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Productive Teenage Activities to Keep Your Kids Occupied!

The stereotype of a lazy teenager is a little unfair: they’re dealing with busy lives full of school, extracurriculars, home responsibilities, maintaining friendships and learning how to interact with other people in optimal ways. 

They’re all bombarded with waves of hormones and new chemical reactions their brains don’t fully know how to process yet, but they do get bored. A  bored teen can benefit from having something more productive to do than scrolling on social media endlessly killing free time, so these are our seven favorite productive activities for teens!

Let Them Redecorate Their Room

When was the last time your teen’s room looked different? The teenage years are a time of finding and pursuing your own interests, and it can be stifling to be stuck in a room with the same elephant décor that’s been there since you were a child. Encourage them to switch things up, change their space, and organize their belongings in a way that makes sense to them and makes their daily activities easier. 

If you want to be a cool parent, set a reasonable budget for them to spend on new décor and organizational pieces, like shelves and bins to store their things—and if you want to be the coolest parent ever, let them paint or change the carpet (make sure to set expectations early, either by giving them a selection of paint or carpet samples to choose from or by giving limits like “No painting the walls black.”)

They Can Learn to Cook

Cooking is an important skill for everyone to learn. Once you’re a full adult, you should generally know how to read and follow a recipe (or directions on packaged foods) and know how to prepare several dishes you like eating. Everyone has a story about the roommate who asked them whether they needed to take the frozen pizza off the cardboard before putting it into the oven. The moral of the story is:  Don’t let your teen become that roommate

There are plenty of recipes online, plus phone apps that will teach your teen how to cook. They’ll also learn how to make a shopping list for ingredients and become familiar with some basic budgeting to learn how much they can spend on what they want to make.

Teens Can Start a Website

Okay, we admit this one is a bit retro, but teens into the Y2K aesthetic can find a lot of enjoyment in setting up their website. If you had a LiveJournal back in middle school, you’ll understand the appeal—and if you haven’t had a website since the LiveJournal you had back in middle school, you’ll be shocked at how easy it is now!

With modern website-building tools, it’s easy for someone of any age to set up a free website featuring writing, pictures, and video in any combination. Your teen gets to choose what they want to put online, and they can change their content and format as often as they change interests! (And if you’re concerned about privacy: yes, modern websites can be made private, invite-only and password-protected, just like your old LiveJournal.)

They Can Try to Learn a Language

A great way to stimulate the mind of any teenager stuck at home is for them to learn a new language. Colleges and employers both love to see languages on applications, so this is a good idea for teens to be productive in laying the groundwork for their future success. 

While a formal, accredited language class will get credits that can be applied to future academic language requirements, there’s nothing wrong with taking a self-study language class online or using a language-learning app. Teens could also look into language clubs at their high school and prep themselves for their next family vacation by learning the local dialect. 

When choosing the language, remember Spanish is always in demand. Still, choosing a language your teen is genuinely interested in will motivate them to learn the language. If they’re into anime and manga, try Japanese. If they love K-pop and K-dramas, Korean is an obvious choice. If they idolize a celebrity who speaks a different language than English, go for that one.

They Can Learn a New Sport

Tell your teen to go outside and get some fresh air without saying, “Go outside and get some fresh air.” Beyond the advantages of getting out of the house, sports teach skills like friendship, communication, and learning how to both win and lose with grace. If your teen isn’t super into playing football or baseball or just aversion to team sports in general, suggest something like martial arts or track and field. 

If the less “sporty” sports are still a no-go, it’s time to introduce them to the semi-competitive world of backyard games: Horseshoes, Kan Jam, Beer Beverage Pong, and the rest can all be enjoyed by teens—maybe ironically at first, but they’ll come around. We’ve also recently discovered something called “Cornhole TikTok” on that app all the teens are obsessed with! Help your teen join in and stand out with a  custom Cornhole set from Cornhole Worldwide: just fill out the form to get started!

Teens Could Volunteer

If your teen is full of idealism and passion for a cause—and what teen isn’t?—suggest that they channel those feelings into local volunteer work. Whether they love animals, hate injustice, or want to help improve their local community, there’s definitely a group of volunteers they can join to help make those things happen.

It’s A Good Time to Get a First Job

The original productive teen activity most of us remember from our childhoods! Getting a part-time or summer job is an excellent way for teens to learn customer service skills and other life skills they’ll use in every job they have throughout the rest of their lives. Teenagers can make lasting memories at a first job and have a  great time meeting people. 

Yes, even the company owner benefits from knowing how to handle difficult conversations and prioritizing the best way to resolve an issue. And if your teen doesn’t get hired, learning how to search for and apply for jobs will still give them a head-start later, when they need to find one for more than extra money.  

Note: Employers can legally hire teenagers as young as fifteen or sixteen years old federally, but state laws vary. Check out your state’s employment laws in advance, and show your teens how to research those laws because knowledge is power. 

What’s your favorite way to keep teens productive in their downtime? When are you buying a custom Cornhole board so your teenager can blow up on Cornhole TikTok? Let us know in the comments!

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