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Bored on break? Some fun ideas for teens

Teens look forward to those school breaks. It’s a welcome respite from the daily stresses of school, homework, and extracurriculars. However, it doesn’t take long for boredom to creep in and teens to descend into the rabbit hole of smartphones, video games, and streaming services.

Parents navigate a slippery slope by trying to keep teenagers actively engaged on long breaks. While you want them to be able to kick back and chill, you don’t necessarily want them to spend the entire vacation texting, posting, gaming, and binging on their favorite shows. Of course, they are teens, so it will take a bit of creativity and patience to get them to disconnect, but it’s possible. There are many fun things to do on break with your teen that will bring smiles and laughs instead of eye rolls.

Roll the dice

Family game nights are not cliché. Playing games as a family is not an activity to engage in when kids are younger. Everyday life gets hectic when kids hit their teen years, which makes playing games during vacations ideal because you have the time. Board games are a perfect way to get teens talking and laughing. There also isn’t a shortage of fun games to play. Pictionary, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit are enduring classics, while Do You Really Know Your Family? and What Do You Meme? are newer ones to bring to the table.

Family playing board game in kitchen
Moneky Business Images/Shutterstock

Head outdoors

A good way to get teens to turn away from social media and put the game controllers down is to plan a day out. Most teens wouldn’t want to stroll around the neighborhood with the entire family even if the dog is in tow, which is why you should take them someplace new. Plan a family road trip and get them moving during scenic stops, or else head over to a hiking trail. A hike is a great activity to get teens outside and exercising. Hiking trails vary according to difficulty, and most states have plenty of beginner to intermediate trails that are inviting and picturesque. The quiet and scenery will help both parents and teens unwind a little on break. If the hike is a success, dust off the bikes, ensure the tires have enough air and take a ride on a path if the weather and temperature cooperate.

Get cooking

When schedules get busy, dinners are typically rushed, but there is more time to experiment in the kitchen when break rolls around. Vacations are ideal to try new meals and desserts. Involve teens in meal prep, starting with the menu. Teens will usually be more attentive to an activity if they have a say in what’s going on. So, let your teen choose a dish they would like to cook. Head out on a shopping trip to purchase the ingredients and get cooking.

Not only is this a lively and tasty endeavor, knowing how to plan, shop for, and cook a meal is an important life skill your teen will need when college rolls around. Baking is another undertaking that can be fun for adults and teens. If you’ve never made a cake from scratch, invite your teen into the kitchen to get baking.

Teen girls making a meal with mom
michaeljung / Shutterstock

Puzzle time

Jigsaw puzzles are good for the brain and a stress reliever. If you’re looking for an engaging family activity to involve your teens in, try clearing off table space and opening up a jigsaw puzzle. Working on a jigsaw puzzle helps to beat break boredom and gets the whole family involved.

Get painting

Time off on break is a perfect opportunity to try something new. Sign up for a virtual or in-person painting session. Art studios let participants pick the design and take you through the process step by step. Supplies are included in the price. If your teen is more comfortable painting at home, go the virtual route, and clear some space. Links can typically be shared with multiple participants, so you can even get grandma involved and have a family-wide virtual painting party.

Everyone looks forward to breaks but having extra downtime sometimes leads to boredom, especially for teens. With these boredom busters on your agenda, you and your teen can take a step away from screen time, share laughs, and make new memories.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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