50 fun and affordable summer activities for teens

50 Fun Summer Activities for Teens | Summer Bucket List

Inside: Join me as we explore 50 creative and engaging summer activities for teens to reduce screen time and enhance their skills. From outdoor adventures to artistic projects, these ideas will keep your teen active and learning all summer.

As a homeschooling mom of a 13-year-old, I understand the challenge of keeping teenagers engaged during the summer months.

Although our academic learning doesn’t stop, we slow down to enjoy the season. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of 50 activities that your teens can do alone or with friends.

These activities range from fun and creative projects to outdoor adventures and skill-building opportunities. If you want a printable version of this list to hand to your teens, subscribe to my newsletter for a free printable (keep reading for details)!

50 fun activities teenagers can do this summer

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Why Should You Look for Activities for Your Teen?

Finding fun and engaging activities for your teen during the summer is more important than you might think. Here are some reasons why it’s a great idea to keep your teen active and involved:

1. Avoiding Excessive Screen Time

Let’s face it: teens can spend much time glued to screens. Whether it’s video games, social media, or binge-watching shows, excessive screen time can lead to various issues like poor sleep, eye strain, and even decreased academic performance. By finding fun and engaging activities, you’re giving your teen the perfect time to unplug and enjoy other interests.

2. Encouraging Physical Activity

Summer is the great time to get moving! Physical activity is essential for staying healthy and fit. Activities like bike rides, swimming, or playing sports not only keep your teen active but also help them build strength and endurance. Plus, it’s just so much fun to be outdoors enjoying the sunshine.

3. Enhancing Social Skills

Socializing teens is a crucial part of growing up. Activities like team sports, summer camps, or volunteering allow teens to meet new people and make friends. These experiences help them develop problem-solving skills, teamwork, and effective communication. It’s a great way for teens to learn how to interact with others and build lasting friendships.

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4. Boosting Mental Health

Did you know that being active and engaged can significantly boost mental health? Physical activities release endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones that help reduce stress and anxiety. Creative and social activities provide a sense of accomplishment and can be a great way to keep your teen happy and emotionally balanced.

5. Developing New Skills and Interests

Summer is the perfect time for your teen to explore new hobbies and interests. Whether it’s learning to cook, picking up a new sport, or diving into a craft project, these activities can spark new interests and talents. Who knows? Your teen might discover a lifelong passion!

6. Promoting Academic Success

While summer is a break from the traditional school year, it doesn’t mean learning has to stop. Engaging in educational activities like reading, taking online classes, or visiting museums can prevent the “summer slide” and keep their minds sharp. This way, they’re ready to hit the ground running when the new school year starts.

7. Encouraging Responsibility and Independence

Summer activities can help your teen develop a sense of responsibility and independence. Whether they’re taking on a summer job, managing their own schedule for a project, or planning a day trip with friends, these experiences teach valuable life skills like time management, goal-setting, and self-discipline.

Finding and encouraging a variety of activities for your teen during the summer months is essential for their overall well-being. Not only does it help reduce screen time, but it also promotes physical and mental health, enhances social skills, develops new interests, supports academic success, and fosters responsibility.

50 Fun and Affordable Summer Activities for Teens

Summer is a great time for teens to explore new interests, develop valuable skills, and have a blast. Whether it’s through summer camps, educational programs, or creative activities, there’s no shortage of fun things to do. Here are some great ideas to keep your teens entertained and engaged all summer long.

1. Photo Scavenger Hunt

A photo scavenger hunt is a fantastic and low-cost activity that encourages creativity and exploration. Create a list of items or themes for your teen to find and photograph. It’s a great way to get them moving and thinking creatively while exploring their surroundings.

And if you need some help with ideas, grab my scavenger hunt printables!

2. Nighttime Capture the Flag

Organize a nighttime capture the flag game. This thrilling game is even more fun after dark and provides a perfect opportunity for teamwork and strategy. All you need are a few friends, some flashlights, and two flags. It’s an excellent way for teens to burn off energy and have fun safely in your backyard or a local park.

3. Visit Food Trucks

Exploring food trucks in your city is an exciting culinary adventure. It’s a great way for teens to try new foods and learn about different cuisines. Many food trucks offer unique and affordable dishes, making this a fun and budget-friendly activity.

4. Make Homemade Ice Cream

Making homemade ice cream is a delicious way to spend an afternoon. Your teen can experiment with different flavors and ingredients. This activity not only results in a tasty treat but also teaches basic cooking and measuring skills.

