Survival games are a great way for high school students to learn important skills like problem-solving, teamwork, and creativity in an engaging, hands-on environment. As students work together to “survive” challenges and scenarios, they build bonds and make memories that will last a lifetime.
This article will provide an overview of the top 7 fun survival games that are perfect for high schoolers looking to challenge themselves and have a blast with their classmates. Whether indoors or outdoors, relying on wits or teamwork, these interactive games offer an exciting break from the classroom.
What Are Survival Games?
Survival games, sometimes called last man standing games, are activities that require players to work together strategically in order to overcome simulated challenges and “survive” elimination. The obstacles can be physical, mental, or social and may involve puzzle solving, communication, shelter building, or any number of creative elements.
Survival games help build vital skills like:
- Problem-solving and critical thinking: As scenarios arise, students must think on their feet to come up with solutions.
- Teamwork and cooperation: To make it to the end, participants have to work together and utilize each other’s strengths.
- Communication: Clear communication is key when tackling objectives as a group.
- Creativity and resourcefulness: With limited resources, students must get creative to overcome challenges.
- Leadership: Natural leaders will emerge to guide the group effectively.
- Perseverance: Even when things look bleak, pushing through is essential.
With these skills developed, students will be better collaborators, decision makers, and leaders.
7 Fun Survival Games for High Schoolers
1. The Maze Game
This classic survival game requires students to navigate through a complex maze as a team. To succeed, they’ll need to designate roles, communicate clearly, and think critically.
Split students into small teams and bring them to a large field or forested area that can act as the maze. Use rope, cardboard, or natural landmarks to mark the path. Then, assign each team a entrance and exit point they must locate.
Leave only essential supplies at the entrance that teams can use as they attempt to map out and conquer the maze. To raise the stakes, you can add bonus challenges or materials they must collect along the way.
The first team to successfully navigate the maze and reach their exit point wins!
2. Shelter Building Competition
Learning how to construct a shelter out of minimal resources is one of the most crucial survival skills. Put it to the test through a high-energy building competition!
Divide into small groups and bring teams to a designated build area marked off with string or tape. Provide a variety of materials like cardboard, PVC pipes, tarps, duct tape, and rope. Give them 30-60 minutes to construct the best shelter possible using only the provided materials.
Once time is called, judges can assess each shelter on criteria like stability, spacing, creativity, and use of materials. Consider awarding fun prizes like gold medals or survival tool kits to the winning team!
3. Egg Drop Challenge
This STEM-inspired activity combines problem-solving, creativity, and physics into one competitive survival game.
Give each student supplies like straws, tape, cardboard and task them with creating a contraption that will safely deliver an egg from a high point without cracking. Students can brainstorm and design freely using their chosen materials.
Once designs are complete, students take turns dropping their packages from increasingly high points and seeing if the egg remains intact. The student whose creation protects the egg through the largest drop is the winner!
4. Scavenger Hunt Adventure
Send students on an exciting scavenger hunt across campus or around your town. They’ll have to work together to decipher clues, overcome challenges, and locate critical supplies.
Break students into teams and provide the first clue to set them off in search of the next one. Include fun survival-themed challenges along the way that require collaboration and problem-solving. The first team to complete the hunt wins!
To add some friendly competition, have teams earn points for both completing challenges and finishing the hunt the fastest. Afterward, debrief about each team’s strengths, strategies, and areas for improvement.
5. Wilderness First Aid Training
Give students hands-on survival training with a wilderness first aid skills session. Learning how to handle injuries, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and other essential emergency care methods will equip them with confidence if faced with a real-life crisis.
Partner with a first aid organization or qualified instructor to facilitate the training. Set up stations for skills like tying bandages, splinting, and rescue breathing so students get individualized guidance and practice. Consider breaking it into multiple classes over several weeks to allow time to absorb the new skills.
Award fun “Emergency Responder” certificates upon completion to recognize their new lifesaving abilities!
6. Escape Room
Immerse students in an exciting real-world escape room. To successfully “escape” before time runs out, teams must stay calm under pressure and utilize critical thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.
Choose a themed escape room option and split students into teams. Brief them on important rules and expectations before sending them in to put their survival skills to the test! To amp up the survival stakes, many facilities also offer special zombie or outdoor escape rooms.
Afterward, discuss the experience as a class and what skills were required to conquer the escape room successfully.
7. The Hunger GamesSimulation
Inspired by the popular book and movie series, a Hunger Games simulation allows students to think on their feet in an imaginary survival situation.
Separate students into “districts” and explain that they must work together to gather supplies, build shelters, and create survival strategies to succeed. You can determine winners based on skill challenges, battles, or simply the last group standing.
To simulate uncertainty and strategy, randomly announce environmental events like storms or gift packages with supplies. Get creative with your own dystopian narrative and challenges! End with a class discussion about teamwork and critical thinking.
Planning a Successful Survival Game Experience
- Set clear rules and expectations: Review game guidelines, safety precautions, and designated play areas before beginning. Appoint chaperones.
- Adapt for your environment: Consider your school’s facilities, resources, and location when selecting appropriate games.
- Break into small teams: Teams of 4-6 encourage active participation and team bonding.
- Vary challenge levels: Include beginner and advanced options so all skill levels can participate.
- Leave time for discussion: Talking through the experience afterward solidifies lessons learned.
- Give prizes: Award fun medals, survival tools, or certificates to motivate friendly competition.
- Focus on teamwork over winning: Emphasize enjoying the experience and working together over who finishes first.
5 Key Benefits of Survival Games for High Schoolers
1. Develops problem-solving abilities
As dynamic challenges arise, students practice assessing situations, weighing options, and implementing solutions.
2. Encourages collaboration and teamwork
Students must learn to leverage each other’s strengths and cooperate despite differences.
3. Promotes creativity and resourcefulness
With only limited tools available, students are pushed to devise ingenious solutions.
4. Creates resilience and perseverance
Games provide a safe environment to learn to push forward when faced with setbacks.
5. Allows for friendly competition
Competing fosters initiative and determination in a fun, low-stakes setting.
Fun Survival Game Ideas FAQs:
Q: How long should a high school survival game last?
A: Survival games can last anywhere from 30 minutes for short activities to multi-day simulations. In general, 1-3 hours is ideal for most high school games to maintain engagement and energy levels.
Q: Where can you host outdoor survival games safely?
A: Great outdoor locations include school sports fields, parks, campsites, community greenspaces, and recreation areas. Scout ahead for safety, get permits if needed, and map clear boundaries.
Q: What supplies do you need for survival games?
A: It depends on the games, but some common supplies are ropes/flagging tape, blindfolds, clipboards, whistles, cardboard, tarps, flashlights, compasses, and backpacks. Get creative sourcing free supplies like big appliance boxes too!
Q: Should survival games have prizes?
A: Offering fun prizes like silly awards, survival tools, or certificates adds great motivation! The rewards do not need to be fancy or expensive. Focus more on the lessons learned.
Q: How can you include students with disabilities?
A: Make accommodations like adjusted time limits, alternate puzzles, or roles assisting rather than competing. Emphasize inclusion and that everyone can contribute.
Survival games teach high school students invaluable skills like communication, creativity, and perseverance through engaging, hands-on activities. Equip students for life’s challenges by planning a fun survival game experience for your next class or club activity! Just be sure to emphasize teamwork and inclusion over hardcore competition. With some thoughtful planning and the right mix of challenges, students will have a blast while building skills they’ll use far beyond high school.