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Interesting activities for bored teenagers


We have a group of young people (mainly female) with personal, social and behavioural challenges. They have short attention spans and are averse to talk and chalk. I would like activities that are both interesting and with a identified developmental element that may or may not lead to a measurable outcome. Any pointers or examples would be welcome.
howard marshall

5 Responses

  1. have you tried the voluntary sector?
    Scouts, guides, etc.. have been running developmental activities for years, with an emphasis on activity rather than training. The scout website ( has a lot of resources, although not always the easiest to find. It helps to know that Scouts are (broadly) aged 10 -15 and Venture Scouts or Explorer Scouts are 14 – 20. Scouts includes both boys and girls so don’t feel that all the activties are masculine, and there are a lot that don’t involve camping, firelighting and the great outdoors.
    An example of an activity I have run in the past to teach young participants the components of something (doesn’t matter what) was to put each component on a sticky label as well as some red herrings, stick each on a sock, string up a washing line and add some clothese pegs. Give participants ten minutes to come up with what they think the correct answer is (lots of opportunities for planning, teamwork, communication) then run a debrief on what the actual answer is. You can give them the opportunity to sort them into cathories on the line before giving a final answer.

  2. Careers and Chocolate
    This sounds like a challenge! I don’t know if it is of any use to you but we had a group of young girls in the office for the day last year. We did a number ofthings such as explain what a share in a Company was by playing a game using chocolate squares and minibars – very funny and they loved it.

    We also gave them a sheet with each letter of the alphabet and they had to work in pairs to come up with as many different careers as possible…the results were great and we had some strange ones – Egyptologist, Giraffe Keeper to name but a few – it ot the girls thinking about what they really wanted to do and then focused them on what they would need to do to get there.

    I hope this helps.



  3. Improv’ and drama
    Hi! How about checking out some of the improv’ or drama exercies on the web? I’ve used such exercises with people of all ages (and abilities) on both soft and hard skills courses. Try and

    Also, consider something creative with clay, paint, fabric paper etc (I’ve had great results with clay and poster making with very conflicted, non talkative groups of people). There’s also potential for using music, voice (sounds, not words), movement, etc. Or how about taking the event outside – you needn’t make it an ‘activity’ as such, sometimes conventional exercises can be enriched just by holding them in the outdoors. You don’t say what kinds of skills you’re hoping to build … I might be able to suggest specific exercises if you clarify that. Drop me a line if you want further help.

  4. coaching for teenagers
    I have been coaching teenagers and their parents for the last three years. If I can help, please email me and I we can set up a call. I have a range of ideas that can work.

  5. Suggestion
    I haven’t used this activity with bored teenagers, let alone any with personal, social and behavioural challenges, therefore I don’t know whether it is suitable, but here goes …..

    Materials required: a variety of magazines suitable for teenagers; flip chart paper; glue sticks; Blu-Tack; scissors.

    1. Explain that this activity will help them to think about what they could be doing in a year’s time (or other time-scale if more appropriate) and how they can change their own lives.
    2. Allocate 2 sheets of flip chart paper, several magazines, a glue stick and pair of scissors to each group.
    3. Ask them to cut out images from the magazines that they think represent where they are now, and to stick these images on one of the flip charts. Then do the same for images that they think represent where they want to be in a year’s (or other time-scale) time, and to stick these images on the other flip chart.
    4. Fix each pair of flip charts on the wall and ask each group in turn to give feedback on their two charts.
    5. After taking feedback, ask them to return to their groups and identify what changes they need to make in their life to be where they want to be in x months or years time.
    6. Finally, ask each group to feedback their goal-reaching changes.

    This ‘Picture This’ activity has the scope to be extended to include, for example, barriers to change and sources of help to overcome barriers etcetera.

    I have just realised that the original post was 05-Mar-03!


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