Getting your teenage kids to unplug from the digital world can be near impossible unless you can help them find fun (and often free) activities. I have listed some fun teen activities that are both cheap and exciting.
Fun Teen Activities
1. Geo Caching: People have hidden little caches all over the world for others to find. The websites opencaching.com, geocaching.com, and gpsgames.org all have geocaching and other GPS games. Teens can download a free GPS app on their smart phone to help find the points.
2. Digital Scavenger Hunt: Come up with a list of objects then split up into teams to see who can find the most items. This also works for actions as like “Wash a stranger’s windshield” or “Reenact a Harry Potter scene in public.”
3. Ice Blocking: Buy one block of ice for each person to ride down any hill. Click here for a YouTube video of some kids ice blocking.
4. Couch Sledding: If done safely, this can be a very fun activity. To do this get an old couch and put it on some sleds or old skis. If you use skis you will need to screw them to the bottom of the couch it hold it in place. Make sure your teens take all safety precautions before doing this one. If you do not have an old couch then keep browsing Craigslist for a curb alert. People are throwing away old couches all the time. Click here for a YouTube video of Couch Sledding.
5. Frisbee Golf: In this game players throw a frisbee at a series of targets, like holes in a round of golf. Record the number of throws it takes each player to hit all the targets. The player with the least amount of throws wins. There are designated courses where you can play frisbee golf but it is just as easy to make your own by picking specific trees, posts, or signs as targets.
6. Truth-or-Dare Jenga: Lay out all the Jenga blocks and split them in half. On one half of the blocks write “truth.” On the other half write specific dares. Then play Jenga as normal, except when a player draws a block they must answer the truth or do the dare.
7. Service Project: Don’t be surprised if your teens resist this one at first but it will be worth it for the both parents and children when they get the satisfying feeling from helping others. Try to pick service projects where they get to interact with those you are helping instead of manual labor like yard work.
8. Have a Water War: What is the difference between a water fight and a water war? A water fight is a onetime event where two sides have at it, however a water war can last days or weeks. The concept is to gather a group of your teen’s friends and split them into teams. Each team then tries to eliminate the other players by getting them wet. When he/she gets wet, they are eliminated from the war and cannot participate. Set a specific time to start the war. The teams then formulate plans on when to attack the other players when they least expect it. It is best to establish rules about when you can and cannot get someone wet like at work, school, church, or inside certain buildings. The team wins by eliminating all the other players one-by-one. We did this in high school and my team all carried high-powered water-guns everywhere we went so we could fight back against any enemy ambushes. If your teens do this, be ready for the opposing team to try to enlist you and other family members as spies.
I know others who used this concept for “Marshmallow Wars” where they try to hit the other players with marshmallows but that doesn’t seem to have the same excitement as soaking someone.
9. Use Student Discounts: Amusement parks, sporting events, and other local attractions will usually give a student discount or have promotions that drastically reduce their price. Sometimes some of these places will have deals with your teen’s middle or high school. Find out when these deals are and take advantage of the savings.
10. Visit Colleges: Take your teens to some of the colleges or universities in the area. Most of them give free tours and have events for prospective students. Even if you’re not part of an actual tour it is still enjoyable to walk around campus so your teens can get a better idea what college life is like.
11. Hiking/Camping: If your kids don’t learn to enjoy nature by their teenage years then when will they? Most children will love to go camping and hiking, the problem is that we do not take them often enough.
12. Create Videos to Upload to YouTube: The only limit on this one is their imagination. Your teens can make anything like music videos, movie parodies,funny skits,wholesome practical jokes, or whatever they can think up. They can upload these videos to YouTube to see what kind of following they can get.
If you have any other suggestions for fun teen activities please email me or add it to the comments section.