I was recently invited to share a post with the Savvy Auntie community with ideas for summer fun, and I thought I’d repost here in hopes you’ll be inspired to make the most of these last few weeks of summer! Here’s a link to my original article, which I’ve re-posted here:
Keeping kids entertained as the lazy days of summer drag on can be a challenge – and tweens can be a particularly tough crowd. There are few phrases as cringe-inducing for an auntie as a whiny, “I’m booooooored!” While sidewalk chalk and a garden sprinkler could be all it takes to remedy this for a younger audience, finding creative ways to entertain tweens takes a bit more ingenuity.
While it is important to encourage overscheduled kids to work through boredom on their own from time to time, a Savvy Auntie armed with fun ideas can be a hero when the B-Word looms large! Here are some creative ideas to keep in your back pocket:
Cross Train Your Brain
Get in the Olympic spirit with a Brain Decathlon. Gather a collection of 10 logic and reasoning puzzles and set up a rotation for an afternoon of brain fitness. Tweens build confidence, creativity, and problem solving skills… but they’ll think it’s all fun and games!
Become a YouTube Sensation
As the countless videos of cats playing piano illustrate, anyone with a smartphone or flip cam can create and share video with the world. Film your niece’s rendition of Call Me Maybe using sock puppets or your nephew wowing the world with magic tricks… you never know what will go viral!
Play With Your Food
Tie on your aprons and have fun with food! Challenge tweens to an Iron Chef-style competition, with a secret ingredient each must incorporate into three dishes. Cheese, bananas, sprinkles… you choose the twist and provide cookbooks or food magazines for inspiration. Let tweens plan menus, make a grocery run, and get cooking! Invite friends over and present your creations to a Judge’s Table.
Stalk the Wild Cupcake
Put your sweet tooth to the test and track down the best cupcake in town. Conduct site visits and taste tests, taking notes and narrowing down the finalists. Surprise the winning shopkeeper with a special award you design and present!
Even the typical toothbrush is riveting when its 6 feet long! Stock up on supplies like recycled bottles, wire hangers, newspaper, and paint, and create a large-scale version of an everyday small object. Get messy with paper mache, and add buttons, cotton balls, yarn and other found objects as decorations. Turn your living room into a gallery and invite neighbors over for the grand opening.
Mini Golf Masters
With a little creativity, mini golf becomes much more than swiping a ball into a clown’s mouth. Scout out local courses (or pools, arcades, whatever destination most excites you) and spend the week visiting several, clipboard in hand. Set criteria for evaluating – quality of hot dogs at the snack bar, ball color options, etc. – and create an insider guide to the best of the best!
Ridiculousness knows no bounds when you commit to a day where nothing works as it should. Start your day with a spaghetti dinner, read a magazine back to front, only respond to your name when said backwards… let tweens see how far they can take the theme!
Move Over Frommer’s
Create your own guidebook to your town. This fun activity will help visiting nieces and nephews explore your city or get to know their own hometown better. Take walks to find little-known landmarks – or invent your own! Use an online photo service to create a hardcover guidebook filled with your pictures, captions, and funny anecdotes.
Old Movie Night
Let your tween pick the film – the catch is it has to be from the 1970s or earlier. Have fun in the kitchen preparing retro snacks like pineapple upside-down cake for the ‘50s or fondue for the ‘60s and enjoy some wholesome (and tasty!) family fun.
What activities do your tweens love? Please share your ideas here and help build the Tween Toolkit!