20 Fun Teen Activities and Games
Teenagers are notoriously difficult to please, but the stereotypes that they live a robotic and passionless life while being glued to the screens of their phones are often exaggerated. In reality, teens deeply feel their passions and interests, and they just need a little help to put those interests offline and in the real world. It may even include friendships; Since teens live a large part of their lives online, this is where their social lives have also migrated, and they may run out of fun things to do when they meet IRL.
These activities for teenagers lead them to indulge in their passions, to avoid boredom and to have a good time. Some are better for groups of friends, for the next time, you have a group of teenagers in your basement who seem not to know what to do on their own. Others are better as family activities, where you can get involved and even little brothers and sisters. All are supposed to be fun, but some also sneak into learning components that will look good in a future resume or serve them well when they finally leave the nest. Either way, you’ll never hear them complain about boredom again.
Find a higher level board game
Offer them an activity that reminds you of your summer past: bowling, mini-golf, arcades, even lasertag. You’d be surprised how little these places have changed, yet how easy it is for teenagers today to get into it. (If your teens refuse to go, you can opt for the 21st century equivalent – an escape room.)
Design a garden
The great thing about this project is that you can make it as involved or as simple as you like. You can make a simple window box and pick up some pretty flowers in bloom, or go big and try to plan a vegetable garden. You can let your teenager decide how much he wants to step on the gas.
Remove a page from Excellent chef reserve and add a little competitive spirit in the kitchen. Divide the teens into teams and see if they can offer a menu including starter, starter and dessert, then vote for the best meal. Or, you can do more Iron Chef than Excellent chef and put the teams in a head-to-head competition pleasing the crowd like guacamole or French toast.
Start a business
There is a lot of hassle available for teens, from dog walking, babysitting and tutoring to making and selling things on Etsy or checking out social media for local businesses. Not only will a business bring money into your teen’s spending account, it will teach leadership, responsibility and budget management. (But really, it will be good if they don’t ask you for money all the time.)
Plan a family trip
Give your teenager (almost) total control over a weekend getaway: give him a driving radius and let him choose a destination, as well as the main activities you will do each day. Not only will you get a vacation that you don’t have to organize yourself, but you will let them flex their planning muscles, which will serve them well after they leave the nest.
Make a movie
It’s amazing how little equipment you need to make a great movie these days – you pretty much just need a phone and editing software. And yet, making a film involves many different creative facets, from the script of a story to the visual conception of the shots, through rhythm and structure during editing. If your children are somewhat shy in front of the camera, they can use household items or pick up a Stikbots set and try the stop-motion animation.
Learn to sew
Learning to sew opens up a whole new avenue for creativity – they can create their own personalized tote bags and other accessories to get started, then switch to whole outfits as their skills improve. And if the hobby does not stick, they can still sew a button or repair a hole in a shirt, which will serve them well in adulthood.
Organize a garage sale
There are so many victories in organizing a garage sale: your teenager is busy for a few days going through his business and finding things to sell. You can free up space. They have money in their pockets. And the things that are sold go (hopefully) to a house where they will be used, not to a landfill somewhere. In addition, this could prompt you to also dispose of some of your old items for sale.
The best thing about teens is that they are so passionate about the causes that matter to them. Spoil yourself – get them to join a community service organization, volunteer for a local group, or plan a fundraiser for something they care about. You could instill a lifelong spirit of volunteerism.
Okay, “fun” might not be as appropriate a word to describe it as “satisfying” and “necessary”. But if you drop your teenager alone now, how well could he work? Do they have what it takes to take care of themselves? Can they make an easy meal? Do they know how to do laundry, iron a shirt or fold a fitted sheet? Can they write a check or make a budget? Now is the time to sweep the corners and have them practice all of these life skills – otherwise you would expect a lot more phone calls in the middle of the night when they leave the house.
Go to a music festival
For the price of a ticket – okay, probably an expensive ticket – teens can see some of their favorite bands, sample delicious food vendors, play outdoor lawn games, and experience ineffable energy of a music festival. Even though Coachella is not on the cards, most cities have their own outdoor sites all over the country.
Learn to code
There are plenty of places online where teens can learn to code, including serious lessons at Codecademy or Udacity – or even free, volunteer-led sessions at sites like CoderDojo. Even if your teens don’t become the next big app developers – although they do – they will continue to learn a skill that will be useful in the long run, as technology is becoming more common in our lives.
Visit an amusement park
It is fun to bring small children to an amusement park, but they are too small for the most exciting rides. Don’t forget to go on a family outing when they grow up and (depending on their constitution) are ready to do all the roller coasters and breathtaking spinning tours with you.
Whether you have a machine at home or need to go out and rent a room in an establishment, karaoke gives teens the possibility to get on the microphone and let themselves go. Once they get a taste of the spotlight, however, they may be bitten by the karaoke bug, and you will need to make this a regular event.
Visit a historic site
Whether it was the Civil War or the Civil Rights movement, every teenager has a period in American history that particularly interests them. Visiting a related historic site takes the stories from the textbooks and puts them in the real world. If you need inspiration, the National Parks Service has a list of national historic monuments by state to get you started.
Take an online course
The idea of taking more courses online may be difficult to sell to your teen – until you explain the types of courses just for fun. They can take Charms, Transfiguration, Potions and Herbology in an online version of Hogwarts. Disney offers an imagination lesson to the rhythm of the Khan Academy. Fender teaches guitar, bass and ukulele lessons online. The MoMA gives a free course in fashion design through Coursera. If your teenager has a special interest that is not explored at the local high school, there is surely a course offered online that your teenager can do at home.