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  • Writer's pictureLiz Morrison, LCSW

5 Unusual Summertime Activities to Keep Your Teens Off the Couch!

Summertime is for relaxing. But, for many teenagers, relaxing seems to mean sitting on the couch and staring into screens.

Games, social media, catching up with celebrity news – all of that can easily fill up a teenager’s vacation day, and all of it can be done without moving any muscles except for fingers and eyes.

Appeals to ‘get out and exercise more’ often fall on deaf ears. Eye muscles may get a little bit more of a workout through sarcastic rolling, but keeping teenagers active and committed to activity is an uphill struggle.

Here are 5 unusual activities that can keep your teens off the couch this summer. The whole family can enjoy some of these activities.

5 Unusual Summertime Activities to Keep Your Teens Off the Couch!

1. Involve your pet

If you have a pet, delegate its care for summertime. Dogs need to be walked, but even cats and smaller animals need to be fed, need their boxes cleaned and changed, and need playtime and entertainment.

Your teen will not only be more active, but also learn to plan and care routinely.

In addition, add the challenge of inventing at least one new pet activity every week.

2. Sponsor a race.

Teenagers are more easily motivated by making sports and workouts more competitive. They also enjoy a social component.

So, task your kid to find a local charity race, sign up, get sponsors and start training for the race itself. Many such races happen during summertime.

This activity is particularly suitable because it combines our kid’s social networking skills with the kind of healthy outdoor activities that they might otherwise not pursue or drop after a few attempts.

Of course, you can obtain a sponsor, too, and make it a special event for you both.

3. Create a time capsule

A time capsule is a collection of memorable items from your teenager’s life, past and present. Place objects in a container and bury somewhere accessible but safe.

Time capsules wil be opened at a certain specific time in the future, maybe the 21stbirthday, maybe the day before marriage, or when starting the first job. Some people leave their capsules for future generations so that our descendants will have first hand evidence of our lives today.

The time capsule project involves many ‘off-couch’ activities such as discussing the concept, finding and collecting the items, often with the help of other family members, constructing the container, and finally locating the best spot to bury it.

4. Picnic creations

Family members take it in turns to create a themed picnic and to create a family trip around it.

Off-couch activities include selecting the theme (from elves to Victorian lords and ladies to sports related themes), and cooking and baking suitable food. After that, your kids will need to locate and prepare the most suitable picnic spot (your own garden or even a room in your house, a favorite campsite, or a completely new place that your teen researched online, combining off-couch and on-couch skills). Finally, they will have to plan and choose the necessary equipment such as plates, utensils, blankets, and cups.

5. Games and speed

Finally, if your teens are into video game ‘shooters’ and ‘racers’, why not give them an opportunity to play this out for themselves?

Ask them to help organize a day out at a Laser Tag Game Center. Laser Tag teams play in large indoor/outdoor arenas. Players usually compete in groups against each other, wearing electronic vests that they target with phasers. Each ‘hit’ scores a point. Laser Tag Game Centers are available in many parts of the country. The supervised set up applies stringent safety standards. This ensures a thorough workout for body and mind!

If your teens prefer to racing games, why not take them to a go-cart track.

Generally, ‘off-couch’ activities are most successful if you manage to involve your teen at every level. Give them a chance to seamlessly combine their on-couch and off-couch skills.

Activities that connect them with other teens or popular adults will rank high on their list of preferred activities.

If all else fails, you can also ask the teens themselves to come up with a list of their ’5 most unusual off-couch activities.’ While it may not be possible to go to the moon, for example, you could at least consider a visit to a space exhibit in your area.

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