26 Cheap Things to Do with Teenage Friends when Bored

What are the COOL and CHEAP things to do with teenager friends when bored? Glad you asked. These are budget-friendly and will have your friends coming back for more.

What do teens do for fun…especially if they (or the friends they like to hang out with) don’t have a lot of money to spend?

Keep your teen budget intact using this resource of really cool and cheap things to do with your teen friends.group of girls on bed doing nails, text overlay "26 things to do with teenage friends when bored"

Skim over the lists below, get your parent’s permission, then invite your friends over (or out) for some fun!

Things to Do with Teenage Friends when Bored

I think every single teenager on earth gets bored at some point (and, typically, several points throughout the day!).

I mean – I was a teen once, and I even remember sitting around wondering what the heck to do with myself.

That’s why I’m creating the list of COOL and CHEAP things to do with teenage friends when you’re bored.

  1. Host a DIY Escape Room: Use these free escape room printables (they even come with audio files for the missions) to create your own escape room to invite your friends to. Using materials like scissors, pens, single-sided printed copies of the free missions, etc., you all get to solve puzzles, decipher Morse codes, and deactivate bombs.
  2. Compete with Minute-to-Win-It Games: Want to send a group of teens spiraling out of control into giggles? Pick from a few of these 200 Minute to Win It Games. You just need one other person, and a group of teens is even better.
  3. Ask Parents for their Gym + Guest Pass: Do your parents have a gym pass? See if you can take you + a teen friend using a guest pass. Workout, hit up the café, or just talk while stretching – beats being bored at home!
  4. Set Up a Building Challenge: Gather the supplies you need (like toothpicks, marshmallows, and jelly beans), and race against your friends with this building challenge, or this spaghetti tower building challenge.
  5. Set Up a Star Gazing Area: Host a sleepover night when there’s supposed to be something happening in the sky – meteors, shooting stars, eclipses, whatever you can find. Set up an outside area with a tent, or even a blown-up kiddie pool or mattress, and include pillows and blankets to keep everyone warm. Set the alarm for when the big show starts and stay up a little later than normal!
  6. Host a Chocolate Tasting: Have you ever been to the gourmet chocolate area of your grocery store? There are only…oooohhhhh 1,937 different chocolate bars to try. The cacao percentage changes, the variations on ingredients, and much, much more. Go with your teen friends to pick out 6 different varieties, print out these free chocolate tasting printables, and enjoy some gal-pal time while figuring out your faves (and not-so-faves).
  7. Join a Flash Mob: Look for local flash mob announcements (you can search in google for this), or use this page to see if there are any flash mobs near you. What a memorable thing to meet up with friends and do!
  8. Do Spooky Fire Pit Readings: Love a good scary story? Grab several short scary stories that are either local to your area or are completely fiction (your choice!), get your parents to help you light the fire pit in the backyard, and take turns reading the spooky stories out loud. These are my personal favorite from my childhood. 
  9. Cook Dinner for Your Parents: What if you and a few of your teenage friends completely took over the kitchen for a night and cooked dinner for your parents (and yourselves)? Ask your parents for permission to use whatever you can find, and come up with something as a group.
  10. Create a Time Capsule: My childhood friend, Michelle, and I created a time capsule one afternoon when we were totally bored. We decided to bury it in part of the woods on my family farm, and vowed to meet there when we turned 25 to dig it back up. It was a special bonding experience that I won’t forget.
  11. Make Friend Portraits: Pop on some tunes, and set up paper or posters or canvases with paints so that your group of friends can each paint the person to their right. No artists in your posse? Even better – they’ll turn out to be hilarious.
  12. Meet Up for a Mall Scavenger Hunt: Who says you have to actually buy lots of stuff at the mall? Instead, print out this free mall scavenger hunt printable and compete with your friends (or, do it together).
  13. Build Frozen-Yogurt Cups: Places like Menchie’s are great to hang out in because you pay for frozen yogurt by the pound. If you don’t have a lot of money? Just get less toppings.
  14. Go Keychain Shopping: You and your friends are either driving now, or will be soon. How fun would it be to go out shopping for cool keychains to use with your first car? Also, super cheap activity to do. You can also create your own keychains with some pretty cheap materials. And a shopping trip to the dollar store or Michael’s is always fun with friends! (Love this braided t-sheet keychain).

