50 Ideas for Family Fun Time with Your Teen

I am reading your mind right now, “Family, fun, time, and teens? All in the same sentence? Are you joking? These words don’t go together in my house! It’s hard enough to get my teen to be seen in a public place with me.”

I know. I am with you (ouch!).

Yes, it’s true, our teens are working towards their independence and it’s normal for them to want to spend more time with their friends and less time with us. Rather than a drumroll, we get an eye roll and a less than enthusiastic attitude when we mention these two words, “family time”.

Don’t lose hope. Yes, it’s possible to have fun family time—even with our teen. Here is a list of ideas I have compiled from my own experience and other moms. I am committed to picking at least 5 to try this summer with my own family.

But first, make sure you include your teen in the decision making process. Ask them what they would like to do, offer choices, focus on activities they enjoy, and even consider letting them invite a friend. Whatever you do, don’t try and force conversation or control outcomes. We set the mood and tone —I wish this wasn’t true. Sometimes the wisest thing we moms can do is to just BE and enjoy ourselves, even if nobody else is. The goal of family fun time is to gain together time so you can build better relationships—one of acceptance, where your teen feels safe to be his or her ownself and have fun with you.

family activities with teensHere are 50 Ideas for Family Fun Time Together:

  1. Help at a homeless shelter
  2. Visit a local landmark
  3. Walk a dog at an animal rescue
  4. Visit the elderly
  5. Join them in their favorite video game
  6. Plant a garden
  7. Find an indoor rock climbing wall
  8. Attend a yoga class
  9. Go laser tagging
  10. Find an arcade and play games
  11. Play pool or ping pong
  12. Go to a movie of their choice (given you’re okay with it)
  13. Attend a classical concert or the theater
  14. Get a makeover at a cosmetics counter
  15. Get or give a manicure, pedicure or foot massage
  16. Watch old family movies and reminisce
  17. Share old photo albums and sweet memories
  18. Make their favorite desert together
  19. Cook a favorite meal from start to finish
  20. Visit a museum
  21. Read jokes from a joke book or play Madlibs
  22. Enjoy a jigsaw puzzle over several days
  23. Play music, dance and videotape each other—(only be aware, they might find it so funny that they Snapchat it to their friends, just like my daughter did!)
  24. Paint pottery at a local pottery store.
  25. Play cards or a board game.
  26. Create Vision Boards (cut images from magazines that you like and paste to poster board, then share them with each other).
  27. Watch a TV series.
  28. Run or walk a race.
  29. Go Fishing.
  30. Ice skate or roller blade.
  31. Take a cooking class.
  32. Play tennis.
  33. Go – Go Karting
  34. Workout together
  35. Hike on a local nature trail
  36. Pick an adventurous destination for a day trip
  37. Cookout or go camping
  38. Stargaze (make it really fun and download the Star Walk app)
  39. Find a pool, waterpark, beach, or a lake
  40. Have a backyard or beach bonfire with s’mores
  41. Make a picnic and watch the sunset
  42. Fly a kite.
  43. Play sports—basketball (or horse or four square), football, soccer, badminton, softball, frisbee, or kick the can
  44. Attend an outdoor music festival, amusement park or local carnival (don’t be surprised if they want to invite a friend)
  45. Dine at an ethnic restaurant of their choice
  46. Go to a local farmers market. Let them pick what they want to eat
  47. Play golf—miniature or adult
  48. Go kayaking, canoeing, or sailing
  49. Play karaoke
  50. Learn to do something new together

Make a list of a few things you would like to do with your teen and as a family. Be intentional to schedule ahead of time and include your teen in the decision making process. Word of caution, remember that creating family fun is a time for us moms to relax, enjoy, and not feel the need to make “fun” happen which I have been known to do on occasion. It’s also not a time to bring up their grades or your concerns. Go with the flow, have fun and remember to laugh often.

Question: Please share your ideas of fun activities that you have enjoyed with your family. What has worked and not worked well?

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