10 Ways to Keep Your Teen Busy This Summer

by Nancy Reynolds

 This Post: 10 Ways to Keep Your Teen Busy This Summer

Written By: Marybeth Bock

Let’s face it, we’re all pretty much done with the school year.

After weeks of end-of-year projects, concerts, play-off games, performances, recitals, papers, and exams, I think it’s safe to say we parents and our teens are more than ready to bid farewell to this school year. Can we all just exhale for a moment? Whew! It’s over…

But wait, it’s great that the hectic school year is over but now we’re faced with the million-dollar question… how do we keep our teens (especially younger ones) busy all summer long? 

Sure, a little downtime is okay, (they need that!) but the last thing you want them doing is sleeping in until noon every day, lying around playing mindless video games, scrolling their phone for hours, and leaving behind a messy trail of cups, plates, and snack crumbs from all their snack attacks. 

So, how in the world do you keep a younger teen busy and (somewhat) content all summer long?

It turns out there are quite a few options and, chances are, if you conduct a bit of research (and talk to other parents, teachers, friends, coaches, etc.) you might find even more things they can get involved in within your community. 

10 Ways to Keep Your Teen Busy This Summer


Aside from squeezing in as much quality family time as possible, here are some great ways to keep your teen busy this summer!

1. Summer Camps

From week-long tech camps to month-long multi-activity away camps, there’s a camp out there for pretty much any teen. While some camps might be rather inexpensive, other camps (depending on what they offer) can be quite pricey so keep that in mind when sifting through your options.

Look for camps that interest your teen – whether it’s sports, arts, science, technology, or adventure camps. Many day camps for younger kids also need teens to work as assistants and helpers. Camps can be a terrific way for teens to meet new friends, explore new activities, and get some work experience.

2. A Part-Time Job

As a general rule, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets 14 years old as the minimum age for employment and limits the number of hours worked by minors under the age of 16. Thus, if your younger teen is interested, there’s likely a part-time job out there for them.

Having a part-time job is a great way for your teen to learn responsibility and time management, hone in on their “people skills,” and earn a few bucks. Jobs like babysitting, pet care, tutoring younger students, food service, grocery store bagging, movie theater concessions, golf caddy, and lifeguarding are great jobs for young teens.

But think outside the box as well! Ask neighbors, friends, and relatives about hiring your teen to help out in their home or place of work with things like running errands, doing laundry, cleaning, meal prep, car washing, filing, organizing, and other office-type jobs. (Do they need help creating a resume? Resume Genius has useful information and templates just for teens.)

25 Great Summer Jobs for Teens

3. Sports and Fitness Activities

Sign your teen up for sports leagues, fitness classes, or a gym membership – many have reduced fees for students during the summer. Whether it’s soccer, basketball, swimming, martial arts, or just hitting the gym a few times a week, staying active is so important! 

4. Volunteer Work

Help your teen to find ways to volunteer for local organizations or community events. They could work at an animal shelter, help at a food bank, participate in environmental cleanup projects, do yard/garden work, do odd jobs for their church, or even work for a local or state political organization.

5. Hobbies and Other Creative Activities

Maybe your teen would like to explore their creative side through activities like painting, drawing, writing, or learning a musical instrument (to name a few). They could also try their hand at photography, filmmaking, or cooking. Craft stores and community colleges are perfect places to look for these types of classes and activities, and teens can make money selling crafted items like jewelry,  candles, and blankets. Check out THIS POST: 70 Cool Hobbies for Teens (That Aren’t Boring)

6. Outdoor Adventures

Encourage your teen to tap into their adventurous side either with the family OR friends! Whether they go hiking, camping, canoeing, rafting, or take nature walks in search of waterfalls, adventures are a wonderful way for them to appreciate the outdoors, learn survival skills, and stay active.

Be sure to check out your local sporting goods stores, city parks, and local government websites for activities that they may sponsor or coordinate. Check out THIS POST: Teen Summer Bucket List – 99 Things To Do That Are Cheap OR Free

7. Educational Workshops and Classes

Many community centers, libraries, community colleges, and universities offer summer programs for teens. Help your teen find workshops or classes that they’re interested in, such as coding, creative writing, nature studies, language arts, or robotics. Your school district likely offers summer courses as well, which are a great way for your teens to get an elective out of the way or get ahead in a subject they love. 

8. DIY Projects

Does your teen love building things? Do they like making jewelry, getting their hands dirty in the garden, or learning how to fix something in the house? Do you need a room or two painted or does a closet, your basement, or your garage need organizing? How about scanning all those tubs of family photos or re-selling outgrown and unused clothes and accessories? These are all great ways for teens to learn new skills and unleash their creativity. 

9. Travel

Maybe your teen wants to visit grandma and grandpa across the country. Or, maybe they want to visit a friend a few states away. Your teen would probably do an excellent job planning and organizing a family vacation.

Whether you plan a quick road trip, a visit to a national park or you go all out and plan an out-of-state or international adventure, nothing occupies teens more than visiting new destinations.

10. Online Freelance Work

Another way your teen can keep busy this summer is for them to explore online freelancing platforms to find gigs such as graphic design, writing, social media management, or virtual assistance. This would allow them to work from home and build valuable skills in digital communication and technology. Teens can make money by designing and selling business cards, greeting cards, stickers, and home décor as well. Look into sites like Fiverr and Freelancer.

NOTE: While there are plenty of ways teens can make money online, digital safety is important. Talk with your teen about when and where it is appropriate to post personal information and be extremely cautious when giving out a social security number.

For a few other ideas, your teen can check out the American Youth Counsel, Inc. for assistance in finding jobs near them. Also, have them search job finder sites like ZipRecruiter and Indeed.

Remember, too, it’s important to involve your teen in the decision-making process and to consider their interests and preferences when planning summer activities. They’ll be miserable if you decide without their input and insist they do what you think is best. Nobody wants a grumpy teen working for them or quitting after one week.

It’s also helpful to strike a balance between structured activities and free time for relaxation and downtime. Our kids have had a long school year with loads of exams, activities, and deadlines. They need some time to decompress and recharge during their summer break.


Marybeth Bock, MPH, is a Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


If you enjoyed reading, “10 Ways to Keep Your Teen Busy This Summer,” here are a few other posts you might like!

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

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

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

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