We only get 18 summers to really lean in to building relationships with our children. Maybe we get more after that, but only 18 are guaranteed before they set out on their adult journey. Summer fun ideas for teens and tweens help us make the most of our time at home with our older kids.
As our kids grow into teens and tweens, we can see the need for independence begin to show. It starts as more time alone in their rooms. Then, it shifts to seeking more time with friends. Maybe if your child has a phone, you see them gravitate to chatting with it more. But, during the summer months, teens and tweens need summer fun ideas that do not involve screen-time.
Summer camps are expensive. There is a big need for teens to spend more time with their parents rather than be at camp all summer long. Having teens and tweens at home, our summer fun ideas have to adjust to their interests and needs.
I do not want to let my older kids play video games all day long. I also do not want my child at camp every day either.
Providing fun options for our teens and tweens to enjoy their time off in the summer helps us keep the relationship strong and build those memories. We can be glad we were intentional with our time.
These ideas are great for the older kids. Whether you are looking for things to do with teenage daughter or a teenage son, we have you covered. You will enjoy watching your teen enjoy their summer and there will be no regrets about how much quality time you spent with them.
Summer Fun Ideas for Teens and Tweens
Big kids get so much exercise on a trampoline. We were hesitant to buy one, but it has been the best backyard activity for the kids. All ages can play together, and it keeps my teens and tweens engaged and having fun.
Trampolines come in multiple sizes. For big kids, the larger is best. Always teach your teens to follow the safety precautions and watch out for younger kids.
Read or listen to music in the inflatable pool
The little inflatable pools are not just for the little kids! My big kids have learned to embrace reading in the pool. They sit in a floatie like this one and read outdoors. Much better than getting too much screen-time inside.
I prefer that my children read paper books to electronic books, but we do both. Nothing feels more relaxing than floating in the water while reading in your own private pool. I think we moms need to try this too. 😊
When the kids can all ride their own bike and are old enough to be aware of traffic hazards, bike rides become so easy to do together. Whether you send your kids out to ride for some outdoor time – while you get a brief break – or you all go together after dinner, bike rides feel like a leisure activity with exercise worked in. I love that.
There area always fun riding trails or new neighborhoods to explore too. Make it a day trip by driving to your nearest national park and riding the paved trails as a family.
Hiking is so easy and gives you great benefits. It is a wonderful chance to spend close, quiet time with your teenagers and tweens. Going on a family hike gets you outdoors, Vitamin D exposure, and it is a good movement activity. (Who’s counting steps?!)
Many hiking trails are free at state parks and national parks, or you can get the passes for special groups here.
Printable Escape Room
How cool is this idea?! No need to drive to an escape room – although that is a fun indoor summer activity for older kids too.
With this creative printable escape room idea you can keep tweens and teens having fun right at home. Great idea for a teen birthday party too.
Summer reading program
Incentives are fun for teens. Whether it is working to earn money or something they value, programs with end goals and gifts are good motivators for bigger kids.
The summer reading program that Barnes and Noble offers is a wonderful reading incentive for teens and tweens. After your teen reads 8 books, they can pick a free book as a reward. You have to pick from the list of books B&N has on their reading program list, but it is a fun way to keep kids reading during the summer months.
Your local library probably has a summer reading program running too. Many do. Local libraries are wonderful places to stay aware of for all their programs for kids.
I added a layer of incentive to encourage my kids to read more this summer. For every 10 books they read, they had a chance to earn $10. I used this approach because my kids needed to read more. Frankly, it worked for my kids who were struggling to get motivated to read!
You can adjust this plan by changing the number of books. For really motivated readers, maybe 10 chapter books earns them $20. For younger readers, a dollar per book – or even less – is more appropriate due to how quickly they can read a children’s book.
Convo cards for road trips
If you are going to be in the car, it is really good quiet time to connect with your teenagers. Driving my teens to youth group at church is a 20 minute ride where we are all together and can talk.
I love using these conversation starters that are printable to keep good convos going with my kids.
When we drive to activities or go on a road trip, we can stay engaged and talking. Always important for keeping family connection strong in an age when kids start talking to you less. If you are available and listening, they will talk to you. Just keep trying. These conversation cards will help. They work at the dinner table too.
Paying kids to do work around the house has always been a parenting step we take to teach our kids financial literacy and money management. They can learn so much from being paid for chores. And, you do not need to pay them a lot to make the lessons valuable.
Nothing beats the feeling of success when your teen gets that first summer job. Encouraging teens to work for pay builds a lot of self-discipline, responsibility, and teaches them to desire to work. They learn that it is fun to earn money. (Better than giving them handouts every time they want to do something with their friends. Truly, that approach teaches very bad money habits. Avoid just giving your teen money when they want to do something fun.)
Check employment laws in your area, but in many places teens can start working at age 15. That is a great age to get them learning real skills in a summer job. Even if they only work part time during the summer, it is a good life lesson.
Teens and Tweens Summer Fun
A good balance of productive activities and rest time are great for older kids. They learn to balance work and rest when we teach them both are important. Teenagers feel ready to start exploring their skills and independence, but they are still our kiddos.
This list will help you keep your teens and tweens having fun this summer, and also encouraging them to branch out. They will try new things, get off the screens, and feel successful. Soak up these last few summers of quality time! You will not regret the time you spent with your children.