- Teenager (noun): a person aged between 13 and 19 years.
- Understanding teenagers (noun phrase): one of the toughest things you might ever have to do. 🤭
But everything is possible… especially when you add the secret ingredient: fun. Understanding teens might be difficult. Making them integrate and interact in different social groups might be even more difficult. However, someone thought of inventing some great games to make this process a lot easier, and that’s how icebreakers for teens came to light.
We’ve made a selection for you. All you need to know about every game is in this list: the supplies that are required, the number of players, the setting (whether it’s appropriate for indoors or outdoors), the purpose, and the rules of the games. Give them a try and let us know how it all went!
Fun icebreakers for teens
1. Would you rather…?
Split the room into 2. Make clear which side of the room corresponds to which answer. Ask players ‘Would you rather’ questions and let them race from side to side. If you’re running out of ideas, we’ve got you! Check out the ‘Would you rather’ section from our 150 fun icebreaker questions article!
2. Steal the treasure
This one’s also about running. Split the players into 2 teams and ask them to come up with a treasure they must protect. Once you say ‘Go!’, players should race against the clock to get the other team’s treasure, while also protecting their own.
3. Crazy balloons
Write questions on balloons and let them fly around the room. When a player catches one of them, he/she must answer the question that’s written on the balloon.
4. Balloon war
Since we’re talking about balloons, here’s another group game that works great as an icebreaker for teens. Players must attach a balloon to their ankles with a string. When the game is on, everyone must try and smash everyone else’s balloons while protecting their own. This one is going to spark lots of laughter!
5. The best meme
If your teens are over the getting-to-know-you part, you can suggest playing ‘The best meme’. This is one of the funniest icebreakers out there because it involves creativity and inside jokes. Ask players to bring funny pictures of each other, and let them add their own funny captions to make the best memes. Whoever has the players falling about their place wins the game.
6. Fact or fiction?
Ask players to write down on a piece of paper 1 lie and 2 truths about themselves, and let the group figure out which ones are facts and which one is fiction.
7. Sit down if…
This one is similar to the ‘Never have I ever’ game, only that it requires all players to be in the same room, while ‘Never have I ever’ can also be a virtual icebreaker for teens. Ask them to stand, then begin asking questions. Players must sit if their answer is ‘Yes’. The one remaining the last person standing wins the game. If you want to make things last a little longer, occasionally, you can throw in a “Stand up if…”. This way, you’ll see who is paying attention and who isn’t.
8. The toilet paper
For this fun icebreaker for teens, you will be needing lots of toilet paper. Pass it around and ask every player to tear off as much as they like. Only after that will they find out that they must share a personal fact with the rest of the group, for every square taken.
9. Luke, I am your father
Tell players the following catchphrase: ‘Luke, I am your father’. Turn a teenager into ‘Luke’ by blindfolding him. Now ask the others to tell him the catchphrase. ‘Luke’ has to try and guess who they are.
10. Three in our crowd
This game is a proper icebreaker for teens because it makes them share personal stuff. Split the players into groups of three. Ask them to find three things in common. Afterward, everyone must present them to the larger group.
11. The longest line
Have the players separated into two lines. By using any supplies available, they must create the longest touching line. They might look for any resources: pieces of clothing, toys, phone chargers, etc.
12. Russian roulette balloon pop
Fun and messy! For the ‘Russian roulette balloon pop’, you will need to prepare a few balloons in advance- some should be blown up normally, while some should be filled with cream. In rounds, everyone has to pick a balloon to pop overhead. The unlucky ones who get creamed are out of the game.
13. Amoeba race
Create a stronger bond between teens by… literally tying them up. Start by splitting them into 2 teams. Use some rope to loop together each team, then ask them to complete obstacle challenges. Whichever team manages to complete more challenges is crowned the winner.
