1. Introduce Them to Pickleball, KanJam or PaddleSmash
No, we’re not talking signing up for a team or lessons. Challenge your kid to try out a sport that’s purely recreational. It’ll get them moving, having fun and burning off a little steam. (For the uninitiated, Pickleball is like ping pong and tennis combined. PaddleSmash is, essentially, a portable version of pickleball—so you don’t need to have access to a court to play. And KanJam is a game where you toss discs into cans, which is both more fun—and challenging—than it sounds.)
2. Play Chess
This game of strategy goes way back, and the creativity and critical thinking it requires explains why it never gets old.
3. School Them in a Classic Video Game
Yeah, your kid’s a pro at Call of Duty, but how would she fare with something a bit more retro? We can sense a Tetris showdown coming on.
4. Go for a Hike
The best medicine for a languishing teen is an afternoon of vigorous exercise in the Great best hiking trails in the U.S.you’re in need of some inspo, here’s a guide to the
5. Play Cards
There are tons of card games that can keep a group entertained, but solitaire is always a solid choice for a teen party of one.
Put that teenage angst down on paper—and if you’re brave, give it a read in ten years’ time. Here are some prompts that may inspire them.
7. Visit a Museum
Psst: Your teen can soak up some culture without leaving the couch by taking one of these virtual museum tours.
8. Walk Through the Botanical Garden
Head to the local botanical garden to learn about the flora whilst enjoying the mood-boosting benefits of a serene stroll and fresh air.
9. Hit the Bike Trail
BMX, cruiser or fixie—whatever type of bike your teen has, summer is the perfect time to take that baby for a ride.
10. Go for a Run
For teens who have felt particularly lethargic (and possibly surly), a hot and sweaty cardio sesh might just be the solution to the summertime blues—’cause, you know, endorphins.
11. Start (or Join) a Book Club
This roundup of our top picks for teens has good reads in every genre.
12. Grow a Flower, Herb or Salad Garden
Gardening is an excellent workout and an opportunity to practice mindfulness, to boot. (And the fruits of your labor aren’t so bad, either.)
13. Have a Yard Sale
Missed the spring cleaning boat? No worries—It’s never too late to purge some old stuff and make a buck while you’re at it.
Gather some friends to pick up trash at a local park, help out at a soup kitchen or do some virtual volunteering from the comfort of home—no matter how you go about it, giving back just feels good.
15. Get Artsy
You don’t need to be the next Van Gogh to enjoy some time spent with a sketchbook or blank canvas. Psst: If you’re in need of inspiration and supplies, these art subscription boxes will help.
16. Relax in a Hammock
Teens like to kick back (who doesn’t?) and swaying in a hammock with a glass of lemonade in hand is arguably the best way to spend a lazy summer afternoon.
17. Learn a New Dance
Get your teen to cut a rug (and break a sweat) with one of these dance workout videos—you know, so they have some fresh moves ready for homecoming.
When the days are so hot it makes sense to stay indoors, just wait for nightfall when temperatures drop and you can send your teen outside for some fresh air under the stars.
19. Have a Picnic
When air-conditioning is a requirement, an indoor picnic can be just as fun (and far more comfortable).
20. Take Up Photography
Time for Insta-fanatics to get artsy.
21. Go Fishing
A little bonding time with your teen is in order and fishing fits the bill.
22. Write Letters
Whether your teen finds a pen pal or writes a heartfelt note that makes Grandma’s day, a handwritten letter is a welcome change of pace from texting.
23. Find a Summer Internship
You know, because they’ll be joining the workforce before you know it.
Encourage your teen to get creative on their own bedroom wall, lest they opt for a not-so-legal form of artistic expression instead. Arch accents are trending right now, and this video makes it surprisingly easy to pull off using a pencil, tape and string (and, oh yeah, paint).
25. Make Pizza
The teen in your life will be far more inclined to suffer a family dinner when they’ve just played pizzaiolo. Here are some of our go-to recipes.
26. Make a Summer Playlist
Bonus points if you get your kid to bring you on as a collaborator so you can introduce them to some oldies-but-goodies.
