Sometimes the simplest ideas make for the best memories for tweens in the summertime.
By this point in summertime, many parents hear their kids gripe, “I’m bored!” If you have heard the same sentiment, suggest one of these creative (and relatively inexpensive) activities to make the summer memorable for your tween.
Start a summer book club
Encourage your tween to start a book club with friends and meet weekly to discuss the selected book. There are tons of great young-adult authors to choose from, such as science-fiction authors like Rick Riordan (author of the Percy Jackson series). Or, select a classic such as “The Hobbit.” The librarians at your local library can happily suggest titles to suit your tween’s tastes.
Grow a specialty garden
Plan, plant and nurture a specialty garden, such as a flower garden designed to attract butterflies or a salad garden with basil, tomatoes and cucumbers. Don’t have a large yard? Your tween can easily showcase his or her green thumb with a container garden.
Host a car wash
Encourage your tween to organize, publicize and coordinate a car wash. Benefits could support a favorite local charity. This is a great way for tweens to learn about event planning, cool off on a hot day and work on marketing skills.
Both my girls love to skate, and I guarantee you the music and lights will transport you back to your own days at the skating rink. Skating is great exercise AND a way to beat the heat.
Sleep under the stars
If your tweens want to go camping, look no farther than your backyard. Set up a tent, roll out your sleeping bags and tell ghost stories by LED lantern. (OK, we’re not totally roughing it here, but it’s all about the novelty factor.)
When it’s hot outside, there’s nothing cooler than exploring a local cave. Mammoth Cave in Kentucky offers several tours that are a great way for tweens to beat the heat and learn about geography, geology and all the cool wonders (pun intended) beneath the earth’s surface.
Head to a water park
There are several great water parks within driving distance of Middle Tennessee, from Nashville Shores to Beech Bend in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Pack your sunscreen and plan to make a day and night of it because your tweens won’t want to leave until closing time. Trust me, I speak from experience.
Be an entrepreneur
Many tweens are responsible enough to take on a very simple part-time job a few hours a week, such as being a mother’s helper or dog walker. This is a great way for tweens to earn extra money for something they’ve been wanting to buy.
Many local charities and churches post volunteer events that are suitable for the entire family. Hands on Nashville frequently posts volunteer opportunities that are appropriate for tweens, such as helping stock the shelves at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
Organize a regular neighborhood sport in your community park. One of my older daughter’s classmates organized a Friday-afternoon dodgeball game. Make sure everyone has water and sunscreen and encourage your tweens to get outdoors and active.
These are just a few ideas to help you get creative and banish the “Mom, I’m boreds.” Do you have other ideas? Share them in the comments below.
Jamie Reeves is a Nashville writer. She and her husband Alan have two daughters, three dogs and too much laundry. This busy soccer mom can typically be found cheering from the sidelines or in her car on the way to school, gymnastics or Girl Scouts meetings. Jamie writes Blonde Mom Blog.