14. The shoe exchange icebreaker
Ask the players to leave one of their shoes by the door. Start the game by redistributing the shoes so that everyone has one which doesn’t belong to them. Set a timer for five minutes and ask the players to go find the shoe owner, introduce themselves, and have a two-minute chat. The trick about ‘Shoe exchange icebreaker’ is that you can come up with an announced starter, such as: ‘If you had your human body, but the head of an animal, what animal would you pick?’
15. ‘Find-someone-who” human bingo
This is similar to planning a scavenger hunt, so it requires some prepping in advance. Make sure you have pens and Bingo sheets for all the teens. Then, pass out the cards and explain that participants need to talk with each other and find someone who meets the criteria listed in each box within a set time frame.
Once you start the timer, players have to go around seeking signatures from the others in relevant boxes. If you want to encourage them to break the ice with as many people as possible, add the following rule: only one person can sign each Bingo space. The first teen to get all the signatures wins the game. You can play until someone gets a full ‘bingo’ or aim for a ‘blackout’ game.
16. Don’t break the frown
Separate the teens into two groups and ask them to stand back-to-back. Count to 3. Now, everyone must turn around, face their peers and stare into their eyes. They must try to hold a frown without saying anything to their other player. The purpose of the game is to stay frowning for as long as possible. Hence, the ones who break a laugh or smile are out of the game.
What makes this activity a fun icebreaker for teens comes only in the end. The two finalists – the ones who are best at keeping their straight faces – end up in a “standoff” where the players that are out trying to bully them into laughing and breaking their frowns.
17. Human knot
This is one of the fun icebreakers for teens that involves teamwork and communication. Ask all the players to sit in a big circle. Have them cross their right hand over to grab the right hand of the player that’s next to them. Then, to cross their left hand over their body to hold the left hand of their other partner. Once everyone is tangled in this human knot, ask them to find a way to untangle themselves. Rule: No one is allowed to unclasp or re-clasp their hands. Instead, they must maneuver their way out of the ‘knot’ until everyone is standing in the circle holding hands with the person next to them.
18. Popcorn catch
For this game, you will need popped bags of popcorn. Ask players to pair up and face each other a couple of steps apart. If they don’t know each other that well, you can also pair them up. Hand out a bag of popcorn to each pair. One pair member must start throwing popcorn, while the other one has to catch it in their mouth. The pair who can catch the most popcorn from the farthest distance wins a gift card to the movie theater.
Virtual icebreakers for teens
1. Never have I ever…
This is one of the most popular choices for icebreakers for teens. That is because you can play it on Facetime, as a team building game, or camping activity. All players must hold up all 10 fingers. Start reading ‘Never have I ever’ statements. As questions are read, players must drop a finger for each thing they have “never”. The last player with one finger raised wins.
2. Do not laugh!
Ask all your players to say ‘Ha, ha, ha!’ without smiling or bursting into laughter. If your teens are in ‘fun mode’, this game might be tougher than you think!
3. Destination charades
This is a fun virtual icebreaker for teens that can also be played face to face. ‘Destination charades’ is about acting out places and vacations where players have been. This way, teens can discover if they have something in common, so feel free to suggest it as a great ‘getting to know each other’ activity.
PS. If your teens enjoy acting out, the ‘Fishbowl’ game might be a great option for your next get-together!
4. Seven-word biographies
You could ask them to present themselves, you could ask them to say X things they like, or you could ask them to share something personal. Sure, all of these would work if you’re looking to break the ice among some teens who have just met.
However, don’t you think this would be a lot more fun if you asked them to present themselves through a seven-word biography? Easy, catchy, and useful!
This one’s a classic. Split the players into two teams. Teens must draw pictures to get their team to guess as many clues as possible.
Quick icebreakers for teens
1. Time bomb
For this one, you’ll be needing some beach balls. Players must throw them to other players, but first, they must call out a name. The other player has to catch the ball, call out a different name, and throw the ball – all in under 2 seconds. Whoever isn’t quick enough is out!
2. Do you remember me?
Have people mingle in the room, then use a bed sheet to separate them into 2 teams. Opponents must face each other on either side. When you decide, drop the sheet! The player who calls out the opponent’s name first wins.
