Updated: Jun 16, 2018
As the days are long with sunshine and we are greeted by the gentle glow of summer, a certain quality changes in the air. For most people, they uncurl from their frosty spring moments and stretch out to the glorious excitement of the summer time. Most people that is, except for parents of pre-pubescent adolescents. Because for this motley crew, summer represents the dreaded time when they are responsible for entertaining their offspring over the lengthy summer school break. Yep, that’s roughly ten weeks of figuring out how to delight your kid!
So to try and soften the blow, here is a list of some tried and tested summer-break activities for your tween or young teenager.
Send them to a camp! Nowadays there is a camp for everyone. From traditional sports camps, to writing camps for the more studious, to even a video game playing camp!
Get them out in nature. Without having to take an expensive trip away, you could try camping for the weekend in your local campsite and really explore the wilderness. If your schedule or finances prohibit that though, then just go for the day. Many parks and recreational hiking areas are free to enter. So grab your water bottles, pack a picnic and spend the entire day being ‘one with nature’.
Get all cultured up. Museums and galleries are a great way to cool down in the hot summer heat. Check out the closest ones to you and spend the day learning about the prehistoric era, the painting styles of Matisse or how Karl Benz invented the first automobile.
Pack them off to the relatives. Extended relatives that is. Got an old cousin living out in Norway? An aunt who owns a farm in New Zealand? Ship ‘em off to get to ‘spend time’ with their family (and let old Aunt Margey figure out what how to entertain a 12 year old for 4 weeks ;-)!
Let them learn a new skill? Borrow your neighbour’s ukulele; set up a water-painting stand in the yard; dig out grandma’s old knitting needles. The best thing is that now you can get an app for just about anything. So whatever new skill they might fancy, you can probably get an app to teach them how to do it!
Arrange playdates. Ok, I know they’re not in preschool, but the summer can be a lonely time without your friends. Try to plan in dates and things for them to do with their friends before school is out. It can be easier to finalize these things whilst everyone is standing next to each other, rather than trying to chase down a friend who may be gallivanting through Europe with their family all summer.
Try their tongue at speaking a new language. There are loads of ‘teach yourself’ ways to learn languages. Maybe make a deal that whichever language they choose, that’s where you will be taking your next vacation! They’ll be learning tagalog in no time!
Support them to volunteer for a worthy cause. An able body with time on their hands? Charities, non-for-profits, community centers, the local dog shelter; they are always looking for helping hands. Don’t let the summer go to waste on mundane TV watching and ‘messing around’. Encourage your teen to volunteer and bring some good karma into their lives.
Encourage them to learn to code. We all know technology is the way forward. Get your mini me’s off to the right start in life and let them develop their coding skills. You may just be shaping the next Bill Gates.
Offer them opportunities to earn some money. Get all the odd jobs around the house done, have your cars washed, or bring them to the office to do some admin. Not only will you be able to cross loads off your to-do list, but they will learn some valuable work ethics and can use their hard earned cash to get the thing they have been nagging you for all year themselves!
Whatever you end up doing, remember, that your kids will have their own preferences, likes and dislikes. Try to let them have as much control and input into what they do with their time as possible. Just because it may not be what you would choose, doesn't mean it's not the best thing for them!