Sometimes, it can be tough to keep your teen busy.
This is especially true in the summer months, where you still must worry about providing and working, while your child has plenty of time on their hands. Finding activities for your teen to do that involve going outside, using their hands, or involve learning something, all while having some sort of fun, are a dying breed.
Instead, kids are choosing to spend their time indoors and with electronic devices. While there is nothing wrong with this sort of behavior, in moderation, the goal of summer should be to experience all you can with the longer days and nicer weather.
All of this is harder, too, if you have a child that suffers from ADD or ADHD. Most of the time, these children need more to do and play with, as their attention spans don’t act the same as someone without the condition.
There are plenty of summer activities for teens with ADD or ADHD, providing learning and enjoyment in the process.
Starting with the Basics in Summer Activities for Teens
Remember when you were a kid? What were some activities you engaged in? One of the easiest ways to start brainstorming your own ideas comes from what you did as a child. It’s not as clear-cut as simply taking exactly what you played and giving it to children. No, you’ll probably need to change up the rules and consider the kids that are playing it.
As mentioned before, dealing with ADD or ADHD can be a challenge, so having games or events that force the kids to keep moving can be crucial to maintaining their interest over time. It’s not so much that you need sprawling activities that can, or do, take hours to complete – such as golf. No, what you really should be looking for comes in the form of events that force the children to think, participate, and keep some part of their body active.
Summer activities for teens can keep many different areas of their brain working, all while giving them a mental workout if done correctly. This is helpful when dealing with conditions like ADD or ADHD, so spacing out certain activities can come in handy.
Not all the actions you’ll see below are going to require extra tools or traveling far, but some will. So, save the ones that ask more of you, such as driving to the nearest water park, for times where it’s the most beneficial. Or, if the teens seem to need a boost, doing something a little more extravagant can always help.
Getting Wet with Water Sports
Some of the best fun can be found with water during the hot months of the year, and summer activities for teens that require a swimsuit are always a good bet. The key, though, is to make sure to have someone else with the child when going out, such as a friend or family member. This should keep them interested when not in the water.
1. Set up a sprinkler to run through
It may seem a little childish, but when you have a few of your teen's friends over, it’s easy to get them all excited about running through the sprinkler again.
2. Take them to a water park
This requires money, time, and effort on your part, but can also provide a whole day of enjoyment, as well as time spent in the sun. Even if they’re not the water slides type, chances are your teen will still enjoy a wave pool.
3. Check out your local outdoor pool
We say outdoor, but we really mean any pool. With an outdoor pool, there are plenty of possibilities, and you can play and swim as long as you’d like. Plus, if they want to take a break and soak up the rays, there’s no harm in that.
4. Ice skate at your closest rink
Sure, this isn’t exactly getting wet, but rest assured going ice skating will cool you off. Ice skating is a great exercise, and most kids don’t do it enough. Just remember to pack a jacket and pants!
5. Have a water balloon fight
Again, maybe your teens are passed the water fight stage, but once they have some friends over and the water guns are filled, you'll never know what can happen.
6. Grab your fishing pole
Summer activities for teens don’t always have to be crazy or hip. No, sometimes they can be a timeless classic. Even if your teen carries ADD or ADHD, going fishing can keep their mind occupied. The trick is simply letting them in on all the secrets and information you can learn from fishing.
7. Go surfing or kayaking
Watersports are always good options during the summer, as the weather is hot, and the days are long. If you can, going surfing or kayaking, especially if they’ve never been, can be a great way to spend some time out on the river or lake.
8. Go to the beach
This can work in conjunction with kayaking or surfing, as seen above, but spending the whole day at the beach is easy work. Most of the time, beaches are connected to parks that have big, open fields and nice, high-play structures. Trust us when we say your teens are never too old for some monkey bar action.
9. Challenge them to create their own raft
The idea is simple: construct a floating raft out of plastic bottles, containers, and other recyclable materials. Using teamwork, planning, and their brainpower, teens will either succeed or fail. Having a reward for the longest standing raft or fastest completion time is an option to entice teens to get out there and give it their best.
Plus, you can always go swimming afterwards.
Find Some Ideas to Learn Something During the Summer
One of the best ways to occupy teens during the longest days of the year requires you to challenge them in trying new things. Plus, summer activities for teens don’t always require leaving the house. Check out what we mean:
10. Have them learn some meals to cook
It sounds funny but tasking your teen with learning to cook a full meal, plus dessert, can be a good way to grow their culinary skills, along with keeping them busy for a couple hours.
11. Make a music video
If you’ve never done this, then we recommend giving this a try with your kids. Find some makeshift instruments, a good song to jam to, and do your best to make it look real.
12. Read that classic book
It may seem boring, but one of the best things you can do during the summer is read a book. The best part is that your teen can do this almost anywhere, and there are plenty of classics to consider.
13. Volunteer at your local farm or stable
Working with animals that are always unpredictable? Sign us up. This activity can get your kids thinking about more than just themselves while allowing them to experience what it’s like to care for something else. Plus, you'll never know what animals will do.
14. Break out the Geocaching application
Who doesn’t like a treasure hunt? This is harder to do since you’ll probably need to be present but going treasure hunting via GPS can always be fun. Plus, with Geocaching, you trade and swap items that are in it. Thus, you’ll never know what you’ll find.
