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Teen time: 7 tips for making their summer fun

Looking for interesting things to do with your child during the school break? Here's help. Judith Sachs of Parenting Teens Online shares some ideas on how you can make your time together memorable.
/ Source: TODAY

Many parents wrongly assume that teens would rather spend summertime doing just about anything else than hanging with their parents. Not true! Recent surveys have shown that teens today actually crave the family experience more than they ever did. They are probably eager to spend quality time together or re-establish a relationship if you have drifted apart. Here are some ideas on how to make your time together memorable.

Movie night. Alternate choosing the film of the evening: You might be surprised that you actually like each other’s selections. Your teen might surprise you by actually liking that old horror flick or musical that’s one of your “classics.”

Make-a-pizza night. Shop together for ingredients, and make your dough from scratch. Step outside your comfort zone and experiment, even if your teen wants to try some strange combinations.

Game night. You may think that anything but Wii sports and video games would be boring to teens, but maybe not. Dust off those old board games and challenge your teen to a round of one of your favorites. Card games are also often a big hit. It will give you the chance to talk while playing. And a Wii system will keep you all fit.

Gardening. Maybe you want to select some rose bushes for the side of your house, or even start a vegetable garden. Involve your teen in every part of the process, including the decision-making. Not only are you teaching teamwork, but you’re also modeling how to delay gratification.

Scrapbooking. Basic scrapbooking supplies can be found inexpensively at most craft stores, and you don’t need much to get started. Pull down that box of family photos and start making selections. This can be a great opportunity to talk about family history, and for your teen to ask questions about her heritage.

Home improvement projects. Have a room that needs painting or wallpapering? How about an old dresser you found at a flea market that you’d like to refinish? Teens who are creative and enjoy working with their hands might really enjoy such a project.

Staying in shape. Take a class together at the Y, join a softball team, or start walking every night after dinner. Not only do you get to spend time together, you’ll both reap the health benefits. This could be the beginning of a positive new habit that you can enjoy together long after summer is over.

More fun ideas:

Web sites:


  • "Making Summer Count: Activities to Help Your Family Play, Work, & Serve Together," by Joyce Heinrich and Annette Heinrich Laplaca, Shaw Books
  • "Super Family Vacations, 3rd Edition: Resort and Adventure Guide," by Martha Shirk, Collins.
  • "Peterson's Make Summer Count: Programs & Camps for Teens & Kids 2008," (Peterson's Make Summer Count: Enrichment Programs for Kids & Teenage) by Peterson’s.

Learn more and get time resources on summer activities by visiting: .