10 Fun & Unique Ways to Bond with Your Teen This Summer (That They Might Actually Like!)

Summer is a great time to slow down, have fun and bond with your kids!

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: 10 Fun & Unique Ways to Bond with Your Teen this Summer (That Your Teen Might Actually Like!)

It can be incredibly hard to bond with our kids during the school year. Between school, homework, sports, extracurriculars, and jobs (theirs AND ours), it seems as though we’re always on the run which makes it hard to squeeze in time to breathe and connect with our kids in a low-stress way. 

With summer finally here, it’s a great time to slow down a bit, have fun, and reconnect with our kids. If you’re looking for a few fun & unique ways to bond with your teen this summer, check out these cool ideas they might actually like!

10 Fun & Unique Ways to Bond with Your Teen This Summer (That They Might Actually Like!)


1. Work on a Big Project Together

Here are a FEW project ideas you can work on with your teen!

Give Their Bedroom a Total Makeover:

Your teen is growing up and chances are their bedroom is bursting at the seams with clothes they’ve outgrown and stuff they don’t need or want. Vow (together) to get their bedroom ship shape this summer!

Go through everything and divide it into four categories: Keep. Toss. Donate. Sell. Spring for a new comforter and accessories, invest in a few organization items (so their room stays “relatively” clean) and, if you’re up to the challenge, paint the room a fun new color of your teen’s choosing. 

Build Something Together:

Got a teen who loves to read and they have nowhere to put their books? Build a bookcase together! Does your teen love robotics? Build a cool robotic car. Does your teen love the outdoors and gardening? Build a treehouse or birdhouse together or plant a vegetable garden. Does your teen love having friends over but he/she is always stumped on things they can do? Build a cornhole set for the backyard.

OR, how about creating an aquarium together, doing a cool science experiment, or designing/creating cool decor for their bedroom like this shabby chic DIY headboard?

Plan a Family Garage Sale (Let Your Teen Have a Portion of the Profits):

Teenagers (typically) hate working, but they LOVE money. So, offer your teen an incentive! Have them help you pull stuff out of the basement, storage area(s), garage, and cabinets, and organize a family garage sale. They can help plan it, ticket everything, and manage sales the day(s) of the event. Of course, give them a healthy portion of the profits for all their hard work. I

t’s a win-win for all! You clear out all the junk you no longer need or want, your teen can make a few bucks AND you get to spend quality time together organizing the sale!

2. Try Something New & Adventurous

Vow to try three new things this summer with your teen! Maybe they’ve never been ziplining or hiking to the top of a mountain. Maybe they’ve never tried their hand at surfing or they’ve never been jet skiing? Maybe they’ve never run a marathon, explored the city nearest you, or been to a monster truck rally (if you’ve never been, they really ARE pretty cool!).

It doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost a dime. Just choose things you and your teen have never done and just GO FOR IT!

3. Plan a Few “Pizza and Game Nights” with the Family

I know… teenagers always seem to be on the run – even in the summer. But that doesn’t mean they can’t carve out a few dates to hang with the fam. Sit down as a family, choose a few (or even a couple) dates that work for everyone, and get it on the calendar… then, start planning! You can do pizza night, pasta night, appetizers-only night, or even a strictly junk food night. Play games, watch a classic summer movie, go for a drive, or just hang out on the back porch enjoying each other’s company.

4. Give Each of Your Kids Your Undivided Attention

As a mom of three, I’ve always tried to divide my attention between my kids. But honestly, what they love most is when they get me all to themselves.

That’s why when my kids were young we started “Mom and Me Dates.” My kids (even now) will choose a day, plan something they’d like to do and we hang out all day doing what THEY love.

With my girls, we’ve had shopping and lunch days and days at the zoo and with my son, we’ve done everything from going to a waterpark together and checking out a cool boat show to hitting a double-header at the movies complete with popcorn and junk food. 

5. Teach Them How to Cook (or Bake) Their Favorite Recipes

Maybe they love “Mom’s Famous Spaghetti and Meatballs,” or “Dad’s “Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich.” No matter what it is, just make it fun by letting your teen choose a few recipes that they might like to learn. Plus, by teaching them even a few simple recipes they love, you’ll have the comfort of knowing they won’t starve when they venture off to college or out in the real world.

