111 Ways to Engage Youth

SoundOut Summer Camp Participants

Freechild Institute Youth Engagement Toolkit

All young people can be engaged fully and wholly, everyday in every way. Youth engagement can happen in every way you can imagine. Here are a few different options for youth and adults who want to engage young people in conscious, deliberate ways.

111 Ways To Engage Youth

  1. Video Games—Play and encourage play, and be where youth are right now.
  2. Home—Get youth engaged in their day-to-day life.
  3. Family—Engage with young people in your family, including your children, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, and others.
  4. Learning—Find ways to engage youth in their own learning at SoundOut.org.
  5. Water—Engaging youth in the surface cover of 72% of Earth includes swimming, drinking, and protecting it.
  6. Beauty—Becoming engaged in beautiful things can mean a lot to the young people around you.
  7. Empowerment—Young people experiencing empowerment throughout their lives and within themselves is engaging.
  8. Work—Engaging in what youth make money on may be the key to transforming communities.
  9. Reading—Exploring literature about new topics, interests, or art can be engaging for children and youth.
  10. Play—Find engaging ways for youth to dig into the things they have fun doing and allow them to enjoy it more.
  11. Hospitals—Develop sustained connections with young people who are recovering and emerging from care.
  12. Breathing—Get young people consciously engaged in the moment-by-moment function of living, with purpose.
  13. Advocacy—Standing with others and empowering the powerless can be very engaging for young people.
  14. Self-Empowerment—Youth can engage within themselves and discover the roles they have in the world within themselves.
  15. Art—Engaging children and youth in art can mean creating it, viewing it, critiquing it, and more.
  16. Peace—Fostering nonviolence in lives of young people and the lives of others can be very engaging for children and youth.
  17. Friendships—Developing short or long term connections with people they choose can engage youth.
  18. Wildlife—Young people surveying animals, studying birds, sustainable fishing and hunting can all be engaging.
  19. Communication—It can be engaging for children and youth to share thoughts and wisdom with others in creative or direct ways.
  20. Skating—Young people who like skateboarding are often very passionate about it. Skate with them.
  21. Pets—Engaging in sustained connections to the animals young people keep as pets or helping others doing the same.
  22. Critical Thinking—Developing sustained connections with the honest, authentic, and real responses of young people can be engaging.
  23. Parks—Go and walk, lay, eat, draw, paint, climb, run, paddle, swim, and have fun with young people, and encourage them to do the same.
  24. Friendships—The people youth spend recreational time with want to be engaged with, too.
  25. Physical Activity—Movement by young people that supports healthy bodies can be very engaging.
  26. Ethnic Backgrounds—Engage young people in learning about the backgrounds of people from specific places.
  27. Nature—Find youth engagement in the gardens, forests, ocean, lawns, and air around you.
  28. Neighboring—Actively knowing and interacting with the people around us can be engaging for young people.
  29. Community—Stand with people youth relate to and engage with them.
  30. Culture—Engage children and youth in the shared attitudes, traditions, and actions of a connected background.
  31. Libraries—Be in these public places designed to share free learning with young people and adults.
  32. Coaching—Engage young people in providing encouragement and support to others trying to achieve things.
  33. Music—Sharing melodies with young people can be very engaging.
  34. Health—Getting engaged in their health and well-being can connect young people deeply within themselves.
  35. Graffiti—Engage young people in creating street art that means something to them.
  36. Community Centers—Get young people engaged in the places where community is fostered in play and sharing.
  37. Anti-Racism—Young people challenging racist thinking and action can be very engaging for them.
  38. Meaning-Making—Any activity that helps young people make meaning out of their lives and the world they live in can be engaging for them.
  39. Music—When young people listen, share, create, dream, sleep, and breathe music, they become engaged in the sounds of life.
  40. Place-Based Connections—Living rural, urban, or broadly can be engaging for young people when done intentionally.
  41. Hanging Out—Show young people that you, as an adult, have the ability to chill out and relax.
  42. Teaching—Facilitating others learning experiences can be a deep avenue for youth engagement.
  43. Family Building—When youth are parents, nurture family by building their capacities can engage them.
  44. Mediation—Developing deep connection within oneself can engage children and youth.
  45. Self-Development—Engage young people in challenging negative assumptions or building skills and knowledge.
  46. Globalization—Engaging young people in enriching world perspectives and uniting cultures.
  47. Hiking—Walking, climbing, and otherwise traveling by foot can be very engaging for young people.
  48. Nonprofits—Engaging young people with staff who are building on missions to help the world, or supporting them to start their own.
  49. Poetry—Engaging young people in the feelings, motions, ideas, and thoughts of others and themselves can happen through poetry.
  50. Refugees—Supporting people who escape from oppression or suffering can be engaging for young people.
  51. Love—Young people can know the greatest engagement in deep love for the universe and all that is within it.
  52. Cooking—Engaging young people in foods and meal-making can be sustained throughout a lifetime.
  53. Homelessness—Create lasting connection with youth, families, and others without a permanent home can engage young people.
  54. Farming—Growing food and consuming local farm food can deeply engage children and youth.
  55. Heritage—Youth can become engaged in the history of their neighborhood, family, or other identity.
  56. Disconnection—Engaging young people in fostering healthy disconnection and bridging new engagements can be vital.
  57. Construction—Fostering lifelong connections for young people to build homes and places for others matters.
  58. Volunteering—Engaging children and youth in supporting others, places, or issues can be rich and exciting.
  59. Relief—When places cannot get enough of what they need, it is engaging for young people to provide relief.
  60. Nutrition—Learning about healthy eating, food knowledge, and diverse food sourcing is engaging for young people.
  61. Sports—Being engaged in athletic play, competition, or achievement can be sustained for all children and youth.
  62. Finances—Engaging young people in personal, community, organizational, or cultural economics can be rich.
