Are your tweens too cool for summer camp? Whether camp’s canceled or just not in-budget this vacation season, one thing is sure — idle teens have a proven track record of getting in trouble. So encourage your camp-free kid to engage in these activities to keep them busy, productive, and joyful through summer.
Summer Camp Alternatives for Tweens & Younger Teens
If your tween is too grown for sleepaway camp and too young for a summer job, you may think you’re out of options. However, a closer look at recreational opportunities in your physical (and virtual) community may reveal something that piques their interest.
1. Check out tween-friendly programming at your local library.
Contrary to popular perception, many of today’s libraries offer much more than stacks of books and wooden chairs. Depending on where you live, your library may afford kids unique learning opportunities with age-appropriate programming and state-of-the-art technology.
For instance, some libraries offer kids training and access to their recording studios, 3D printers, and computer software. Additionally, your local library may also host creative writing workshops or weekly book clubs, where kids can socialize while they learn!
2. Send them off to “summer camp” (with relatives).
Summer camp is a godsend for many parents, especially working parents who can’t watch their kids all day. However, camp may not be in the cards this summer! If this is the case, inquire with extended family and trusted friends about having your tween spend a few weeks with them.
Whether you send your tweens off to spend some time in the country with their grandparents or let them experience city life with their “cool aunt,” the change of pace and scenery will likely be great for their souls! Additionally, you’ll have the peace of mind that they’re taken care of and get some time to relax as well!
Summer Camp Alternatives for Older Teens
Is the idea of leaving your teenager alone at home all day keeping you awake? Whether they’re the naughty type or the type who likes doing nothing a little too much — there’s a summer activity out there for them.
1. Get a summer job or side hustle.
Going to class and getting good grades (or at least trying to) is your teenager’s full-time job. But when summer starts, they’re left with eight hours of “free time” per day. So what’s there to do? Get another job!
Depending on your teen’s age, they may be able to get a job at a nearby restaurant, grocery store, or public pool. If they’re too young or inexperienced for a formal part-time job, they may choose to start their business mowing lawns, tutoring, pet-sitting, or walking neighbor’s dogs. If they need a place to store their “business” belongings (lawncare tools, notebooks, leashes, etc.), check out gently used cabinets, filing cabinets, and shelving for storage!
Lastly, if your kid isn’t too keen on part-time jobs or other, more conventional teenage “businesses,” encourage them to try and make a profit out of their creative pursuits. For example, they may sell baked goods, homemade soaps, or hand-drawn greeting cards around town or on Etsy! Even if they don’t succeed, they’ll learn valuable lessons about business, branding, and hard work.
2. Learn a new skill.
Are you struggling to find teenager-friendly programming at your local library? In that case, turn to your nearest community college. Many junior colleges offer various tracks and courses for people of different ages and abilities — from children to seniors!
For instance, some institutions host STEM camps to help teens develop an interest (and skills) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Additionally, your community’s college may have “informal” classes for teenagers, including weightlifting, screen printing, floral design, and more! Lastly, if your teen is ahead in high school, they may apply to community college and start tackling common core classes ahead of college!
3. Help with a home improvement project.
Whether you’re sanding and repainting your kitchen cabinets or giving stale interiors a new look with a fresh coat of paint, your teenager can help! Once your kids are old enough to be trusted with tools, paint, and adhesives, you may choose to teach them how to help you with home improvement projects.
If you want to get your teen engaged in your DIY home projects, allow them to take ownership of some decisions. For instance, have them help you make design and style choices on furnishings, tiles, paint colors, and more! Then, as they develop their skills and confidence, encourage them to take it one step further and re-design their own room!
Tackle a Project with Your Teenager!
Keep yourself and your teen active and productive this summer by taking on a new home improvement project. Visit your local CORT Furniture Outlet for gently-used dining room, living room, and bedroom furniture sets to transform your spaces.