25 Group Games for Teens

Group games are a great way to turn your meeting with teens from crickets to crazy fun! Whether you like games for the whole group or played in rounds to determine a final winner, there is something for every situation. We’ve even included last-minute, no-materials-needed ideas! Try some of these fun games to get your next teen group gathering up and energized. 

  1. The Cups and Downs of Life

Materials Needed: Plastic cups
Set Up: Divide your group into two teams (or more if using multiple colors of cups). Start with twenty (or more) plastic cups turned on their sides.
Play: At the start of the game, one team tries to turn all the cups upside down while the other team simultaneously tries to turn them right-side up. When the time ends, whichever team has the most cups going their direction wins. For a large group, you can have four teams and two colors of plastic cups.

  1. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Materials Needed: Clipboards, pens, paper, poster board
Set Up: Divide into groups of 10 or so, give each team a clipboard, pen and paper. Put five categories on a poster board (ex. Farm Animal, Fruit, City, Famous Band) and then the leader announces a letter of the alphabet.
Play: Teams then try to work as fast as possible to come up with a noun that starts with the letter for each of the five categories. Once they have their list complete, someone on the team runs to the leader yelling “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!” Teams get a point (or five) when they come up with a list for the letter and play continues until a certain point threshold is reached.

  1. Worm Relay

Materials Needed: Sleeping bags
Set Up: For this game, you will need several donated sleeping bags that won’t be missed if they get torn. Break your group into relay teams and have them split between two ends of the playing area.
Play: When the game starts, one player gets in the sleeping bag headfirst, then gets on the floor and “inches” their way down the playing field towards their teammates on the other side. Keep your playing field narrow because part of the hilarity is watching the worms crawl over and around each other to get to the other side. Players have to start over if they let their sleeping bag get up over their waist and start to crawl - they must move worm-style! Once they reach the other side, the next team member puts on the sleeping bag and races towards the other end until all members of the team have had a turn.

  1. Banana Pass

Materials Needed: Bananas
Set Up: Divide the group into two teams. Players lie down on the grass, head to toe in a straight line with toes about a foot from the teammate’s head. The person at the start of the line puts their feet up in the air and a leader places a banana between their feet.
Play: Then the team must pass the banana with their feet by putting their feet over their head to the next person’s feet. The last person to get the banana has to eat it and run back to the starting line. Tip: make sure the last person likes bananas and/or has a strong stomach for squishy things!

  1. Noodle Nugget Battle

Materials Needed: Pool noodles
Set Up: Slice a pool noodle into 2-inch “pucks.” Then cut a separate bunch of pool noodles in half to make “swords” for each person in the group.
Play: Each person holds their sword in one hand and turns the other hand palm-side down and places one puck on the top of their hand. The goal is to slap the pucks off everyone else’s hand with your sword until everyone’s puck is off. You can play a few rounds (like groups of four at a time, male vs female, etc.) for extended play.

  1. Backward Names

Materials Needed: None
Set Up: Have your group get in a circle.
Play: When the leader says go, students must go around the circle saying their full name as fast as they can - the catch is they have to say it backward (last, middle, first). If anyone pauses or hesitates, they have to sit down. Keep subsequent rounds going by using the name of someone in your family, another group member’s name, or a famous two-name artist or athlete.  

  1. Grog

Materials Needed: Flashlight
Set Up: For this group game, you will need one or more flashlights, taken apart, the parts spread out around your playing area.
Play: This is a version of freeze tag where the person who is it (the Grog) runs around tagging people and freezing them, while the rest of the players try to assemble the flashlight in order to shine it on the Grog and defeat the Grog! Depending on how many players you have, you can have multiple Grogs (and multiple flashlights). Players can untag each other and work together. If everyone is tagged before the flashlight gets assembled, the Grog wins.

  1. Birdie on a Perch

Materials Needed: None
Set Up: Have your group divide into partners (an A and B) then have A’s form one circle and B’s form another (either one inside the other or next to each other if you have space).
Play: Start the music and when it stops, the leader yells “Birdie on the Perch!” and partners need to find each other and one partner takes a knee and the other sits on it. The last ones to pair up are out and the game continues until one pair is left.

  1. Seated Basketball

Materials Needed: Beach ball, laundry baskets
Set Up: Everyone will need a folding chair or you can play on your knees in a large open space. Make rows of equal people but separate out two people to be the “goalkeepers” who will defend the goal. Place laundry baskets on a table (or have a brave volunteer hold them high enough to be thrown into) at each end of the room. Have every other person turn around and face the opposite direction in their chair or on their knees. The people facing one direction are on a team, and those facing the other are on a team (a sort of human foosball table).
Play: Players must remain seated (or kneeling) and face the direction of their basket, working as a team to get a beach ball into their basket. You can play for 5-minute “quarters” or till a team gets to a certain number of points. Assign a “referee” to whistle in case players are blatantly out of their seats or get off their knees to try to score. Keep it interesting by adding in more beach balls and by allowing teams to move their chairs/positions between quarters but stay facing their designated direction.