6. Go “Off-The-Grid” with Electronics Once a Month (OR MORE)

You might have to bribe your teen to put their phone down (and skip watching TV and Netflix) for an entire day, but if you make it worth their while, trust me… they’ll be onboard. 

In years past, my husband and I have taken our kids to visit waterfalls, museums, and caves. We’ve packed up and drove to the coolest waterpark we could find. We’ve hit the trails on our bikes. We’ve hit amusement parks with the highest roller coasters. And, we’ve given our kids a map and said, “You’re in charge… where are we headed?” (They LOVE being in charge!)

7. Plan a Couple of Fun Road Trips

Sure, we venture out for our annual (bigger) summer vacation – typically to the beach. But it’s a long summer. So, to keep our family bonding going strong, we like to plan a few short family road trips in between. 

Whether you hop in the car and head to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the weekend, secretly plan a fun “cousin’s weekend,” or rent a cabin near a lake for a weekend so the family can float on the lake and enjoy the summer night sky, any time away from the house, (and all mom’s daily responsibilities) is great for your family. 

8. Catch a Concert Together

Even if you’re not the biggest Kenny Chesney fan (although who doesn’t love Kenny Chesney, right?) or you don’t know a single word in any of Rihanna’s songs, hitting one of their concerts (or your teen’s favorite artist/band) will be a BIG bonding experience for you and your teen.

Let’s face it, teens LOVE music! So, if you want to bond with your teen this summer, this is a great way to go! Whether you sit in the stands (with your earplugs in, of course) or you toss out a blanket on the lawn at a concert venue, you won’t go wrong if you include music in your plans to bond with your teenager. You might even get a “Thanks, Mom and Dad!!” afterward. 

9. Host an “Invite Your Friends Over” Night

You might think, “Why in the world would I want my kids to invite their friends over when I’m trying to bond with my own kids?” Well… because I’ve learned from experience that you DO bond with your kids when you open your home to their friends.

Don’t go crazy, of course. Let each of your kids invite two (or three) friends over and spring for pizza and chips or slap a few burgers on the grill. The ONLY stipulation is that they don’t escape to their bedroom. They have to hang with the whole family together (at least for a couple of hours).

Make it fun by setting up a badminton or volleyball net in the backyard or get a game of cornhole going. You might be surprised how much your kids AND their friends enjoy hanging with you if you keep it fun and low-key! 

10. Take a Class Together

Take a class… any class! Whether it’s self-defense, painting, Yoga, photography, cooking, or any other class that interests your teen, just being together and learning something new can be a great way to connect and bond with them! The possibilities are endless. Just do a Google search for classes in your area or reach out to the Department of Parks and Recreation for class ideas and listings. 

Here are a few OTHER ideas to bond with your teens this summer!

  • Have dinner together as a family at least two to three times a week.
  • Teach them how to drive, how to change a tire or how to do something (anything) they don’t know how to do.
  • Let them teach YOU something… anything!
  • Get fit together – do a marathon or join a gym.
  • Work on college applications or search for possible college selections.
  • Volunteer together.
  • Plan a spa day.
  • Learn a new language as a family. Choose a few new words or phrases every week!
  • Walk the dog together or take nightly walks in the neighborhood after dinner.
  • Attend a festival.
  • Plan a family 30-day challenge such as no soft drinks for a month or walking 20 minutes a day.
  • Go on a family picnic.
  • Vow to try one new cultural food a week all summer long.
  • Go to a sporting event. 
  • Tour colleges.
  • Get up early and watch the sunrise or catch a beautiful sunset.
  • Go stargazing on a clear summer night. 

It doesn’t matter what you do with your teen. Just focus on grabbing a few hours (or even a few minutes) with them whenever and for however long you can.

Above all, when you ARE together, hold the reminders, lectures (and nagging) ’til later. This is your time to connect, bond, have fun, laugh, and just BE. 

If you enjoyed reading, “10 Fun & Unique Ways to Bond with Your Teen This Summer (That They Might Actually Like!)” here are a few other posts you might like!

25 Classic Summer Movies to Watch with Your Teen

Why My Teens Need a Break This Summer: 10 Ways I’m Cutting Them Some Slack

12 Ways to Help Your Teen Have a Productive Summer (and Still Have Fun)

14 House Rules to Make Summer with Your Teens Less Stressful (and More Fun)

How do you plan to bond with your teen this summer? Share your ideas in the comments section below! 

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