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24 Fun After-School Activities for Tweens (They’ll WANT to Do)

Use this list of fun tween activities ideas, and after-school activities for tweens to keep your kids entertained and smiling.

Your tweens are sort of be-tween teenagehood and the kid stage…which can make picking out activities for them a bit challenging.

three tween girls dressed up, text overlay "24 fun afterschool activities for tweens"

Use these fun tween activities to both keep them entertained (instead of the ol’ “I’m bored”), as well as to fill up the after-school-but-before-dinner time with something a little different.

Some you can do together with them, while others you can set up as a station and get a little work, laundry, or quiet time to yourself.

Fun Tween Activities – After-School Activities for Tweens

It’s 4:30 in the afternoon (or so), and your tweens are home. Maybe dinner has been started, maybe you’re still commuting home.

What are the best after-school activities to keep tweens entertained and give them some fun time to decompress from their school day?

I mean, what do tweens like?

Fun Activities for Tweens:

1. Post-It Note Story Creation Time

Take a book that has some images in it (children's books can work great for this!), and put Post-it Notes over the writing. Task your tween with writing in their own story based on the pictures, right on top of the note.

Creativity wins points, here!

2. Set Up a Piñata Homework Station

Got a tween who’s not too keen on doing homework? One night, surprise the heck out of them by buying a Piñata and setting it up right near where they do homework.

Each math problem or worksheet or fill-in-the-blank that they complete equals one whack of the Piñata.

3. Let them Doodle on Your Car

window marker package on white background

Seriously…you can buy these Auto Markers that work on both the paint and the windows of your car (and WASHES OFF with a damp cloth), and let your tweens go to town with their artwork.

Bonus: tell them that they have to scrub the whole car clean afterward. Yes!

4. Create a Story Using Story Dice

girl with handful of story dice about to throw them on counter

There are cool story creation dice out there (I actually own a set), but if you don't want to splurge on those?

Download and print out this free Story Dice Printable and let your tween come up with their own short story with it.

5. Give them a Building Challenge

There are many fun building challenges out there, such as this jelly bean building challenge. You'll also want to check out the spaghetti tower building challenge

Psst: ever heard of butter sculpting? I grew up on a dairy farm in PA, and can assure you it's a thing. Maybe let your tweens take a stab at it.

6. Play Pudding Pictionary

hand playing pudding pictionary on large hot-pink sheet of paper

This is the type of fun that can be had by any age – preschoolers, all the way up to adults (even men!).

Print out a pack of free Pictionary cards, make instant or homemade pudding (you can also just buy the pudding cups…I won’t tell), and set up a surface where you can splat and draw in a bunch of chocolate pudding.

Hint: you can do this with play doh, too!

7. Set Up a Slime-Building Area

If you’ve got tweens that love to get goopy and messy, then you can set up a slime-making building area for them, with all the supplies on cookie sheets or something else to catch the mess.

Include the recipes printed out, or let them fumble around with the ingredients and see what they can come up with:

8. Give Your Cookies a Manicure

The Pioneer Woman (we love her in our household) came up with a cool activity for her tween girl and friends to do. She baked these cookies in the shape of the girls’ hands, and then had them each give their “hands” a manicure!

Psst: here are 33 things to do with your family at home.

9. Let them Play MASH

Do you remember the game M.A.S.H. from your childhood? Here's a really fun, free printable that lets your tween doodle away at what their “future” might look like.

screenshot of MASH free printable activities for tweens

10. Set Up Pranks to Play on Family Members

I haven’t met a tween yet who doesn’t love playing a good prank on someone they love. Here are tons of ideas for pranks you can help your kid set up.

Psst: is it the fall? Find a few more tween ideas in my Halloween family night ideas article.

11. Let them Be a Graphic Designer

Open up your laptop or computer, and a program with a draw function. Then let them draw using the program. At the end, let them print out their creation in color.

12. Build and color in a 3D Model

How cool that not only does your tween get to build this, but then they can lose an hour or so in coloring it in!

13. Set Up a Doodle Station

Cover your dining room, kitchen table, or wall, in kraft butcher paper and give them these erasable chalk markers. Let them doodle an hour away.

Psst: here are 10 more weeknight family activities.

14. Let them Have an Indoor Snowfight

Who doesn’t love a good snowball fight? Especially if you can do it in the warmth of your own home.

The cool thing about this is that they can do it ANY time of year. Snowball fight in July, anyone?

Psst: also, here's 37 backyard activities for kids.

15. Paint Henna on Rocks

Get a bunch of smooth pebble or river rocks, and a henna kit. Let your tweens take turns creating henna on their rocks.

16. Set Up a Marshmallow Experiment Station

There are so many cool marshmallow experiments your tweens can do. You can set up a whole station, by gathering supplies needed for these experiments:

17. Create a Lava Lamp

Check out this cool lava lamp creation tutorial – with some great science-y questions for them to think about (but really, they'll just have fun playing with it).

18. Play the Free Version of Dobble

Have you ever heard of the game Dobble? Well, now there's a free demo version you can print out for your tweens to dive into at home (ages 6+).

Psst: got teens? Check out this after school routine for teenagers.

19. Create a DIY Escape Room

Here's a free, printable kit your tweens can use to create their very own Escape Room!

Crafts to Do When Bored for Tweens

I love it when you can get kids, tweens, and teens working with their hands.

Yes, there’s a subset of crafts that bored tweens will actually find cool. Even better – since they’re crafts, they have nothing to do with screens!

1. Create a Dreamcatcher

Once I saw my first Dreamcatcher as a tween, I was pretty much obsessed with trying to recreate it. I made my own dreamcatcher (actually using a stick I carefully bent into a circle-ish shape over a period of weeks) for myself, and one for probably every sibling I have.

Here’s how your tween can make their own dreamcatcher (also, there are lots of videos on YouTube for this).

2. Create a Custom Keychain

It’s likely your tween has their own set of house keys (and they’ll be driving in just a few short years!). Help them create their own custom keychain…it might even make it more likely they won’t lose their keys!

3. Design Temporary Tattoos

Buy some printable tattoo paper, and let your tweens have fun designing their own temporary tattoos!

4. Create Summer Bracelets

Help your tween anticipate the summer, and vacation time, or enjoy the season they’re in with these fun summer bracelets. Super simple – I used to make these as a tween!

5. Create Personal Door Hangers

Tweens just love personalizing things and starting to feel like they have their own, private spaces. That’s why giving them the materials they need to create door hangers for their bedroom doors will be right up their alley.

Grab this set of wooden doorhangers, and some paints, and let their imagination run wild.

This list shows you that after-school activities for tweens can be fun, and engaging, and even help them learn something! They'll just think Mom and Dad came up with more fun tween activities for them…so win-win. 

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Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Her money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Amanda is the founder and CEO of Frugal Confessions, LLC. Read more here or on LinkedIn.

Karthikeyan

Thursday 30th of January 2020

Hello Amanda. I have been following your blog for quite a while now. The tips and ideas are excellent and especially when today the kids are glued to screens, these fun activities keep them happy and healthy. A huge thanks to you for the wonderful compilation and making parenting much easier.

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