Note to Readers: Raising  tweens was best described by Julie Ross on the Oprah show as, “Tweens may look sweet and innocent, but raising them can be like hugging a porcupine!” To avoid the quills, tweens need time to rejuvenate, relax, and reconnect with themselves and their parents.  They still want to “play” but feel the need to be “cool” and often resort to just sitting around texting or watching movies and complaining of boredom. I love these activities for inspiration. Thanks to Tween Parent founders Judith and Suzanna for sharing their focus on raising tweens.

by Judith King-Murray

School will soon be out for summer! Picnics, baseball games, swimming…when school is out, the fun begins for our tweens! If summer camp isn’t in the mix
(or only part of the summer agenda), it might be helpful to identify some summer plans to offset the much-needed respite of unstructured time and the dreaded preteen boredom. Further complicating matters, starting at around 10 or 11, preteens crave freedom and begin to campaign for unsupervised time. So, when we combine the desire for unstructured time, unsupervised time and boredom-busting activities, we are launched into the juggling act we call summer!

raising tweensIf you’re a planner by nature, you may want to create a comprehensive calendar that plots all activities (including unstructured/free time). If not, you might just create a list of interesting activities and post it in a convenient location for reference. This could help prevent anxiety that your preteen might have about being bored and stay ahead of the much-anticipated phrase, “there’s nothing to do!”

One more thing…allowing tweens to be a bit bored isn’t a bad thing.  As we all know, life isn’t always fun and games!

50+ Activities for Inspiration:

  1. Create a summer scrapbook or album to document highlights
  2. Set up a lemonade stand (and sell hand-crafted items too)
  3. Identify toys and clothes that are no longer used and sell at a stand
  4. Rearrange/redecorate tweens’s room (identify a few new features)
  5. Set up an outdoor movie theatre for a night of viewing and treats
  6. Outfit your tween with rollerblades or rollerskates
  7. Go fishing in a nearby stream or lake
  8. Read the same book together and talk about it
  9. Throw a tea party or sports party (with no presents and no goody bags!)
  10. Organize a neighborhood treasure hunt
  11. Build a fort in your yard
  12. Volunteer for a good cause
  13. Organize a neighborhood dog wash or car wash
  14. Play night tag (with flashlights)
  15. Learn to jump rope and share jumping rhymes (perhaps double-dutch?)
  16. Play charades
  17. Create a summer-end talent show, with practices throughout the summer
  18. Organize a bike parade and include prizes for decoration style
  19. Host a game of Bingo
  20. Research star patterns and star gaze at night; look for shooting stars
  21. Camp out on your porch, deck or lawn
  22. Learn how to use a compass
  23. Keep a weather journal and talk about weather patterns
  24. Schedule family movie nights; look back in the archives for classics
  25. Sleepover at a relative’s house
  26. Plan amusement park trips
  27. Host a board game tournament
  28. Schedule a hike or picnic
  29. Have hop scotch supplies available for a quick game, whenever
  30. Plan community pool/picnic to meet up with other neighborhood friends
  31. Attend a local ballgame
  32. Make a tween-prepared family dinner
  33. Attend a fireworks display
  34. Create artwork (buy “canvases” and acrylic paints/brushes at a craft store)
  35. Find a pen pal online and begin email correspondence
  36. Start a band
  37. Have a water balloon “fight” outside the house
  38. Visit a zoo
  39. Introduce your tween to a foreign language
  40. Recycle bottles and donate the money to a local charity
  41. Attend an outdoor concert
  42. Make a movie or create a play
  43. Go to a museum
  44. Research your family tree
  45. Fly a kite
  46. Build and bury a time capsule
  47. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  48. Organize a scavenger hunt
  49. Go swimming
  50. Sign up for a sewing lesson
  51. Visit a National Park
  52. Roast marshmallows (and add some chocolate and graham crackers!)
  53. Build an evening a bonfire
  54. Create a garden area and grow vegetables

 

(c) TweenParent, LLC. All rights reserved.

Judith King-Murray is a co-founder of TweenParent.com a website for parents of middle school aged kids, and the mother of a tween.  To learn more, please like the TweenParent.com Facebook fan page and follow Judith’s business partner Suzanna Narducci on Twitter .

Raising tweens is easier when parents introduce them to relaxation. Indigo Teen Dreams helps teens & tweens increase self-esteem and reduce stress. Indigo Ocean Dreams introduces the same techniques but in a storytelling format for those tweens that still enjoy being playful.