Lock-ins provide teens a safe, secure environment to spend the night away from their parents and with a large group of friends. Whether in a high school gymnasium or in your church's recreation room, there are several age-appropriate activities and games that will keep teens safely entertained all night long.
Play an ice-breaker activity to help the teens become acquainted with one another. Hand each teen a list of questions as he enters the door. Ask him to list his name, favorite band, favorite movie, favorite class, favorite quote and future aspirations. Look through the questionnaires and match teens up based upon their interests. Take all teens who listed a science fiction film as their favorite movie aside and introduce them. If a large number of teens share a favorite band or singer, bring them together and encourage them to discuss music. Encourage college-bound students to discuss their post-high school dreams and goals.
Help the teens connect with one another while highlighting their positive attributes by playing a team-building game. Provide the teens with the raw materials needed to build a small, non-motorized cart. Divide the teens into groups of four to five participants, and instruct them to use the components given to create a cart. Set a timer for 20 to 30 minutes, and once each team is complete, host a race featuring the carts. The team with the cart that travels the furthest is the winner. A variation on the game could include points for aesthetics or the fastest builders.
Share a Scary Story
No gathering of teens is complete without a scary story around a campfire. Just because you're indoors and locked into a gymnasium or recreation room without a fire in sight doesn't mean the teens can't share stories. Gather together the teens and instruct them to sit in a circle. Instruct one teen to begin the story by providing the character's name and story's setting. The teen to his right is charged with continuing the story for one minute. The story continues until every teen in the circle has added one minute to the tale. Instruct the final teen to give the story an unforgettable ending.
Fixing Snacks and Breakfast
Feed the teens during the night and the next morning while keeping them entertained. Ask for volunteers to fix the teens a snack of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Provide each of the willing participants with bread, jam and peanut butter and instruct them to build as many sandwiches as they can. However, remind the teens that their friends will be consuming the sandwiches so they shouldn't be messy. The teen able to construct the most peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in two minutes is the winner. For breakfast, host a pancake or cereal eating contest, or encourage the kids to whip up a simple breakfast snack, such as a fruit salad, to bring home to their parents.