The dictionary meaning of ‘therapeutic’ is the use of remedial methods in the treatment of a disease or disorder. Therapeutic activities help your teenager to recover from any physical or mental stress. According to the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, therapeutic activities aim at enhancing a person’s physical, cognitive, and emotional health. They could include activities that enhance self-esteem, pleasure, comfort, education, creativity, success, and independence.
MomJunction shares some of the most recommended therapeutic activities for teens to help them stay focused and engaged. Read on.
15 Therapeutic Activities For Teens:
Here are some therapeutic activities for teenagers which they will love to participate in, and which will improve various inter-personal as well as self-development skills in them:
Group Therapy Activities For Teens:
1. I Am Introduction Game:
- Let all the teens get together and sit down. Now begin the round of introductions, where each teen will have to get up and give an introduction. But, to make it interesting and more positive, you will use a different way of introducing each other instead of just saying the name out loud.
- The objective here will be that each teen will get up and introduce himself or herself by using only the initials. For instance, if a teen’s initials are S and E, she can introduce herself by saying something such as, “Hello, my name is S (the name), and I am Sensitive. I also am very Empathetic and Energetic.”
- By the end of the session, the teens should try and remember each teen’s name and individual qualities he or she described. It is also a great way to motivate teens into thinking positively about themselves and boosting their confidence levels.
[ Read: Drama And Improv Games For Teens ]
2. What Comes To Mind Game:
- This game will also help your teen implement positivity and self-confidence. Ask all the teens to sit down together in a large circle. Hand out a softball that the teens can randomly roll out to one another.
- The teen who starts rolling the ball first will have first to tell his or her name and then say one positive thing that best describes the teen. The teen who gets the ball next does the same and then passes the ball randomly on to another teen.
- To make it more interesting, you could also introduce topics of introduction, such as likes or dislikes, favorite personality traits, hobbies and such. It is a great exercise in becoming self-confident and forming positive associations with other teens.
3. Find Your Partner:
- With this fun activity, the teens will learn who they relate with the most in the group. It is also a great way to let new teens interact with each other and acts as an icebreaker.
- Hand a pen and paper to the teens and ask them to write down five words that best describe them. Once all the teens have written it out, they can start reading it out in front of the others and see who gets a match. The ones who get the highest match form pairs.
4. Truth Or Lie:
- In this fun group activity, the teens will learn about what information to disclose about themselves and how. They will also learn to deduce body language and be more open to reading others. Hand out a paper and pen to each teen and ask them to write down two truths and one lie about themselves. They can write something that is too easy to read as truth, or write something that may seem outrageous but is still true. The teens have to take turns to read out what they wrote while others take a guess.
- Let all the teens guess for about a minute, after which the teen will disclose which ones are the true points and which one is false.
[ Read: Bible Games And Activities For Teens ]
5. Know Me More:
- This activity will work best if you have at least five or more teens in the group. Let all the teens sit down and one person will be the questioner. The idea is to help the teens talk about themselves and at the same time also understand the other teens better.
- You can prepare a list of questions that will encourage the teens to open up about themselves in a relaxed, fun and interesting way. Here are a few example questions you could ask the teens, to which each one will have to answer individually.
- ‘Where would you be now if you were not in this group class right now? What would you have been doing?’ ‘What motivates you to come here? Do you come here of your choice or is it something you are made to do?’ ‘Do you look forward to coming here each time? If yes, what do you look forward to the most? If no, what do you not like about the class?’ ‘What is that one thing about yourself that makes you proud and happy?’ ‘What is that one thing about yourself that you are not proud of? Do you want to work on it and change it?’
6. Find Me:
- You can conduct this group activity once the teens are more comfortable with each other and know each other a little better. It is best to try this out after you have had a few successful sessions with the same group.
- Each teen will have to write down three lines on a piece of paper that best describes him or her. To keep the description uniform for all, you can add a common theme, such as personality. You can ask the teens to write down three personality traits about themselves that they most identify with.
- Once all the teens have written it out, take the paper and read out one by one, without disclosing who you are talking about. The teens can take a guess at identifying the person. It will help them in studying behaviour in others as well as encourage them to identify their personality and be more open to self-expression.
Art Therapy Activities For Teenagers:
7. Alter The Image:
- For the art project, your teen will love the creativity that comes along. The best part about this particular activity is that your teens do not have to be artistically inclined or good in art. The only thing they need with them is some magazine cutouts of people’s portraits and faces.
- Try and get the images in large sizes so that the teens have a bigger surface area to work on. Let them carry an assortment of oil pastels and other art material that they would love to use.
