10 Fun Things to Do with Your Teens

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Mark Twain dispensed this advice when raising a teenager: “When a child turns 12, he should be kept in a barrel and fed through a hole, until he reaches 16…at which time you should plug the hole.”

It doesn’t have to be as bad as that, does it? In fact, raising teens can be the most enjoyable parenting task. Let’s start with 10 fun things to do with your teens:

1. Reminisce
Most likely when you look at your teen, you still see the little child he once was. Pull out the old photos and videos and sit down with your older child. He will have so much fun seeing himself and hearing old stories. Another idea is to visit his elementary school. If you find past teachers, be sure to take pictures!

2. Play sports
If your teen is into sports, get out there and play with her. Good-natured competition teaches many great lessons. Put up a basketball goal in the driveway. Toss baseball or a football in the yard. Tennis. Soccer. So much fun to be had.

3. Catch a flick
They might force you to take them to a theater none of their friends will be at, but go along with it. Make it a monthly date. Just you and your teens. Check out many different genres and talk about them afterwards. Girls will especially like the talking. If your teens are boys, maybe just go get a shake after and talk about the stuff that blew up.

4. The great outdoors
Remember John Candy in that movie? He was trying to have fun with his teen also. There were a lot of mishaps and he was attacked by an angry bear, but the job got done. Whether you rent a cabin, rough it tough-guy style, or just go hiking for a day, get outside and have fun! God’s creation never disappoints.

5. Big parks, big fun
Not much can rival the fun of a big amusement park. Wherever you live, there is one within driving distance. As long as you are in good health, get out there with your teen and have a blast. Do not be chicken to get on that big coaster! The shared adrenaline rush as your stomach feels like it leaves your body will be a moment neither of you will forget.

6. Community service
It’s important your teen learns that the world really doesn’t revolve around him. This doesn’t have to be a tough lesson however. There are endless opportunities to volunteer that are rewarding as well as great fun. Working side by side with your teen for a cause bigger than yourselves will bond you in a mighty, joyous way.

7. Hit the road
From coast to coast to everything in between, America consists of stunning beauty. Make sure your child gets to see it up close and personal. Find quirky places to visit. Most of all, keep off the interstate when at all possible. The people, the food, the scenery and the fun will create shared, lifelong memories.

8. Photo hunt
In the 90’s, there was a television show called Northern Exposure. One of the main characters created a brilliant new way to hunt – with his camera. Take your teen on a nature hike with cameras in hand, and hunt the beautiful creatures and landscape. Take the time beforehand to learn what animals you may see and their behavior. This will keep you safe and the animals as well. Your child will learn an appreciation for the beauty of nature and all its living creatures, and you will both have great fun.

9. Bowling
If it was good enough for Fred Flintstone, it’s good enough for you. Something about the game of bowling brings out the best in families. Have you ever seen many frowns at a bowling alley? Maybe it’s the simple nature of the sport and the obvious lack of pretension in the building that puts one at ease. Grab some of that fun bowling alley food and get ready for the big grins.

10. Let them decide
The whole point is to spend meaningful time with your child. Let her decide what she would like to do as long as it’s withinreason. You may learn something you never knew about her or possibly even yourself. Give her control and go with the flow!

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What’s one fun thing we can do together this summer?

lists to love by
Bruce Matthews
Char Griller