As children become teenagers, finding fun activities to connect and have a good time can become trickier. These activities to do with teens will help you find common-ground and enjoy more quality time.
Allocating dedicated time with them with fun things that interests you both can be so crucial during these years with older kids. The other trick is to find something you are both genuinely interested in doing.
I’ve collected a variety of everyday intentional activities to some more specific niche family activities that can help harbour a growing relationship with your teen that are also boredom busters.
A hands-on activity to try with your teen in your free time is making soap together. Grab this kit and make an afternoon of it with the whole family.
These ideas are great options for gift-giving, or if you both like creating, there are many possibilities for making different soaps with this great activity.
If you live near or planning on hitting the beach sometime soon for summer vacation at the end of the school year, have the entire family pick up some midsized shells for your garden.
You and your crafty family member can then decorate and label them together when you get home. This is a great way to have the perfect time as parents of teens.
Make sure to have acrylic paint, paint pens, mod podge, and this clear waterproofing spray.
Color however you two would like, let dry, label each shell, and then mod podge and waterproof spray it.
Together you’ll cut the paper into any shapes; once that gets done, add a light layer of mod podge on the pot’s base.
Place the tissue onto the glue and add another light layer of mod podge on top of the paper–let dry completely.
Creating mandalas is a therapeutic, meditative, and creative way to bond with your teenager. This is one of the best indoor activities to provide a nice relief from cell phones and school work
Use pens, markers, or anything you have on hand, and of course, mandala stencils like these, or search for free ones online.
A special day curated for you and your son can be as active or relaxed as you want it to be. Try a few things that excite your boy; that way, you learn more about him, and he knows you care.
For an unforgettable outing, try escape rooms together. These rooms are pretty standard now and these great places can be found anywhere.
If you’re feeling a bit more motivated, some places offer directions to make your escape room or buy a kit online, there are plenty of options for a fun family game night without the board games.
One of the simplest things you can do with your child or anyone to help strengthen a relationship is to share a meal together.
Dinnertime is usually the most common time of the day, while most family members overlap in timing.
Nothing special needed for this family dinner activity other than each other and some food; make it, however you both prefer and just be present with one another.
As the tradition of sitting down together grows, this is a great time to find more connections.
Volunteering is an eye-opening experience; you learn so much about the world and yourself! It’s an even more fantastic experience to share with someone you love, like your kid.
Discuss what communities you’d like to help serve, and then do some research together. Bonus–it’s great to see it on a transcript or resume!
Connecting may be more challenging for some, but a walk may be the best place to start for those who are a little more closed off to connecting with an adult.
Start however you need to, a short loop around the block, a silent walk–the goal is to open the door for that child to feel the want to connect.
As the habit grows, you could go to new parks, different terrains, and even plan trips around hikes.
Food is an excellent connector in people; learning how to communicate with another human while cooking can transform a relationship. Talk about what they might be interested in learning, or the both of you would like to learn and get to it!
If both of you are novices, try signing up for a cooking class or find a favorite Youtuber and cook alongside them! If all fails, it’ll still make for a great story, and you failed together, which is a bonding moment that will be memorable.
11. Movie Night
Who doesn’t love a movie night at home or the theater? Grab the snacks, dress up a little or comfy, and find a cool independent theater–there always a little bit more interesting.
If it’s a home movie night, have a few titles prepared, so you don’t spend forever like some of us can debating what gets turned on. It makes the whole process a little more fun and streamlined.
Have teen girls? This would make a super fun sleepover idea for teens!
A physical activity that doesn’t focus too much on any specific communication other than just having fun together is bowling.
Bowling gets you both out and about and promotes healthy competition, and some laughs are bound to break out.
13. Go for a Hike
Just like walking, a hike is a beautiful way for those quieter teens to have the space to talk or not talk while still being with you. This activity can grow into a lifelong bonding experience and take you to many different places around the world.
If your teen has a flair for creativity, theater, or anything similar, go to a musical together. There are so many elements to talk about, from the story itself to the logistics of how a show gets put on.
The magic of a theater is always something that feels special, too, especially during the holidays.
A day trip to a new city or a new place is always exciting. When navigating to get around town, new experiences specific to the area and all the different food possibilities are an incredible time to share with your teen!
Learning a new skill together is challenging but rewarding, and getting your hands messy together is a whole other level of bonding.
The best part is that you’ll both have a physical item(s) to walk away with and be reminded of your time together whenever either of you sees it.
A puzzle is an undertaking; there’s nothing more fun than chatting and debating about organizing the puzzle pieces as you look for the corner pieces.
There are all sorts of sizes and styles of puzzles, so buy a few, trade some with friends or family, and start looking for those corners!
A classic way to spend time with your teen is to play a board game. Make it a weekly activity and try a new one, or play a few in a night!
Invite another family over with kids similar ages as your own kids, grab some take out and make a fun night out of it.
Have younger children too? Check out these board games that the whole family can play!
A road trip combines a few previous activities into one major one! Find fun regional events to experience together to make it all the more memorable.
You can plan a trip to have something happen once you get there or just have fun along the way. The journey is just as fun as the destination!
Do you feel like you and your teen could use some flexibility in your relationship? There’s no greater calming and grounding exercise than doing some yoga.
A class is a perfect introduction to practicing–you don’t have to guess if you’re doing the poses right or how long you should hold each pose.
There are all sorts of different varieties, too, so don’t be scared away if you’re both beginners.
If you are not into yoga–no worries–try hitting the gym with your kid and try a little of everything. Again, gyms and studios offer many options these days and open gym times.
It’s fun to go in with low expectations, whether you know what you are doing or not.
You’re not trying to get in a great workout; you’re maybe playing a bit of a sport, running the track, or even taking advantage of the sauna!
Whatever you and your teen like the most, and if it is not great, try something else!
You could also opt out of everything and head to the great outdoors! Now, I know traditional camping is not for everyone, but there are options here today too.
Depending on each of your comfort levels, this may look different for each reader.
Some people love tent camping, others love cabins, and others love glamping–try all of them out with your teen or spend a fun weekend with your preferred style.
An essential item for either experience is a flashlight like this!
These outdoor games would be great for a camp weekend!
This idea may be a little more intimidating to us than some of the teens out there, but connecting with them on familiar territory for them helps humanize “parents.”
It’s okay, and it will not be pretty for a lot of us, but showing our kids were not perfect at everything makes playing video games together all the more fun.
Video games also make fun party games for every occasion!
Whether it’s your family’s go-to for most of your clothing, you love vintage, or you just love an exciting piece of clothing, thrifting is always a treasure hunt!
Letting your teen help pick out their clothes and hit a coffee shop pre or post-shop is a great afternoon that I used to do with my mom that I still hold close to my heart.
Another simple make-it-what-you-want idea is taking a drive with your kid. You can keep it quiet, introduce each other to favorite musicians, or talk about anything under the sun.
Sometimes a drive is just the thing to shake up a daily routine, whether there’s a destination in mind or not. Grab some snacks or coffee if that entices your teen, and enjoy the view together.
Are both of you athletic types that played various sports all of your lives? Try picking up a new one together!
There’s nothing greater than engaging your whole body to learn something new. Endless conversations can arise from experiencing something like this together.
If you and your teen aren’t the sporty types and more foodie types, try making a picnic basket together!
Do it entirely together or plan some surprise elements for the other, or if you want to make it really simple, compose the basket with takeout or premade foods from a grocery store.
Looking for a lowkey getaway–have a beach day! Grab a stack of books, snacks, and these umbrellas to hang on the beach or an inner tube, goggles, and some extra towels to dry off with–if you like a more active day.
Either way, make sure to grab sunscreen and water before you hit the sand!
For an extra unique idea, do a photo shoot together! Make it super goofy or glam by planning the accessories out.
Snag some mismatched clothes, silly hairstyles, and maybe a prop or two, and have a ball. Or, hit a salon or makeup counter pre-shoot and put on your best wares for the moment.
This would also make a fun teen birthday party idea!
Teaching or sharing the experience of creating a garden together is such a big but rewarding activity to build with someone.
If you already have a semblance of one, it’s great to share how you’ve started if interested.
If you don’t have one, don’t fret, it’s also cool to plan one from scratch together. There are so many lenses to work through together–how to build, what to plant, etc.
Baking can be a beautiful connector of generations in a family.
If you have any special treats or dishes coveted amongst your loved ones, try having your teen help the next time you make it and talk about where the recipe started.
If you don’t–why not start one together? Talk about what you’d love to eat regularly or for special occasions, and see where that leads you.
Who doesn’t love going out for breakfast on the weekend, or at the very least putting some intentionality to your morning’s meals?
Whatever works in your budget, make it a little extra special by going out, trying out a new recipe at home, or even adding a unique ingredient to the mix.
Once the meal is ready, the important part is to sit down together and enjoy it together. Catch up with each other and maybe even plan future breakfast dates.
Even though some of our teens may not grasp the funness of a mall, show them!
Make it fun and goofy, or surprise them with a special gift while there, but absolutely end it at the food court and recap the experience or people-watch.
The food court is the glue that holds the whole experience together, and it just so happens it’s the best way to watch all the goings on in the mall.
A way for both of you to express yourself without things getting complicated is to paint together. Make one collaboratively, paint a still life, or just throw paint on the canvas.
Art therapy is genuinely a healing yet fun activity, and to not only share but show your teen a way to relieve any stressors through art is a big bonus. This is a great pack for a blossoming painter.
Rock climbing is a perfect mix of independence but also relationship building. At a climbing gym, everyone’s inclined to root for one another, but it’s a test of your commitment.
Don’t be discouraged either if climbing seems complicated because it is!
Reminding your teen that adults are people who are still learning and not perfect is healthy because we are all people, at the end of the day, trying our best.
Going through old photos is such a wonderful rainy day activity, or if you just want to reminisce!
Sharing about other family members, reminding your kids of stories they may have forgotten, or laughing at goofy kid faces is so much fun.
The simplest joys seem spent on backroads going from one place to another. There’s something about riding a bike that’s just fun, especially with a couple of other loved ones at your side.
Make sure to stay safe, be aware of each other and vehicles, and grab some of these helmets!
Taking a memorable trip together with an intended purpose is one of the most amazing ideas to do with a teen.
My mom still talks about how much fun she had on a cruise with her mom, and they made it a mother-daughter trip with a few other pairs.
Obviously, you can go big like my mom, and my grandma did, but you can also plan a day trip anywhere near you or beyond! The trick is being anywhere with your kid and enjoying each other’s company.
Take note of what your teen is starting to show interest in and help it grow by sharing resources, teaching them yourself, or attending a class together.
This practice will help garner your kid’s confidence and help them build the skills to expand into anything new in the future.
Sharing a museum with your teen is a great window to see parts of the world.
Most collections feature very distinct cultural elements that can raise some very mature conversations, or albeit they are teenagers still, some silly ones too.
Exposing them to anything that makes them think beyond their slice of the world will help them as they grow into young adults.
Teaching them to think critically will benefit you; even if it backfires and they start questioning you, they’ll eventually grow out of it.
I like to bring a notebook like this to keep notes of anything I’d like to look up later.
Most of the time, even if they may combat you on any given subject, talking to your teen strengthens relationships the most.
Come in with an open, understanding mind, and remember they are at a point where everything is still developing, from literal brain functions to experiences in the world.