3. The cold never bothered me anyway
This is a very quick one! Make sure you have T-shirts for every player… frozen T-shirts! Whoever can thaw it and get it on first wins!
4. Introduce your pet
If you’re a teacher, this virtual icebreaker for teens can be a great way for you to begin your class. Ask the players to show off their pet in their video camera or share a photo on the group chat. If they don’t have an animal, they can share their dream pet and what they would name it.
5. Quick line-up
This one could also be a great ‘Minute to win it’ game for teens since it all happens so fast. Split the players into two groups. Once you start the timer, they must line up in a particular order: alphabetical order (based on their names), oldest to youngest, or tallest to shortest.
6. Deserted island
Everyone should be seated in a circle. Start by telling them the following idea: `Imagine that you were to be banished to a deserted island for a year, and all essentials provided, but you also get to choose one song, book, and a luxury item to bring along. What would you choose?’. Players have 5 seconds to answer this question. You can make it last longer by asking them to explain their choice.
7. Rose, thorn, and spaghetti
Find out the teens’ highlights of the day, week, or month, by playing ‘Rose, thorn, and spaghetti’. Each and every one of the players has to share:
- The best thing that’s happened to them – The rose
- Something they wish didn’t happen – The thorn
- Something unexpected and really funny that happened – The spaghetti
8. Bubblegum challenge
This is one of the quick icebreakers for teens that requires some supplies. Make sure you have lots of chewing gum. All the players should get an even number of gum pieces. Start the timer! The player who can blow the biggest bubble in 10 seconds wins the contest.
9. Spontaneous virtual ‘Show and tell’
You don’t necessarily have to be a teen for this one. It can be a great activity for your coffee break as well when you’re with your colleagues on Zoom. To play this game, people are asked to grab one random item that is closest to them for a spontaneous show and tell. Then, they must share where they got the item if it has any significance, and they can even share a funny story about it.
3 Tips for organizing fun icebreakers for teens
- Be flexible and creative
If you have to organize fun activities for teens on a daily basis, things might get a little boring after the first few drills. But that’s completely normal, chill. 😁 Unleash your creativity! You can come up with new ideas, as crazy and engaging as possible, but you can also vary the rules of the games you’re currently playing, to make the routine feel a lot new.
- Know your team
To organize fun icebreakers for teens, you should first know your people. Find out what arouses their interest and curiosity, and customize the games. Teens don’t have time for simple, basic activities, so make sure to live up to the hype. Move from simple to intense. It’s ok to start simple, but make it more intense and complex with time.
- Use appropriate materials and equipment
If you go for games that need specific supplies, make sure to prepare everything in advance. However, there are plenty of quick icebreakers for teens that don’t require any materials or equipment to get things started. Choose your games according to the setting and time you have available.
3 perks of icebreakers for teens
- Preventing relationship barriers
Teens have different interests and issues they might like to share with others. Icebreakers are a great opportunity for meeting new people their age and creating meaningful bonds.
- Organizing the classroom
This is a helpful tool for teachers. When the room couldn’t get any noisier and students are all over the place, icebreakers are perfect for getting their attention, bringing them together, and organizing the entire classroom.
- Enhancing communication
During icebreaker games, teens find it easier to communicate. That’s because most of them are not great at opening up when they are in a new environment. Fun icebreakers for teens can tear down the wall and make them feel comfortable when communicating.
In a nutshell, icebreakers for teens are a great way to encourage communication, ease the process of getting to know each other, enhance social interaction, and eventually create significant bonds. All of these, while having lots of fun! If you’re looking for inspiration for your next gatherings with teens, check out other blog posts available on eTeamBuilding:
- The ‘Cake walk’ game (*Spoiler alert: the players are in for a sweet prize)
- The ‘Password’ game
- The ‘Green glass door’ game
- The ‘Fruit salad’ card game
- ‘Four on a couch’