How to Keep Your Teen Busy During the Summer

By Rosenya Faith
Jonathan Milnes/iStock/Getty Images

While your sleepy sloth might be happy to lounge on the couch all summer, he’ll probably thank you later if you provide a multitude of new experiences for him instead. Use his interests as a guide to the ideal summer pastimes so he’ll be willing to get off the couch and stay physically and mentally active throughout summer vacation.

Plenty of Play

You can keep your teen busy this summer by sending him to summer camp where he can sharpen his skills, indulge in interests or learn something new. Give your teen a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a summer teen travel program in Costa Rica, Fiji, the Galapagos Islands, West Indies, Iceland, South Africa or Australia. These trips often include a combination of skill building, teamwork, community service and academic enrichment. If you’re on a budget, plan a staycation instead: Turn the pool into a Caribbean oasis and let him have a beach party in the backyard, set up a tent instead for a backyard camping trip or turn the basement into the ultimate gamer’s lounge.

Hard at Work

Whether he’s saving up money toward college tuition or banking some extra cash for his first car, the summertime presents plenty of work opportunities for your teen. He can apply to conventional work at a local coffee shop or fast food restaurant or look for opportunities that coordinate with his interests. A water lover with formal training can apply to work as a lifeguard, while your young fashionista might prefer a part-time job at the mall. Encourage your teen to use his creative entrepreneurial skills, handing out flyers to mow lawns and maintain gardens, offering logo or website design or using his photo manipulation skills to offer composite photo prints.

Good Deeds

Help your teen develop her self-esteem by helping others this summer. You can research the wide variety of volunteer opportunities in your area to find one that coordinates with her interests. Encourage your animal lover to volunteer at a shelter, while your physically active teen can help out with community building projects or volunteer for children's summer sports organizations. Alternatively, help your teen develop his own charitable opportunities. He can muck out the garage to find items for a charity yard sale; hang flyers and spread the word, and then donate the proceeds to his favorite charity. Have him get his friends involved to make it an even grander project.

Family Time

The school year is busy; between your work and her homework, there often isn’t as much time for family bonding as you’d like. Use her lax summer schedule as an opportunity to create family memories together. You can plan a vacation together throughout the year – an excuse to slip in a few moments together on busy school nights – and then reap the benefits of your planning when school’s out for summer. You can remodel your teen’s room together, or turn the attic or basement into a teen hangout and work together on the design. Take up a new hobby together, learning woodworking skills, trying out your culinary talents or turning your old wardrobes into something new with a fashion reconstruction project.

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.