Updated April 2020
Boredom Busters for teens to do alone, with friends for parent-teen time or as a whole family. Activities a rainy, wintery, or summer day.
A bored teen can be a dangerous thing. Bored teens need fun activities to keep them out of trouble.
As a single mom, boredom is one of the things I worried about. With only one adult in the home, it becomes more complicated to make sure a bored teen doesn’t turn to the wrong things to keep busy.
There are so many ways a bored teenager can go wrong. They can spend endless hours in front of a T.V., computer, or phone screen vegging out.
They can watch videos or play games that reinforce values you are totally against. It’s not too hard to find things online that devalue women, encourage violence, or even glamorize suicide.
Then there is the fact that too much screen time equals isolation and very little exercise. Studies show that too much screen time correlates with increased risk of depression in teens.
Of course, there are far worse uses of a teenager’s time than bingeing on screen time. They may be making babies. Maybe flirting with delinquent behavior is keeping them busy. They could be experimenting with alcohol and other drugs. What is a mom to do?
It is easier than you might think to limit their screen time. These activities will bust the boredom, keep teens off their screens, and give them healthier options than baby making or drug use.
Things to Do When Bored for Teens
Try a fun craft project. When a teen expresses his creativity not only is he not bored it also reduces anxiety and improves a depressed mood. There are lots of other indoor activities for teens to do besides craft projects for them to express their creativity, connect with other family members or friends.
Creative Activities for Teens and Tweens
Fun activities for teenagers to do when they are stuck at home.
- Write a story or start a novel
- Draw a picture
- Make suncatchers and add a splash of color to your windows
- Learn to paint a picture
- Knit a hat, socks or a scarf
- Learn to play an instrument
- Make a music video
- Decorate your room
- Crochet a stylish neck warmer
Fun DIY Activities for Teens
When kids can’t leave the house these are some great ideas for them to have fun and stay busy instead of bored and crabby.
- Learn origami
- Make a tie blanket to use or donate to a homeless shelter
- Make soap
- Sew cloth napkins
- Make candles
- Build something using wood (You can get free plans online to build almost anything: birdhouses, shelving, tool boxes, etc.)
- Assemble a model dragon
- Make paracord bracelets
- Paint the porch floor
- Make your own coffee table photo book think of the possibilities: a memoir of a beloved pet, a special family vacation, a book about extended family or even a family recipe book with pictures of the family.
Need even more ideas for crafts? Check out these easy Crafts to Make, Sell or Give.
What can a teenager do at home?
Try some of these fun indoor activities. These are interesting things to do a rainy or cold day when all you want to do is stay inside.
Fun Indoor Activities for Teens
Try some of these activities when tweens and teens are bored and need to stay in the house.
- Read a book
- Play a board game
- Hunt a Killer
- Make a pie
- Make cookies
- Prepare dinner for the family
- Bake bread
- Make a bucket list of 100 things to do in their lifetime
- Put together a jigsaw puzzle
- Try a wooden 3D puzzle
- Learn to draw
- Paint a picture
- Create a scrapbook
- Make younger siblings Halloween costume
- Plan a dream vacation
- Make a Lego creation
If you are looking for productive activities for your teens 15 Productive Activities for Teens (Plus 1 Bonus Activity for High School Seniors is the answer for you.
Fun Summer Activities for Teens
Summer is a great time to have fun and be productive. Favorite summer activities for most teens are pursuing outdoor hobbies. Most outdoor activities are a fun way to get some exercise in the summer. Exercise improves your mood and reduces anxiety. No wonder most people like to play outside.
- Get a job! It can be fun to earn money and spend time with friends while working.
- Go to summer camp (There are camps for sports, music, and church to name a few.)
- Mow the lawn (This may or may not be fun for them, but it will be fun for you to have it done.)
- Go for a hike
- Go on a treasure hunt
- Go to a playground and pretend to be a little kid again
- Wash a car
- Play Frisbee golf
- Grow vegetables in a home or community garden
- Volunteer for local charities
Are you a single mom looking for ideas on how to make special family memories? Sign up for this free printable and weekly notes of encouragement here.
