Now that summer is here, you might find it difficult to find healthy and fun things for your teen to do in all of his or her free time. Since a bored teenager is more likely to experiment with alcohol, drugs, sex, cigarettes, and other harmful vices, it’s best to discourage this type of behavior by encouraging your teen to stay busy. If they’re bored or not engaged, have no fear: We have compiled a list of 10 summer activities that your teen might enjoy. Read on for some great summer activities.
1. Make an Obstacle Course
Do you remember when your teen was younger and he or she would gather up friends in the living room and use the couch cushions and whatever blankets they could find to make a fort? While your teen might still enjoy that, using those building skills outdoors to make an obstacle course could be a slightly more grown-up alternative. Encourage them to use what you have in the yard or garage: an old tarp, a garden hose, some tires, the picnic table, and so on, and let them invite the neighborhood kids to join in on the fun.
2. Get a Summer Job
While flipping burgers might not sound like your teen’s idea of a fun summer activity, there are plenty of summer jobs that teens might find to be a blast. They could lifeguard at the community pool, work as a teen counselor at a camp for younger children, pet-sit, babysit, do handyperson tasks for private individuals, or anything else that they enjoy doing that someone else might want to pay them for. Encourage them to think out of the box; you might have a budding entrepreneur on your hands! These summer activities will teach valuable lessons.
3. Start a Blog or Website
Is your teen savvy when it comes to all things Internet? Working on a website or a blog can give them something to do every day. They could write about their feelings, add poetry, take photographs, or write essays about whatever they’re passionate about. In addition to building a website for their own personal use, they could offer to build websites for others, too. Summer Activities like this can become a lucrative part-time job once they spend some time getting to know the various platforms available.
4. Go Camping
Teens often love camping, especially in a group: They get to sleep outside and there are no parents to overhear what they’re talking about. While you should know where your teen is and that they are in a safe spot (and not bringing any illicit substances along), camping is something that most adolescents can manage safely. Make sure they have a charged cell phone and a first aid kit and that they aren’t too far off the beaten path.
5. Have a Movie Marathon
Offer to let your teen host a movie night with his or her friends. They might choose to binge on horror movies, 80s flicks, or a series such as Star Wars. Know that they’ll likely be up all night and that they will likely eat all of the snacks in your pantry, but most teens enjoy hosting friends overnight. Provide some light supervision to ensure that there’s no drinking or any other negative behaviors, but for the most part, teens can plan and handle this type of get-together on their own.
6. Learn to Cook Something New
Does your teen like to cook? The summer is the perfect time for them to learn how to create new recipes because there is usually more free time before dinner. The later sunsets are another boon; if your teen needs to wait for you to get home from work, your family can just eat later. Teens often enjoy their food more if they were the one to cook it, and they will take their cooking skills with them into adulthood. Summer activities like this are great since they translate into great life skills.
7. Take an Art Class
An artistic teen might like to spend hours painting, sculpting, and drawing, but at some point, they might tire of their current skill set. This is when an art class can fill a void by showing them new techniques to try out. Check out your local community centers, any art center that is in your area, the Girls and Boys Club, or even local community colleges or libraries to see if they are holding courses.
8. Learn a New Sport
If your teen isn’t very sporty, summer is a great time for them to learn some new swimming strokes or how to play tennis. An indoor sport like tae kwon do is another good option. If your teen is athletic and enjoys playing sports during the school year, maybe there’s a different sport they’d like to try over the summer. Would your teen like to learn sailing, lacrosse, or volleyball? Check and see if there is a camp they could attend for a week or two to learn and hone those skills.
9. Start a Garden
Gardening is a summertime activity that some teens are surprised that they enjoy so much. It’s relaxing and gets them out in the sunshine and fresh air. Gardening is a hobby that can relieve stress, too; whether it’s the satisfaction of seeing food or flowers grow from seeds or just the routine of weeding and watering, many people find it soothing. Start small; if you haven’t gardened before, don’t let your teen get too ambitious. Start with a container garden or an herb garden and see what blossoms.
10. Read Some Good Books
If your teen does not currently have a library card, encourage them to sign up for one. Books can take your teen to new places, especially if they choose genres that they don’t usually read in school or for pleasure. If your adolescent is reluctant to read, suggest audio books or graphic novels, which read like comic books. It only takes one good book to spark a love of reading, so continue to encourage them to try new types of books including autobiographies, mysteries, fiction off of the bestsellers list, and nonfiction books on a wide variety of subjects.