Are you trying to help a group of teens work well together and become more unified?

Do the teens in your youth group seem like they’d rather be on Instagram (or doing nothing at all) than talking to each other? If you’re struggling to find strategies to help your youth group bond and start talking with each other, we’ve got some ideas.

Here are three great games to jumpstart conversations between teens:

1. Nail Balancing Act

The nail balance game is a great conversation starter that highlights the importance of every member’s role in forming a team’s balance.

Tom Heck at teachmeteamwork.com, provides some simple instructions for this game:Nail Balancing Act

  • Setup Time: About 60 seconds.
  • Group size: Anywhere from 1 to 5 people per group. Smaller groups (2 or 3 people each) are recommended.
  • What you’ll need:
    • One small wood plank (approx 4″x4″) per team. The plank should have a nail protruding from the center (make sure that the “head” of the nail is protruding, and not the spiky side!).
    • 13 more nails for each team.

The goal of this game is straightforward- balance all of the supplied nails on the head of the nail stuck in the plank. There’s only one solution (see above), but there are a ton of different ways to arrive there!

There are a few rules that groups will need to follow for this game:

  1. Only the supplied equipment can be used (no tape, string, glue, etc. allowed.)
  2. The supplied materials may not be altered.
  3. The nail hammered into the wood must lay on a flat surface and the nail must be pointing upward (see picture above.)
  4. The 13 nails may only touch the nail that is hammered into the wood and nothing else.

The takeaway from this game is that even when a task seems impossible, a team that leans on each other and stays connected can accomplish the impossible.

2. Hanging By A Thread

Here’s a fantastic and cheap group activity that will get folks talking with each other and feeling productive.

You’ll need some twine (you can use different colors for some flair) and a few simple, easily made tools. Check out the video demonstration below by Sam Sikes for more in-depth details.

3. Name Bop

This is another very simple game that will get group members interacting with each other face-to-face. This game is particularly great for new groups that might not know each other very well. 

To play this game, have the group sit in a circle with feet towards the center. Spread out so that the person in the middle has room to move around. The person in the middle has a foam noodle. Start the game by going around the circle so that everyone can say their name. When it gets back to the first person they can say anyone’s name they want. The person with the noodle then tries to “bop” that person’s foot whose name got called. If the person that got called can say another name quickly before getting hit, then the noodle person has to try and “bop” the new person’s foot. This keeps going until someone gets “bopped” before they can say a name, at which point they are now in the middle.

Extra challenge — if a person flinches their feet, even a little, they are automatically in the middle

Check out this video demonstration.

If you’re looking for fun, affordable ways to build team cohesiveness and jumpstart conversations within your youth group, try out some of the games in this post or check out some of our other blog entries for even more great games!