Summer Activities for Teens

summer activities for teens

Summer vacation is upon us, which leaves me searching for some good summer activities for teens.

All I can think about is the chaos that’s about to ensue with both boys home all day, every day. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending some extra time with them and having a more relaxed schedule. But, there are so many other obstacles that accompany the time they spend at home during summer break.

For one, the fighting.

If our weekends of late are any indication of what’s in store for me this summer, I can be certain that I will be listening to an insane amount of arguing, and breaking up a fare number of fistfights. My boys excel at getting on each other’s nerves. Their inability to coexist makes my blood boil. Now that I’m considering it, maybe that’s part of the reason they argue so often… it’s evident that they thoroughly enjoy watching me lose my crap.

For another, the mess.

Wrappers, pop cans, balls, shoes, video game cases, and controllers are about to take over every clean surface of our living room. Before you wonder why I would let them eat and drink in the living room, I don’t. But, the funny thing about teenagers is that they don’t care. In fact, they find it funny… again, I’m convinced that they thoroughly enjoy watching me lose my crap.

What am I going to do with them?

I sound like my mother. But, now I understand why she used to mutter those words under her breath so often all those years ago. It appears the ages of 13 and 15 are quite challenging. On the one hand, they’re at the age they can be out and about hanging with friends and joining activities. On the other hand, they need their own personal Uber driver. As far as I can tell, my choices are to spend the day driving them around, or stay home and listen to them argue while trashing my house.

We need to come up with a balance that allows me to get some work done, and allows them to maintain a certain level of responsibility, as well as enjoy their time off.

Summer Activities for Teens

Here are a few ideas we came up with for both myself as a mom, and for the boys, to help us keep the fighting and messes to a minimum this summer.

  1. Wake Up Early – Each summer I have aspirations of waking up early to complete the majority of my work before the boys even get out of bed. Mornings are hard for me. I’ve actually been working on this since the beginning of the year, to start my morning earlier and more productively. It would be worth getting up early to be done with my to-do list by 1:00-2:00 in the afternoon. My afternoons will be free to spend some time offline with the boys, checking activities off our summer bucket list.
  2. Read & Journal Daily – My oldest son is in a program at school called Global Education. All of his English and History classes focus on current world events. They write a lot of papers, give quite a few speeches, and participate in a mock UN Summit each year. He doesn’t understand that reading regularly and keeping a daily journal will help him write better. But, he’s about to. (Insert sinister laugh here.) We plan to spend 15 minutes reading and 15 minutes writing every day, minimum, before turning on video games.
  3. Complete Chores & Responsibilities – My boys hate chores. And I hate making them do chores. Often times, it’s more work to stand over them making sure their lists are complete. I don’t have an answer for this yet. As teenagers, I expect them to take a little ownership of their responsibilities. So far, this hasn’t happened, which could make for a long summer of constantly changing wifi passwords.
  4. Join Separate Activities – We do a lot of things together as a family, but sometimes it’s nice to do our own thing. It’s helpful when the boys have their own activities, and even more helpful when they get to spend some one-on-one time with either their dad or me. It supports their individual interests, as well as breaks up the monotony of being together, and gives them something to talk about with each other. This summer, our oldest son is busy training with his cross country team, and our younger son enrolled in art classes.
  5. Go to Summer Camps! – The boys are both signed up for different summer camps and they look forward to them every year. It provides them with the independence that they are so desperately seeking at this age. We try to schedule them so they overlap, which gives Jesse and I some alone time together.
  6. Schedule Free Time – All these plans and goals are great, but it’s also nice to enjoy the downtime that summer provides. Set a realistic expectation of your teens and set aside some time to let them do what teenagers do best… nothing. Whether it’s one free day a week, or a morning to sleep in as late as they want, give them a time to feel rested.
  7. Create a Summer Bucket List – Summers always go by so fast. Before we know it, the time has fleeted away and we wonder what we did all summer. Prevent that from happening by creating a summer bucket list of activities that you want to experience. We put our bucket list into categories: places to go, things to do, food to eat, and rainy day activities. Check items off your list as you complete them so you have a record of all the fun things you did together on summer vacation.

Need Inspiration?

Download one (or more!) of our printable templates:

1.  Implement a Daily Summer Schedule for Teens & Tweens
2.  Plan Your Summer Bucket List

Submit your email address using the following form, and we’ll send you a link to our printable library.

Have a Great Summer!

I hope this list helps you have an incredible summer with your teenagers. The days are long, but the years are short. At this point in my parenting journey, don’t I know that to be true!! I’m looking forward to living out this summer with some intention and squeezing as much enjoyment out of it as I can!

Do you incorporate any summer activities for teens that I didn’t include in this list? Please share them in the comments!

Written by: Guest blogger - Amy Powell

Leave a Reply


  • Rachel Dean

    I have to agree that they “want you to lose your crap”. I can just see the smiles on their faces or giggles as you do so. Grrrr!! I think you have a lot of great ideas for bringing peace. Good luck! I know you’ll be ready for school to start back up!

    • Amy Powell

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so! I’ll be begging for the first day of school come the beginning of August, for sure.

  • Angela

    I love the idea of a summer journal and bucket list. My boys are still young but a bucket list is definitely something I want to incorporate into their summer breaks. I think it’s fun to have ‘goals’ set up to accomplish!


    I have been waking my kids every morning at 9 am all summer long. They have been less then thrilled and would rather be up all night binge watching the tv and video games and sleep the entire day away. What a waste! Motivating teens is a challenge! Thanks for the tips.

  • Tim

    My tweens have started nagging each other a bunch too this summer. Nice list of ways to organize your day during summer break. I have a habit of trying to fit too many things in and get disappointed when summer wraps up and we haven’t done everything. So I’m just kinda going with the flow this summer.

    • Amy Powell

      Yes, we all definitely need to find that balance that works for each of us. We have not checked off many things on our bucket list yet… but, we’ll need to give ourselves a little grace if we don’t manage to do it all.