60 Fun Things To Do With Tweens And Teens
If you fear your teen is ‘slipping’ away from you, time to rejuvenate and reconnect. Here are 60 fun ‘teen’tastic activities tailor made to breathe life into a parent-teen relationship.
By Team ParentCircle
Age group: 10 to 17
“I have a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. Two children and one common problem. Both find me boring and hardly ever want to spend time talking to me, but they are eternally chatting away on their devices,” says 45-year-old Ananth, software engineer and father of two.
Well, Mr. Ananth, you just need to turn back time and enter the world of your children the way they like it – fun activities, chatting aloud and probably doing nothing. Looking for ideas to reconnect without the gadgets threatening a ‘disconnection’ again? You have come to the right place! Pick from these 60 super fun ideas and make the most of the 60 gadget-free minutes of family time! Watch an hour fly by as you create memories of a lifetime!
Presenting 60 ‘teen’tastic activities for you and your children to simply talk, laugh and connect with each other. On your mark, get set, go:
1. Try something new: Teens love to explore new things, particularly the food that hits the street. So, go to a new restaurant or try a new cuisine. How about Japanese food or Mexican? The joy of doing something new and sharing that excitement together, is bound to make you bond over it.
2. News reporter: Teenage is the phase when children love to discuss, opine and ‘uncover’ the truth. So, how about a ‘NewsHour’ at home? Be a news reporter and interview one of your family members in true journalist style and dig out interesting stories and exciting titbits of their lives!
3. Pin-up board: Get a cool family pin-up board or make one if you may. And during your family hour, you could spend some time together pinning up letters, inspiring quotes, things to do, your child’s achievements and what not. Let your child creatively design the board, and you follow the lead.
4. Talent show: Make your child the star of the evening by recreating a talent show like the KBC or Indian Idol in your very own living room. Everyone in the family gets a chance to show off hidden skills!
5. Makeover: Have you ever been told by your teen, “Dad, you need to get some grooming?” Well, most times! Here’s your chance for a makeover. Ask your teen to give you a complete makeover from head to toe and refresher course in fashion. Watch your young stylist get into the role and transform you into a new you!
6. Upcycled jeans: Do you often scream at your teen, “80% of your clothes remain unused inside your wardrobe and you still want to keep buying new stuff?” Well then, creative recycling is just what the doctor ordered. Ask your teen to dig up an old pair of jeans she never wears and turn it into something new. Flash ideas: denim skirt, shorts, oven mitt, book cover or tote bag. There are some things money can’t buy and one of them is creativity. Go for it!
7. Teaching moment: Well, your child has heard enough ‘lessons and lectures’ from you. Time for you to be at the receiving end albeit in a positive way. Let your teen teach you something you do not know. It could be a cool way to flaunt a scarf or an easy way to fix a wooden cabinet or how to perfect the smokey eyes. Let them show you what they know!
8. Never have I ever: Each family member gets a turn to complete the sentence ‘Never have I ever.”. For example, “Never have I ever stolen something in my life” and the ones who have done this must raise their hand. Interesting game indeed and an opportunity to talk about bullying or peer pressure.
9. Over a cuppa: Teenage is the perfect coffee and chocolate age. Brew a hot cup of coffee or drinking chocolate, curl up on the sofa and just talk! A lot can indeed happen over a cup of coffee!
10. Childhood stories: Reminisce the days when your lanky teen was once a wobbly toddler. Share the mischievous things your teen once did when he was little. A trip down memory lane and a good laugh can bring any family closer.
11. 20 questions: In this fun game to play as a family, one person thinks of an object and the other players can ask 20 questions to guess what it is. The response to the questions can only be a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. A nice tricky, laid back game.
12. Sweet tooth: Teens today love to treat themselves to a bonanza of desserts. So, how about using an hour to whip up a quick dessert (that you can all cook together)? Pudding or pie? Or an ice cream cake perhaps? Or just some scrumptious desi halwa? Get ideas from your children, and the dessert will taste sweeter than ever before!
13. Five good things: Each person takes a turn to say five good things about someone else. It is fun and often surprising when you hear the good qualities that others see in each other. A nice boost to your child’s morale. And to yours as well.
14. Memory game: One family member starts with a word. The next person repeats the word and adds a new word to it. The challenge is to keeping adding new words and not forget the order. As the list gets longer, the excitement grows stronger! One warning: Your teen’s brain is going to be very sharp!
15. Honestly speaking: All members of the family take turns to say three sentences about themselves – a lie and two truths. The others must guess which one is the lie. Who knows some secrets and revelations could come tumbling out! But, remember this is a fun game and you should carry the spirit of fun long after this game.
