Got a teen and need help with how to keep teenagers busy during summer? These 50 summer activities for teens should do the trick.

You and many parents are asking themselves, “what can my teenager do this summer”?

Which is a great question for any summer – but especially in these times. teen girl in sunglasses on hammock, text overlay "50 summer activities for teens"

These activities for teenagers list offers both fun AND productive ideas for how to keep your teen from being bored all summer long.

Let's jump right into things to do in summer for teenagers.

Things to Do this Summer for Teens – Backyard Fun for Teenagers

Stave off teen boredom with some of these fun AND productive summer activities for teenagers.

All of these are outdoor activities your teen can do in their own backyard.

Take Photography Seriously

There are umpteen videos of how to use your camera (whether that's an actual camera, or your smartphone) to capture more interesting photos.

Free training like how to work with lighting, angles, subject matter, etc.

Two include: 

Your teen can take these trainings, and implement right outside in the backyard! There are lots of practice material, there. 

Play Around with Photography

OR…just have fun with amateur photography.

You can play around with it using:

Be in Charge of the Family Garden

When I was about 17, I took it upon myself to create a family garden for the first time. Granted, I started before summer began (though, not much), but it was an awesome learning experience that kept me outdoors and at home.

Clean Out Your Car

Want your car to look and smell like the first day you brought it home?

First, get all of the trash out of your car. Then, put all of the items that are in your car that should go somewhere else, back where they belong. Wipe down the interior of your car, and then vacuum.

Psst: here are some great gifts for teenage drivers.

Download a Free Audiobook

Check out my article on all the free audiobook resources I could find.

Load up your smartphone with a few, then listen to an audiobook:

  • Outside, while lying on your back and staring up at the trees
  • While walking your dog
  • While doing chores

Bathe Your Dog

Some dogs just love getting baths…and getting a bath outside? Well, you just might be your dog’s favorite new owner.

Pressure Wash the Outside of the House

If your parents are okay with your using a pressure washer on your own (this will depend on age, capability, etc.), then this could be a great outdoor activity that will also benefit the family!

Bonus: this could also be a great way for your teen to earn extra cash – using a pressure washer on neighbors’ homes. We actually hired a teenager to do this to our own home once, and paid $150!

Paint a Large Mural

Use this butcher paper, or this self-adhesive chalkboard paper, and tape up a large piece on the backyard fence/garage wall/wherever your parents will allow you.

This is your canvas!

Gather your paints and paint brush. Sketch first, if you’d like, or head straight in and see what you create.

Daydream a Seasonal Bucket List

Whatever the next season is (Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter), take some time to be intentional with what you want to do/be/accomplish during it.

Lay a blanket down under a tree and bring writing materials. Brainstorm all the things you’d like to do or how you’d like to feel, or what you want to accomplish. It’s always nice to have things to look forward to – not only that, but writing down what you want makes you live more intentionally.

Create an Obstacle Course for Your Little Siblings

If you’ve got little siblings, then you know they look up to you. Big time. Even if you don’t think they do.

Why not do something really special that they’ll likely remember for a long time – create an outside obstacle course in the backyard for them?

Use materials that you have. Like, a cloth tunnel, a hula hoop, a basketball, hacky sacks/balls, etc. Make 3-4 different stations. Clearly explain the rules to them, and also go through each station to visually show them what to do.

Then, set a timer and help them through it!

Go Geocaching

Do you like the idea of treasure-hunting? That’s what geocaching is all about.

Here’s how to play.

Enjoy a Book by the Pool

If you’ve got a pool, then by all means, read near it! Just be sure to use sunscreen, of course.

Have a “Survival” Camp Out

With your parent’s permission, of course, pretend that you need to “survive” out in the wilds of your backyard for the night.

Prep ahead of time by picking out the specific tools and resources you’re allowed, such as a tent, a pillow, access to the bathroom, and type of food to eat.

Put some of your survival skills to the test, such as pitching your own tent, tying knots, etc.

Now we’re ready to list out indoor activities for teens.

Indoor Activities for Teenagers

It may be summertime, but your teen likely doesn’t want to spend the entire time outside.

SO, I’ve dedicated an entire section to indoor activities for teens.

Send Away for Free Samples

Did you know that you can get a box of free beauty samples, every month, without even paying shipping & handling?

The cost of PINCHme, which is open to teenagers over the age of 16, is to give your feedback on products received.

I received a box from these guys, and look at all I got (for absolutely no cost!):

  • 4 Cookie Squares baked in France (Michel et Augustin)
  • 1 Ghirardelli chocolate square
  • 1 Bausch + Lomb Lumify sample
  • 2 Compeed Advanced Blister Care Samples
  • 1 Coconut & Vanilla Native Deodorant sample
  • 1 Ester-C Effervescent packet
  • 1 Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense sunscreen sample
  • 1 Aquaphor Ointment Body Spray sample

screenshot of PINCHme box with lots of free samples

Here is where you can sign-up, if you’re older than 16.

