Listed below are four community-building activities that can help teens in a class or parish group get to know each other better.

  1. Give each person a piece of paper and a pen. Tell them to move around the room collecting as many autographs as they can. The person who signs their papers must also draw a distinguishing symbol (ball, musical note, car) that tells something about one of their talents or interests. After everyone has collected a fair amount of autographs, gather the group back together. Call on participants to stand, one at a time, and ask clarifying questions to the people who signed their papers about the talents or interests that were symbolized.
  2. Play a game so that everyone can learn each others’ names. Ask everyone to think of an adjective for themselves that begins with the same sound as the first letter of their names; for example: “Mischievous Mike” or “Energetic Ellen.” Form a circle with the whole group. Choose one person to share his or her adjective and name. The next person repeats the first person’s adjective and name. The third person repeats the adjectives and names of the first two people and tells his or her own. Continue the process all the way around the circle. Allow neighbors to help anyone who gets stuck.
  3. Divide the participants into small groups. Give each group a piece of newsprint marked with a time line covering the next twenty years of their lives marked in five-year intervals. Also distribute crayons or colored markers to each group. Tell the participants to print words or symbols near specific ages on the time line to show how they imagine their lives in those years. When everyone has printed something, have them go around the group and ask one question that seeks clarification of the meaning of symbol or word.
  4. Provide a roll or two of toilet paper. Have the participants sit in a circle. Show them a large roll of toilet paper. Tell the group that you are going to pass around the roll and that everyone should take as many sheets as they want. (Each person should take at least one sheet.) After the roll has been around the entire group, explain that each person must tell something about themselves for every sheet they took. Some people may have to only tell one thing; others will have many things to tell.