Things to Do with Teenage Friends at Home

So, you’re staying in. What are some cool things to do with teenage friends at your home (or theirs)?

  1. Eat Your Snacks with Chopsticks: Save a bunch of chopsticks from Chinese take-out nights, and then when you have your teenager friends over, have everyone eat with ONLY chopsticks (no matter what snacks or food you’re serving up!).
  2. Play Tag-Team Twister: Twister is a fun game in and of itself, but it becomes wayyyyy more fun when you play what I like to call the Tag-Team Edition. Get your group of teen friends together, and pair off. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and every 5 minutes you need to tag your partner in – the partner must then go into the exact position you were in when you left. Then, the game continues! 
  3. Do a Building Challenge: The supplies for these are super cheap – think a few boxes of $0.99 spaghetti noodles, toothpicks, and marshmallows – and you can easily set teens up into groups of 2-3 to compete against one another. Check out this building challenge, or this spaghetti tower building challenge.
  4. Come Up with Your Own “Code”: Grab a dictionary in another language, and learn how to say a word that each of you will instantly recognize as something special between you all. If nothing else, trying to pronounce all those words can be kinda hilarious.
  5. Color in Mandalas: Coloring is trendy at any age, so why not print out some really intricate, free Mandala pages, ask your friends to each bring a set of coloring pencils to share, and gab away around a table? (My favorites are the Native American Dream Catcher coloring pages).
  6. Take the Blindfold Drawing Challenge: You can either draw/paint portraits of each other (with blindfolds, of course), or pick something the whole group has to attempt with their blindfolds on. 
  7. Make Personal Pan Pizzas: The host can sit out all the ingredients (or even pre-make the pizza dough), plus the topping choices, and everyone gets to build their own mini-pizzas!
  8. Compete Against Each Other in this Entrepreneur Challenge: I've created some free printables where your teens get to act as consultants for a local ski slope and compete against each other in creating a winter beverage. They'll need to calculate profit, costs, and experiment in the kitchen. How fun!

Looking specifically for girl group activities? I hope these won’t disappoint.

Activities for Girl Groups

Building on what’s already listed above, here are a few specific activities for teenage girl groups:

  1. Create Your Own Signature Perfumes: This one can get a bit more expensive than the other suggestions, but what a cool activity to do together! Here’s an article outlining how to choose a base, and how to get different perfume scents using various materials.
  2. Take the Thrift Store Challenge: Meet up at a local thrift store – or snag a ride in someone’s mini-van – and bring $5. Each of you needs to buy one piece of clothing you’ll be wearing to school on Monday with that $5. Now, GO!
  3. Play Tag-Team Twister: If you have a group of teen girls, then playing Tag-Team Twister is the way to go! Pair off into teams of 2 or 3. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and every 5 minutes you need to tag your partner in – the partner must then go into the exact position you were in when you left. Then, the game continues! 
  4. Help Build a Home: Is your group of teen girls 16 and over? Then you can volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity construction site. I did this several times in my early 20s and really liked it. 
  5. Host a Teen Craft Party: What’s cool about hosting a teen craft party? Everyone leaves with something! Here’s tons of teen party craft ideas that have pretty cheap supplies. Decide on one or two, get supplies, and invite your group of girl friends over for some craft time!
  6. Figure Out Each Person’s “Colors” or Season: When I was a kid, I had my “colors” done. It helped me with getting dressed for the last few decades – that’s because it turns out that each person's complexion and eye colors and overall tones lends itself to certain color palettes over others. Use this free tool, colorwise.me, to take turns uploading pics of each other and figuring out what color palette you are.

Wow – so many cool and cheap ways to enjoy time with your friends, right? I’d love to hear your own ideas for things to do with teenage friends when bored. You might just make someone’s day who’s searching for this exact thing!

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2016 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda's kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.