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Inside: Wondering what to do in the holidays with your teenager? Here are 100 + ways to get them off their devices and into the holidays. You can download the list for free!

Holidays pose a real challenge for some parents in terms of getting kids off the couch. It is relatively easy to get young kids out to play, but teenagers are a bit more difficult.

When teenagers are sitting around using their devices, it is often out of habit. It’s not always about not wanting to do anything else. So, here’s a great ‘no excuses’ list of activities for your teens this summer. Don’t forget to download a copy and put it on the fridge so the kids can tick the ideas they love and start planning. 


Get Physical

  • Snorkelling
  • Rock climbing at a climbing gym or outdoors
  • Free-throw basketball competition
  • Tennis or badminton
  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Geocaching is a treasure hunt with something for everyone. Using map coordinates and a GPS enabled device, you can find a geocache near your home, in the city, in the bush or in Antarctica. Have a look at the website here
  • The skate park
  • Fishing
  • Surf catting
  • Sailing
  • The gym… Most gyms are very flexible, you can buy a short monthly to half-yearly membership.
  • Couch to 5km app running program
  • Get training for a mini-triathlon
  • Visit Bounce or Latitude or your local version of a trampoline gym
  • Hire bikes or electric scooters and see your city
  • Water skiing
  • Visit an all-ages playground
  • Visit a water park
  • Fitbit Challenges are a fun, competitive way of getting kids to increase their activity levels
  • Golf – There are lots of public golf courses, just look for the one closest to home.
  • Stand up paddleboarding
  • Get a group of friends and take them paintballing
  • Join a Zumba, Yoga, or Pilates class

Wondering what to do in the holidays with your teenager?

Back to Nature

  • The beach, the beach, the glorious beach!
  • Bushwalks. Look for your state’s best walks and hikes. Send your teen out
  • with a couple of friends and pick them up at the end.
  • Plant a veggie patch
  • Spend some time as a family at your local swimming/picnic spots
  • Horse riding
  • Go camping
  • Volunteer at a wildlife park
  • Canoe or sup down a river
  • Abseiling
  • Enrol in a high ropes course in the bush
  • Mountain biking
  • Visit friends with a farm
  • Do a SCUBA diving course


  • Walk the dog twice a day, but suggest they double up with a friend and walk their dogs together
  • Create a roster for cooking meals. Make it competitive by making it a
  • Masterchef competition.
  • Give each child one area (on top of their own room) to spring clean.
  • Set the Declutter Challenge
  • Challenge them to go through their wardrobe and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit or that they will never wear again and then take it all to a charity shop.
  • Weeding. At this time of the year, there is plenty to go around. Appoint a section of the garden to each family member and see who has a green thumb.
  • Give them a budget and ask them to do the family grocery shopping
  • Wash the car



Book in Some Special Events

Every family member puts an idea for an activity on a piece of paper and puts it in a jar. Once a week you draw out an activity that everyone must participate in. Put in some parameters! Include things like outdoor movies and fish and chips on the foreshore for dinner.

  • Outdoor movies
  • Fish and chips on the foreshore for dinner
  • Have a family movie marathon
  • Go-karting
  • Play mini-golf
  • Go on a ghost tour
  • Hire a jetski
  • Go to an escape room
  • Go to the beach
  • Skating
  • A couple of nights camping
  • Whale watching tour
  • A day trip to a favourite destination (E.g. Perth’s Rottnest or Garden Island)

Short Courses

There are so many holiday programs available to teens. I love the idea of kids trying something new. Often adolescents start to narrow their range of hobbies and skills at a time in their life when they should be expanding them.

  • Arts Centres
  • Film Schools
  • Photography courses
  • Jewellery making
  • Cooking
  • Barista course
  • Vacswim – practical water safety, lifesaving & first aid skills are a must
  • for every teenager who is around water.
  • Circus Skills at Circus School
  • Learn to drive
What to do with a teenager during school vacation?


Kids in the Kitchen

  • Bake cupcakes and design toppings
  • Hold a barbeque for friends
  • Make a pie
  • Cook a meal for the family
  • Make pasta from scratch
  • Run a Masterchef competition


There are countless organisations who would appreciate your teen’s help. Send them with a friend so that it isn’t quite so daunting.

Get a Job

Being paid is a terrific incentive to put down the game controller. It is also a great way to teach the value of money. When kids have a job, they take instructions from someone other than their parents and teachers. They learn that society has expectations of them. It also starts the process of integration into the adult world. Your teen may well benefit from getting a job.

  • Write a CV
  • Check for opportunities in local area
  • If teen isn’t old enough to be formally employed, they can do paid jobs for family, friends and neighbours.

Be Creative

  • Writing
  • Painting
  • Renovate an old piece of furniture
  • Design a dress for the school ball
  • Learn to sew
  • Build a piece of furniture
  • Choose a great colour and paint bedroom
  • Origami
  • Create a dance with friends
  • Create photo books
  • Make candles…these could double as Christmas or birthday gifts
  • Make a movie with friends, siblings or cousins
  • Get started on submissions for some competitions. (Eg. In Australia, The Tim
  • Winton Young Writers’ Award or the Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists)
The summer holidays pose a real challenge for some parents in terms of getting kids off the couch. It is relatively easy to get young kids out to play, but teenagers are a bit more difficult. Here are some suggestions for a device free holiday.


Read and Research

  • Try your City council library for holiday programs
  • Enrol in your local Summer Reading Club
  • Research the family tree
  • Read a great book
  • Listen to an audiobook
  • Research your first car
  • Read your set literature texts for the next school year

Family Time

The participation of parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles can be a vital ingredient in getting kids off the couch.

  • Get grandparents involved in teaching kids something new and spending time with them. Equally as valuable is getting your teens to teach their grandparents something new…maybe how to send emails, Skype or join Facebook.
  • Spend time with cousins
  • Plan a pamper day for extended family
  • Tech-free family time
  • Have an extended family lunch where every family makes a different course
  • Card and board games inside on a stinking hot afternoon
  • Family sport, like basketball or cricket, that involves all the adults and children in your extended family can become one of those great rituals that you all look forward to every holiday.
  • Book in a few one on one dates with your teenager doing something simple that you both like. It may be something as little as a morning at the beach, or a morning tea together, or shopping.

Enjoy Holidays with Your Teens!


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