5. Pet Store Visit

Spend time at a local pet store playing with the animals. It’s a fun and relaxing way to pass time, and your teen might even learn about animal care and different pet species.

6. College Campus Tour

For older teens, visiting a college campus can be a great opportunity to start thinking about the future. Many campuses offer free tours, and it’s a good way to get a feel for college life and see what different schools have to offer.

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7. Ropes Course

Challenge your teen with a ropes course. It’s a thrilling way to build confidence and physical strength while having fun. Many local parks or adventure centers offer these courses.

8. Paintball or Laser Tag

Playing paintball or laser tag with friends is a fun and active way to spend a day. These games require strategy and teamwork, making them great for socializing and physical activity.

9. Volunteer at a Food Bank

Volunteering at a food bank is an excellent way for teens to learn about giving back to the community. It’s a valuable skill and provides a sense of accomplishment and social responsibility.

10. Photo-a-Day Project

Encourage your teen to start a photo-a-day project. This ongoing activity can be a creative outlet and a way to document their summer experiences. It’s a fun challenge that encourages daily creativity.

11. Pool Day

A pool day is a classic summer activity. Whether at a local pool or a friend’s house, swimming is a great way to cool off and have fun with friends.

12. Just Dance

Having a Just Dance session is a fun way to stay active indoors. This popular video game encourages physical activity and is a fun way to compete with friends.

13. Zipline Course

Visiting a zipline course provides an adrenaline rush and an adventurous experience. It’s perfect for teens looking for a thrill and is often available at adventure parks or outdoor recreation centers.

14. Ping Pong

Set up a ping pong table for some competitive fun. This game is easy to play and can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors.

15. Learn to Sew or Crochet

Learning to sew or crochet is a productive and creative way to spend time. These skills can lead to making personalized gifts or even starting a small business selling handmade items.

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16. Bowling

Going bowling is a fun social activity. Many bowling alleys offer affordable rates, especially during off-peak hours, making it an excellent option for a fun day out.

17. Write and Illustrate a Comic Book

Encourage your teen to write and illustrate a comic book. This activity fosters creativity and storytelling skills. It’s a fun project that can be done individually or with friends.

18. Make Treats for Friends

Baking and making treats for friends is a sweet way to spend an afternoon. It teaches baking skills and the joy of sharing homemade goodies.

19. Play Board Games

Hosting a board game night is a great way to enjoy time with friends. Games like Settlers of Catan, Risk, or Exploding Kittens provide hours of entertainment.

20. Campfire and S’mores

Having a campfire and making s’mores is a quintessential summer activity. It’s perfect for evenings and offers a chance to unwind, tell stories, and enjoy the warmth of a fire with friends and family. This activity not only allows teens to enjoy some delicious treats but also to connect with each other in a relaxed setting.

21. Road Trip

Plan a road trip to a national park or another interesting destination. It’s a great place to explore the great outdoors and can be a wonderful learning experience for young adults. Plus, the journey itself, with the right playlist and companions, can be as enjoyable as the destination.

22. Start a YouTube Channel

Encourage your teen to start a YouTube channel. Whether they’re into gaming, tutorials, fashion, or daily vlogs, creating content can be a fun way to express themselves and learn digital media skills.

23. Learn a New Language

Summer break is the perfect opportunity to start learning a new language. This can be through an online course, app (Duolingo is free), or by joining local classes. Gaining language skills is not only fun but opens up new cultural insights.

Teaching a foreign language with forbrain

24. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Volunteering at a local animal shelter can be a rewarding experience for animal-loving teens. It teaches them compassion, responsibility, and helps them make a positive impact in their local community.

25. Go to a Music Festival

Check out a music festival if there are any happening nearby. It’s a great way for teens to enjoy live music and the dynamic festival atmosphere.

26. Participate in a Local Theater Production

Joining a local theater production can be a fantastic outlet for creativity and can be a fun way to build confidence and performance skills.

27. DIY Projects

Encourage your teen to undertake a DIY project, whether it’s crafting, building, or upcycling furniture. It’s a fun way to be creative and can sometimes even turn into a profitable hobby.

28. Host a Dinner Party

Teach your teen to host a dinner party. Planning the menu, cooking, and setting up can be a fun and educational experience, enhancing culinary and organizational skills.

29. Join a Book Club

Joining or starting a book club can be a great way for your teen to read more, enjoy discussions with friends, and make reading a more social experience.