  1. Wagon Wheel Relay

Materials Needed: None
Set Up: Divide your group into four teams and each team forms a line with one end of each line coming together in the middle to create a plus sign with the four teams. The leader stands at the intersection of the four teams.
Play: Students on each team are given a number and the leader will call out a number. That numbered person from each team leaves the line, runs one lap around the entire group, then crawls through the legs of their teammates to reach the leader. The first one to touch the leader’s foot gets a point for their team. The game ends when one of the teams reaches a predetermined point total. 

  1. Bendy Ball

Materials Needed: Medium-sized ball
Set Up: Have the group stand in a circle with legs in a wide “V” stance, feet touching the person next to them so the circle is tight.
Play: Throw a medium-sized ball into the middle and players try to hit the ball through other players’ legs, scoring a “goal” when they do. The person who has a ball go through their legs has to put one hand behind their back. If they get two goals scored through their legs, then they have to step out of the circle. The rest of the group tightens the circle until the act of bending over would mean bumping heads - the game can stop and the final few players are crowned Bendy Ball champs!

  1. Find My Bestie

Materials Needed: None
Set Up: The leader says they are looking for a new bestie and it’s someone in the group! Have everyone stand up.
Play: The leader starts listing things and group members sit down if they don’t agree or haven’t done it. The leader should write these “qualities” beforehand and keep adding, for example, “My new bestie loves the snow.” Then, “My new bestie loves snow and has read all the Harry Potter books more than once.” Make the statements go from general to more specific. The leader might even before the game starts, have one person in mind, and end with something like “My bestie just moved here one week ago” - a great way for the group to see who is new or meet someone who has a fun and unique story!

  1. Salad Bowl

Materials Needed: Paper, pens, bowl
Set Up: The short synopsis is two teams describe the same set of words three times: First by giving verbal clues, round two is charades, round three is one-word clue only. First everyone writes down a single word on paper, folds it and puts it in a large bowl: these can be things all the same color, cities to visit or favorite foods (you will have some repeats). Split into two teams.
Play: A player from team A is given one minute on the timer to describe the words they find in the salad bowl with verbal clues only (can’t say the actual word). If team members guess correctly, move on to another word in the bowl. One point per word guessed correctly. At the end of the minute, the player from team A holds on to correct answers and hands the bowl to team B. Team B is given a chance to do the same with the one-minute time limit. Play goes back and forth until all the words are gone from the salad bowl. Add up total team points and put all the word papers back in the salad bowl. Round two starts, but this time each player must only use charades to get correct guesses from their team within the one-minute time limit. Count up how many papers/correct guesses each team has, put papers back in the bowl and start round three which is a one-word clue only. The team with the most points after all three rounds wins!  

  1. Pass the Motion

Materials Needed: None
Set Up: Have your group get in a circle but facing to the outside of the circle (so there is not a clear view of others in the circle).
Play: Have one person start by giving a sign/motion to their neighbor (keep it appropriate, please!) and then everyone “passes” it around the outside of the circle (make sure others don’t cheat by turning around to watch what’s happening). The last person shows the sign/motion to see if it was right. Another variation is a speed round where you give the group a set number of seconds to pass around the sign/motion before the time runs out

  1. Baby in the Air

Materials Needed: Water balloons
Set Up: You may want to play this one outside as it involves water balloons and the breaking of said water balloons! Fill at least 10 balloons with water. The group stands in a circle and every person is given a number.
Play: One person is selected to be in the center and calls out “Baby in the Air, I call number ___” and throws the water balloon up at the same time. The person whose number has been called has to run to catch the “baby” before it hits the ground and breaks (if it doesn’t break, you can still allow them in the game if you wish). If the balloon hits the ground and breaks, they are out. If the person in the middle deliberately does not throw it high enough to give time for a person to catch it, they are out. Play continues with the next water balloon until the final two people are left to save the baby!

  1. Ringmaster vs. Mastermind

Materials Needed: None
Set Up: Have your group form a circle, either standing or sitting in chairs. 
Play: Have one person go out of the room (the ringmaster) and the leader selects someone (the mastermind) who will instigate a series of actions (patting knees, patting head, turning around in place) for the rest of the circle to mimic. Have the mastermind start the first action and bring the ringmaster back in and put them in the center of the circle. The ringmaster tries to spot the mastermind and gets three guesses to figure out who is instigating the action. When they guess, they must point and call out in a hero-like voice, “YOU are the mastermind!” Play continues with new people chosen as the mastermind and the ringmaster. A great game where no materials are needed and you can pick the same mastermind several times to crown the most sinister mastermind of all! Bwah-ha-ha! 

