Entertain a group of teenagers with classic or adapted games to bring out the animal in each one of them. Awkward attempts at sophistication disappear as teenagers giggle over the hand motions and noises of their animal alter-egos. Sneak in a lesson on nature through questions that will engage their thinking and memory skills.
1. Animal Motions Games
If you have a minimum of five teenagers, assemble them in a circle to play the classic animal motion game. Have each person pick an animal and accompanying simple hand motion, like antlers for a deer or layered hands with rotating thumbs for a turtle. Start the teens with the pat-clap rhythm while a teen at the head of the circle makes his own signal and another friend’s signal to the beat. If someone misses fitting the signals into the beat, he goes to the end of the line, and the whole circle moves to the left, with each person adopting the motions of the person who had been previously sitting in her seat.
2. King of the Jungle
On a sultry summer evening, adapt the classic “ghost in the graveyard” to an animal version for teenagers. Choose a home base for the group of teens, and select which one will be the lion or lioness. While all the other animals wait and count at home base, the jungle king can run off to hide within designated boundaries. As the teens search, the lion should pick the ideal moment to jump out and surprise a victim, who will shout “Lion in the Jungle!” The lion tries to tag his prey before they make it back to home base.
3. Which Animal Am I?
Engage the teenagers in an ice breaker party game with several possible variations. As each teen enters the room, tape an index card to his back without letting him seeing the animal. The goal is to guess the animal by asking a series of yes or no questions. To find the answer, the teens will be forced to mingle and ask questions such as, “Does this animal live in the United States? Does it live in the forest? Does it eat plants only?” The teens will giggle their way through the guessing game while they are waiting for all of their friends to arrive.
4. Zoo Scavenger Hunt
Separate the teens into teams for a zoo-themed scavenger hunt. Start each group with a clue that will test their knowledge of the animal world. When each team solves the riddle, hand them the paw-print clue for the next location, where they will discover another animal riddle. For example, a sample riddle might read, "As part of the macropod family, I live in the southern hemisphere, but I've graced the silver screen in a child's film that rhymes with "new." (Answer: kangaroo)The first team to find the entire collection of animals wins the prize.
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