And if it’s writing you’re after, check my Egypt Pack, the Ultimate Book Report Pack, or even my summer writing prompts:

30. Explore Local Museums

Visiting museums can offer educational and inspiring experiences, helping teens learn more about art, history, and nature.

31. Summer Job

Encourage your teen to take on a part-time job. It’s a good way for them to earn some money, gain valuable skills, and learn about responsibility.

32. Go Kayaking or Canoeing

Heading out on the water for kayaking or canoeing can be an exhilarating outdoor activity and a new skill for your teen to learn.

33. Fitness Challenge

Start a fitness challenge with your teen. It could be anything from running a certain distance, a series of gym workouts, or yoga sessions. It’s a great way to keep active and can be a bonding experience as well.

34. Science Projects

Encourage your teen to start a science project. They could build models, conduct experiments, or even start a small garden to study botany.

And if you want done-for-you experiments, try the ready-made kits from MEL Science. We love them!

Science Lab ideas for homeschoolers

35. Photography

Photography can be a great hobby for teens during the summer months. They can capture moments from their summer and develop a great skill set in photography techniques.

36. Art and Craft Fair

Visit or participate in an art and craft fair. This could be a great place for your teen to showcase their artwork or crafts and learn about the business side of selling their own creations.

37. Historical Reenactments

Participate in or watch historical reenactments if available locally. It’s a unique and interactive way to learn history outside of books.

38. Go Bird Watching

Bird watching can be a peaceful and educational activity, especially if you live near a park or nature reserve.

39. Create an Escape Room at Home

Design and set up an escape room at home. It’s a fun and imaginative way to challenge the mind with puzzles and clues.

40. Write a Play or Short Story

Encourage your teen to write a play or short story, then perform or share it with family and friends. This fosters creativity and can be very fulfilling.

41. Community Garden

Encourage your teen to help start or join a community garden. This teaches valuable skills in gardening, sustainability, and community building. Plus, they get to enjoy the literal fruits (and vegetables!) of their labor.

Summer ideas for homeschooling31

42. Take a Cooking Class

Sign up for a cooking class. Learning to prepare different cuisines can be a fun and useful skill, offering a tasty way to spend a summer day.

43. Design and Paint a Mural

If your teen is artistically inclined, designing and painting a mural can be a fantastic large-scale project. It can beautify a space in your local community and give them a sense of pride and ownership over their work.

44. Participate in a Charity Walk or Run

Participating in a charity walk or run is a good idea for keeping fit and raising money for a good cause. It’s also a great way to meet new people and contribute to nonprofit organizations.

45. Family Vacation

Plan a family vacation. Whether it’s a trip to a nearby state park, a beach, or a different country, a family trip can be the best thing for creating lasting memories and experiences.

46. Learn Yard Work Skills

Teach your teen about yard work by involving them in landscaping projects around the home. This could include planting flowers, trimming hedges, or even small-scale landscaping projects.

47. Visit Historical Sites

Exploring historical sites can be both fun and educational. It provides a deeper understanding of history and culture and is a great way to spend a summer day exploring.

48. Set Up a Lemonade Stand

Encourage younger kids to set up a lemonade stand. It’s a fun activity that teaches basic business skills like money management, customer service, and marketing.

49. Create a Documentary

If your teen is interested in filmmaking, encourage them to create a documentary. They could choose a subject that interests them, conduct interviews, and use a video camera to capture footage. This can be a powerful way to explore new things and develop storytelling skills.

50. Explore Botanical Gardens

Visiting botanical gardens can be a serene and educational way to learn about different plant species and ecosystems. It’s a peaceful retreat from the typical dog days of summer and provides a beautiful backdrop for learning and relaxation.

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Get These Activities as a PDF!

Want an easy way to keep your teen engaged this summer? I’ve compiled all these fantastic activities into a handy, printable PDF that you can hand directly to your teens. This PDF is designed to make summer planning a breeze and help your teens stay active, creative, and entertained throughout the season. Pplus, you get a template to create your own teen summer bucket list. ☀️

How to Get Your Free Printable PDF

Simply subscribe to my newsletter, and you’ll receive the PDF directly in your inbox.

By subscribing, you’ll not only get this useful PDF but also regular updates, tips, and ideas for homeschooling and family activities throughout the year. It’s a win-win!

What Do You Think?

These 50 fun summer activities are designed to keep teens entertained, engaged, and educated over their summer break.

From outdoor activities like kayaking and hiking to educational experiences like visiting museums and taking classes, there’s something here to suit every interest and age group. Don’t forget to capture these moments and maybe add them to your summer bucket list for future years!

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