Saturday, 18 April 2020

Keeping your Teenager busy during Lockdown - Over 50 Ideas

3 Teens whittling wood

It looks like lockdown will go on for another few weeks yet and who knows when school will recommence. I've been gentle with my 16-year-old JJ for the last few weeks, he has had some leeway to play games online, chat to his mates and just sleep (Isn't that what teens do best?) but now I need to get tough and get him doing some different things.

He'd have me believe that because he doesn't have to take his GCSEs I should allow him to wallow in his bedroom for the next five months, but that can't be good for him, so I revisited the posts I'd already written about getting your teen off their screen/ tech (you can check them out here and here) and enlisted my girls to think about all the different tasks we could get JJ involved in.

These are things all teens (or maybe even tweens and twenties too) could do and will hopefully either enjoy, learn something new or get a sense of satisfaction from. I suspect many of them will get an eye roll and the declaration of 'lame' but still, I'm on a mission to get JJ doing some different things.

I'll start with the activities I have already managed to get him to do during this lockdown -

  1. Go for a walk and chat to whoever you're with. Try a new route and discover your neighbourhood
  2. Play outdoor games with the family - frisbee, football, handball
  3. Teach your siblings to whittle wood and make skewers for toasting marshmallows, or create a carved walking stick
  4. Light a firepit or small campfire and toast marshmallow, or make easy dough to cook on a stick
  5. Play board and card games. Favourites recently have been Catan, Azul and Ticket to Ride
  6. Watch a film with the family
  7. Watch a theatre show with the family (The show must go on is showing an Andrew Lloyd Webber one each weekend)
  8. Cook us all dinner, or lunch, or yummy waffles
  9. Bake some treats - we've had courgette and cheese muffins, Easter chocolate cake and fruit and nut flapjack so far
  10. Do housework - Empty and refill the dishwasher, hand-wash the pots, change his bed, hoover and dust his room. Of course, none of these are particularly exciting but I find he'll do them fine if we work alongside each other and chat as we go
  11. Do the recycling
  12. Hoover, wash and polish the car. Ours looks great now and we have no-where to go! lol
  13. Do an M.O.T on the family computers to check they are running optimally and free up space
  14. Sign up for the daily newsletter from TEDed, so he has good content dropping into his inbox that will inform and engage him each day
  15. Create a family music playlist. We enjoy him playing random songs and the rest of us have to be quickest to guess the song title and the artist. This was something we used to do in the car, now it is home-based. 
Easter choclooate cake
They'd already started it before I even got a photo!

Things I haven't got him to do yet, but I'm on a mission -

  1. Help with some gardening or plant/ tend some veggies
  2. Mow the lawn
  3. Go out for a fast walk/ jog/ run. Maybe try out the Couch to 5K app
  4. Do an online workout, or use the weights. There are so many on youtube if you have a search, it is easy to find something free that suits the way you want to exercise
  5. Check his bike to make sure it is working well
  6. Use his bike, pushing himself to travel further and on different terrains/ gradients.
  7. Check all our camping gear is in good condition. Does any of the canvas need repair?
  8. Tidy the shed (or garage)
  9. Camp out overnight with his sisters and manage to get on together all night!
  10. Get his CV up to date (or for some teens they might need to create one)
  11. INvestigate potential career paths. He thinks he knows what he wants to do, but with time on his hands it is a good idea to expand his knowlegde
  12. Have a look on the Open Learn part of the Open University site and sign up for at least one of their free courses. Yes, free! These won't be suitable for younger teens but there are loads on there for older teens and adults to choose from
  13. Get back into reading. He used to love reading and now doesn't pick up a book. I think you just get out of practice, so I really want to help him develop this love again
  14. If I'm lucky and he does enjoy it, he could host a book club with some like-minded mates via zoom
  15. Teach me some new card games for all the family to play
  16. Create a scavenger hunt for his sisters to enjoy, both in the house and the garden
  17. We normally go tot he local pub quiz together as JJ and my husband are both super knowledgable, so instead, we'll do one of the online ones I keep hearing loads about. There is a whole list of them on MSE.
  18. Paint his bedroom, it is overdue and he has a whole ton of time!
  19. Help him to learn some life skills, like ironing, washing, basic sewing, setting the central heating, changing a fuse etc
  20. Write to his grandparents and send them a homemade card. I suspect his will be created on the PC rather than from papercraft but that's OK, it will make them happy
  21. Host a Netflix party with either friends or distant family
  22. Virtually visit a museum or gallery. Google arts and culture has dozens of different places with virtual tours for you to explore. 
  23. Improve his musical skills. JJ has keyboard lessons for a while but then gave up, but he has a natural talent, so I've introduced him to Andrew Furmanczyk's Youtube channel where he has masses of free resources. 
  24. Continue to improve his Spanish skills. He has learnt loads of words and grammar and now needs to bring them together and be more confident conversationally. Something like Lingvist can help him with that and there is free access until 31 July if the parent signs up as an educator and adds their kids to their classroom
  25. Do some study for his driving theory test, it is only five months until he turns 17 and he is keen to drive, so now is the time. 
  26. I might even let him have a bit of practice in our car as we live in a private estate and it is private land here
  27. Once before JJ started to look at our genealogy and now he has time on his nads, he can dig some more and see what he can come up with. Both my husband and I have some interesting tales from our families, so I think it will take a while. 
  28. I'm going to get JJ to help me with some of my work and blog maintenance tasks - checking broken links, editing videos, creating Pins, SEOing posts etc
Gratitude journal
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Things he'll never agree to in a million years but other teens might enjoy -

  1. Make something tactical like slime or oobleck. Check out all the tutorials on my youtube channel.
  2. Do some drawing or painting
  3. Do something else crafty - decopatch, papercraft, mosaic and all sorts
  4. Create a gymnastics or dance routine, either with a sibling or online with your friends
  5. Have a karaoke evening with your family or online with friends
  6. Have a charades evening with your family 
  7. Pray or meditate to give yourself some space and a sense of calmness
  8. Create a gratitude journal and record how you're feeling and what you're grateful for
  9. Have a pamper afternoon/ evening 
  10. Create a website and practise your coding skills (there is no need for JJ to do this as he is already skilled in this area)
  11. Take the dog for a walk (we wish we had one!
  12. Help a neighbour, especially if you have an elderly one. They might have to distance from your teen but that's OK. There will be jobs that can be done or shopping/ prescriptions to be fetched
  13. Learn the alphabet in sign language
  14. Go bird watching
  15. Make a photo album or personalised gift for a loved one

Teen throwing frisbee

I hope these ideas help you. I admit some of them feel like a battle sometimes, but don't be disheartened, get your teen to try something just once, and especially if you work and chat alongside them and they'll realise there is more to life than gaming, social media and their mates.

Do leave other ideas if the comments, if you have more to add. I noticed my friend Emma over at Emma and 3 has published a similar post yesterday with some additional ideas for keeping your teen healthy and happy during the lockdown.

Thanks, Mich x

Why not pin this post for later?

Teen activities pin

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