Many tweens are adventure seekers. Even if your child was reluctant to try adventurous activities a few years ago, he might be more than willing to participate now.
Tweens love adventure and there are numerous ways you can foster your child's sense of adventure, and do it safely. Below are a few outdoor activities that might appeal to a preteen. In some cases, parental or adult supervision is required. Other activities may require a bit of training. Consider participating in these activities together. You can incorporate them into your schedule on the weekends, or while you're on a family vacation.
Outdoor Activities for Your Preteen
Ride a Roller Coaster: Amusement parks are full of fun and adventure for tweens. Even if your child didn't take to amusement parks a few years ago, he may find that he's a big fan now. The thrill of conquering your first roller coaster or your first scary water ride is a moment most tweens will forever remember. Be sure your child meets all height and weight requirements for any ride that he might want to try. Follow all safety directions, and have fun.
Go Camping: Camping is a wonderful family activity, and it doesn't require a whole lot of equipment. A tent, a few sleeping bags, a tarp and a few other essentials are enough to get you started. If you're camping for the first time, be sure to pick a date when the weather cooperates. Bug spray, and the makings of s'mores are also required.
Take to the Water: If your tween has never tried to canoe or kayak, now might be the time to consider it. Your local parks and recreation department may offer canoes or kayaks for rent by the hour. If you'd like to take a course to improve your skills, look for a local outdoor adventure company. They often offer classes for beginners, and they teach safety skills as well as technical skills.
Look for a Great Summer Camp: A good summer camp program can introduce your child to any number of adventurous activities. Whether your child attends a day camp, or an overnight camp, he's bound to learn new skills and interests. If your child is looking for outdoor activities, focus your search on a camp that will offer traditional activities such as canoeing, archery, rock climbing, repelling or horseback riding.
Snorkeling: Scuba diving is the ultimate outdoor adventure, but it might be a bit much for your preteen. If you're heading to the beach for a summer vacation, a snorkeling expedition might be just the thing. Tour companies offer snorkeling tours, and some tours include transportation to the snorkeling destination as well as snorkeling gear and sometimes even snacks and drinks. Be sure any company you choose is used to working with kids, and knows how to handle emergency situations.
Surfing: Another great outdoor activity for those headed to the coast is surfing. Use a reputable surf school to teach your child the basics, and to also reinforce water safety skills. You may want to join in the fun, too.
A Word of Caution: All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) have become very popular with children, teens and adults in the last few years. But the American Academy of Pediatrics has long warned parents against allowing them to be used by children under the age of 16. No matter how careful you are, ATV accidents can be very serious. Consider saving this activity for when your child is older, wiser and a little more mature.