Written by Guest Blogger Kelly Hines, updated by Suzy Fielders
More often than not, if you have tweens or teens, it means they are in their rooms most of the day and there isn’t much bonding going on at all. If you’re struggling on ways to connect with older children, here are some ideas to get you started.
Since we like to keep this directory of ideas up year-round, take note that some of the ideas may not be appropriate at certain times of the year. As always, check the venue before you go to confirm it’s open, and do what works best for you and your family.
Watch YouTube – even when you don’t get it.
Play a Game – Mancala, Othello, Electronic Battleship, Curses, Telestrations, Headbanz, Apples to Apples, Pictionary, Jenga, Sorry, Operation, Trouble, Clue, Life, Quirkle, Quelf, Cranium, Parcheesi, Gloom, Forbidden Island, Settlers of Cataan, Cribbage, Farkle, Yahtzee, Trivial Pursuit, Checkers, UNO, Skip Bo, Suspend, Pie Face, Sequence, and card games are some reader favorites!
Cook a Meal – my middle child would spend all day in the kitchen with me. As a solitary cooker, it’s sometimes difficult for me to give up control! But she loves it and is so proud when we’re done. Plus, she’s learning a life skill! Learning how to cut and cook and burn stuff is part of growing up!
Other Ideas – indoor picnics, video games, plus many more ideas HERE in this TMoM blog.
Don’t Get Trapped
My daughter laughs at me because I watch anything remotely scary with my eyes covered and ears plugged. The idea of being trapped – however innocuously – terrifies me! But escape rooms are a challenge, not some Saw-esque torture. Great to foster cooperation and teamwork, they pit your tweens or teens wits against a variety of mental and physical obstacles in a timed challenge.
For tried and true escape rooms, check out:
All In Adventures (Winston-Salem): allinadventures.com
Breakout Games (Greensboro): breakoutgames.com/greensboro
Kersey Valley Escape Room (Archdale): kerseyvalleyescape.com
Room 5280 Escape Rooms (Greensboro): gso.escaperoom5280.com
The Escape Game (Winston-Salem): escapegame.com/theescaperoomusa
Total Escape (Winston-Salem): totalescapegame.com
One of the great things about tweens or teens is there are no physical limitations to what they can do! They meet the height requirements, and are confident enough in their abilities to take on physical challenges. There are myriad of opportunities for hiking, biking, climbing, and more outdoor activities in the Triad and surrounding areas. Here are a few of the more unconventional ones.
Altitude Trampoline Park
30,000 square feet of indoor trampolines and other attractions – altitudetrampolinepark.com/locations/greensboro
Cliff Hangers Climbing
Cliff Hangers hosts events in order to help our community meet new friends, learn new techniques, and fine tune their skills. From beginner to seasoned climber, kid to adult, Cliff Hangers has something for everyone. – cliffhangersclimbing.com
Some of our favorites for disc golf are Horizons Park in Rural Hall, Triad Park in Kernersville, Barber Park in Greensboro, and Springwood in Burlington. – triadmomsonmain.com/my-blog/disc-golf-fun-for-the-whole-family
trampolines, dodge ball, foam pit, what more could you ask for? – getairsports.com/high-point
Greensboro Ice House
Chill out after all that outside time with some ice skating. (Check website for reopening guidelines – greensboroice.com)
A new attraction and one not to be missed! You can do this in Clemmons at Tap that Axe, or at Kersey Valley which requires a minimum age of 13, and they offer both an outdoor course spanning 40 acres as well as an indoor location.
Kersey Valley Zipline
One of the largest ziplines in the world, with 14 lines and over 1.5 miles of cable, Kersey Valley also offers a challenging rope course. – kerseyvalleyzipline.com
Ever wanted to see how you’d match up with your favorite ninja warrior or beast master? Do you look at the warped wall on TV and think, meh – no big deal? Here’s your chance unleash your inner beast (and watch your kid beat your pants off!). – levelupfitnessnc.com
With two locations in the Triad (Winston-Salem and Greensboro), Rockin’ Jump offers fun AND exercise. You can find a Slam Dunk Zone, an arcade, Air Court (in Winston-Salem only), a Rock Climbing Wall, X Beam Jousting, Dodge Ball – and best of all – After Dark jumping on weekend nights!
At the Greensboro Science Center, SkyWild is a treetop ropes adventure course located high above the Animal Discovery Zoo. – skywild.org
Trampoline park in Greensboro with tons of other attractions. skyzone.com
Families, groups, couples and friends all enjoy this unique game that’s exclusively at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons. – softgolf.net
Another great trampoline park located in Winston-Salem. Enjoy the Maincourt, Battlebeam, Ninja Course, Laser Maze, Climbing wall, and party areas. – surgefun.com/locations/Winston-Salem
Triad Eco Adventures
The Triad’s original Segway tour operator with downtown excursions, team-building, special events, group activities, and PaddleFit stand-up paddleboard lessons. E-bike rentals also available. – triadecoadventures.com
There are few organizations that reach as many people, in as many different areas, as the YMCA. From sports to classes to age specific and family themed events, the Y offers so many ways to be with your child in a relaxed, judgment free, fun environment. – ymca.net
Get your tweens or teens out from in front of a tiny screen and play WITH them. Here are some ways to bring their love of gaming into an activity you can do together.