Create a Resume

Create your first resume, and save the file to a place where it’s easy to access.

You’ll be tweaking, adding to, and changing this thing for years to come. But you’ve got to start somewhere!

Volunteer from Home

There are lots of opportunities to volunteer from home that you can check out. Awesome, great way to get some volunteer experience for your resume!

Scrapbook Your High School Years

I started my first scrapbook when I was in high school. And now that I’m in my 30s? I’m so thankful to my younger self for preserving some of those memories.

Host a “Masked” Singer Zoom Call

Invite a group of teen friends to sign onto a Zoom meeting (there’s a free plan!) at a certain time of the day. Tell them that they each must wear a mask – something that substantially hides their identity.

Then, everyone have fun trying to guess who is who! (Hint: you’ll have to put an anonymous or made-up name in when you join the Zoom Meeting).

Do this by taking turns asking one question about one person. As more and more is revealed, you guys will be able to guess who is who.

With a Twist: you guys can actually play out Masked Singer, on Zoom! Make sure you’re not identifiable (you can even wear a paper bag with eye holes cut out) and each take a turn singing a song. Then, everyone tries to guess who it is by holding up a piece of paper with the name written down, OR, putting that in the chat box.

Find Your Chinese Zodiac Animal

Find out your Chinese Zodiac animal, and read all about them. Get your teen friends on a FaceTime or Google Hangout call, and have them find theirs.

Then, share it with the group!

Take Part in a Stock Market Game Online

There’s almost no better way to learn how the stock market works then to dive in headfirst (well, with virtual money). Sign up for one of these free stock market games for students (and teens at home!). You typically get around $100,000 in virtual money to invest and follow. And the winners? Well, there’s usually a prize!

Start a Gratefulness Practice

You know those tear-away desk calendars? I had one a few years ago, and I decided to incorporate it into a daily gratefulness practice. Each day, I would tear away yesterday’s page, turn it over, write 3 things I was grateful for, and then put that sheet in a basket.

At the end of the year, I had a whole basket full of things I was happy for! What memories it created. Almost like a gratefulness diary!

Host a Mad Libs FaceTime

Next time you’re stuck at home and still want to “hang” out with your friends, then grab a book of Mad Libs, invite your friend(s), and do it over FaceTime or Zoom!

Here are a few free Mad Libs printables you can use.

Organize Your Smartphone Screen

If you’re anything like me, then you have about three screens’ worth of apps. And the ones you actually use the most? Are in weird places on screens #2 and #3.

Take the time to get rid of apps you no longer want, and move your most-used apps to screen #1 for easy access.

Play Pudding Pictionary with Your Younger Siblings

Younger siblings look up to their big older brother or sister.

Why not take 30 minutes to play pudding Pictionary with them? Not only will YOU have fun, but they’ll think you’re about the coolest person ever (if they don’t, already!).

You’ll need chocolate pudding, a surface to play on, and this free deck of Pictionary cards.

Take a Hip-Hop Dance Class

There are SO many free dance class sessions on YouTube. You might want to check out this hip-hop dance one!

Play Truth or Dare over FaceTime

Use these 100 Truth or Dare questions for tweens to get to know your friends better, even if you can’t hang out in person!

Play Iron Chef, Family Edition

Read all about how your entire family can play Iron Chef together. Great chance to teach some important life skills, too!

Psst: even those these are technically free “date night” printables, you can use them for your family’s iron chef date night, as well!

Gather College Dorm Recipes from Family/Friends

You might be headed off to college or to your first apartment in the next few years. And you know what? Eating out gets expensive (and old).

Take the time to send an email and ask friends/family for their best “college dorm room recipes” – rather, recipes that can be made in things like the Foreman Grill, or a microwave, in a toaster oven/toaster, or that are no-bake, etc.

Gather them together, print them out, and start testing in the kitchen. For the ones you love, do what I did when I was 16 – start your own recipe box. I still have the one that I bought from that age, and have been updating it ever since! What a treasure in my life.

Do a DIY Escape Room

See if your Mom or Dad can set up this free escape room for you (and maybe your siblings) to work on together. It comes with audio files for each mission that you download through their free iPhone app or free android app.

Solve puzzles, decipher morse codes, and deactivate bombs…sounds like an awesome time.

There are also a few teen-aged DIY Escape Room Kits you can purchase.

For ages 7+:

For ages 10+:

For ages 12+:

Figure Out Your Colors and Your Season

Something that will help you throughout the rest of your life as you attempt to buy clothes for yourself is figuring out which colors go best with your natural skin tones.

Use Corina’s free color quiz to figure out your season, and then get some guidance on which colors suit you best! My personal season is Autumn.

You can do your mother’s colors, and your siblings’, too!

Learn How to Bake Cake Pops

Is it just me…or do cake pops just bring everyone some joy?

Take the time to master baking and decorating these little guys (they’re actually not as difficult as you may think).

