Many parents are gearing up for the summer months and trying to figure out what to do with their young teens aged 13, 14 and 15. They are too old for day care but not old enough to get a job yet. So what can you do with your kids this summer to keep them from spending 18 hours a day plugged into a computer, television or video game console? Actually there are a lot of things.
Of course one of the major problems to getting them out of the house is transportation. How to get a child who does not drive to an activity that only occurs during the working day can be a problem. Consider the following options to solve this problem:
- Ask family/friends for help providing transportation to specific activities.
- Find a 16 or 17 year old who has a license, but no summer job to drive for a fee.
- Choose activities that are near public transportation.
- Choose activities they can bike to.
- Carpool with other families who may be participating in that activity.
- If you know someone who is currently out of job offer to pay them to drive.
- Schedule a cab.
Once you have solved the problem of transportation you can start choosing activities. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
10 Ideas To Keep Your Teen Busy This Summer
Have A List Of Chores Each Day
Okay, this one seems pretty obvious to many parents, but consider adding additional chores in the summer that you would normally take care of yourself:
- Weed the garden
- Vacuum the living room
- Do the laundry
- Make dinner
- Clean out the dishwasher
- Mow the lawn
Take some time before the summer to show your teen how to do specific chores and then make them practice all summer long. You may need to write out step-by-step directions for them to follow.
When you leave a list each day, make sure there are consequences for not doing them too.
Find Them A Hobby
Often kids this age have something they are interested in doing. It could be making jewelry, anime, sports or Facebook. See if you can get them to expand on an existing hobby and learn new skills through community education classes or simply start a new hobby for the summer. If they have friends who enjoy the same activity this could be a great way to spend some time together.
Many hobbies can be expanded beyond the class time to learn. Be sure to provide plenty of supplies for whatever their chosen hobby may be.
Check Out Local Library Activities Or Community Education Activities
Many libraries have free classes throughout the summer. Check the listing and be sure to register early to get into classes or activities they find interesting. Local community education services are another place to look for fun activities throughout the summer. These activities are often only ½ day commitments so be sure to encourage your teen to choose several throughout the summer.
Other places to check for fun classes or activities are local museums and parks. Often they will have summer activities specifically for families and children. These should also be registered for as early as possible to ensure a place in the class or activity.
Volunteer At A Local Senior Center Or Religious Organization
Some teens are very interested in giving back to their community. They may want to check into local volunteer opportunities for the summer. If there are not official programs in the area, check with a local senior center or religious organization. Many churches need lots of help for their own summer programs and would be glad of an extra pair of hands.
Try to choose organizations close to home so your teen can provide their own transportation.
Start An Online Business
Today there are many adults who make a living with an online business. Teens can also make some extra cash online. If they enjoy writing they can write a book and publish it on Amazon.com, if they enjoy a hobby they can share that hobby and sell the supplies to others as an affiliate and make money.
They can form a private Facebook group around a specific subject and charge for membership. If they enjoy creating websites they can make websites for others who don't know how. There are many different ways to make money online.
Making money online takes a lot of hard work and there is definitely a learning curve, but taking the time to learn how to make money online will keep them busy too.
Summer Day Camps
Summer day camps do exist for teens on many different subjects. They may want to attend for a week or for the entire summer. Check the local YMCA for summer camps as well as with local community education services.
Some school districts also provide a summer day camp option in an effort to keep kids busy and learning all summer long.
Explore The City
If you live in a large metropolitan area it can be fun for kids to use public transportation to explore the city. Of course you will need to decide how safe you feel about your child taking the bus or train and where they can go. This may be something they can do with their friends.
One idea is to assign them a type of place to visit each week and then have them take photos and tell you about their adventure. One week it could be a museum, another week it could be a park, a third week may have something to do with science and a fourth week have something to do with water.
Be creative in what you ask them to explore and let them handle all of the planning. This will teach them how to get around on their own as well as how to plan an outing with others.
Train For A Fall Event
Not every child is interested in participating in sports but you can challenge your teen to participate in a fall event such as a marathon, Frisbee tournament or art show. Choose a fall event they are excited about and help them plan how to prepare. That could mean training schedules or providing supplies for the art.
Be sure to check in regularly on their progress in preparing for the event, but don't push too hard. If they aren't prepared the natural consequence is that they won't do well.
Start A Summer Business
If your child isn't interested in an online business but still wants to make some extra cash this summer have them create their own summer business. Traditionally many kids this age will babysit, mow lawns or take care of pets.
If none of these are interesting have them brainstorm their own ideas. Remember the key to a successful business is identifying a problem, identify the solution and sell the solution.
Teens can be very creative and you may be surprised at what they come up with for a money making business.
Brainstorm With Them For More Ideas
If none of these ideas are interesting to your teen it may be time to sit down with them and brainstorm what they will do for the summer. If you have specific things you want them to do make sure they know what they are, but let them choose some activities also.
Summer is supposed to be a time to relax and have some fun so be realistic in your expectations. They will want to sleep in and may want to stay up late as well. Provide some specific guidelines for what is acceptable and of course consequences as well. If you work together now the summer will be much more fun for parents and teens alike.