Teens and tweens in the summer is hard. They’ve had a long school year full of learning, so part of me wants to give them the summer of their dreams (aka, playing their Switch all day), but the other part of me worries that screens will fry their brains. I also want them to use their bodies a bit, and maybe broaden their horizons a bit — SO, hopefully this will give you some ideas for summer activities for teens.
Of course, my favorite activity is reading, which is why I came up with Teen reading bingo (complete with prizes that I talk about in that post) — you can grab it here:
I also did a podcast where I interviewed a teen author in ways to get kids to read more during the summer (includes some GREAT book recommendations)
Buuut… sometimes you need more than a reading bingo sheet #amIright? With an 11 year old and a 16 year old, I needed some good idea to keeps spirits eye, bodies active and trying new things.
So, I’ve come-up with a dozen activities that my kids have been enjoying that are out of our “norm” and your kids might enjoy too!
I also just did a podcast on handling kids during the summer with another fellow teen mom (we have teens, not that WE are teens):
A note on teenage angst:
You will likely get a LOT of pushback when you suggest activities. You have to realize their summer bucket list is hanging with friends and doing things on screens. However, just tell them to put down the screens and come try them.
The key to these, I find — is for me to get involved as well. Yup, I’m out there playing kickball pickleball and badminton. we made bulls eyes for our bow and arrows and we have had a good time (but there have been periods of attitude which we discuss afterwards).
A lot of these may seem like “little kid” activities, but let teens do them in their own way. They can still craft and do things and have fun (they may have just forgotten that).
BTW, don’t forget that having fun as a MOM is important too!
I have also found being on a schedule to help my kids (it doesn’t help all of them, but I think it helps a lot of them) so that they know what time they CAN be on screens).
Don’t forget a summer job can be a GREAT option for older kids. Even just 20 hours a week gives them some good money, and allows them to still enjoy time with friends. 🙂
Activities for Teens to Do During Summer
BTW, I separated them into both outdoor and indoor activities (that link will send you right to the indoor ones).
Goodminton is a combination of badminton and ping pong that is easy to clean up once you’re done.
Zing Bow and Arrows
Zing Bow and Arrows are fun to do target shooting with and maybe even battle one another.
Trac ball is a game where you can chuck plastic at your friends at increasingly high speeds. This thing is a bit expensive, but fun (and sturdy).
Badminton is a good Cul-de-Sac Sport for tweens to let off some competitive edge, and you don’t need a net to have fun! We got ours on Costco, but these ones are good too!
Water guns are a classic way to beat the summer heat.
Indoor Teen Activities
We’ve gotten this as a subscription service before. I just got 3 months during the summer. It’s SUCH a fun surprise to get in the mail and they make really cool stuff (goes up to older teenager too). There’s a few options:
- Kiwi Crate — great all-purpose option for curious kids (meant for smaller kids than teens/tweens)
- Doodle Crate — for kids 9-16, inspiring kids to CREATE
- Tinker Crate — hands on STEM projects for kids 9-16
- Maker Crate — Kids 14-104 get creative and get MAKING
- Eureka Crate — Kids 14-104 build stem projects (just got my 16 year old this set)
Watercolors are a quick and easy way for tweens to show their creative side.
My friend Natalie Malan has some great tips and tutorials.
I was a great scrapbooker back in the day, but my daughter has some interest in picking up where I left off. Now you can scrapbook on your device and it makes it really easy — a great summertime activity.
Another thing you could do is to create a time capsule each summer where they bring in news items, things that are important to them from the school year and “sealing it up” to open in a few years.
Disney drawing videos
The Disney Animation Academy is a good place for tweens to learn to draw their favorite Disney/Pixar characters, and it’s 100% FREE!
Perler beads are a good way to let tweens bring parts of their favorite universes to life. Look up “pixel art” to let them make pictures of their favorite characters. BTW, if they think those are lame look up Diamond Dotz — they are shiny gems you place on a sticky canvas to make pictures. Pretty cool!
The plastic of your youth is still cool. Use a tablet to copy off the internet if you’d like, even your school/team logo. Great for zipper pulls on backpacks.
JackBox Party Pack The JackBox Party Pack series of games are fun to play online with friends. They have family-friendly modes to tone down the provocative content. These are family games, which make me happier than them just playing on their screens.
So, what did I miss? We are still CERTAINLY on the lookout for ideas to keep us busy this summer! Tell me in the comments!
Check out my other teenager posts!
Fun summer activities are meant to be just that, fun! Hopefully this post gave you a summer bucket list for teens with lots of fun summer activities for teens. I know summer camp isn’t in the budget for most families, but these activities for teenagers can keep them busy all summer long in 2023.