I love teenagers. For 15 years, I spent week after week creating nights of fun activities for teens. I observed that teens love to laugh, play, experience adventure, and be heard. If you can create an experience that includes at least one of these, you’ll be off and running. When you create an experience that includes all four, you’ll make a bonding moment and, potentially, a lifelong memory.
Here are 10 fun things to do with your teens.
1. Get active.Teens tend to have a lot of energy to get out, so go out there and get active with them.
Teens tend to have a lot of energy to get out, so go out there and get active with them. Play basketball or tennis. Take them to a lake and water ski or tube in the summer. In the winter, take them to the slopes to ski.
2. Have a movie marathon.
Come to a consensus on which movie series or genre to watch. A friend of mine did an Avengers marathon with a group of guys and another friend did the Lord of the Rings trilogy with his kids. It can be that or romantic comedies with your daughter. Get everyone’s favorite food, stay up late, perhaps even all night. Make it a special event. You can even make it a tradition. There will probably be some unexpected conversations along the way.
3. Hike, camp, or rock climb.
This definitely brings in the adventure component. Find a trail to hike or a campground. If you are trained and have the proper equipment, take them rock climbing. If not, find a local rock climbing gym. There’s nothing like conquering a physical challenge together.
4. Go to an amusement park.
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. The shared adrenaline rush on a roller coaster as your stomach feels like it leaves your body will be a moment neither of you forget.
5. Do community service.
It’s important your teen learns that the world really doesn’t revolve around him or her. This doesn’t have to be a tough lesson, however. There are opportunities to volunteer that are rewarding as well as fun. Working side by side with your teen in a way that involves sacrifice for the benefit of another will elevate your relationship.
6. Take a road trip.
From coast to coast to everything in between, there is adventure to be found on the road. Make sure your child gets to see the sites up close and personal. Find quirky places to visit. Most of all, keep off the interstate when at all possible. The people, the food, and the scenery will bring hours of conversation.
Take your teen on a nature hike and hunt the beautiful creatures and landscape. Try to capture as many as you can on your phone. Take the time beforehand to learn what animals you may see and their behavior. This will keep you and the animals safe as well. Your child will learn an appreciation for nature and all its living creatures.
8. Play games.
Host a game night at your house if your teens are willing. Games are one of the most fun activities for teens. Get a great spread of food and play Family, Mafia (although I personally like a similar game called The Werewolves of Millers Hollow even better), Catch Phrase, Over the Mountain, Four on the Couch, Three on the Couch (completely different game), Two Truths and a Lie, or Pictionary Down The Lane. For directions and rules for all these games, click here.
9. Go bowling.
Maybe it’s the simple nature of the sport or the obvious lack of tension in the building that puts everyone at ease. Grab some food, laugh at the gutterballs, and cheer for each others’ strikes.
10. Let them decide.
The whole point is to spend meaningful time with your kids. Let them decide what they would like to do as long as it’s within reason. You may learn something you never knew about them or possibly even yourself. Give them control and go along with enthusiasm.
Sound off: What fun things have you done with your teens?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What ideas do you have for having fun without using tablets or phones?”