Adventure Landing – Mini golf fun with arcade and bumper boats. – adventurelanding.com
Bowlero Major League – located in Winston-Salem – bowlero.com/location/bowlero-major-league
Boxcar Bar + Arcade This arcade and bar is kid friendly before 9 p.m. – theboxcarbar.com/greensboro
Camel City BBQ Factory – Hot ‘que and cool games, from arcade style video games to air hockey and giant Jenga, along with a restaurant. – camelcitybbq.com
Celebration Station – Attractions include batting cages, bumper boats, go-karts, mini golf and laser tag. – celebrationstation.com/public/greensboro
Dave and Busters – Located in Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem, they have hundreds of arcade games, big screen TVs, and a great menu of food and drinks. – daveandbusters.com/locations/winston-salem
Kersey Valley Laser Tag – At the same location as the zip line and escape room, Kersey Valley offers an all day experience! – kerseyvalleylasertag.com
Paintball Central – A paintball ‘park’ nestled in the woods alongside a creek offers games for all skill levels and abilities. – pballcentral.com/parks/greensboropark.asp
Reboot Arcade Bar – Show your kids how YOU used to video in this old school arcade. Make sure you check the website or Facebook page for kid-friendly hours. – rebootarcadebar.com
Rich Girls Museum – The most viral trending selfie museum and first black owned selfie museum in the world – richgirlsmuseum.com
Spare Time – Over 40 lanes, arcade, laser tag, late night bowling and more – and plenty of food and beverages! – sparetimeentertainment.com
The Pit – Indoor go kart racing, arcade, laser tag, rock climbing wall, black light mini-golf, billiards and more make The Pit an all day excursion located in Mooresville. – meetatthepit.com
There are so many opportunities for tweens or teens to enjoy live theater, music, movies, and museums in the Triad! Consider the usual suspects (Old Salem, Reynolda House, Triad Stage, Greensboro Symphony, etc), and maybe try something new, like:
a/perture cinema – Featuring foreign, indie, documentary and festival films. It’s downtown Winston-Salem location puts it in close proximity to dining and shopping, making a movie the centerpiece to a whole day of activities. – aperturecinema.com
Carolina History Haunts – Ghost tours! Open year-round and can be some excitement for you and your teen! – carolinahistoryandhaunts.com
Elsewhere – One of those hard to describe places, Elsewhere is an artist residency museum space interactive collaborative thingy. From picnics to ‘radical seders’ to travel trips to Cuba, it’s a space that’s sure to get your creative juices flowing and open up some great conversations. – goelsewhere.org
International Civil Rights Center & Museum – Located in the building which formerly housed Woolworth’s, and the site of one of the south’s most famous non-violent protests of the U.S. civil rights movement. – sitinmovement.org
Reynolda House Museum of American Art – Whether you decide to tour inside, shop at Reynolda Village, or just walk the grounds, all are fun (and sometimes educational) outtings. Plus the grounds and gardens are perfect for photo opps and selfies!
Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts – Recently opened and offering amazing Off Broadway shows. tangercenter.com
Taste Carolina Food Tours – You can experience local restaurants by going behind the scenes to chat with chefs and artisans, and enjoy their delicious food. – tastecarolina.net
Try a Cooking Class at:
Culinary U of the Triad – culinaryutriad.com
Southern Home and Kitchen – shopsohonc.com
The Stocked Pot – thestockedpot.com
Take an Art Class at:
Craft Squared – craftsquaredstudio.com
GreenHill Center for NC Art – greenhillnc.org
Sawtooth School for Visual Art – sawtooth.org
Create Your Own Masterpiece at:
Painting With a Twist – paintingwithatwist.com
Uncorked Masterpiece – uncorkedmasterpiece.com
Color & Coffee – colorandcoffee.wixsite.com
Mad Splatter – madsplatter.com
Wine & Design – wineanddesign.com
AR Workshop (locations in Greensboro and Winston-Salem) – arworkshop.com
Painted Grape – paintedgrapenc.com
Art By TJM – artbytjm.com/ladies-night-out
The Painted Daisy – facebook.com/thepainteddaizy
Start a Book Club
Reading programs for tweens or teens are scarce, but if you and your child love reading – why not start one of your own? Hold meetings at your house in the winter or poolside in the summer with lots of snacks, and invite some other parent/teen friends to join you. Click HERE for some great book suggestions!
If sports is your tween’s or teen’s thing, there is no shortage here in the Triad. Summertime is made for baseball, and you can check out minor league teams in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point.