- Let the teens deface the images, but in such a way that the images look beautiful, artistic and nice, and not ruined. The idea is to let your teens learn the difference between perception and respecting other’s feelings.
[ Read: Activities For Teenagers With Autism ]
8. Words I Will Live By:
- In trying to create a collage of positive and inspirational words, the teens will be able to express thoughts and ideas that are motivational to them. You can let each teen create a personal collage of different inspirational quotes or words, or let them create one big project that involves sharing of thoughts and ideas.
- Hand out some craft paper to the teens, or use a big poster paper for creating the collage. Now ask the teens to write out their thoughts and positive words on the paper, using various design and art supplies. Once it is done, you can put it up in class or let each teen keep it on his or her desk as a positive daily reminder.
9. My Initial Drawing:
- Here is another art based activity that will let the teens try out their creative sides without getting too conscious about it. It will also help them to learn about self-expression and self-exploration.
- Hand out a paper and pen to each teen along with some art pens. The teens have to write out their initials on the paper and then use it to make any art they want. It is a very simple exercise in which the teens can create the art as simple or as elaborate as they want.
- The activity will be a great way to let the teens explore their creative and artistic side and come up with interesting renditions, even if they did not feel they could be creative.
Music Therapy Activities For Teenagers:
10. The A B C Of Music:
- For this activity, you will need a stack of alphabet cards. Divide the teens into two groups and make this a fun score-based game. The idea is that all the teens have to keep their musical information ready to be prepared to score for their team. Now pick up each card one by one and ask the teens to say out the name of a group or band that corresponds with that letter. For instance, A for Aerosmith, B for Beyonce, C for Cher and so on. Once you have completed calling the cards till Z, check the scores.
- For the next part of the activity, the teens will have to come up with songs that are based on the letter card that you hold up. Try using random letter cards so that the teens get lesser time to be prepared in advance and work more on an impromptu basis. You could also ask them to perform a quick dance step to the song they sing.
11. Connect With The Lyrics:
- You can choose some songs in advance that you want to use for the activity. Let all the teens sit down and then play the song. Once it is over, ask them to write down the meaning of the song in their own words, the way they connect with it and interpret it. The teens can do a small rendition of the lyrics to write a paragraph or more about what it made them think of and what it made them feel like.
- Once the teens are comfortable opening up like this, you can also ask them to get a little more creative and come up with similar lyrics themselves. You can also break up the class into groups and ask them to write a song on the tune they heard, with positive and relatable lyrics.
12. Creating Headlines:
- You can hand out the front page of a newspaper to each teen or ask them to bring one from home. Next, hand them a piece of blank paper and a pen and let them glue it on the newspaper in such a way that it looks as if the blank space is to be filled out with a news item.
- The teens will have to write a headline that will describe them best. Leave the ideas free so that it could be anything about their personality or something they are good at or something they strongly feel about. Let them come up with interesting topics. Once the headline part is over, ask them to write out a full paragraph or more to elaborate on the headline. It is a great activity that will let the teens express themselves better, as well as understand themselves in a better perspective.
Family Therapy Activity For Teens:
13. My Happiest Memory:
- For this particular activity, your teen will have to recreate a memory that he or she feels is one of the happiest. Ask the teen to act out the memory and describe what was so good about it.
- All the members of the family can then take turns to describe their feelings associated with that particular memory.
[ Read: Indoor Games For Teens ]
Individual Therapy Activities For Teens:
14. My Unhappiest Memory:
- For this particular activity, your teen will have to work in the opposite way of the previous one. He or she will have to recreate a memory that is one of the unhappiest. Ask the teen to act out the memory and describe what was not good about it.
- All the family members will then have to take turns and describe why they feel it was an unhappy event and what could have been done differently to make it a happy one.
15. I Am – Write A Letter To Self:
- Here is a very interesting and creative activity that your teen will love doing. For the particular activity, ask your teen to collect various objects of design such as scrapbook paper, stickers, colorful pens, paper cut-outs, graphic design cut outs, self-made printables, real trinkets that your teen uses or has collected, and anything that is like an extension of your teen’s personality.
- Now ask your teen to write a letter to self, imagining that she is now in the future. For instance, ask your teen to imagine that she is now not a teen but is an adult. What would she like to tell herself or advice herself as she looks back? She can tell herself that life will be easier if she believes in herself and stays focused on what she wants to do.
- She can tell herself that no matter what happens, her parents will always be there to support her and love her. Make sure you guide her through the letter, to help her get a better understanding of what all she can write. Once she has written the letter, she can decorate it and put it up on her desk as a positive daily reminder.
Parenting a teen is always thought of as a very difficult task. If you tried any of the above activities with your teen, share your experience with other moms. If you have some activity ideas, tell us about them here.