15. Have them write their own play
This could be more of a niche category, but this can create all sorts of different ways of spending time during the summer. It doesn’t sound like the most glamorous activity, but your teens may have interesting ideas to act out. So, encourage them to explore these ideas.
16. Let them direct their own film
Everyone has a smartphone nowadays, right? If so, let your kid’s imagination run wild and create their own timeless classic for the small – or big – screen. Like writing their own play, this allows the teens to brainstorm and work together, a skill that can come in handy later in their lives.
17. Sit down and practice some typing skills
Using the computer as a learning tool is more convenient than you might think. Typing is a skill that is becoming increasingly vital to any job, or even within the school, and knowing how to do it can be a solid way to spend some hours. This is a good activity to supplement in between or later in the evening, as sitting down and typing for hours on end can get tiresome.
18. Visit the local zoo, aquarium, or museum
You probably won’t do this more than once in a summer, but using the local aquarium, zoo, or museum as a learning day filled with cool facts can be a relaxing day out. Of course, knowing if your teen will remain behaved or interested in the material is crucial for this to be fun.
A good way to avoid boredom is asking them what museum they might be interested in looking at. Remember, summer activities for teens don’t always have to be outside all the time!
19. Learn to play a new instrument
It sounds hard from the start, but learning to play a new instrument can be a relaxing activity once your teen has given it a shot. The type of instrument will be up to them, of course, but many aren’t too complicated. Also, once kids have found something they like, it’s harder to take it away.
20. Plant a new garden for them to tend
If you have the space, allowing them to plant and grow their own garden is a great way to teach them about nurturing something from the start.
21. Make your own tie-dye clothes
Maybe your teen has always wanted to own a tie-dye shirt. If that is the case, getting all the materials required for some tie-dye isn’t hard.
22. Build a treehouse
An expensive, yet satisfying endeavor even as teens; building a treehouse is a cool event. The process involves a lot of planning, materials, and work, but at the end when everything is completed and livable, you have yourself one of the best hang out spots in town.
Just Get Outside and Play
Once you've gotten past the water and learning activities, there’s really one other area to explore, which is simply nature itself. Getting outside and playing around, in whatever way possible, is easily done for teens. Their brains work harder than you might think, and this means they’ll be able to stay occupied even without games or specific tasks to complete.
However, there are some interesting options to recommend to them if you’re looking to expand their horizons.
23. Go on a hike
One of the best ways to get outside is to mention the word “hike.” Everyone knows what it means, and even though it’s often associated with long, grueling treks through the woods, hiking can be an enjoyable activity that doesn’t require the whole day to complete. Using resources like Alltrails to check around and see what’s in your area is a good way to start.
24. Play capture the flag
Do you have access to balls, some way of making a box shape, and some open land to play? If so, you can have a quick, enjoyable game of capture the flag waiting to happen. This works, generally, when you have more than 10 kids together, so sometimes you won’t be the one in charge. The best part about a game like this is that it can be a weekly activity.
Teens can make their own teams and, if they want, can keep track of standings and scores. A rewarding, fun tournament over the summer, so to speak.
25. Take the kids paintballing
Not all teens may enjoy the prospect of getting outside, or sometimes inside, and being hit with balls of paint, but others revile in the idea. It can be expensive to rent equipment, so keep that in mind, but this can be one of the most pleasing summer activities for teens you’ll find.
26. Take the bikes out for a spin
This requires you to have bikes, but a nice, long ride can keep teens with ADD or ADHD occupied longer than you might think. They also get exercise at the same time, which is never a bad option.
27. Go to your local state fair
Going to the fair is dependent on your state or county having one, but if they do, it can be a nice option for spending the day. Fairs have rides, history, and games for your teens to play, providing lots of value and hours of entertainment.
28. Find the nearest bowling alley
So, this isn’t outside but still a great option for summer and keeping your teens busy. Bowling is a cheaper option than the others found on our list, and most of the time covers at least two hours of the day. Even though it sounds boring, once your kids start to play, the satisfaction usually kicks in.
29. Hit the road and do some camping
This will require the whole family, or friends if your teen is old enough to drive but can be a rewarding experience. Camping is among the summer activities for teens that unplug them from their connected worlds, providing an escape they often don’t’ think they need. Finding campsites isn’t difficult, and most of the time will lead to future endeavors.
30. Go out and play your favorite sport
If all else fails, maybe encouraging your teen to practice their favorite sporting event, like soccer or volleyball, is always an option. They can always try a new sport, too, which can be enjoyable and a learning experience all wrapped together.
Finding Summer Activities for Teens with ADD or ADHD is Doable
From the outlook, summer is a big, daunting prospect.
Almost three months in length, it can be hard to find activities to spend the time that don’t involve a screen. Of course, some screen time can be good, and they could even learn a thing or two in the process, but the best part about summer is getting outside.
Kids that suffer from ADD or ADHD can, sometimes, need more attention than others, so having an arsenal of activities to utilize can be an advantage. You'll never know what the weather or other circumstances are going to be day-to-day, so having an idea for them can always help. Plus, if they like any of your ideas, they’ll pass them off as their own to their friends, which is a win-win for you and them.
Make the summer fun for both you and the teens in your life.
Recommended For Teens With ADD Or ADHD