16. Dumb charades: A good game of dumb charades brings the whole family together. Let the movie list contain some really funny and offbeat ones. In this game, a person is not allowed to talk and is required to act out the movie name by using different gestures, facial expressions, and body language. And others must guess it right!
17. Tie-dye tee: Funky tie-dyed T-shirts are fun to make and wear, and so much in trend. Ask your teen if you don’t trust us. Your children can express their creativity through their choice of colour and design, or just have fun with lots of different colours. A great family project indeed! Make one for yourself too!
18. Let’s antakshari: A great idea for family time where the bathroom singers and real singers compete. And the winner is the family. One member starts singing a song and ends it after four or five lines. The last letter of the last word sung is then used by the next singer to sing another song, starting with that letter. Clap, dance and enjoy the fun!
19. Bond over photos: Pull out old family albums or your child’s baby albums and look through the memories together. Recollect stories and fondly narrate them to your child. Some hilarious ones are sure to jump out. Have a hearty laugh together!
20. Karaoke night: Have a fun family karaoke night. Play some music, follow the lyrics and sing away to glory. As for the mic? Use your fist, or a toy mike, and of course the broom or spoon never lets you down. You will unlock the great talent in your child, which otherwise comes out only when friends are around.
21. Family mealtime: Eat at your dining table together as a family. Come up with a random ‘topic of the night’ to talk about. It could be ‘butterflies’ or ‘politics in the 90s’ or ‘yesteryear music’ – anything at all! Make this a dinnertime tradition talking about a different topic every night. Even if the food is not hot and spicy, the conversations sure will be.
22. Board games: Family board games are a great way to pass time and bond as a family. Try to out-beat each other with some of the classics – Monopoly, Scrabble, Ludo, Life and Pictionary. Children never ever outgrow them.
23. Feel-good factor: Teenage is a transitionary phase where positive thinking can make an enormous difference. It must start at home. Have a delightful conversation, wherein each family member shares that ‘one thing that makes them smile’. It will give an insight into what makes each other tick.
24. Sky high: From your balcony or terrace, stargaze together or find shapes in the clouds together. Take the moment to just chat up! The conversation will surely veer into solar system, Chandrayaan, Vikram Lander, Mangalyaan, Akshay Kumar and what not!
25. Music love: Generation apart, music is still the language that can bind you together. Share and listen to each other’s favourite playlists. Introduce your children to some retro music and get familiar with what they like to listen. Share thoughts and engage!
26. Goof spoof: Get your children to present a humourous play based on the funny family stories they have heard. Don’t take anything seriously, it’s just for laughs!
27. Boogie Woogie: Just play some good music and move and groove to it together! Remember, you don’t need to be a dancer to dance.
28. Dream team: All members get to share their dream for the family. It could be something practical like getting a brand-new car, or something fun like going on a rollercoaster ride, or a trip to the Bahamas. It could even be the most emotional wish. You never know.
29. Crossword puzzles: Newspapers come with interesting crossword puzzles. Together, try to solve the puzzles. Similarly, you could try playing Sudoku too! Again, be prepared, as your grey cells are unlikely to match your teens’ sharp young brains.
30. Sing along: We all have our favourite songs. Take turns to sing or how about singing a popular number together, which everyone knows the words and tune to. And if someone knows to play a musical instrument, even better! Let’s serenade!
31. Teen stories: Share your stories and the struggles you faced when you were a teen, with your child. Stories or scenarios that your teen can relate to. Be honest and open about it. You might just open the gateway to communication and connection. But yes, remember to be positive in your conversation. You should inspire and not confuse your child.
32. Jams and pickles: Instead of the usual cakes and cookies, how about making some delicious jams and pickles? Your teen will, at least, start believing in homemade jams!
33. Pass the ball: A great way to get teens to share about their day. Pass or kick a ball around. As each family member catches it, he or she must share a little story on what happened that day. Add a twist to it, where the others can quip in with emotions such as ‘funny’, ‘sad’, ‘scary’, ‘happy’ and the story should be based on that emotion.
34. Ad-venture: Make a list of popular taglines from advertisements and place them in a jar. Everyone gets a turn to pick one and enact the tagline, while the others guess the brand.
35. Jigsaw puzzle: A jigsaw puzzle never disappoints! Do one together and in the process engage, converse and connect with each other. You could either do the puzzle in one go or do it little by little every day. Once done, you can frame it and put it up on the wall!
36. Scrapbook: Creating a scrapbook is a great way for you to look back and reminisce about all the adventures and good times you had as a family. In addition, it gives you something special for the future. Get the entire family to look through photos and hunt for special mementos around the house. Exercise your imagination!
