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50 Things to Do this Summer for Teens (Fun + Productive)

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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”?

teen girl in sunglasses on hammock, text overlay "50 summer activities for teens"

Which is a great question for any summer – but especially in these times.

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 a 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.

Your teen 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 their Car

Does your teen want their car to look and smell like the first day they brought it home?

Have them do this:

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

Your teen can load up your smartphone with a few, then listen to an audiobook:

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

Bathe the Family Dog

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

Pressure Wash the Outside of the House

If you're okay with your teen using a pressure washer on their own (this will depend on age, capability, etc.), then this could be a great outdoor teen 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 you're okay with.

This is your teen's canvas!

They can gather paints and paint brush. Sketch first, if they’d like, or head straight in and see what they can create.

Daydream a Seasonal Bucket List

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

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

Psst: have them check out this after school routine for teens.

Create an Obstacle Course for their Little Siblings

Teens with little siblings have little people who look up to them. Big time. Even if they don’t think they do.

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

They can use materials around your home. 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

Does your teen 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, let your teen read near it! Just be sure they use sunscreen, of course.

Have a “Survival” Camp Out

Give permission to let your teen pretend that they need to “survive” out in the wilds of your backyard for the night.

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

Put some of their survival skills to the test, such as having them pitch their own tent, tie knots, etc.

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

Hint: is your teen looking to hang out with friends? Here's 28 things to do with teenage friends when bored, summer activities for teens, teen double date ideas, and teen party games.

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.

Create a Resume

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

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

Volunteer from Home

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

Scrapbook their 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

Let your teen 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: the teens can actually play out Masked Singer, on Zoom! Make sure they’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 their Chinese Zodiac animal, and read all about them. Get their 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).

Have your teen 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 your teen is stuck at home and still want to “hang” out with friends, then grab a book of Mad Libs, and let them invite their friend(s) over FaceTime or Zoom!

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

Organize their Smartphone Screen

If your teen is anything like me, then they've have about three screens’ worth of apps. And the ones I actually use the most? Are in weird places on screens #2 and #3.

Your teen can take the time to get rid of apps they no longer want, and move their most-used apps to screen #1 for easy access.

Play Pudding Pictionary with their Younger Siblings

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

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

They’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. Your teen might want to check out this hip-hop dance one!

Play Truth or Dare over FaceTime

Your teenager can use these 100 Truth or Dare questions for tweens to get to know their friends better, even if they 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

Your teen might be headed off to college or to their first apartment in the next few years. And you know what? They'll quickly learn that eating out gets expensive (and old).

Have your teen 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.

Your teen can gather them together, print them out, and start testing in the kitchen. For the ones they love, they can 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

You can set up a free escape room for your teen (and maybe their 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.

Psst: this is also a fun date idea for teenage couples, and fun double date idea for teens. Also one of 100 things to do at a sleepover!

Figure Out their Colors and Season

Something that will help them throughout the rest of their life as they attempt to buy clothes is figuring out which colors go best with their natural skin tones.

They can use Corina’s free color quiz to figure out their season, and then get some guidance on which colors suit them best! My personal season is Autumn.

They can do their mother’s colors, and their siblings’, too!

Psst: here's 16 more things to do with a teenage daughter.

Learn How to Bake Cake Pops

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

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

Then, they 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 (your teen can take any of her other videos, even if they’re not directly targeted for teens).

Study for their Driver’s Permit

Teen doesn’t have a driver’s permit or driver’s license yet? Now’s a great time to study up for that permit. Here’s some free DMV Permit Practice Tests to get them 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 their Own 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 your teen 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

Have your teen come up with a goal they want to achieve (hint: here’s a list of 26 goals for teenagers).

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

Hang it somewhere they'll see daily, and write their goal on one of the corners.

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

Create their 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!).

Get your teen started young by trying to create their very own recipe. Do they want to create an appetizer? A side dish? A main dish? Dessert?

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

Play Telephone Charades

Using these awesome free printables, let your teen get their 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 teens and tweens, 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 2017 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.

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