27. Watch a Movie
Drive-in? Movie theater? Backyard viewing? When it comes to spicing up the Netflix + living room couch routine, there are plenty of options.
28. Go to the Pool
Between sunbathing and raucous pool games, there’s plenty of fun to be had with friends at a public or backyard pool.
Or maybe point your budding star baker in the direction of a no-bake dessert recipe so everyone can satisfy their sweet tooth without overworking the A/C.
Now that the school year has come to an end, it’s time to commemorate all those coming-of-age memories with a scrapbooking project. After all, disposable cameras are trending with Gen Z, so they might as well put all those snaps to use.
31. Go for a Drive
Needless to say, this suggestion applies to licensed teen drivers only. Added incentive? Have them look up mini road trips they can take on a single tank of gas—perhaps a national park, cool museum or quirky roadside attraction (ahem, world’s largest ball of yarn)—that they can chronicle with their cameras. And later add to their journals and scrapbooks (it all comes full circle!).
32. Try Indoor Rock Climbing
Here, a risk-free but thrilling workout that takes place in a refreshingly cool indoor gym.
33. Make It a Beach Day
We see an Instagram photoshoot in your teen’s future.
34. Tackle a DIY Project
Make it a team effort and the finished project will inspire pride in parents and kids alike. Here are some nifty ideas to consider.
35. Go Camping
The backyard is a totally acceptable place to pitch a tent if you’re not wild about the idea of a teens-only wilderness adventure.
36. Fly Kites
Or a drone if your teen is currently too cool to participate in such a quaint pastime. (Sigh.)
37. Try Creative Writing
That’s right—your gloomy 16-year-old is ready to fill the blank page with the stuff of the next Great American Novel.
38. Work on a Puzzle
This calm, brain-boosting activity is just right for teens who are bored but not feeling particularly energetic. (i.e., met your ‘go for a run’ suggestion with an epic eye-roll.)
39. Belt It Out at Karaoke
40. Phone a Grandparent
Always a good lesson to stay in touch with the older generation in the family
41. Go to a Concert
Score your teen tickets to see a band they love and you’ll be giving the gift of a memorable experience and instantly achieving ‘cool mom’ status in one fell swoop.
42. Visit the Zoo
Watching those meerkats get all silly may help your disenchanted teen reconnect with their inner child. (Just sayin.’)
43. Have a Tie-dye Party
Ask your teen to invite some besties over for a backyard tie-dye party—just be sure to consult these tips to ensure it’s a smooth and mess-free event.
44. Build a Family Tree
This parent-teen bonding project will pique your kid’s curiosity and give both of you all the feels.
45. Craft Something Cool
Have your teen browse Pinterest for inspo, or maybe just suggest one of these mason jar crafts. Easy-peasy.
46. Make Family Dinner
All the same benefits of making a pizza, but better-suited for low-carb and gluten-free families.
47. Bowl with Friends
Here, an indoor leisure activity that lends itself to casual socializing with friends. (Hint: If your teen has a blast at the bowling alley, be sure to look into summer league opportunities.)
48. Look at Colleges
Spoiler: It’s more exciting than studying for the SATs.
49. Go on a Food Crawl
Your teen is too young for a bar crawl (thank goodness), but a food crawl is an excellent way to explore all the good eats your hometown has on offer. Choose three to five spots, commit to sharing an order at each, and you won’t feel (too) bogged down by the end. Bonus points if you create scorecards to rate the top experiences.
50. Do Some Thrifting
Teens can score cool, retro styles and shop ‘til they drop without maxing out their monthly allowance.
51. Have a Home Spa Day
No need to break the bank at Sephora—just raid the pantry and hook your teen up with some budget-friendly staples that can be used to whip up a rejuvenating DIY face mask.
52. Learn a New Instrument
Word on the street is that boring summers breed rock stars.
53. Make Domino Art
The classic game is plenty of fun to play with a partner, but stand those suckers upright and you have a challenging STEM activity that requires engineering skills and creativity to boot. Plus, the end result is pretty darn neat—just check out domino artist Lily Hevesh’s work and see for yourself.
54. Get a Job
The only thing better than a summer internship is work that actually pays. If your teen groans at the suggestion, just ask how they plan to fund their gap year travel plans.