37. That’s the moment: Sit together as a family and go back in time. Each member starts with “Remember the time when…” and shares an old memory that stood out for him or her. It could be a funny incident, an achievement or an emotional moment. A wonderful peek into your child’s mind. Well, that’s the moment!
38. Pebble painting: If you are done painting on paper and on cloth, how about on a nice big pebble? A global trend is to paint pebbles, write a sweet message or quote on it and leave it around for strangers to find. A kind deed indeed!
39. Art from waste: Teens and their love for art is well known. And when it is about art from waste, it makes them feel that much more responsible. Art from waste is an interesting way to recycle and reuse items that end up in a bin. Look around your house and find things you are throwing away and together transform it to something beautiful or useful! You’ll be stunned at your child’s artistic ideas.
40. Book club: If you are a family of bookworms, this one’s just for you! From a library, borrow a book and everyone in the family reads it ahead of time. During the family hour, convene and discuss your thoughts about the author, writing style, storyline and the characters in the story.
41. State date: Cook a meal of an Indian State together and play a quiz based on that State. For example, you could choose Gujrati cuisine for dinner, followed by a quiz on Gujarat. You can make this a weekly event by trying Kerala cuisine the following week and adding some trivia around God’s own country! By the time you cover the length and breadth of India, there’s so much bonding happening through the year.
42. House of cards: Take turns to build a house of cards. Time it and see who can build it the fastest. If the unfinished house comes tumbling down, that person should sing a song or do a funny act.
43. Chillax: Finish dinner early, take a walk to your nearest ice cream parlour and indulge in some creamy delight or ice lolly fun.
44. Get crafty: Crafting with your children can be a surprisingly good way to bond. Pick from a wide variety of arts and crafts activities – cross stitch work, DIY projects, home decor, art form waste are few ideas!
45. Chopsticks: Ever tried eating Asian food with chopsticks? Well, make it a family activity and try something new together. Never fear! Your teen will be your perfect coach for the evening.
46. Nighttime games: Why not step out as a family for some time, to the nearest park and indulge in some football or badminton? Who says they have to be daytime sports?
47. Walk the talk: Take a little stroll around your neighbourhood and just talk about everything under the night sky!
48. Trivia night: Prepare ahead and share interesting nuggets of trivia. Ask questions to each other and share the answers. A great way to brush up your general knowledge too. You can even share tongue twisters, riddles and jokes! Try this for sure – She sells seashells on the seashore. Easy? Check who says it fastest without a fumble.
49. Lime war: Place the limes on spoons. You must try to tip off other’s limes from their spoons without touching other's spoons. All this while trying to keep your own lime on your spoon. Fun times guaranteed!
50. Card games: Once upon a time, family time meant siting in circles and playing card games. Revive the magic of those games with your children. Popular ones include Rummy, Bluff and Joker. Uno is an option too!
51. Strike that: Invest in a carrom board and liven up your evenings with a household game that all members of the family can enjoy. Endless laughter, friendly jibes and unlimited fun are guaranteed.
52. Five favourite things: Guess each other’s five favourite things. Prompt words could be colour, activity, dress, movie, actor, car, etc. The choices are aplenty! A fun way to get to know each other better!
53. Would you rather?: Questions go like ‘Would you rather go to the beach or a hill station?’ or ‘Would you rather eat at home or go to a restaurant?’. With each answer, each one of you will get to know the other a little bit more!
54. Newspaper bag: A simple craft that transforms old newspapers into shopping bags. A lovely way to bond while doing a meaningful craft.
55. Fruit salad: Chop up a yummy array of fruits and make a salad together. Try food styling it and present it innovatively. Have fun eating the fruit pieces with toothpicks!
56. Thankfulness: Have an open conversation, wherein each family member shares that ‘one thing they are thankful for’. Family members gather around and take turns to share their thoughts. It could be about family, about their day or just about anything!
57. Moon walk: Head out for a walk with the family either before dinner or after. Go on a moonlit walk under a starry night sky and just talk!
58. Family poem/song: As you all laze in your balcony or veranda, start a poem that wittingly describes your family quirks. Each family member comes up with a line, and the next person should create a rhyming sentence to it. Once the lyrics are done, add a tune if you may! The uniqueness of your family is bound to shine through in these words.
59. Tug of war: Have a friendly battle with a good game of tug of war. This is sure to get you in splits. Nothing like laughing and having fun together! Save your bones though!
60. LOL: The aim of the game is to make the other person laugh out loud (LOL) and do it with lots of love (LOL).
It’s doesn’t take much, just a promise that we commit to a gadget-free hour to spend quality time together. Go ahead and experience the joy of connecting with your family!
About the author:
Written by Team ParentCircle on 30 October 2019.
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