Summer-Junior-High-SchoolerYour teens and pre-teens seem independent at times, but they still need some ideas to stay busy through the summer!

These frugal, fun activities will keep the brain cells growing, give an alternative to screens, and help change up the routine!

1) Video/Picture Scavenger Hunt.  Teens love competition. Send them out on a hunt  to find a specific list of pictures or videos. Create your own or find a list options here.

2. Meal Plan. Put your teen in charge of making dinner one night each week. Give them the requirements (meat, fruit, vegetable), let them be in charge of the meal from selecting the menu, doing the shopping, and making the food.  This is a great opportunity for them to learn a variety of skills!

3. Solitaire. Not on the computer…with real cards! Teach your kids to play solitaire. Once they get the hang of it, you can turn it into a competition of double and triple solitaire where they play with different style decks of cards and compete to build up the Ace piles. The winner is the one who has the most cards in the Ace piles.

4. Cut Out Cookies. Why reserve the fun of cut out cookies to the holidays? Summer is a great time to enjoy the process of making, cutting out, baking, and decorating cookies! Need a good recipe and practical steps. You can find that here.

5. Board game playoff. Choose a game you’ll play nightly as a family for a week.  Keep track of who wins in order to identify a grand champion!

6. Puzzle. Keep a 500 or 1000 piece puzzle out on a card table so your teens can work a little each day. If you have trouble with screens, require they put in 15 minutes on the puzzle to earn 15 minutes of screen time. (You can do the same with reading!)

7. Grandparents. Have your teen call their grandparents once a week to find out how they are doing and to ask them about one memory from their teen years. The first time they call, have your teen tell them they’ll be calling once a week to check in and hear a story from their teen years. That way grandma and grandpa can be thinking about stories to share. (If your teen’s grandparents aren’t living, an aunt or uncle could do the same!)

8. Maps. Teach your teen to read a map and to navigate by a map. Get a city map for day to day trips. If you’re taking a road trip, an atlas will provide the maps needed.  This will help them identify North, South, East, and West as well as the location context for places they go. (With the invention of GPS, too many kids have no spatial, location context. This is a skill they still need to know!)

9. Geocaching. Everyone loves a treasure hunt! Geocaching is the way to search for treasure! You can find all about geocaching at

10. Plan a trip. Have your teen plan a trip for your family. It could be a day, weekend, or week-long trip. You give the guidelines of dates, cost, number of days, and distance limitations, and then let them make the plan! As long as they’ve stayed within their guidelines, resist the urge to change up their plan.  This will give them an incredible sense of accomplishment!

What about you? What activities would you add to the list? 

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