Winston-Salem Dash – milb.com/winston-salem
Greensboro Grasshoppers – milb.com/greensboro
Thomasville Hi Toms – hitoms.com
Burlington Royals – milb.com/burlington-royals
High Point Rockers – highpointrockers.com
Looking for something a little less predictable? How about –
Greensboro Roller Derby – greensbororollerderby.com
Bowman Gray Racing – bowmangrayracing.com
Winston-Salem Open – winstonsalemopen.com
We are so fortunate to live in an area with easy access to hiking, biking, rivers, and lakes. TMoM has several directories to help you come up with ideas, like our Parks & Walking Trails directory, our Hiking directory, and our Watering Holes directory.
Plan a day trip with your tweens or teens and check out:
BurMil Park – Picnic grounds, fishing, aquatics, biking, hiking, golf, tennis. Bike rentals available.
Hanging Rock State Park – Camping, picnic grounds, stocked lake for swimming and fishing, canoe rentals, hiking trails, paddling, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
Haw River Canoe and Kayak Co – Here you can enjoy kayaking on the rapids, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, or even fly-fishing. Located in Saxapahaw, it’s close by!
Pilot Mountain – So easy to get to with tons of hiking trails (from easy to expert).
Tanglewood Park – Camping, picnic grounds, fishing, pool, paddleboats, hiking trails, mountain biking, golf, tennis, horseback riding.
Stone Mountain State Park – The massive granite dome at Stone Mountain State Park keeps watch on park visitors enjoying nearly every type of outdoor activity – camping, hiking, climbing, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding and more. There are more than 18 miles of trails, matched by more than 20 miles of designated trout waters in this park that spreads below the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Wet ‘n Wild – Wet ‘N Wild Emerald Pointe in Greensboro is great when you have a mixture of thrill-seekers and relaxers in your house. It features over 36 water rides and includes plenty of dining options on the premises.
My parents loved to involve me in manual labor to “build character.” As a teen, I thought they were just the worst, but now I know they were onto something! Come up with a project (or five) for any breaks. Wake your tweens or teens up way too early, make them sweat, and then watch the pride and satisfaction they have when the job is done. Spread mulch, plant a garden, paint the house, clean the garage – the possibilities are endless. Work together to create a sense of teamwork, and make sure to lay on the praise. You might just find that you both get more than a clean garage out of the deal. Visit TMoM’s Directory of High School Resources to see a list of local businesses that hire teenagers.
You can also find fun things to do with your tweens or teens in a short drive from the Triad…
Just three hours from the Triad, this is located in Oak Hill, WV. The main draw to ACE is white water rafting on the New River. You can choose between the challenging rapids, or can even float or kayak in the more gentle section. ACE also has zip line tours, rock climbing, guided fishing trips, catwalk tours on the New River Gorge Bridge, hiking, ATVs, horseback riding, biking, rappelling, kayak instruction, stand up paddle boarding, team challenge courses and more. You can also enjoy ACE Lake, which has inflatables, a zip line and a water slide.
This theme pack is about 4 – 5 hours away from most Triad areas. Busch Gardens is located in Williamsburg, VA and hosts a theme park and water park. This is a fun overnight for your teens if you want to tackle both sections of the park over a two-day period. There are lots of special events coming up this summer, so check their website to see their calendar of events.
Another one of our favorite places to hit in Charlotte is Carowinds amusement park and their waterpark, Carolina Harbor. If you think you will go more than once, a season pass is definitely worth the money. You can easily spend a full day just in the water park or just in the ride section.
Only about an hour away from most places in the Triad, this is a mecca for shopping as well as other fun activities like restaurants, an aquarium and movie theater inside.
Although you may think of this amusement park as a place for little ones, my teens quickly found that it hosts some of the best roller coasters around! They also have a waterpark, nearby cabins and resort, and theater shows. It was hands-down one of the cleanest amusement parks I have visited! It is a four – five hour drive depending on your Triad location.
iFLY is located in Charlotte and gives you the opportunity to experience flying with modern indoor skydiving. Your iFLY experience includes a brief training session and your time in the air. Watch the videos on their website to see the fun!
Indoor go-cart racing with all-electric karts. They have a professionally designed indoor track that is perfect for small or large groups. They have a “Pit Cafe” so you can grab a bite to eat while there as well!
You’ll always find great deals at this sprawling outlet center in Mebane, plus it’s fun for teens to just walk around and people watch!
Carrigan Farms is located in Mooresville, and offers open swim time in the spring fed quarry. You can enjoy just hanging, jumping, or rope swinging while there.
Topgolf has three floors of climate-controlled hitting bays for all levels – even if you’ve never played. Each bay includes HDTVs. There is also a sports bar, restaurant and rooftop terrace. Walk-in guests are welcome, but we suggest making a reservation before you go because it can get quite crowded.
Offers mountain-biking, running trails, climbing center, kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting. An outdoor recreation and environmental education center.
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34.3-mile rail-to-recreation trail starting in Abingdon, Va., traveling through Damascus, Va. and ending just past Whitetop Station at the Virginia-North Carolina border. The trail offers horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, and running opportunities, as well as camping sites.
~ Find more blogs & directories about TEENS and TWEENS here!