Then, you can whip up a batch and deliver them as a thank you or token of love to people throughout the next few years!

Start an At-Home Yoga Practice

I began doing yoga in my college years, and then have been doing at-home yoga with free videos (thanks to Yoga with Adriene!) for a few years now.

I cannot tell you how much an at-home yoga practice has given me. What a great habit to start as a teen!

She’s even got one video on yoga for teenagers (you can take any of her other videos, even if they’re not directly targeted for teens).

Study for Your Driver’s Permit

Don’t have your driver’s permit or driver’s license yet? Now’s a great time to study up for your permit. Here’s some free DMV Permit Practice Tests to get you started.

Hint: I actually failed my permit test, twice! The first time I failed the vision test, and found out I needed an eye doctor appointment. And the second time? I failed the actual test itself. But the third time went well, and I’ve been driving now since I was 17 years old.

Sponsor a Child with Your Money

When I was a teenager, I “adopted” a child from Ecuador. This meant each month, I sent Belkis (that was her name) around $13.00 through an organization. I also wrote her letters, and occasionally included a small gift in them.

This was a transformative experience for me, and I encourage you to do something similar through organizations like Childfund.org or Compassion.com.

Hint: since I was under 18, I had to get my parent’s help with this. They wrote the checks, and I gave them part of my allowance money to cover it. 

Learn How to Sew Something Simple

I actually never learned how to use a sewing machine – or even how to sew a button. Both are great skills to have!

Here are some beginner sewing projects for teens.

Force Bulbs

Forcing bulbs inside is such a rewarding thing to do! Not only do you create a beautiful, stone centerpiece to look at, but when the bulbs actually emerge into flowers? Well, the whole process seems magical.

For ours, I took a large pottery plate (with lips on the side), filled it with landscaping pebbles from outside, put water in the bottom, and sat hyacinth bulbs on the rocks. Came out beautifully!

Visually Map a Goal

Come up with a goal you want to achieve (hint: here’s a list of 26 goals for teenagers).

Then, download this free progress map (you’ll need to opt into her email list, so be sure you have your parent’s permission), print it out, and figure out what milestone each swirl will represent for you.

Hang it somewhere you will see daily, and write your goal on one of the corners.

Psst: here’s her free progress mapping mini-course to teach you how to do this.

Create Your Own Recipe

I’m good at following along with recipes, but one area I wish I was better at is improvising (meaning, making up recipes as I go!).

Start young by trying to create your very own recipe. Do you want to create an appetizer? A side dish? A main dish? Dessert?

Brainstorm ingredient ideas, and be willing to scratch things and try something different. Tweak as you go! Who knows – you might just create the next family-famous recipe.

Play Telephone Charades

Using these awesome free printables, get your group of teenage friends together over Zoom or other conference call/video call software, and play charades!

Activities to do WITH Teenagers

Looking for activities to do WITH your teenager this summer? Engaging with a teen is one of the best ways to nurture your relationship – and you’ll both surely enjoy the memories.

Bury a Time Capsule

Do you plan on staying in your current home for another 5-10 years? Your teenager is about to change even more in this next decade.

How fun would it be for the two of you to be able to dig up a time capsule from when they were 13, 14, 15, 16, etc., when they’re 25-30 years old?

Preserve a moment in time that you can both look back on years from now. Take a picture on the day you both bury the time capsule (or with the whole family), and bury that as well. Be sure to take a photo when the two of you dig it up.

Who knows WHERE they’ll be by then!

Teach them Your Family’s Dish

Have you got a recipe you’d like to pass down to your child? It’s a great way to bond with them – making a traditional family dish.

Talk to them about the first time someone taught you how to make it, where it came from (who it came from), and anything else about it that you know.

Then, at the end, present them with a filled-out index card with the recipe so that they can keep it forever.

Tie a bow around it, if you’d like!

Help Mom Pick Out New Outfits

Are you fashion-minded? You can help your Mom update her looks by going through her closet and letting her know what kinds of outfits YOU would put together, using the clothes she already has.

Bonus: You two can go through this really cool, and free, Mom-Outfit-Guide. Your teen will likely find outfit ideas for themselves, too!

Host a Neighborhood Dog Show

Invite your neighbors to do a dog show together. Have each person walk their dog around the neighborhood, and have people vote. If there’s still social distancing? Voting can be on a piece of paper or small dry erase board that you hold up.

You can stay 6 feet apart and still pull off a neighborhood dog processional!

Set Up Minute-to-Win-It Games

Take some pretty ordinary household items, and use these 200 ideas for hilarious Minute-to-Win-It games. Break the challenges up into rounds and keep score.

When thinking about summer activities for tweens and teenagers, remember that you want to provide a mix of fun ideas AND activities that will help them continue moving forward into their young adult life.

And also don’t forget to let your teenager and tween-ager be bored sometimes. It encourages them to come up with their own areas of focus and ideas for what to do – a little self-discovery that will serve them well as an adult.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2016 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda's kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.