  1. Crazy Hockey

Materials Needed: Pool noodles, beach ball
Set Up: You will need a beach ball, three pool noodles and an open space. Divide into two teams and stand in two lines facing each other, each person is assigned a number (so both teams have a one, two, three and so on). Assign each end of the playing area as the goal area for one of the teams.
Play: The leader will call out three numbers and those three numbers from each team run out, grab a pool noodle and try to hit the beach ball into their goal. After 30 seconds or so of play, the next three numbers are called and players keep switching until time is up or all players have played.

  1. Shoulders, Knees, CUP!

Materials Needed: Plastic cups
Set Up: Everyone in the group pairs up (or you could have a group of three as well).
Play: Students face their opponent with a cup in the middle on the floor and the leader shouts out commands. Players have to obey commands such as, “Head, Toes, Elbows, Ears, Hair” and then “CUP!” The first person to grab the cup wins (and their opponent is out) and finds a new partner until there are two left. Last one with the cup wins!

  1. Foot, Cockroach, Nuclear Bomb

Materials Needed: None
Set Up: A fun twist on rock, scissors, paper! Foot beats cockroach, cockroach beats nuclear bomb (ew, but it’s probably true), and nuclear bomb beats foot.
Play: Have groups of two come to the front and play in elimination rounds but when you are eliminated, you must cheer for the person who defeated you.

  1. Questions Only

Materials Needed: none
Set Up: Have two members of the group go to the center of the circle.
Play: When the leader says “go”, pairs take turns saying a statement, but the catch is that they can ONLY say a question. The partner doesn’t answer the question, but then asks another question. The first person to stall with no question, to accidentally answer the question, or to accidentally repeat a question is out. Play continues until you are down to the final two people in your group.

  1. One-Two-Three-Four-Let’s-Have-A Sock-War!

Materials Needed: Socks
Set Up: Grab enough pairs of longer socks (calf-length) at a dollar store for about half your group (or for everyone if a smaller number). In your activity area, create a 12’ square with painter’s tape on the floor.
Play: The object of the game is to be the last person with their socks on. Four to six players in the square at a time works well and players must stay on their hands and knees, no kicking allowed. Players are not allowed to hold onto their socks or pull up partially removed socks. Play in rounds until a sock champ is declared. Let the kids keep the socks as a bonus prize (if they are still in one piece; the socks, that is!)

  1. Finish the Lyric

Materials Needed: Dry erase boards or thick paper, markers
Set Up: Have two to four people from your group upfront and give them a small dry erase board or piece of cardstock and a marker.
Play: They are given the first few words of a song or phrase that most of the group will know and asked to finish by writing the word or words on their paper. When the host says “Show your guess”, the contestants flip over their guess as to how the lyric or phrase is finished. For example, from the Star Spangled Banner: “Complete this lyric: ‘Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the ___ fight’.” Try to pick obscure parts of songs so it’s not too easy. If your group is a sports team for a school, use parts of the school’s fight song. If it’s a church group, use a popular worship song. If a theater group, use lines from the last play your group performed. Or for a holiday, give lines from popular holiday-related songs.

  1. Crowd Charades

Materials Needed: None
Set Up: Divide the group into two teams and have teams send their best “guesser” to the front. Before gathering, the leader/host should write up a set of words to be acted out by the teams on a large pad of paper.
Play: The guesser turns toward their team and the host holds up the word, and the entire team then acts out the word. Teams get a point if their guesser is the first to guess correctly. A new guesser then comes up and play continues until a point value is reached or you run out of words! You can use words that are related to your group’s purpose or theme-related.

  1. Impossible Shot

Materials Needed: Hula-Hoop, foam projectiles
Set Up: If you do a web search, you will even find a “hype” video to use when you introduce the game. If you do this for a one-time event, you could play in rounds and anyone who hits the “impossible shot” gets a prize. Or if your group meets weekly, you can use it over and over or play in elimination rounds with two people playing each other. 
Play: For the first three shots, the leader holds a Hula-Hoop on stage, across a room or outside, while the student or students try to make the shot with three different projectiles like a foam bow and arrow set, foam football, and frisbee. The final “impossible shot” involves a Hula-Hoop hung in the far corner of the room. You can only imagine how crazy teens go when someone actually makes the final shot!

  1. Donuts on a String

Materials Needed: Glazed donuts, string, long rope
Set Up: Tie donuts to a string and then tie all the donuts to a pole or strong rope running the length of the playing area (or have volunteers hold the ends).
Play: Contestants should kneel with hands behind their back and attempt to be the first one to eat the donut off the string. You will have to decide if it falls to the floor, if eating it off the floor still counts (ew, but also funny)! You can play this in rounds to determine who has donut dominance in your group.

A good group game is like sneaking delicious veggies into the mac and cheese, not only will the games enhance the enjoyment of the meeting, but you sneak in a great team-building opportunity for your teens as well! 

Julie David is a freelance writer, educator, and worship pastor's wife from the Midwest who likes warm hugs.