Summer is upon us. The time when school is out for a few months (although it seems shorter every year) and kids of all ages—even teens—have to figure out what to do with their free time.
Some, of course, have it all mapped out in the spring. They plan to play travel ball or do gymnastics or attend summer camp. Most, however, don’t do much thinking about it, and find themselves vegging out in front of a video game console or on their phones all day. It’s not a healthy scenario.
So, below I offer some ideas that a student could find fun and engaging, yet at the same time grow a little in the process. You can offer a list of suggestions for activities that will develop their social, emotional and intellectual muscles in the process. It was inspired by Suburban Simplicity. See if any of these may work for you.
Twelve Ideas for Student Activities This Summer
1. Make your own music video or movie.
This will get their creative juices flowing and consume more time than they think it will. Challenge them with a deadline to make a music video, or write their own screenplay and shoot their own movie. The result? Work ethic.
2. Work a very different summer job.
Most teens don’t work summer jobs, sometimes because they believe those jobs are beneath them. I believe jobs offer the best preparation for adult life. Challenge your teen to find a job, even if it’s part time for spending money.
3. Invent a new type of pizza.
If your teens like cooking or fancies themselves as creative, challenge them to list some unique ingredients and to build their own pizza pie. This can be lots of fun (I’ve done it before) and it taught me what flavors go well together.
4. Start your own business.
This idea cultivates so many social, emotional and intellectual muscles. What if your teen considered what they did well and found a way to monetize it for folks in your community or on a website? The result? Accelerated maturation.
5. Eat a food you have never tried before.
This is a great idea, especially if your teen isn’t used to trying new things. Have your teen shop for groceries (with or without you) and find something they’d typically not eat and try it. This will help them venture out from the familiar.
6. Host a car wash (or some fund raiser) to raise cash for a good cause.
One of the best ways to invest their time is to find a great cause they believe in and come up wit a way to raise money for it: car washes, bake sales, e-bay sales, mowing lawns, you name it. This builds altruism and work ethic.
7. Grow some vegetables you can eat with the family.
If you have a backyard, why not challenge your teen to identify a vegetable they like, cultivate a garden and grow the plant as summer begins. This builds patience, perseverance and becomes a tangible goal to anticipate and enjoy.
8. Offer to read to children at the local library.
If your teen is good with kids, why not challenge them to sign up to read to younger children at the library? Often librarians need people to volunteer for an hour or two at a time. This builds empathy and teaches them to add value.
9. Help plan the details of your family vacation.
When vacation time arrives, what if you challenged your kids to help plan the details? If you take a road trip, for example, they could choose the hotel spots, the stops for gas, meals and the site seeing locations. This builds ownership.
10. Make your family dinner once a week.
What if you challenged your teen to get creative and both plan and cook the meals for the family once a week this summer? This develops planning skills and may even cultivate creativity in them. Also, it builds a servant-leader.
11. Redecorate your bedroom.
If they are into their personal brand, they could actually take some time to plan and decorate their room in a new fashion. New posters, new knick-knacks and even new rugs. This can develop their creativity and design thinking.
12. Volunteer at a local non-profit organization.
Finally, one of the best uses of summertime as far as I’m concerned is to volunteer time at an organization they believe in. This can develop good qualities like service, compassion, passion and purpose.
Any other ideas you can think of?
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