Related: Old Fashioned Fun Family Activities
Fun Group Activities for Teens in the Summer
- Capture the flag
- Play soccer
- Swimming at a lake or pool
- Sandcastle building competition
- Flag football
More ideas: 55 Fun Things for Teens to Do in the Summer
Group Activities for Teens in the Winter
- Ice skating
- X-country skiing
- Downhill skiing
- Building a snow fort or sculpture
- Learning to read the stories in the snow
- Making a snow angel
- Checking out activities at local state or national park
Your teen can even wear their bored teen label with pride–check out the shirts here.
Things to Do on a Day Off From School
If your kids have taken the time to make a bucket list it will be much easier for them to come up with some ideas on how to spend their days off from school whether it is summer vacation or an unexpected day week or month of no school.
Time at home is a fantastic opportunity to develop creativity, build relationships, exercise or practice a skill. If your kids don’t have a bucket list challenge them to make one. Once they have a bucket list they can choose something on the list and take a step towards reaching that goal or dream.
Challenge Your Teen or Tween to Do a Bucket List
You probably don’t want to show your tweens or teenager this list of ideas. When a mom gives a teen an idea, its value is often reduced significantly, so don’t hand them over a list of ideas.
Instead, challenge them to come up with a list themselves. A fun activity is to come up with a bucket list of 100 things to do in your life. You might even do that yourself and then compare parts of your list or have a family goal-setting session.
The benefit of a 100 item bucket list is to get beyond the mundane and expected. It is a challenge to think about all the things you might like to do in your life.
Once it is written down, it becomes closer to a goal and you are more likely to focus on ways to make it happen or take advantage of opportunities that become available.
What to Do Next
Once the bucket list is written down, challenge your teen to take a step toward reaching that goal. Here are some ideas for a bucket list item and the first step:
- Run a marathon–Sign up for a 5K
- Compete in a triathlon–Bike 10 miles
- Eat Mexican food in Mexico–Use an app to start learning Spanish
- Read the Bible cover to cover–Try this plan
- Get your driver’s license–Study for the test
- Learn to play an instrument–Sign up for lessons & set a goal of 100 minutes of practice per week
- Write a book–Set a goal to write 500 words a day
- Hike the Pacific Crest Trail–Walk 3 miles a day
- Learn to cook or bake a favorite dish–Find a recipe and make a grocery list of ingredients
- Eat vegetarian for a year–Plan a trial month of vegetarian meals or plan 3 months of meatless Monday meals
- Organize your room–Start with one shelf or a hula-hoop-size area.
- Redecorate your room–Pick a new color for the walls.
It is good for everyone to dream about what is possible. If your teenagers are dreaming of writing a book, getting a PhD, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, or learning to make an exotic dish, it is much less likely they will be using their time getting into some sort of trouble.
If you need inspiration on how life-changing doing a bucket list can be for your teenager, check out John Goddard’s story here. He made what seemed to be an impossible list at the age of fifteen and accomplished most of it.
Make a Plan, Make a List
Thinking about what your teen likes to do, what will get them moving outdoors, and what will keep them occupied and out of trouble when they have to be indoors is a great start for making a plan to stave off teen boredom.
Having a plan is imperative because you don’t want kids to default to staring at screens, so sit down and discuss with your kids how they will use their free time.
Talk about goals, experiences, and, perhaps most importantly, fun! As good as the teenage mind is at finding undesirable pastimes to fill dull moments, I think you’ll find that it’s also good at accomplishing remarkable things.
Hi, I’m Tamara the creator of Empowered Single Moms, a single mom, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and the author of Thriving a Single Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Positive Life and Thriving a Single Mom Journal. I have a solo private psychotherapy practice where I treat anxiety, depression, and relationship issues.
As a member of the Empowered Single Moms community, I believe you can stop carrying the weight of the world alone and build a life you love. Join my mailing list and get 5 Keys to Single Mom Success.
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