My New Happy: Things Your Teen Can Do This Summer

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Things Your Teen Can Do This Summer

School is almost out, and pretty soon my teenager will be looking for things to do.  I'm re-running this post today with six ideas to keep teens busy this summer.

When I was in high school, everybody had a summer job, and we would meet to go to a movie in the evening or the beach on our day off.  However, finding a job these days is hard for teenagers. The labor market hasn't fully recovered, so many of the traditional teen jobs are being filled by adults.  Now that summer is here, I don't want my kids hanging around the house texting, tweeting, and eating everything in the pantry because they're bored.  What else can they do?


1Volunteer.  There is a need in almost every community for volunteers, and I want my kids to give back in some way.  Most teens have to log community service hours for various clubs and graduation requirements, and summer is a perfect opportunity to get hours in. Plus, volunteering looks great when applying to colleges or on scholarship applications.  Food banks, churches, nursing homes and hospitals are good places to look for volunteer work. is a cool resource that helps teens find opportunities to "make the world suck less".  Yep, that's their motto!


2. Stay (or get) fit.  Many kids are involved in year round sports, but if your teen is "off" for the summer, encourage them to start a training group with some of their friends.  They could set a general goal, or work towards something more specific, like a charity run. has a list of the six best fitness apps for teens, including Fooducate, which offers suggestions for making healthier food choices.  Maybe this will discourage the "bag of chips a day" goal my son seems to have set for himself.

3. Keep learning.  Just because it's summer doesn't mean their brain has to turn to mush in front of the Xbox.  Maybe your teen could start a journal....or a blog!   If your kids want to get a leg up on classes for next year (calculus, anyone?), the Khan Academy is a great resource. Salman Kahn is an amazing young man who has created over 4800 free video lessons on a wide range of academic subjects.  Or create a family book club, and choose something everyone can enjoy reading and discussing.  

dog walking

4. Become an entrepreneur.  The job market may be slim for teens, but with some effort they can create a job of their own.  Kids can talk to neighbors about mowing their lawn, walking their dog, or keeping an eye on their house when they're on vacation.  This is a great opportunity for teens to work on marketing themselves, another valuable skill when filling out college and scholarship applications.  Plus, they might earn some gas money! has other unique teen business ideas.

5. Find someone to job shadow.  This will probably be an unpaid position, but shadowing a professional is a great way to learn about a specific career.  My younger son will be "shadowing" one day a week at a local veterinarian clinic this summer.  The recently graduated doctor is excited to teach him about the business, and it will be a valuable opportunity for T to see if this is what he really wants to do.

summer fun

6. Don't forget to have fun.  Teens are still kids.  There is a lot of pressure on them these days, and summer should be a chance to slow down and recharge.  Soon they will be off to college and careers, and those lazy days of summer will be a distant memory. Don't forget to work in some fun, whether it's going with friends to the lake or hanging at the pool checking out the hotties.  

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what they do, as long as they get off the couch and stop driving me crazy!


  1. Lana, these are some great ideas... I like the ones about getting fit and volunteering... good suggestions. You are right they do need to have a little fun before their life becomes all work xox ♡

  2. A good time to rerun this post Lana - I remember it from last year, and there are some excellent suggestions! We have liked Khan Academy for homework help throughout the year as well!

  3. The not forgetting to have fun is key. I'm trying to remember what I used to do. I used to work - steady babysitting. That was really special. And of course, swimming in our pool!

  4. Haha! My daughter is always so busy but when she has downtime, she is bored. Thanks for these great ideas! Have a great weekend Lana!

    Doused In Pink

  5. I would have been driven crazy if my two had lumped around all summer texting, tweeting and xboxing. Great, great ideas here, Lana. That shadowing thing is really popular here as well. Many of the kids in the swim club did that and they got work as a paid coach the next summer. My son delivered the weekly local paper for 3 years. Brutal work (we live on a steep hill and that was his delivery route) and poor pay but it taught him a lot. Mainly taught him what he didn't want to do however he called it "honest work."

  6. These are all great ideas Lana! My two always had part time jobs during school and longer hours in the summer but they are very hard to come by these days! The fun part especially kids today are so stressed out all year with all of the responsibilities they have to deal with during the school year.

  7. This is handy! I need to find my teen something to do this summer!


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