Is there a tween anywhere who doesn't look forward to summer vacation? But while the first few weeks of summer can be full of fun, at some point kids almost always start complaining about being bored. Head off the complaints by planning a few activities for your child. Family-friendly activities don't have to be hard on the budget, in fact, sometimes it's the simplest adventures that offer the most fun.
1. Go Camping
If your tween is really struggling with boredom, maybe your child needs to break-up the long summer months? If he does, it may not be too late to sign him up for summer camp. Residential camps are a great way for kids to establish a little independence and make a new friend or two. Or, consider a day camp that focuses on something your child is interested in, such as archeology, sports, or theatre.
Or, try camping as a family. Whether you pitch a tent in your backyard, or at a state or national park, you'll have a great time making s'mores, sitting by the campfire and bonding with each other.
2. Take a Day Trip
A family outing is a wonderful way to spend time together, and get your child out of the house and away from the television or computer. You don't have to spend a fortune on your mini-vacation, especially if you pack lunch and bring a few ice-cold water bottles or drinks. Consider the following activities to make the most of your child's vacation:
- A trip to a local museum, park, or zoo
- A visit to a local pick-your-own-veggies or fruit farm
- A day at a local amusement or water park
- A day of hiking or fishing
- A trip to the beach or the lake
- An afternoon playing mini-golf, going bowling, or taking a long bike trip
- Attending a concert, play or going to the movies
3. Plan the Family Vacation
The best activities are the ones you can do together as a family. If your family plans on taking a vacation, involve your tween in the planning process. Your preteen can scan brochures and travel books to suggest ideas on where to go and what to see when you get there. Your child can also pack a busy bag of car activities, if you'll be traveling by vehicle. Take your tween shopping for items to put in the bag, such as small notebooks, travel games, snacks, etc.
If a major family trip just isn't in your plans this summer, you can still opt for a family staycation. Vacationing at home can be an inexpensive way to learn about your hometown, and have fun, too. Staycations are also great summer activities for families wanting to spend time together, without the aggravation of travel. You can even create staycation traditions that you and your family enjoy year after year.
Tween and teen book clubs are becoming more and more popular. If your tween is bored and looking for a project, have her organize a book club for her friends. The club can meet weekly, bi-weekly or as often as the kids decide. Incorporate snacks, activities, and occasional field trips for the most fun.
If you think your tween is ready to take on a little responsibility, consider summer activities that involve work, and earning a little spending money. Your tween may be interested in pet sitting, taking care of someone's home while they're away on vacation, working as a mother's helper, or taking on some other task. A part-time job may be just the thing your tween needs this summer, and the experience may boost his self-confidence and self-esteem.