  63. Politics—Develop lasting connections between young people and the formal and informal structures of influence and power.
  64. Crafts—Creating homemade supplies, arts, food, clothing, and other items can be engaging for young people.
  65. Social Action—Protest, picket, tweet, facebook, teach, advocate, evaluate… do whatever you can to engage young people in social change that changes the world.
  66. Orphans—Engage young people with children and youth without parents through play, mentoring and other ways.
  67. Schools—Young people can teach, learn, or help others do the same in the formal places where education happens.
  68. Outdoor Education—Deep connections by young people in participating in and facilitating outdoor learning can change the world.
  69. Responsibility—Engaging children and youth in the topic of responsibility, especially personally and socially can be very engaging.
  70. Decision-Making—Lean into the decisions young people make everyday to engage them meaningfully.
  71. Play—Do fun things, and show that as an adult, you value play no matter what age other people are.
  72. Government—Engage children and youth deeply in the social structures designed to ensure all people can engage.
  73. Education—Engaging in the challenges and opportunities others face in learning can change young people’s lives.
  74. Small Business—Supporting and creating local, small, and nimble business can be very engaging for children and youth.
  75. Writing—Making imagination and knowledge pour on paper can be engaging for young people.
  76. Travel—Becoming engaged in visiting places children and youth aren’t familiar with can defeat ignorance.
  77. Restoration—To engage young people in bringing life to old things can be enlightening and powerful.
  78. Evaluation—Looking at their own life, the world they live in, and the people they are engaged with can engage young people deeply.
  79. Repairs—Fixing broken things can be engaging for children and youth.
  80. Protesting—Engage young people in sharing concerns with lawmakers and officials about issues that concern them.
  81. Internet—Youth can engage in connecting, learning, and creating content on the web.
  82. Reporting—Engage young people in sharing news, stories, and details with others in dynamic ways.
  83. Senior Centers—In can be very engaging for children and youth to be with wisdom as it goes towards the end of life.
  84. Tutoring—Helping other learners discover their capabilities in any topic can be very engaging for young people.
  85. Strategic Thinking—Young people can become engaged in new and logical avenues for seeing wisdom.
  86. Environmental Restoration—Engage children and youth in rebuilding and enriching the natural cycle of life on Earth.
  87. Emergencies—Engaging young people with others in times of need and crises matters immensely.
  88. Clubs—Connecting over professional and personal interests can be engaging for children and youth.
  89. Censorship—Engaging young people in examining, challenging, testing, and changing censorship can be engaging.
  90. Philanthropy—Engage young people with issues that matter by fundraising and giving money to causes.
  91. Trees—Examining, learning, reforesting, planting, preserving, or caring for trees can be engaging for children and youth.
  92. Media-making—Engage young people in creating websites, newspapers, television, videos, and other media.
  93. Fun—Engage children and youth in creating, becoming part of, or expanding fun in their own life or with others.
  94. Exploring—Exploring new spaces and examining where they already live can be engaging for young people.
  95. Rights—Examining what rights are, what they aren’t, and how to have them respected matters can deeply engage young people.
  96. Languages—Engaging young people in languages can mean listening, speaking, or exploring communication.
  97. Solar Power—Connecting children and youth deeply with alternative energy can change the world and themselves.
  98. Identity Issues—Fostering and exploring connectivity between and within identities can be engaging for young people.
  99. Playgrounds—Engaging young people in play with other young people is supporting their development and your community.
  100. Clothing—Establish deep connections with other’s and their own clothing needs by making, critiquing, and distributing clothes.
  101. Dance—Creative movement, motion, rhythm, and melodic play can all be engaging activities for young people.
  102. Self-Teaching—Learning new things and developing their understandings can be engaging for children and youth.
  103. Inter-generational Partnerships—Engage young people in forming deep connections beyond their own age group.
  104. Civic Action—Volunteering, voting, connecting, and building in communities can be engaging for young people.
  105. Healthcare Access—Engaging young people in making sure everyone can access healthcare is important.
  106. Service Learning—Connecting real learning goals with powerful community service can engage young people deeply.
  107. Social Engagement—Fostering sustainable connections to the world around them is vital for all children and youth.
  108. Personal Engagement—Recognizing the ways they’re engaged within themselves can be essential for young people.
  109. Inequality—Bridging social, cultural, and structural differences can be engaging for all children and youth.
  110. Dreaming—Envisioning the future, seeing alternate possibilities, and knowing how to use their imaginations engages young people.
  111. Living—Young people can engage in finding the value, purpose, and belonging within their own lives.

What would YOU add to this list of 111 ways to engage youth? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Is your organization working to expand, promote, transform or sustain youth engagement? Contact Freechild today to see how we can support you.

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Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth engagement in your community or organization, contact us.

Order The Practice of Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher!
Order The Practice of Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher!

6 responses to “111 Ways to Engage Youth”

  1. […] Fletcher, V. (2021). 111 Ways to Engage Youth. Retrieved 29 July 2021, from https://freechild.org/2016/01/19/111-ways-to-engage-youth/ […]

  2. […] Freechild Institute. (n.d.). 111 Ways to Engage Youth. Freechild Institute for Youth and Social Change. Retrieved 2021 April 1, from https://freechild.org/2016/01/19/111-ways-to-engage-youth/ […]

  3. i like this and i want support

  4. I think these really help. I was looking for ideas to engage youth in Papua New Guinea. I have some ideas but wasn’t enough. I read these and got some few ideas again.


      1. Nassir abdallah Mundo

        I am happy about this youth’s engagement because I wasn’t really having enough ideas but now am sure I can be better than before for some strong ideas this engagement.

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