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If you think teenagers are too mature for a slip-and-slide, think again. Teens are really still kids at heart; I learned that as high school English teacher. They were just as thrilled at the chance to get out the crayons as they were in 2nd grade. So when I started thinking about throwing a party for my own teenager, I remembered that they’re never too old for fun and games. If you’re looking for creative party activities for 16-year-olds (or any teenagers for that matter), here are ideas that never fail.
Party activities for 16-year-olds inside:
1.Silly supper: We did this a big spaghetti dinner date for my senior prom and everyone loved it. Set enough table settings for your guests but set each setting with silly eating receptacles and utensils like tongs and a flower vase. So a person could end up trying to eat spaghetti out of a mixing bowl with chop sticks and drinking from a measuring cup. It’s hilarious and so much fun!
2. Plastic wrap game: Get several prizes that teens would like, like candy bars, lottery tickets, gift cards, chap stick, etc. Start wrapping them in a big ball of plastic wrap. The ball should be sizable when you are done. (Tutorial here.) Have a timer ready and each person gets 10 seconds to unwrap as much of the plastic as they can while wearing oven mitts. They get to keep whatever prizes fall out during their turn.
3. Have a “make-your-own” party: Teens love being creators. Form a party around this concept. Teens can make their own pizzas, shish-kabobs, nachos, cupcakes, etc. For activities, they could make their own graphic tees or tote bags.
4. Murder mystery party: Lots of ideas online.
5. At-home escape room: These can be so much fun! And challenging, which teens love. Again, you can find a lot of DIY escape rooms online (like these for a minimal price).
6. Just dance battles: Always epic, always entertaining.
7. Karaoke: Give kids a mic, they could go all night.
8. Let your teen plan the party: Better yet, give your teen and his or her friends a budget and let them plan the party. They love the chance to flex their independence.
9. Games from the Tonight Show: Get on YouTube and make a list of some of these games to play. They’re perfect for teen parties or family gatherings. (“Can you feel it?” was a hit!)
10. Can you taste it? Get the trivia questions and some weird food combinations ready! For this teen party activity, players have to answer questions about current events, pop-culture, or each other. If they don’t answer correctly, they must eat whatever weird food combo is under a cup. (Think mustard grape, ketchup and pb cracker, pickle with Mayo and raisins, etc.) The kids loved it!
Party activities for 16-year-olds outside:
11. Have an epic water day (water balloons, blow up water slide, Water balloon tag)
12. Tie dye: You can tie dye SO many things! Towels (you can get these extra-large ones that are amazing for tie dying!), t-shirts (use painter’s tape to block out a name or turn into a graphic tee), and white canvas shoes.
13. Hydro-dipping: Haven’t heard of this one? I hadn’t either, but our readers say it’s a blast to do! Spray paint into a bucket of water and immediately dip your item in and pull it out, like flip flops, water bottles, etc. Take a look at all the endless possibilities!
14. Big pie in the face: Fill a pie pan full of whipped cream with one piece of hubba-bubba bubble gum at the bottom. Players have to dig around (no hands) to find the gum and then blow a bubble. Hilarious!
15. Host a carnival with bobbing for apples, pie-eating contest, kiss the pig, etc.
16. Gourmet hotdogs and smores: Turn a regular hot dog roast into a loaded one with gourmet toppings like bacon, pickles, jalapeños, etc. And up your s’more game by trying Nutella and fresh raspberries (my personal favorite) or peanut butter and jelly. Let your imagination go crazy!
17. Crossnet: Is always a fun one to do with a crowd. 9-square as well.
18. Outdoor movies: Pull out the projector and comfy cushions and turn your back yard into a drive-in movie theater for teens, equipped with popcorn and snacks of course.
19. Supervised camping or bonfire: Teens love fire and especially experimenting putting things in it. Let them have their fun (with supervision) by providing different treats they can put on a roasting stick. Licorice, Star Bursts, and even bananas! (See our favorite campfire treat below!) End the bonfire with color flame packets which turn the fire fun colors.
Party activities for 16-year-olds out and about:
20. Host a tournament: Pickle ball, spike ball, kickball tournament, you name it.
21. Scavenger hunts: They never get old and they’re great to do with small and large groups. Send teens on a photo scavenger hunt at local shopping center, city scavenger hunt on motor scooters, or a farm scavenger hunt where they have to balance on a wooden fence, pet a goat, etc.
22. Go-cart racing (or K1 if you like it faster)
23. Axe throwing
24. Rent out the movie theatre (it’s surprisingly reasonable)
25. Paint balling
26. Gaming trucks: These are fairly new on the scene and tons of fun for teens who love video games. My son recently went to one of these parties for a friend on his football team. (You can see if your city has one.) A fully-decked-out gaming trailer pulls up and kids are having a blast for hours.
27. Mobile DJ’s: They became all the rage during quarantine. A DJ will pull up in front of your house and turn any party into a cool one!
28. Rent a moving truck and set up an epic movie station inside: We did this for a girl’s choice dance in high school and everyone loved it. We furnished the trailer with lots of bean bag chairs, food, and a TV and pulled up at the local park for an unforgettable movie night.
29. Bounce house: If you think teens are too old for them, think again. So many of our readers raved that renting either a water bounce house or an obstacle course inflatable was the greatest party they ever threw for their teen.
30. Lazer tag
31. Nerf tag
32. Rent a cabin/treehouse: Invite a few friends and make a weekend out of it.
Classes: They can be so much fun, especially when you come away with a new skill!
33. Cookie decorating class: Find a local cookie artist on Instagram and message him or her about teaching a private class for your teen’s party. It’s fun, creative, and yummy!
34. Painting class, succulent planting class: My kids have done both at parties and have come away having a blast.
35. Sushi-making class: Can I please come to this party?
37. Movie-themed party: There are so many possibilities! Legally blonde, Top Gun, a teenage version of a Star Wars party, etc.
38. Spa party: If you don’t want to go to a spa, create one at home!
39. Casino night: Invite guests to dress up real fancy, play card games for tickets, and then exchange those tickets for prizes! I can see this one going into the late night hours kids would be having so much fun.
Well, there you have it–enough party activities for 16-year-olds to last a lifetime! Just remember, they really are still kids at heart and as long as you have food for their bellies, they’ll have fun with with about anything you choose. Good luck!