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  • Writer's pictureLiz Morrison, LCSW

How to Have a Happy Summer – 7 Healthy, Fun Summer Activities for Teens From a Teen Therapist in Manhattan, NY

Updated: May 9

Summer is in full swing here in the northern hemisphere. It’s a wonderful season to play outside, spend time with friends and family, and explore fun hobbies.

But the lack of structure and long hot days may start to feel a bit… well… boring. You probably have more time on your hands now than when you were in school or therapy for teens. It can be tough to find things to do in the summer months.

However, there are lots of fun local activities you can take part in. Whether you stay at home, go on vacation, or have a mix of both, here are 10 ways to have a happy, healthy summer in 2024 from a teen therapist in Manhattan, NY.

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Healthy, Fun Summer Activities for Teens

1. Try new hobbies

You’ll probably have more time now that you’re out of school, so why not use that time to do things you’re interested in?

That’s right, this means doing fun stuff you enjoy. The good news is, there’s no one right way to spend your time. You can try lots of new activities out to see if you like them. Maybe you’ve been wanting to try mountain biking, swimming, or writing poetry. Or you can focus on one activity you really like, such as learning to play a musical instrument. Take lessons or a group class to make the best out of learning a new activity.

You can also try summer camps for things that interest you, like drama, art, or sports. While summer camps are sometimes sleep-away, they aren’t always. You can choose daily summer camps to attend. That way you still get to experience the joys of summer camp, but you also get to come home every night.

Whatever you spend time doing, let it be something that lights you up. Bonus: getting out and doing fun activities you’re interested in is a great way to meet new friends. It can also be fun to invite some of your friends to join you.

2. Spend time with family and friends

Hopefully your friends and family will stay healthy this summer. There are lots of fun things you can do together. Here are some ideas for fun family activities:

  • Go to the farmer’s market and fill up on local fruits, veggies, herbs, flowers, and other goodies. Then, practice cooking recipes with friends and family using your fresh, local ingredients.

  • Learn about local, edible plants nearby with your family. Or go on a hike and pick a fresh bouquet of flowers together to bring home.

  • Go on bike rides together. If you have time, pack a picnic and stop somewhere pretty along the way.

  • Have game nights. Let a different member of your family come up with a different game each time.

  • Explore a new town with your family. Ask your family to go on a day trip and have fun with it. Find a yummy place to eat, a fun shop, or just walk around and see what you find. You never know what fun you might have in a new place!

  • Go camping together. There are lots of state parks, lakes, and rivers in New York and nearby states that offer camping. Make sure to make a reservation, though, as these spots tend to fill up fast. Grab a cooler full of food, a tent, bug spray, and a swimsuit, and you’re good to go!

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3. Arts and crafts

Summer is a great season to get the creative juices flowing. And you don’t have to be the artsy type in order to enjoy making arts and crafts. Art doesn’t have to be fancy or look a certain way to be worthwhile. After all, everybody is creative and talented in their own way.

Here are some arts & crafts ideas to try:

  • Create tie-dye clothing

  • Learn to sew your own clothes

  • Practice your photography skills

  • Use watercolors

  • Carve wooden or rubber stamps to make homemade prints and cards

  • Make bead or stone earrings

Whatever you want to try, most supplies are easy and fairly cheap to get. You can pick them up at a local art store if you have one. If not, you can order them online. Happy crafting!

4. Grow a garden

New York in the summer is a wonderful place to experiment with growing a starter garden. The climate and soils here lend themselves to healthy, delicious fruits and veggies that are fun to grow (and even more fun to harvest and eat). If flowers are more your style, you can plant those, too. Check out a local plant nursery for seeds, veggie starts, soil mix, compost, and more information on how to begin. Or check out YouTube – there’s a wealth of information out there on how to start a garden.

Hint: if you don’t have space in your yard to start a garden, try pots! You can plant things like tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers in large pots. If you plant tomatoes, don’t forget to add a stake or trellis.

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5. Volunteer

Spending time volunteering is a really useful way to spend your time. Not only are you pitching in and helping out in your community, but you also usually learn some very valuable skills and information.

Here are some ideas where you could volunteer:

  • Animal shelters

  • The food bank

  • Senior services programs

  • Local organizations, events, and fundraisers

  • Local charities

Spend some time searching online for volunteer opportunities that feel rewarding to you. Then, call or email to ask about getting involved.

6. Play!

Playing is the best part of being a teen on summer break. It’s a great way to spend time with your friends and get active.

The American Physical Activity Guideline suggests kids up to age 17 get a full hour of exercise every day. The best part is, exercise and playing can be the same thing.

If you’re able, get out there and move around. Try tag, soccer, or a game of pickup basketball. You can have a dance party or a jump rope contest. Get creative with it and choose something that sounds fun for you and your friends. Don’t forget to stay hydrated while you’re out there – and lather on the sunscreen.

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7. Read a good book

Spending time reading new books can be a fun way to pass a hot summer day (or a long summer night.) You can read about topics that interest you, or you can mix it up with some graphic novels or comic books if that’s more your style.

Head to your local library to get suggestions on what to check out. You can get a physical book, or you can borrow books virtually and download them to an e-reader.

Hint: Downloading virtual books onto an e-reader is especially helpful if you go on vacation. You can have a bunch of library books on hand without worrying about losing them.

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How to Help Your Teen Have a Fun Summer

If you’re a parent, it can be tough to know how to help your family have a fun and healthy summer. Maybe you’ve suggested all these activities and more to your teen but they still complain about boredom or don’t seem to want to leave the house.

If it seems like your teen is having a tough summer and you aren’t sure what to do, therapy for teens can help.

At Liz Morrison Therapy, we work with children and teens in New York to help them navigate how to choose healthy hobbies, make good friends, and feel good about themselves in every season.

If you’d like to learn more about how therapy could help your kid, feel free to reach out to inquire about online therapy for teens. We offer free consultations to discuss any questions or concerns you may have to see if we’re a good fit.

Begin Working With a Teen Therapist in Manhattan, NY

This summer, prioritize your teen's mental health and well-being by seeking therapy for teens. A teen therapist at Liz Morrison Therapy can provide the support and guidance your teen needs to navigate any mental health challenges they may be facing, ensuring they have a fulfilling and joyful summer ahead. Take the first step towards a happier and healthier summer for your teen by reaching out to a qualified teen therapist. Follow these three simple steps to get started:

1. Contact us to schedule an appointment for Therapy for Teens

2. Begin meeting with a skilled teen therapist

3. Start having a worry-free summer!

Other Services Offered at Liz Morrison Therapy

At Liz Morrison Therapy, we offer services for the whole family. So in addition to helping your teen heal with their mental health struggles during the summer in therapy for teens, our services also include Parenting Support for those looking to create healthy relationships with their children to help them live their best lives, Young Adult Therapy for individuals looking for support, guidance, and real-world strategies to help them deal with their struggles, and Anxiety Therapy for those wanting to cope with their anxiety in healthy ways. For more about us check out our Blogs and FAQs


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