By Guest Blogger Ashley McNeill 

So what’s been more difficult? Entertaining a toddler during COVID-19, or listening to the grumblings from your teens as they complain about how bored they are? Tough call. They’ve each got their own emotional and physical exhaustion!

Today we’ve got some great ideas for your tweens & teens as they navigate these last few weeks of “summer in quarantine!” Some ideas that you will see listed will be obviously geared more toward the 11 & 12 year-olds, while others will be for the older kids finishing up their high school years!

1. Cooking & Baking – Take it to the next level! Reading directions carefully, tweens & teens are capable of preparing simple recipes all on their own. After they get the hang of it, let them try baking and decorating cakes, cookies, or cupcakes, or even making dinner. (Doesn’t that sound glorious!). Scan TMoM’s category of Recipes & Fun Ideas to find several blogs with easy recipes for kids in the kitchen!

2. Design and build a treehouse or outdoor area/fort – Remember when you were a kid and your parents brought in a contractor to build your 500 square foot treehouse? Yeah, no. Because you took a bunch of sticks and a piece of rope you found in the garage and made your own treehouse. Let your kids do the same. To get them started, have them check out these kid-inspired designs. (Photo credit: Built By Kids).

3. Create a scavenger hunt for the younger siblings. – One of the best parts of being an older kid is bossing the younger ones around. TMoM featured ideas on how to get started in this blog

4. Learn how to fix something – Take something apart. Put it back together. (Photo credit: 9to5Mac)

5.  Learn how to use a power tool – (with correct supervision). Hammer a nail, use a screwdriver, make a birdhouse! Again, these are life skills! (Photo credit: Beam Camp)

6. Find a project for the neighborhood.  Writing notes to put on neighbors doors, planting flowers in a new shared area, explore the possibilities for a community garden, Little Free Library, or Blessing Box. 

7. Redecorate – Maybe it’s time for your child to move up from a ‘kids’ room to a more teen-styled room. Let your child help organize, pack away, or give away some of those things they’ve outgrown. Repaint their room and let them help! Getting a fresh look might also inspire them to keep it clean. For a little while, at least! Tons of inspiring ideas can be found on Pinterest! (Photo credit: Crazy Wonderful)

8. Learn a life skill – This is the time to work on all those life skills a young person heading out on their own needs. If you’ve been remiss in teaching your child the basics of adulting, now’s a good time to catch up. Basic cooking, laundry, sewing on a button, tying a tie, changing a tire, making appointments, writing checks and balancing a checkbook, taking care of children, the list goes on. All those things you have to do every day, they’re going to have to do it, too. Do them a favor and don’t wait! 

9. Discover a new hobby – YouTube how to play that piano that sits in the living room. Sew a pillow. Build a little set of shelves. Pick up paddle boarding! All those times they’ve said “I wish I knew how to…”. Well, go learn how to! 


10. Write letters or start a journal – Handwritten letters are a lost art and always a joy to receive! TMoM shared this post on finding a pen pal. Here is a great link to spark journaling ideas and this post shares ways to create photo journals.

11. Plant a garden – Older kids can container garden or plant a patch to call their own, or help younger kids start their own. Digging in the dirt is deeply therapeutic, for any age. Help them get started by sharing fruits of their labor from this blog!

12. Make an Annual Family Challenge– And hold your family to it! One local family has been doing this for years, and shares ideas in this blog.

13. Go Geocaching – This is a fun, free, and outdoor activity that appeals to all ages. You never know what you’re going to find! Click here to read more about how to get started in geocaching.

14. Tackle “advanced” art projects. There is truly no limit to what can be done here. Not the artistic type? Try diamond art or paint by numbers (there are some hardcore ones out there!) for a step by step project.

15. Get a job. For real, get a job. If your teen needs suggestions where to look, there are lots of ideas listed in TMoM’s High School Resources directory.

16. Discover a new watering hole. The Triad has several hidden gems in the form of watering holes that are the perfect “playground” for tweens and teens. TMoM recently created an entire directory to feature these locations. Check it out HERE.

17. Go for a hike! Fresh air is the best medicine for quarantine, and luckily we are close to a million hiking trails of all abilities. Piedmont Legacy Trails pulled together this fantastic list of hikes (many of which you may not have heard about), and TMoM added some of their favorites to the list as well!

~ For more ideas and resources for teens and tweens, click HERE (although many of these locations are still closed in Phase 2)!
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