Searching for fun things to do with teenagers? What did you do for fun when you were their age? Did it ever involve your parents? My version of fun was hanging out at the mall or movies with friends while my parents’ version was going to a Titanic exhibit. Before you jump to their defense, this was before Rose refused to make room on that door so Jack could come out of the frigid Atlantic waters (so it wasn’t nearly as exciting).
All teens are different. Some are sporty, some love to cook, some don’t ever stop talking while others want to read or play video games 23 hours a day. But if you’re looking for fun things to do with teens, there are a few things all of them enjoy: independence, adventure, bonding with friends, and feeling heard by adults. Each of these 35 ideas incorporates at least one of those elements. We think your teens will enjoy this stuff whether they do it with friends or even just with you, Mom!
1. Have a movie marathon.
Pick a theme—musicals, Harrison Ford, Lord of the Rings—and lay around all day. They’ll love a chore-free, homework-free day.
2. Do a room redesign.
Move furniture, put up new curtains, or slap on a new coat of paint. This can be a fun thing to do with teenagers when you have more than one. Let them swap rooms.
They’re already taking selfies all day. Why not make a game of it? Our printable Selfie Scavenger Hunt is free to download!
4. Get in (or on) the water.
Most teens love being on the water, so go fishing, rent kayaks, or head to the beach or lake. Taking them outside, away from screens, is one of the best things you can do for your teen.
Taking them outside, away from screens, is one of the best things you can do for your teen.
5. Take a cooking class.
This is a fun thing to do with teenagers that will actually prepare them for adulthood!
6. Hit up a driving range.
Whacking that little white ball, even if you only make contact once or twice, is so satisfying. Be sure to stop for lemonade or a smoothie afterward.
7. Visit a college or university.
Find the closest college campus and take a walk around. Pop your head into buildings. Stop at a coffee shop. Talk about different majors and your college days.
8. Replicate your favorite cooking competition show.
Chopped? Top Chef? Guy’s Grocery Games? Pick your theme and let your teen and friends take over the kitchen.
9. Try a TikTok challenge.
If your kids are using TikTok, this will earn you major cool points. (Although, I don’t think they’re called that anymore.) Just don’t do any of the challenges that can land you in the ER.
10. Volunteer together.
Don’t automatically write this one off. Serving in the community is a fun thing to do with teenagers and their friends and it might restore your faith in the next generation.
11. Go to an arcade.
Let your kids show you their favorite game and then school them on one you played as a kid. “Kids, meet the former high score holder of the local Pizza Hut’s Ms. Pac-Man!”
12. Go to a concert.
It doesn’t have to be a big star! Just listening to live music together is a great way to have fun and connect.
13. Try a restaurant you’ve never visited.
That place you’ve been considering but you’re not sure if you’re adventurous enough? Go for it. Agree that if it’s bad, you’ll put a pizza in the oven when you get home.
14. Ride bikes through a neighborhood and pick out your favorite house.
Side-by-side activities with kids (boys in particular) are great for getting them to open up and talk.
15. Do a puzzle together.
Jigsaw puzzles might seem like something old people do, but some kids love the peace and focus they bring. Don’t force it—just set the pieces up and wait for them to come!
Make one as a family or let your kids put one together with friends. If you’re willing to put two holes in the yard, make both! Here’s a time capsule printable to get you started!
17. Color your hair.
Head to the drug store and buy hair dye that will wash out. Let your teen color your hair, or vice versa.
18. Tie-dye a shirt or a bag.
If you’re not ready for hair dye, start with shirts. Your teen will probably create something that looks better than any store-bought design. Let him or her make one for you, and be sure to wear it!
19. Make a vision board.
Buy a couple of magazines and help your teenager dream big!
20. Visit a church other than your own.
Your teen is probably already wondering what other church services are like. Go explore. He or she will appreciate that you’re open-minded and will probably realize your church feels like home.
21. Go to a scenic spot and have a photo shoot.
Every town has a photo-worthy spot. If you feel like splurging, hire a photographer. Otherwise, offer to snap photos and let your teen and friends pretend to be models.
22. Pull an all-nighter.
There will be plenty of these in your teens’ future. So stay up all night with them, playing games, eating junk food, and watching TV. Close out the fun by watching the sunrise together. Warning: You’ll absolutely feel this for days to come, but it will have been worth it.
Some things surprise you with their hidden fun factor. A random act of kindness is one of those things. Here are some great ideas for random acts of kindness.
24. Go rock climbing.
There are so many TV shows that make rock climbing look like such a blast. Your teen will love feeling like a serious athlete.
25. Take a one-tank trip.
Tell your teen how many miles you can get on one tank of gas and let him or her plan a day-long trip. Try not to make too many plans. Leave room for spontaneity!
26. Go thrifting.
Give your teenager $10 and compete in a thrift store challenge. Whoever can come up with the best outfit and stay under budget wins.
27. Do something thrilling.
Try indoor sky diving, parasail, go mudding! Your teen will love getting his or her adrenaline pumping.
28. Host a dessert night.
Let your kid invite friends over for a night of sweets. You could make fondue or let the kids pick a recipe and try baking something on their own.
29. Host a game tournament.
Buy plenty of snacks and pick your game. Poker, bunco, chess, UNO… Invite over friends, make your bracket, and don’t stop ’til a champion has been crowned.
30. Have a backyard bonfire.
This is a fun thing to do with teenagers in the fall, as the air gets crisp in the evenings. Just be sure to have marshmallows and hot cocoa.
31. Watch a TED Talk.
No matter what your teenager is into, there’s a TED Talk on it. Invest time in something your teen wants to learn about and then sneak in a talk you want your teen to watch. There are great ones on beauty, self-esteem, and kindness.
32. Build or repair something.
Creating or fixing something with their own two hands will give your kids so much confidence and pride!
33. Work out.
If you go to the gym, invite your teen to join you. If you’re not into fitness, head to the park and play on the swings, do push-ups and squats, climb on the jungle gym. Sweat together!
34. Recreate a childhood photo.
Pick out a photo from when your kids were little and challenge them to recreate it.
35. Host a pizzeria night.
No toppings are off limits! Buy dough from the store and make personal pizzas.
Which of these would your teen like the most? What other fun things to do with teenagers would you add?