Character and leadership activities for youth are important to help teenagers reach their personal goals, keep them motivated, accountable, and confident. A special focus on leadership training can truly make kids blossom outside of school environments and get them out of their comfort zones, where they’ll experience the most personal growth.
What Are Leadership Activities?
Leadership-building activities for youth focus on tasks and games that develop various skills that target planning, management, delegation, conflict resolution, awareness, professional socialization, and responsibility. Leadership activities provide the opportunity to practice and improve these skills and abilities in a controlled environment.
What Are They Used For?
While the phrase “born leader” is used to describe kids with innate leadership capabilities, leadership activities for teens can help develop the qualities and skills needed to be effective future leaders. By harnessing leadership, a child develops honesty, dedication, listening skills, and a positive outlook.
Older kids have plenty of opportunities to practice leadership in everyday life; however, allowing them to partake in leadership lessons for teens hones in and fast-tracks the acquisition of these valuable skills. Creating a meaningful life requires the ability to engage, influence, and become a responsible member of a community, as well as be good at whatever they choose to do.
Allowing kids to participate in these carefully developed leadership activities can:
- Teach collaboration
- Boost self-esteem and confidence
- Improve communication and public speaking
- Develop organization and delegation skills
- Raise awareness of strengths and weaknesses
Examples of Leadership Activities for Teenagers
The following activities are fun and help teens develop self-awareness, coordination, self-compassion, alertness, kindness, calmness, and strategic thinking. At Hot Ground Gym, we’ve witnessed how youth leadership activity games inspire teenagers to confidently take control of their lives.
In an increasingly connected world, it’s essential kids learn how to communicate effectively and negotiate and resolve conflict in such a way that promotes sustainable and stable personal and working relationships. Kids should know how to delegate and collaborate with others, listen attentively and demonstrate integrity. These leadership training activities for teens offer practical ways how to develop leadership skills in teenagers.
This leadership game is great for middle schoolers to help improve networking skills and connect with local community leaders and role models. The goal of the game is for kids to meet four community members who complete a row on their bingo cards — for example, a business owner, school principal, or a charity organizer.
The game can be modified by having players work in teams or creating mock communities in classrooms. In the mock community, some group members would play different community members while the rest completed the bingo card. Community Bingo is also an excellent ice-breaker at parties or when kids join new extracurricular activity groups in classes.
Get Off the Couch
This is one of those leadership games for youth that works best in small groups of 4-6 people. The leader of this game has to try to determine what would motivate each team member to “get off the couch” and complete an undesirable task, like doing chores, for instance. This teaches teens that everyone is motivated to do something, and when they know what that is, it’s easier to get people to work together.
To make it fair, team members must decide what their motivation is before the leader guesses. If you want to ramp things up a notch, you can give the leader cards with different motivations, and they have to try to match the correct motivation to different team members. This works well for groups who are somewhat familiar with one another.
Tag Team Snack Challenge
This game is like Finish the Story, except players, work together to make a snack without speaking. Each team member takes a leadership role as they try to leave clues for the next team member about what the snack should be. Teams should think about non-verbal strategies before the game begins.
Depending on the snack they’re making, each team member gets around 30 seconds to complete their part of the snack. Play continues until everyone on each team has a turn. The last person is responsible for plating the snack. The winning team is the one who created the correct snack.
Leaders You Admire
For this activity, participants are divided into groups and required to discuss leaders they know or know of and why they admire them. Smaller groups then join together for a larger discussion around important leadership characteristics. Leaders You Admire can easily be incorporated into classroom lessons, and pictures of iconic leaders can be used to prompt discussions if need be.
This simple game consists of four tables, each set up with different activities. These tasks have a series of steps delegated among participants by selected team leaders. Each table is timed to see how long teams take to complete the task. Round Tables is an ideal activity that helps develop leadership, particularly if kids who aren’t natural leaders are chosen to take the lead.
Somewhat similar to Leaders You Admire, Leadership Values is a suitable exercise to make teenagers do at the beginning or end of an activity-driven day. In fact, it’s also great for families to play at the dinner table too.
The game starts with explaining the importance of leadership behaviors and values. Participants reflect on the values they believe define a good leader. Then everyone has to individually circle five values on a paper provided to them that best complete the sentence: “_______” is an important leadership quality.
You can create a list of behaviors like honesty, trust, patience, self-respect, etc. Once teenagers circled individual qualities, then have the group compare and discuss, asking for specific real-life examples where these qualities are applicable.
This exercise helps kids think about their daily roles by quickly writing down keywords that come to mind when they think of those roles — for example, sister, student, sports captain, etc. The keywords should reflect how they perceive themselves performing each role.
Once they’ve finished writing down their keywords, kids should share with each other why they see themselves that way and explain the activities associated with their roles. They can then use the keywords to write a leadership statement that reflects their approach to good leadership.
You can also play a variation of this by providing each participant with a chart that prompts them to write characteristics under the following headings; problem solver, motivator, visionary, risk-taker expert, etc.
Minefield is a physical game that combines the leadership skills of strategy and motivation. For this activity, teenagers cautiously examine a minefield without stepping on “mines.” The game starts with teams memorizing “mines,” aka objects scattered around an open space or field. After which, they’re blindfolded and have to navigate through the minefield together.
If anyone steps on a mine, the team has to go back to the start line and start again. This game fosters communication and collaboration as members have to plan how to move across the space. Minefield also enhances memory and cultivates camaraderie among teens as they have to work together to reach a common objective.
A variation of this game can be played by two-player teams, whereby one member is blindfolded, and the other has to direct them through the space. How you play depends on the number of kids and their ages, as younger teens may be better with two-player teams than a large group, which can quickly get rowdy.
4 Ways Leaders Approach Tasks: Leaders Motivation
When engaged in leadership activities for youth, it’s important to be aware of the four ways leaders approach tasks, so you can help teenagers identify their leadership style and improve their awareness as a facilitator.
- Will do: Does what others desire with a positive attitude.
- Get to: Does what they desire with a positive attitude.
- Have to: Does what others desire with a negative attitude.
- Must do: Does what they desire with a negative attitude.
Most people will fluctuate between these motivations, depending on the task, their capabilities, enjoyment thereof, and context. Talking about leaders' attitudes can springboard a healthy discussion about group dynamics.
Youth leadership games and activities encourage teens to communicate with classmates in person, solve problems and accomplish collective goals. No matter what grade, teens can engage in age-appropriate games that help them learn more about themselves and others.
Hot Ground Gym team-building activities and leadership games for middle schoolers and teens in high school are perfectly developed to help develop leadership. We run several camps throughout the year and dynamic weekly classes for kids of all ages to build physical strength and character. Find out how to enroll your teen by contacting us today!