Preteen Event Ideas
Image from Compass Preteens
See the insane look that my friend Chris Gabbard has in his eyes (above pic)? Are planning preteen events making you go crazy? If so, then relax. Help is here. Below are a few simple event ideas and some tips to consider when planning fun relational events.
Laser Tag is a definite win with preteens. Go to a laser tag arena in your area or find a mobile one that comes to you. Consider making it a sleepover with some late night laser tag. Then, donuts in the morning. Yum!
One of the most simple events I’ve done in the past is After Hours, which was an monthly event after the Saturday night service. The first 20 minutes is pizza and hang-out time. Then, play a series of high energy group games for 20 minutes at a time, with a 5-10 minute break in between. The event lasts 1 1/2 hours and encourage preteens to bring their friends. Simple, fun and easy. Here are two great resources to find fun high energy games: thesource4ym.com & egadideas.com. Although these games are written for youth, most are easily adapted for preteens. You could also do something similar on a Friday night, if you prefer not to do it after a weekend service. If once a month is too much, then do it every so often. Keep it simple – pizza and games. Fun!
If you have a paintball facility nearby, take your preteens. Yes , you will have mostly boys attend (maybe do something else special for the girls). Preteens love paintball and it is a total blast! Something about harmless combat that brings the group together like nothing else can. And the best time to go is winter, because it is too hot during the summer.
If you have a large group, then rent some fun inflatables and build an event around it. Very easy and really fun.
Game Trucks are gaining popularity. Preteens love video games and the Game Truck will be a hit at your next event. The Game Truck is a trailer that with 4-6 game systems (Xbox, Wii, PS3, etc) and big screen TV’s. The games are usually both boy and girl friendly. If you have a game truck in your area, be sure to book it at your next event.
If there is a portable rock wall in your area, consider booking them at your next event. Or if there is a rock wall facility in your area, consider bringing your group there.
One game that you could pretty much build an entire event around involves Finger Rockets. On the link provided, you can purchase them as well as get a list of possible games to play. What I love about Finger Rockets is that you can play them with a small or large group. I’ve organized games with Finger Rockets from 20 to 500 preteens. Build an event around it or just add to your next one.
Keep It Simple
Avoid making the common mistake of having big, complex events. In the past, the events we hosted were too detail oriented. They were big, epic events with too many moving parts. Myself and volunteers were exhausted afterwards. As much as possible, keep the events simple. The goal is for preteens to connect with each other. They’ll be happy with just having a fun event to attend.
Recruit An Event Team
When first hosting events, I would do most of the work myself. Bad idea. Recruit a group of volunteers to help coordinate the event. Assign each volunteer a specific job that they oversee, such as check-in, food, security, etc. The idea is to have one volunteer overseeing al the major components of the event. Your job is to oversee them and make sure everything is running smoothly.
Ask input from preteens about what they want to do. Give them a list of 10 possibilities and have them choose the top three. Tally up the votes and go with the most popular one.