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Chart a new Course

A Summers Worth of Activities for Teens

on Categories Summer Enrichment
Men reading book with his two daughters
Summer fun can quickly turn to boredom if your teen doesn’t have a job or isn’t trying to stay active. You can stop summer boredom in its tracks with these creative ideas for teens:

Leaders are Readers

Reading is one of the best escapes for boredom and the public library is filled to the brim with lots of interesting adventures! Have teens pick a subject and read every book in the library on that topic. Or select an author and read all of their books. Keep track of the books and write critiques. Teens can volunteer to read to younger children at the local library. Have lots of books at home collecting dust? Then hold a book swap with friends.

Family in a car going fishing

Get Creative

In school, teens “have to” do projects but during the summer they “get to” do what they like so encourage them to explore their creative side – either alone or with friends. Write stories, plays, poems, or songs. Design a website, create a photo journal or make a “how to” video. Learn how to sew or make jewelry. Start a journal and each day list something new they learned, then share that list with family and friends.

Help Plan a Family Vacation

The Internet puts so much information at your fingertips so involve your teen in planning your summer vacation. They can help research destinations, activities and restaurants. This participation lets them find something special that they really want to do while travelling with family and they get to plan those activities. Many families have their own websites or Facebook pages so they can share photos of vacations and special events – designate your teen to be the official “family photographer” to capture the best moments of your time together.

Kids playing

Discover Nature

Everyone likes to eat but very few people know where their food comes from so encourage your teen to plant and tend to a vegetable garden. Or grow lavender and mint to make potpourri. Have a creek or stream nearby? Teens can learn to fish, or research local critters to build a frog trap. Young scientists will love looking at water, leaves and other outdoor treasures under a microscope (many public libraries have ones you can borrow!) Go stargazing – the International Astronomical Union recognizes 88 constellations covering the entire northern and southern sky. Visit to see how many your teen can discover.

Be a Kid Again

Have younger siblings? Then let them plan the fun for the day for your older teen who has to do what the young sibling wants to do: play their favorite board games, ride bikes or host a water balloon fight. Read their favorite stories and color in a coloring book. Run through the sprinklers or teach them how to swim. Create a scavenger hunt with household items and easy clues. Time spent with younger siblings teaches patience, empathy and responsibility. It also gives them experience to be a paid babysitter for family and friends.

People working

Become a Master Chef

There’s more to dinner than eating so let your teen see just how “easy” it is to plan and prepare family meals for a week. From planning menus, to developing a shopping list, to actually cooking the meal – teens learn important lessons in planning, budgeting and time management – and parents get a home-cooked meal without lifting a finger! There are many “how to cook” videos on YouTube so all they need is a computer and an appetite.

Be Charitable

We all have closets full of clothes we’ve outgrown or don’t wear any more, and so do our children. Have them spend time filling a “donation bag” of clothes, books and toys that they don’t use any more, and then donate them to a local charity. Teens might not be old enough for a paying job but they can always volunteer at a local community event or hold a car wash to raise money for a non-profit in your area. Planning, promoting and enlisting friends to support their charitable event are great lessons for teens.

Job eduction sign

Figure Out Their Future

Summer vacation is a perfect time to research future careers and to investigate the training needed for the job of their dream. Once again, the Internet provides a multitude of resources like that help teens explore careers, investigate educational requirements and find a job. Its also a great time to research post-high school options and visit colleges (combining college tours with mini-vacations!)

While all of these activities might not be available in your community or suited to your teen, hopefully they’ll give you many ideas to keep your children happy and active this summer!