My colleague recently showed me a Facebook post where a mom asked, “Teen Parents: What are your kids doing in August?” My almost 14 year old daughter is soon back from summer camp – and I need some ideas to keep her busy!”
The question immediately affected me because I also have a 14-year-old child. Of course, my question goes something like, “What can my 14-year-old do now that we’re done with a month of graduation celebrations, a two-week family vacation, and a binge watch inspired by the COVID quarantine of each season of “Stranger Things?”
Basically the same question.
This age group (around 13-16) can be the hardest to entertain. They’re too old for most of the day camps, library activities and playground trips that filled their summers when they were little. And they’re too young for most summer jobs or to drive places to hang out with their friends.
After thinking about it and consulting a few other moms and my kids, here are some ideas for filling your young teen’s time during the rest of summer vacation.
Parks, playgrounds and LEGO
Your kids may be growing up, but they probably still love a lot of the “kid things” they used to do (even though they usually keep those feelings a secret).
Take them to some of their favorite parks and playgrounds since they were little. A few caveats here: they should be respectful of small children by not hogging play equipment, refraining from using equipment that is too small for them, and remembering that some young children may be intimidated by larger children .
But swings are fun for all ages. And your teen’s monkey bar skills are probably much better than they were when he was little (even if he has to bend his knees when he crosses). There is no age limit for running on the grass, playing tag, football or Frisbee with friends. Also, if your young teenager likes to play with younger children, chances are that some small children will welcome the presence of older children and invite them to play.
In addition to your children’s favorite playgrounds, Fox River Park in Waukesha has a slide built into a hill that is fun for all ages, or you can check out the Milwaukee County Parks website to find interesting playgrounds.
Even for teenagers who can’t wait to grow up and leave their little toys behind, LEGOs are respectable play for all ages. Invite your children’s friends over with all their LEGO and throw a building party. Or visit the LEGO store at Mayfair shopping center to buy a new set. Or take a trip to Tosa Block Party to build with all their LEGO bricks for a few hours.
Board Games and Dungeons & Dragons
Your kids can step up to old-school tradition by running a marathon with their favorite childhood games, like Candy Land, Operation, and Chutes and Ladders.
They might play other traditional games that aren’t specifically designed for kids, like Monopoly, Life, or Scrabble. Or they could get involved in really engaging and really complicated cooperative board games like Pandemic, Castle Panic or Marvel Champions.
If your kids can’t wait to leave home and maybe make some new friends, check out the Lawyer board game places where groups can join. They have every week dating board games for specific games. The North Shore location also open play gatherings with access to their full game library.
They might also be looking for established people or groups to play Dungeons & Dragons. Board Game Barrister also hosts the D&D game. (And, yes, that recommendation may be inspired by the fact that I was heavily involved in my kids’ “Stranger Things” binge watch.)
Lakes, swimming pools and water parks
There is no age limit for swimming. There is the lakeside and other lakes in the area (keep in mind that some beaches are faced with the shortage of lifeguards), there are outdoor pools and there are water parks.
If your kids would love to spend time by the lake, but you’re not sure it’s safe to swim (or the water is just too cold), there are plenty of reasons to spend time by the lake. lake. They can fly a kite, get food from one of the restaurants or concession stands, play volleyball, or, in the interest of embracing little kids’ things again, build a castle. sand.
Go to the mall
Another suggestion that’s, again, heavily influenced by the mid-’80s mall culture of “Stranger Things” (and a bit by my own early teenage nostalgia), is to go to a local mall.
Malls aren’t the same mecca for hanging out as they were in the 80s and 90s, but there are still some fun things for young teens to do. The Southridge Mall in Greendale has a escape room and an archway. Outdoor malls like Bayshore in Glendale are always fun when the weather cooperates. And there are cinemas in Mayfair Shopping Center and near Southridge and Brookfield Square.