Around age 12, boys change from older boys to young men. They develop into competitive, competent guys, but they are still kids at heart. They love to have fun and need a little assurance. Plan some birthday games that help that new 12-year-old feel like the young man he is, by giving your son and his friends the structure and boundaries they need, while still letting them have fun.
Many 12-year-old boys love sports and have often chosen a favorite or two. If this is the case with your 12-year-old, plan games related to his favorite sport. If he loves soccer, you can play soccer scrimmages as well as goal shooting and ball dribbling games. Research practice ideas and drills of the sport of your choice for game ideas.
Keep It Fun
This is the time in a 12-year-old’s life when he begins to put a lot of pressure on himself. While your guests and the birthday boy will enjoy a challenge, don’t present them with a hurdle they can’t overcome. Choose games that require the boys to work together against one another, rather than to overcome something that could prove defeating.
A 12-year-old boy can be relatively unstable. One minute, he feels rather confident and the next minute, he feels overwhelmed. Keep emotions in check by playing team games, which keep the main emphasis off any one player. Pick-up, informal games of soccer, football, baseball, kickball, volleyball, hockey or basketball, give each player an opportunity to contribute to the greater goal.
Keep in mind the size and development of the boys before everyone arrives. Instead of letting the kids choose their teams, possibly causing hard feelings, set up the teams, making them balanced. You can justify the predetermined teams by creating a list of names, name tags, team shirts or other paraphernalia. Explain to any complainers that you needed to choose the teams to create the team items.
Because preteen boys often need to remain active and have the stamina to play through many games, create a tournament or Olympic-style party. Play six to 12 games throughout the party. Mix it up, and require different abilities and talents for each. Hand out ribbons to individual winners, overall winners and MVPs. Celebrate each accomplishment.