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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Surviving Summer with Young Teens


Last year I wrote about surviving summer with kids. I love summer and look forward to it every year. I love all the extra things we can do since we don’t have school. Now that the kids are getting older but that doesn’t mean that summer fun or learning is over. If your teens are not quite old enough to enjoy the benefits of having a “real’ job there is still a lot they can do.  Young teens and pre-teens still like to have fun, and are not necessarily ready to stay home on their own all day with nothing to do.  They also benefit from sticking to a schedule. You don’t want them to sleep the day away do you?
So what can you do with Young Teens this summer?
  • Free Movie Days at the Library or local Movie Theaters – kids this age still enjoy going to cartoons. Check to see if your local theaters have a free or low cost movie series in the summer.

  • The Neighborhood Pool or Community Pool- What kid does not enjoy going to the pool. By the time kids are 11 –14 they are probably not taking swim lessons anymore, but would enjoy going to the pool.. For us the pool has the added benefit of having life guards, something our lakes do not have here in Oklahoma.
  • Host a Get Together at Your House  - Believe me you don’t need much to make this age group happy, some water and some fun, a pool is not necessary though it helps, but hey then you have to play life guard. A tarp some water balloons and some squirt guns are all you need. Through in some popsicles and everyone is happy.
summer 2010 034
  • Host a sleepover – My kids are always asking to have friends sleep over during the school year. No need to have a birthday party just ask each of the kids to bring a snack and a movie to share, or better yet have the sleep out in the back yard, your tent probably does not get enough use anyway.
  • Set up a small tent as a getaway for your young teen – This was one of my favorite retreats when I was a kid. My parents bought me a cheap pup tent and helped me to set it up in our back “woods” (still in view of the house) I would spend hours out in the tent. Whenever my mother sent us outside to play this is where you would find me when that summer I was 11.
  • Start a Business – many young teens can’t wait to earn money, they are the perfect age to start a lawn mowing business, dog walker, babysitter or a creative business.
  • Have a Photography Scavenger Hunt – do this as a group event or even share it on Facebook for friends who can not attend.  For those teens who are old enough to be on Facebook.
  • Make Your Own Ice Cream – you can use the Ziploc baggie method or any variety of ice cream makers
  • Have A Tie Dye Party – recycle those stained t-shirts by tie dying them.
  • Job Shadow Someone -  Find someone who has a career you would like to try on for a day. Ask them if you can shadow them for day.
  • Go to the Park or Playground yes, even big kids like the playground. Try a new one for a change of pace. One of our favorites doesn’t even have “playground equipment’ instead it has rock formations. All of my kids 8-14 love to scamper all over it.
  • Go Explore the City Around You –Head Downtown or to other areas of your town or city you have not been to before.
  • Let them Stay Up All Night – No not every night but just once. perhaps on the Summer Solstice. They love the idea of staying up all night at this age. They will soon learn that it is not as glamorous as it sounds.
  • Volunteer – There are plenty of volunteer opportunities for even young kids. Our local food  bank accepts families as volunteers.
  • Go Stargazing  - Locate a local astronomy group and see if you can meet up with them. Some amateur astronomer clubs have amazing telescopes and they just might let you use them.
  • Go to a Water Park -  Now that the kids are older I can actually enjoy going to a water park with the kids and they are old enough to enjoy it too.

  • Go to a Minor League Baseball Game – These can be quite economical. Our local team has $2 Tuesdays. Any home game on a Tuesday is only $2 with $2 concession stand items. A family (of 5)  outing for under $20 including food? Better yet some minor league teams have free tickets for different groups on special nights, scouts, little league teams.
  • Go for a Hike – Hikes can be had anywhere, our favorites are around our property but growing up we used to go out for “hikes” in the adjacent woods. For older kids a longer hike can be enjoyed.
  • Learn a New Skill -  older kids can still learn new things, like crocheting or knitting or sewing.
  • Work on a Scrapbook/Photo Album – This past year I turned over the scrap booking efforts to my children. Yes you read that right. I have given them their pictures and mementos to scrapbook themselves.

What are your ideas for surviving Summer with Young Teens? Add them in the comments below.

For more ideas on surviving summer with kids of all ages and a simple summer schedule check out this post.

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