If there is a question parents often ask me, it is how do I plan outdoor games for teenagers? Younger children easily slip into organised games and they enjoy playing thoroughly. What do you do when you have children or even adults who want to be more independent of instruction in connecting to nature?
I recently attended the 2016 International Children and Nature Conference and someone I met there has just the right answer for you. Meet Tania Moloney from Nurture in Nature. She reconnects families back to nature and she has a wonderful tool to share.
I’ve used it twice now and it works brilliantly! If you are looking for outdoor games for teenagers, either actual ones or inner teenagers (all those not-so-quiet rebels within each one of us) , go no further.
It is super simple. Outdoor games for teenagers
A group of almost any size
Wooden pegs/ice cream sticks and double sided tape/a suitable replacement.
Some adventurous spirit.
- Throw in little pinches of imagination, adventure, sense-stimulating fun as suggestions of things to do in nature from you (write them down on wooden pegs/ice cream sticks) to get the party started
- Give your group a taste test of adventure by suggesting we try these things that you are absolutely curious about experiencing.
- Toss in empty pegs/sticks and coloured markers.
- Invite all present chefs to add to the dish.
What I love about this is how the whole session becomes hands-on. No matter how non-participatory anyone is, it is hard to resist picking up the bucket to check it out. In fact, we had two little children who walked into the session just to see what it was! Their parents had brought them to the park and they were just running around. Drawn to the bucket, they left behind their plastic toys and climbed trees, tried to sneak up on butterflies, tried running faster than the birds, and even rolled in mud!
Your group is reflected on the bucket!
As a facilitator, it is important to me that my group learns from and connects with each other. What better way of doing that than inviting them to be part of making the activity? This is why it struck me how useful a Nature Bucket List is in designing outdoor games for teenagers. Teenagers are at a stage when they want to feel that their opinion matters. I meet many adults who still carry around a rebellious teenager inside them.
One of the groups I did a Bucket list with spanned three generations (The other was a guest lecture for an undergrad course). Now, imagine what happens when a grandmother, and a little child both contribute to a group’s list of things they want to do. Perhaps one will be inspired to climb a tree, perhaps the other will be struck with curiosity about the smell of flowers.
One last point. Outdoor games for teenagers
Try this now. Grab a pen and some paper, and start your own bucket list. It need not be groundbreaking dreams, you also have no limit to how many things you can write down. I bet you there is going to be at least two whole pages filled within no time. Give yourself a few more days and a few more brains to think with and a book will emerge.
One tries hard with every group to break down barriers to connection, to ask them to give in to temptations to be outdoors. I’ve sometimes needed a whole 20 minutes if not more to do that with a group, to get them truly feeling like children. Both these groups needed all of two minutes before the adventures began.
Thank you, Tania, for sharing something so simple and yet so powerful with the world. (Tania also has a lot more different ways you can use the nature bucket list.) For now, take a look at this next picture, there are ideas the undergrads came up with. Doesn’t it make you want to get up and try? If you do, let us know how it goes!
PS. Monthly gathering is on again as well, so go here if you are in Bangalore and would like to join us.