Meaningful Summer Activities for teens
Updated: May 22
Prepare your teens with real life opportunities and challenges that promote leadership, improve resilience, build life skills and produce empathy. Instead of planning out their summer for them, why not brainstorm some ideas together?
First things first. Before you map out any plan in life, you need to know where you are going. There needs to be a destination, or a goal so you can work out the steps of how to get there. You could begin asking your teens what they would like to achieve by the end of the summer? You may need to help them find a goal and encourage creativity as they get inspired and motivated.
Here are some questions you could ask:
Look back at last summer.
What did you learn?
What frustrated you?
How different do you want THIS summer to be compared to last summer?
What things, projects or activities do you wish you had more time for, but you never seem to get down to it?
How are you looking to grow as a person this summer? (character)
What have you secretly always wanted to try but just never had the courage?
If nothing was standing in your way, describe a picture of your ideal summer.
If you had this summer to come up with a solution to a problem (in the community, school, family, neighborhood, friends), how would you plan your summer?
What do you care deeply about?
What are your goals for this summer?
When using questions, be careful of making it sound like "interrogation." Remember you are brainstorming together, creating a summer in alignment with their values and interests. You will not ask all the above questions - these questions are simply examples of possibilities.
Questions help to uncover values and heart motivations as you get a glimpse of what your teen really cares about. Now you may think that your teen will just want to be a couch potato, blob around, watch movies and message friends on social media all day? Your children do need to unwind but if you ask curious questions that challenge them to dig deeper and to think beyond themselves, I believe that teens will get excited about discovering new ideas to experience so they will be more accomplished by the end of the summer break.
I don`t believe teens choose to be lazy and unproductive. They need to know where they want to go and why they want to go there. Then inspiration will follow. They need guidance and encouragement to tap into their ideas of possibilities to express their creativity - a natural part of who they are.
They need to be challenged to discover more purpose and direction. To move forward, they need to explore possibilities, contemplate summer goals so they have a reason and a destination. Then they will know where they want to go, and they can plan their next steps. A clearer destination will get them off the couch! Self-discovery leads to a “reason” which leads to excitement which leads to action.
Encourage goals that stretch and grow your teen as a person. Teach about failure and how to have a growth mindset to failure. All successful people experience failure and "failing forward" as they learn from past failures. A healthy mindset to failure will help them to step out of comfort zones and give them courage to try new things. Failure happens permanently when they don`t try.
If your teens need a more specific plan, challenge them to think of one thing under each category or their chosen categories: