What to do when your teen says the B-Word (Bored)

This is a follow up to my post last week on boredom busters for kids. These activities are great for preteens and teens and can be fun for the whole family. 

Developmentally, teens are thinking more formally and logically (although our frontal lobe isn’t fully developed until young adulthood), so they love intellectual playfullness. Activities like scavenger hunts, mysteries and sleuth games, and games of strategy top the list with teens. They’re also social creatures and prefer games that are played with others.

During this pandemic, it’s especially important to encourage teens to connect with their friends online.

Older kids and teens want to use their imagination (and they want you to use yours), so really let yourselves have fun right now. Change the rules on an existing game, or make up your own game. If you’re stuck, here are some ideas to get you started.

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Fun activities for teens and preteens

  • DIY sports and competitions. I talked in the last post about hosting a Family Olympics this year. Here are some additional ideas for that event. Bicycle races; bicycle water balloon toss; ice melting contest; endurance contests (standing on your head, running in place, talking, stare down); skill contests (free throw shooting, frisbee throwing, bubble blowing, marshmallow throwing, hula hooping, dribbling, juggling); milk carton boat races; Life Savers shuffleboard; obstacle courses; leap frog; human pyramids. 
  • Scavenger hunts. There are many themes you can use here: Search for items from A-Z; comparison hunt (e.g., smelliest sock, biggest leaf, oldest coin); magazine or book scavenger hunt; pantry hunt (great way to clean out the pantry at the same time); hunt by colors; photo scavenger hunt.
  • Cruise Night. Turn your home into a cruise ship for the evening. Theme your decorations, music, and food. And play games like limbo, bobbing for bananas,”on-board” movies, etc. 
  • Music Video Night. Make your own music videos by lip syncing or actually singing your own music.
  • Fun Food Events.  Build your own pizza, sundae, or taco night; host your own Chopped or Nailed It competition, where family members are either judges or chefs
  • Board Game Mashup. Combine the rules and game pieces of two or more games to come up with the ultimate board game!

Finally, encourage your teens to create activities for others in their lives like young children and older adults. They’ll love the imagination and leadership involved. And have fun, take pictures, and enjoy every moment together!

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