdoor games encourages your adolescent to frolic outdoors like she did as a child.

You're the Next Contestant

With numerous challenge-style game shows to draw from, you can create your own backyard competition for teen participants. Divide the teens into two teams for the competition. Create a set of challenges for the teams to complete. Being outdoors allows you to get messy with the challenges. For example, have the teens dig through a kiddie pool filled with mud to find as many coins as possible. Assign points to each task. A different type of challenge game is a scavenger hunt for teens. Let the participants work with partners or as groups to find all of the items on the list. Because the kids are older, you can send them to different parts of town instead of keeping the scavenger hunt at home.

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All Washed Up

A hot day calls for water play to cool off. Since your teen is well past his kiddie pool days, you'll need some advanced games to keep him busy. One idea is a variation of dodgeball. Instead of balls, use water-soaked sponges or water balloons. Another idea is a watery obstacle course with sprinklers, slip-and-slides and flying water balloons. If you have access to a pool, you can play additional water games. One option is a pool-based tag game. Everyone except the person who is "it" starts at one side of the pool. The players cross the pool, trying to avoid getting tagged. Players who reach the opposite side are safe. Anyone who is tagged also becomes a tagger. Continue until everyone is tagged.

Old Standbys

Many classic group and lawn games work well with teens. Add a new twist to keep them fresh and appealing to the age group. Use additional flags in Capture the Flag worth extra points. Instead of playing croquet on a flat grassy area, set up the wickets in challenging spots, such as near a tree's roots, by a creek or in a wooded area. A homemade miniature golf course is another outdoor game option. Use pool noodles as the sides of each hole. Add obstacles, such as pinwheels, sprinklers, rocks and patches of sand.

Team Huddle Time

A pickup game of basketball, soccer, flag football or another favorite sport is a simple option for teen outdoor play. Variations to those team sports can make the activity more interesting. Play volleyball with a beach ball or a foam ball you soaked in water for summer entertainment. If you only have four players, have each pair hold a beach towel. Instead of hitting the volleyball with their hands, the teens catch it and launch it back across the net with the towel. Instead of regular soccer, play crab soccer where players use the crab walk position to navigate the field. Play H-O-R-S-E or have a free-throw competition instead of a regular game of basketball.

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