Things to do with your teen

When your kids are 12 – 16 years old, it’s more important than ever to stay connected. How can you know what’s going on in their lives if you’re never together? Luckily, there are lots of activities that foster warmth, laughter, and conversation with your teen.  Best of all, they’re free. Go ahead and have some warm-weather fun!

  • wash the car together and let your teen get you drenched.
  • invite your teen to sit in the driver’s seat and find the windshield wipers, the horn, and the lights.
  • walk around the neighborhood when it’s dark outside. Spooky! (Bring a flashlight!)
  • build a small campfire and make smores or roast hot dogs.
  • pack a picnic, go to the local baseball field, and eat while you watch a game.
  • a few minutes before bedtime, grab a deck of cards, plop on their bed, and play cards.
  • page through a catalog together and see what catches your teen’s eye.
  • go outside and have a catch together. How many tosses before you drop one?
  • play tennis at the park.
  • challenge your teen’s buddy and their parent to a game (basketball, tennis, cards, or whatever).
  • lend your teen a camera, ask them to take some pictures, and then look at the results together.
  • if you have a girl who loves fashion, ask her to give you a makeover.
  • make different types of popcorn (caramel, buttered, cheese) and watch a movie together.
  • swap your “most embarrassing moments” stories.
  • bring a beach ball to a pool and bat it back and forth while you swim.
  • try to throw a ball so that your teen can catch it as they jump off a diving board.
  • ask to read your teen’s favorite book.  When you are finished, talk about it over ice cream.
  • get a wad of bubble gum and see who can blow the biggest bubble.
  • put on old sneakers and wade in a stream. What will you find?
  • ask if you can listen to your teen’s favorite song. Let them listen to one of your songs.
  • challenge your teen to a kick, punt, and throw contest.
  • while your teen is in her room, ask if you sit on her floor and read a book.
  • find out when there will be a meteorite shower, then go look for shooting stars.
  • play frisbee golf. Start at one spot and see how many throws it takes to get to another spot.
  • try a video game, preferably one neither of you have played before.
  • play chess.  If you don’t finish the game, save it for later.
  • watch your teen’s favorite TV show together.
  • ask you teen to teach you something.
  • try something totally new together.
  • do both of you play instruments? Have a jam session, play a duet, sing harmony.
  • set out a jigsaw puzzle and ask your teen to help you for a few minutes.
  • recreate your teen’s favorite restaurant food in your kitchen.
  • just for laughs, draw portraits of one another (in pencil) and giggle at the results.
  • team up and do something nice for a family member or neighbor.
  • look at baby pictures from the family photo album.
  • if you can sew, teach your kid how to make drawstring pants to lounge in.
  • go fishing at a local pond.

I’d love to hear the activities that you and your teen enjoy together!

Karen & Gerard Zemek April 21, 2010 at 5:28 am

This is a great list! I would add going to see a play or musical together (but that costs money). Volunteering together for the same organization is another free activity you could do.
.-= Karen & Gerard Zemek´s last blog ..Duct Tape To The Rescue in Five Ways =-.

Elizabeth April 21, 2010 at 7:36 am

My son is only 5 but we have started Geocaching as a family. It’s like Orienteering or Letterboxing but with GPS. Charlie calls it treasure hunting. I have found it to be addicting. You can see how it works at . It makes for a fun outdoor activity and can be done anywhere you go!
.-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Happy Earth Day week! our attemps at going greener =-.

Amber April 21, 2010 at 10:10 am

Ok, I’m coming over for makeover and movie/popcorn night. But only if we can watch Father of the Bride part II. Fun post! Can you make on listing things to do with your ADD dog next?
.-= Amber´s last blog ..Giveaway VI: Granny Square Wash Cloths =-.

Kristina P. April 21, 2010 at 11:36 am

These are great ideas, Lynn. I think these would be helpful for the parent group we offer at my work.
.-= Kristina P.´s last blog ..Glamour Shots Gone Wild! Blog Carnival! =-.

Tammy April 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm


I know I have told you before but I love your blog. It has quickly become my favorite (shh don’t tell anyone! ha ha). Your photos are great (I dream of being able to take photos as well as you do and it looks like with such ease) and your writing is just as good. All of your ideas are wonderful to do with your teens. I do not have any children, I pray that some day I will be blessed with a child. I however, was very blessed to have a mom that always took time to do things with me. One of the things we use to do was walk to the mall, then go shopping or window shopping there, have lunch and then walk home. My mother didn’t drive and if my father was at work this was one of the things we use to do. I am fortunate that we have always been close. They say parents (moms) can’t be friends and parents, that is BS! I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had her for my mom and a BFF!!

Sorry for the rambling. I think everyone needs to take some time with their children especially nowadays it seems everyone is so caught up in either work or making sure their kids are in a million activities and they are only shuttling them around.

Oh… another thing we do.. make cards! Originally it might cost for some supplies but it does end up being a blast!

Great list!

lori April 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Great ideas-my 16 year old and I like to play monopoly card game together. She also likes to scrapbook with me.
.-= lori´s last blog ..American Inspiring Idol =-.

~Melody @ 6 Feet Over~ April 22, 2010 at 12:23 am

I dont know why, but this just made me cry…I have a 2 year old. Just makes me think of how fast time is going to fly by….wonderful list…

Melissa Multitasking Mama April 22, 2010 at 8:04 am

This is a great post- I have three teen/tweens to entertain this summer. if you don’t mind I am going to link this post up on my Teen/Tween thursday meme.
.-= Melissa Multitasking Mama´s last blog ..Bullying: When Should Parents Intervene =-.

MadeByMarni April 22, 2010 at 10:31 am

Great ideas! Sometimes teens think they don’t want to hang out with their parents, and there probably are some parents I wouldn’t want to hang out with (lol), but, their “inner child” still wants affirmation from their parent! I have a 22 year old daughter that is now a mommy and we are closer than ever! My 17 year old still likes to hang out with me. At times, it is hard to find time to just hang out, but, find the time, it’s worth it!
.-= MadeByMarni´s last blog ..Grandson Quip of the Week =-.

Dianna@KennedyAdventures April 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm

It brings tears to my eyes, since I have a 15 year old, and have a very hard time ‘relating’ to her. Thanks so much!

Lee-Ann April 23, 2010 at 10:25 pm

What a great list of activities! A lot of them work with younger kids too. It is so important to connect with your kids, especially 1-1.
.-= Lee-Ann´s last blog ..Part One of Conception to Newborns: Get the Nitty Gritty =-.

What does my name mean? April 27, 2010 at 12:39 am

wat is your myspace page

limewire April 30, 2010 at 9:11 pm

wow sweet story dude.

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