Boredom busters for teenagers: 10 things for teens to do this summer
Updated: Aug 29, 2020
With this summer having been the longest summer everrrrrr, we'll be honest when we say the tweens and teens have been a tough crowd to please. They're perennially bored, and don't we know it. We've already put out our guide to the best board games for families, and we've given you 10 ideas for activities to try at home with kids of all ages, but now we're turning our attention to keeping the teenagers occupied... just as soon as we can persuade them (tip them) out of bed.
1. Learn a new language
Keep those teenage brains buzzing by signing them up for an online language course: start by taking a look at all the free options and advice on BBC Languages. With a whopping 40 languages to choose from, by the time the international borders all re-open, your teen will be able to chat the local lingo all around the world.
2. Plan a round the world trip
Talking of the world, why not get your teen to plan a dream Phileas Fogg style trip? The globe might not be ready for adventuring quite yet, but whether it is a year or three years in advance, we do think that backpacking is a marvellous goal to have in the pipeline. We'll certainly never forget arriving in India in the dead of night having only ever been to Spain with parents before: quite the eye opener. It's no quick task to decide where to go so the whole plan should keep them busy for quite a while. We're still peeved - 20 years on - that we decided on Los Angeles over Peru... Get it right, kids.
3. Teach them some life skills
Before you send them off with a backpack full of hand sanitiser, they'll definitely need some life skills lessons. Whether it is for uni, for travelling or simply so they can manage more than beans on toast (true story: our friend's teen didn't know you couldn't microwave tin cans when she first made herself beans on toast... say no more). We suggest teaching them:
How to use a washing machine. Ironing is a bonus.
How to cook five easy but delish meals (more on that later)
How to manage a budget (believe it or not kids, there is not a never-ending supply of money that spits itself out of the cash machine).
How to clean the house: it's never too early to get them busy with a vacuum and duster!
To look after pets. Properly.
They should also:
Sign up for an online basic first-aid course.
Work out how to manage their time better.
Think about how they can bring more kindness towards others into their daily lives.
4. Get them busy in the kitchen: part one
With so many of us now juggling looking after the home, working from home and keeping the kiddos entertained, it's not going to hurt to get older children trained up in the art of making a simple meal. Here's five we think a teenager can not only manage, but can also ace without too much hassle.
Spaghetti Bolognese: If you can get hold of pasta right now, then spag bol is easy, tasty and always a dinner winner. Try this recipe by BBC Good Food. Help them with the chopping by all means if they are likely to lose a digit.
French Bread Pizza: Here's a fun and simple lunch idea that tweens and teens can definitely cope with! Have a look at this recipe by The Pioneer Woman for topping ideas.
Black Bean Chilli Burrito Bowl: Perfect for vegetarians, this yum meal does have a lot of ingredients, but once you've pulled them all together, construction literally takes minutes. Take a look at the recipe by The Vegetarian Society.
Shepherd's Pie: We're yet to meet a kid who doesn't like good old fashioned Shepherd's Pie. Get the teens on the case with this 'no fuss' recipe by BBC Good Food. Replace lamb with meat substitutes if you're vegetarian.
Chicken Pot Pie: Surprisingly easy to make, it's time to get the offspring familiar with making decent pie. We especially love this one by Jamie Oliver.
5. Get them busy in the kitchen: part two
Dinner was good, huh? So now the kids are feeling suitably proud of their kitchen endeavours, it's time to teach them to complete a home cooked meal with a home made dessert!
Millionaire's Cheesecake: Our own teen made this recently for us (it was such fun to watch him whip double cream into its full whipped state using a whisk...), and it really was off-the-scale delicious. Use this recipe by BBC Good Food.
Vanilla Cupcakes: You can't go wrong with a simple cupcake, and we think vanilla is best of all. Mary Berry knows her stuff, so try her easy-to-follow recipe.
Chocolate Crispy Cakes: The stalwart of any kids' birthday party and still a nom-worthy treat the rest of the year round, get the kids busy whipping up a batch of these crispy cakes by Tesco Real Food.
Flapjacks: These gooey treats by Liana's Kitchen will definitely hit the sweet spot for teens and grownups alike.
Chocolate Mousse: Prep time is a little lengthy but that's a good thing when it comes to boredom busting, right? The end results will be worth it for sure. Have a look at this heavenly recipe by Recipe Tin Eats.
6. Give them an upcycling project
Whether it is turning an old pair of jeans into a bag, giving a chest of drawers a shabby chic makeover, or repurposing old tins into plant pots, there are sure to be plenty of trash to treasure ideas around the house just waiting to be upcycled by a teen. We also just published a rather cool guide awash with awesome washi tape projects.
7. Grow things
It doesn't matter if it's a small window-box garden, or a veggie patch outside, growing things is not only fun, but it's also an ongoing project that will keep the teens busy for more than a nanosecond. Plus if they grow edible stuff, that's a win, win all round.
8. Write a book
Reading books is an obvious boredom buster, and we'll be publishing a big list of our faves for kids of all ages later this week, but until then how about getting your teenager to write their own book? Get them to join online creative writing groups to help with ideas and focus, and then sit back and wait for the JK Rowling big bucks to roll in. But if a book is a step too far, we would be more than happy to have your teenagers write articles on teen life for us here at London for Kidz. We would love to publish some of them, so if you have a kid who might be interested, do get in touch either by Instagram or Facebook, or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Work up a sweat
Social distancing is being observed as much as poss right now, so going to the gym is not on everyone's agenda at the mo, but that doesn't mean your teens can't stay fit at home. There are tons of cool YouTube and Insta videos around at the mo, and those exercise endorphins MIGHT even put your teenager in a good mood (for a minute or two).
10. Research the family tree
On the face of things the kids may think this is a borrrrring suggestion, but once they start digging into the family tree, we can assure you they'll be hooked. It's relatively easy to do most of the research online these days, so see how far back they can get. As an extra, fun incentive, why not send off for a DNA kit to see what their genetic makeup is? Results can be rather surprising!
Parents: you've got this. We're all in this together.
Like this story? Here are even more ideas for the weeks ahead!