How to Engage Young People with Quizzes and Games
This is guest post How to Engage Young People with Quizzes and Games was written By Lily Bass
Make a start by assessing the group of young people you want to engage with.
- What sort of quizzes or games have they already played?
- What did they enjoy or find boring?
- What do they want to do?
- Give them a list of options which are age appropriate.
Are they keen on a physical team building game or a quiz? What do they want to learn about? Do they want to learn anything or just have some fun? It will be up to you to ask enough questions so that you can understand what will be right for them.
Once your group has decided what they would like to play you can choose to stay indoors or go outdoors. Staying indoors is quieter, suits the games which need more communication and allows for young people to create a personal space and work alone for a while if need be.
Going outdoors brings more oxygen to everyone’s brains but can also dissipate a group. Those who are not keen on participating can more easily become distracted and wander off.
Competitions are easy to organise and popular. If you want to create a poster (YWN Youth Work Educational Posters) for a local charity split your group into smaller groups, each group makes a poster and the best poster gets a prize or some kind of recognition. Smaller groups are also a good way for newcomers to integrate. At the end of any quiz or game, the winners should get a reward.
Being with your peer group or simply winning the game may not be enough for some young people, they may need a prize or a be able to grab hold of a benefit. This is something that should be researched beforehand simply by asking your group. For example, who would be interested in a short story competition if the winner got their story displayed or published locally?
Make Eye Contact
When young people are engaged they make eye contact with you and others that they are teamed up with. They also ask and answer questions. This is an important reflection on whether you have picked a good quiz or game for them. If your group finds it boring to play anything, they don’t make eye contact, are being too quiet or being rude and disruptive, it is better to stop the activity even if they have picked it. They may feel that it is not what they hoped it would be.
Before playing a quiz with your group, work out the time it takes to play it by rehearsing it yourself. Run through each question (and multiple-choice answers if any) out loud. When playing the quiz split your group into 3/4 teams and let each team give themselves a name. Give each team a pen and a copy of the quiz. Someone from each team should be responsible for writing down the answers. Start asking the questions.
In the end, the winning team should get a prize even if it is a bar of chocolate. Keep asking your group questions, ‘what do you guys think? What did you learn? Did you enjoy it?’ If the feedback is positive then the whole process has worked, if negative then you will need to start again by asking your group what they would like to do.
Playing a quiz, a game or engaging in an art project or similar activity about a social issue e.g. taking drugs or alcohol, should be researched first by asking the group whether they want to do it.
Some social issues affecting young people are very sensitive and difficult to engage with. If you are a youth worker who comes from a background in which you have experienced a lack of support at home or been introduced to drinking alcohol at an early age, to try and help someone at a youth club or youth event with the same issue, becomes harder.
Playing a game breaks the ice so that the issue can be talked about. This is particularly important for communities in which such discussions hardly ever take place at home.
For young people, the fun element of playing a game or doing an activity with their peer group is an important part of understanding the key points about a social issue.
Playing a quiz about a social issue increases the awareness of that issue because a deeper level of thinking is involved while trying to guess the answers, however playing a quiz can’t offer a final solution for a young person’s problems, they still have to be addressed and dealt with.
Playing a quiz or game with a group encourages teamwork and team spirit, creates a positive atmosphere and by having fun, the energy level of the group and the youth worker increases.
Lily Bass (teaching resources author)
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