Types of Fun Summer Activities for Teens

Teens making flatbread pizzas in kitchen

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Although most teens look forward to summer break, many of them grow bored by the second week of vacation. And sadly, many bored teens spend their summer vacations staring at their electronics. Or worse yet, summer boredom can lead to poor choices like experimenting with substances or taking risks with friends.

At the very least, a boring summer could affect your teen's learning. She may lose some of her academic skills if she isn't intellectually challenged during the summer. With a little help from you, however, your teen can make this summer the best vacation ever. Here are the best summer activities for teens to keep your child happy, fit, and healthy.

Family Activities Teens Love

Summer is a great time to spend quality time together. Without the stress of school work and with fewer activities on the calendar, you'll likely have more opportunities to bond. Here are some strategies for creating family activities your teen will enjoy.

  • Create family challenges: Establish a weekly contest, such as who can build the highest card tower or the best sandcastle.
  • Enjoy some quiet time together: Go on a family picnic and spend an afternoon watching the clouds. Or, hold an old-fashioned family board game night at home.
  • Make food fun: Whether you make ice cream or you take turns choosing dinner options, there are many opportunities to turn meals into fun family activities.
  • Play with your teen: Whether you toss water balloons at one another, or you dive head-first down the slip-and-slide, don't be a spectator. Show your teen that you're willing to get in there and have fun together.

Projects That Last All Summer

Create a project that will keep your teen busy, but it will also give your teen a sense of accomplishment at the end of the summer. Sit down with your teen and brainstorm some possibilities. Here are a few projects that your teen might want to try.

  • Encourage your teen to volunteer: Talk to your teen about volunteering throughout the summer. Many organizations, like hospitals, accept teen volunteers. Your teen may also be able to participate in fundraisers or enjoy performing random acts of kindness.
  • Plan an event: Let your teen help plan a family vacation or tell him he can throw a back-to-school party if he does the planning. Planning an event could help your teen practice life skills, such as budgeting, time management, and communication.
  • Start a business: Even if your teen is too young to get a job, she can always start a business. A simple lawn care business or dog walking service could be a great way to teach responsibility and earn some extra income.
  • Start a garden: Growing a pizza garden, starting a vegetable garden, or building a flower garden can give your teen something to do all summer. From healthier eating habits to improved psychological well-being, gardening offers teens some surprising benefits.

Physical Activities

With fewer sports activities, summer vacation can lead some teens to become sedentary, which isn't good for their health. Here's how to prevent your teen from becoming a couch potato.

  • Encourage your teen to get active every day: If your teen doesn't participate in organized sports during the summer months, encourage her to find ways to stay active. Challenge her to ride her bike five miles per day or to swim at the town pool several times a week.
  • Plan family activities that involve exercise: Go hiking as a family on the weekends or go for a walk every evening after dinner. Look for new activities you can try as a family, too. Whether you experiment with frisbee golf or you take surfing lessons together, make fitness fun.

Intellectual Activities

Summer brain drain can be a real problem, especially if your teen spends his days playing video games. Encourage him to get involved in activities that will help him keep his mind sharp. Help him discover fun activities that encourage learning.

  • Encourage your teen to read: Take a weekly trip to the library and challenge your teen to read a new book each week. Encourage him to explore new genres or to start a book club with friends. Reading can help keep your teen's brain active, and it can turn him into a lifelong learner.
  • Think about the future: Summer is a great time to encourage your teen to focus a little on the future. Visit a college together or help arrange for your teen to job shadow someone who works in a career that interests him.
  • Use electronics in a healthy way: Rather than staring at a screen, encourage your teen to build a website, or learn graphic designing.

Plan Indoor Activities

It's important to plan for those rainy days or searing hot days when your teen isn't likely to go outside. Find some indoor activities that your teen can keep in mind so she won't get bored. Here are some ideas that can keep her busy.

  • Encourage household activities: There are always things that can be done around the house. Let your teen paint her bedroom a new color or assign chores, like cleaning out the garage. Challenge her to show you that she can be responsible.
  • Provide art supplies: Art projects can be as simple as a collage made from old magazines or can involve complicated crafts like sewing a new outfit. Encourage your teen to write songs, draw pictures, and create poetry.

Activities With Friends

It's important for teens to maintain healthy friendships. And sometimes, during summer vacations, a little adult support can ensure those friendships stay active in the absence of school. Here are a few fun activities for teens to do with friends during the summer.

  • Allow your teen to have friends over: There's a lot to be said for knowing where your teen is and who she is hanging out with, so be willing to host an overnight movie marathon or agree to drive the teens to the beach. If your teen doesn't see friends often, encourage her to plan several events during the summer months.
  • Help teens get involved in the community: Teens have a lot of time during the summer, and quite often, communities have needs. Try to link your teen to community activities, such as organizing an event or reading to children at the library. With a little help getting started, many teens enjoy becoming more involved in their communities.
5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.