Some of the best recreational games for teens are not new. Instead they are combinations or variations on old favorites. These can be great ways to get teens off the couch and encourage them to get some exercise, take a break from video games and texting, and interact with actual humans.
Frisbee Croquet is one of those recreational games for teens that solves the drawbacks of two activities: Frisbee golf and croquet. Croquet has definitely seen its glory days, but most teens today consider it old fashioned. Because so many of the croquet sets in circulation have been sitting in garages for years, even decades, most croquet sets are missing parts. Frisbee golf, on the other hand, is still plenty hot. The problem is it's hard to find a spot to play it, since on weekends, Frisbee golf courses are taken over by very accomplished players and leagues.
To play Frisbee croquet, set up the croquet equipment like you would for a regular game. If you are missing some of the brackets, don't worry. You can use as many or as few brackets as you want. Instead of using the mallet to propel the croquet ball through the brackets, players simply throw their Frisbees towards the brackets. Like golf, players take turns throwing their Frisbees, and a throw has to result in actual contact with the bracket before a player goes on to the next bracket. The first person to hit the last bracket wins that game. If you want to play longer, consider each trip around the brackets a round and decide beforehand how many rounds you will complete.
You can play this game with the same rules as basketball, but instead of using a regulation basketball, you use one those very small, very bouncy balls that you can buy from a gumball machine in the supermarket. If you want to make the game a little less challenging, substitute a bounce and catch for dribbling or omit the dribbling completely. If you take away the dribbling requirement, you can make a rule that players with the ball can only take two steps in any direction. This keeps one player from holding onto the ball the entire time, since they can't get close to the basket without teamwork.
You'll want to play this game half court because full court will result in a lot of chaos with very long passes which are likely to go awry. Never start a game without a few other balls available, since these are very easy to lose. If the teens get bored, you can even add a second ball into the game. The only rule you need to add is that if one ball goes out of play, the other ball is considered out of play as well and is introduced back into play in the same way, using the players who touched the ball last.
For real fun, videotape the game from about 20 yards away. The video camera won't catch the ball, and it will look like the players are playing without one.
Water Balloon Baseball
Whether or not you want them to, teenagers will play with water balloons. It can be a form of self defense to actually get them involved in an organized activity, rather than horseplay that ends up with a random balloon fight in the house.
Teens can play water balloon baseball with the same rules as regular baseball except for the following:
- The game doesn't use a pitcher. Instead, the batter starts by throwing the balloon.
- Anytime a balloon breaks, the last person to touch it has to run to where more water balloons are kept (in a bucket where the pitcher's mound would be), grab another balloon, and continue play.
- To avoid injuries, balloons should never be thrown at the head of another player. If a thrown water balloon hits the head of a player, this results in the thrower's team being given one out or stripped of one out, depending on whether they are fielding or hitting at the time.
For safety's sake, is important to fill the balloons quite full. It might seem counterintuitive, but a larger balloon will break more easily. If a teen throws the balloon with great force, it will break instead of bouncing off and leaving a bruise or worse.
The Rewards of Trying Something New
Recreational games for teens are a great way to encourage them to experience the benefits of physical activity without the hard core competition of varsity or league sports. Most teens also find that it's fun to try something out of their comfort zone.