10 Summer Activities for Tweens [Indoor & Outdoor]

A bored tween is going to make sure everyone knows it. Believe me: after a week of hearing my daughter complain about not having enough to do, I was ready to try just about anything. After research and talking to other moms, I came up with a list of over 20 different activities to try with my easily bored daughter.

Generally speaking, the best activity for your tween is to get your 9-year-old outdoors with some backyard camping. Backyard camping is one of the easiest activities for you to plan. Add a campfire with some supervision and make s’mores. Tell scary stories in your tent – and don’t forget to have dad spook them after the sun has gone down. But that’s not the only thing to keep your tween occupied this summer. Below we listed our top 10 fun and creative activities for tweens.

  1. Turn Your Kitchen Into a Slime Factory
  2. Try One (or Twelve) Youtube Tutorials 
  3. Learn a Crafty Skill
  4. Get Lost in Books with Reading Challenges
  5. Earn Badges in Scout Programs
  6. Have a Blast at Summer Camp
  7. Tell Them to Take a Hike! 
  8. Tell Spooky Stories While Backyard Camping
  9. Plan a Day at the Pool
  10. Make the Biggest Pillow Fort Ever

Having Fun This Summer

Summer doesn’t have to be boring for your tween. With school over, it’s difficult for your tween to find things to fill their time. Choosing some of the activities from this list can help keep your tween occupied. 

The tween age range is difficult. From ages 9 to 12, your son or daughter is transitioning between social groups. They can find it difficult to focus or might dislike activities they used to love. They get bored very easily, so it’s a challenge to keep them interested and engaged without involving an electronic device.

Here are just some ideas of the fun things your teen can do this summer. Plus, many of them require little to no monetary investment. If your tween moves on quickly, you won’t be losing a ton of money or time. Use these as a basis for your unique ideas! 

DIY Activities

These activities usually require just a little cash, but they can be rewarding. Get your tween absorbed in learning a new skill – they may take it on for life! Plus, learning to be more hands-on is always a good thing for your tween. 

1. Turn Your Kitchen Into a Slime Factory

Slime is the new DIY taking the internet by storm. The good news is that it’s easy to make. It’s not very messy once finished, and you can use just about any recipe. Start with a standard slime recipe and create your own using glitter, food coloring, and more! 


2. Try One (Or Twelve) Youtube Tutorials

The internet can be an amazing tool. Youtube has videos on how to do just about anything. Tutorials abound, from makeup to video editing, art, and even car repair! While your tween may not be ready to rebuild an engine yet, there are plenty of Youtube tutorials they’ll have fun following. 

3. Learn A Crafty Skill

The definition of what a ‘craft’ is is broad. Your tween could learn to knit, paint models, or repurpose old items into stunning new pieces. If your tween finds a craft they like, they might just take it through their life. Soon they’ll be making things for the whole family! 

Organized Activities

Organized activities can be a little on the expensive side, but they are often long-term extensive activities. Your tween may find that these activities keep them occupied all summer long. 

4. Get Lost in Books with Reading Challenges

Most libraries will have a ‘Summer Reading Challenge’ program, where children of all ages are encouraged to read a certain number of books over the summer. Enroll your tween in one of these programs if they are already voracious readers. Even if they need a little extra push, it’s well worth the effort. Some programs even offer prizes to kids who meet their goals!

5. Earn Badges in Scout Programs

Girl and Boy Scouts are a great way for your tween to meet new friends. The experiences gained through these organizations are unrivaled. Your adventurous tween will enjoy earning badges, working towards goals, and learning new skills. 

6. Have a Blast at Summer Camp

Summer camp is a rewarding experience that allows your child to get some life experience away from home. Be careful about choosing programs, as some summer camps have better reputations. This might be the most expensive summer activity for your tween, but it is a memorable event in their life. 

Outdoor Activities

Summer is the perfect time to get outside and start having fun. There are so many outdoor activities that your tween can enjoy this summer.

7. Tell Them to Take a Hike!

It may take some convincing to get your tween to go on a hike, but it’s worth it. The exercise is great. Fresh air can’t be beaten. Take well-known trails and find hidden vistas in the lakes and rivers of your community. 


8. Tell Spooky Stories While Backyard Camping

Backyard camping is a favorite of many tweens. Summer nights are cool enough to get comfortable. It’s like a big family trip but in the comfort of your backyard. Plus, the bathrooms are cleaner than at any campground. Set up a tent in your backyard and let your tween have a safe, fun camping trip. 

9. Plan a Day at the Pool

If there is a city pool or community pool, now is the time to use it. Plan a trip to the pool with your family, including your tween. Pack the sunscreen, towels, and pool noodles – don’t forget to pick up some extra fun floaties. If you have your private pool, consider setting up a movie screen and a projector while you all go for a nighttime swim.  

Indoor Activities

The outdoors is great, but the air conditioning is better. There are a ton of fun indoor activities for those days that are just too hot to play outside. 

10. Make the Biggest Pillow Fort Ever

Use pillows, blankets, dining chairs, and couch cushions. Create the perfect indoor tent to cozy up in and watch movies, play games, or just hang out. There are so many different ways you can build a pillow fort and no limit to how much you can enjoy them! 

11. Make a Short Movie about Anything

Cameras are everywhere these days. You can shoot a movie on your phone or with a digital camera. Try writing a script and shooting short films on whatever device you have available. Play them for your friends!

12. Make a Cute Home Decor Project

Some of the best decorations are handmade. Your tween might learn a technique from a website or television show. Encourage them to make their curtains, wall hangings, and more. 

Solo Activities

Unfortunately, we can’t be with our friends every day of the summer. Here are some ideas for solo activities that your tween can do on their own. 

13. Write Everything in Your Journal

Keeping a journal can be fun. They can write their private thoughts, feelings, and process their emotions. Even if they just write about their day, it can help so much when school is not in session. Encourage your teen to keep a journal. They can read it in 20 years and enjoy the memories! 

14. Practice Those Artsy Skills

Summer can be a great time to practice art. Change up your drawing style, try new techniques, and work on improving what you already know. A sketching kit or other art kit can be a great gift for your artistic tween. 

15.Transform Your Room by Moving Furniture 

Sometimes you just have to change things up. Move the furniture in your room around. Find new places to put your bed and other furniture. In the process, your tween might even clean up! 

Activities with Friends

When you’re hanging out with your friends, you want to make the most of it. These activities are great for best friends and friend groups.

16. Roast Marshmallows at a Backyard Bonfire

Parental supervision is key for this activity. Build a small fire pit in your backyard (if your city laws allow for it). Roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Tell scary stories or ask each other questions while making smores. 

17. Compete and Win Unique Games

Board games can be a great way to spend time with friends. Your tween may also be interested in competition-type games. Competing with their friends to finish large tasks first can be a great motivator. Set up prizes and make longer goals to accomplish over the entirety of the summer. 

18. Turn Your Living Room Into a Cinema

Did you know there are four Shrek movies? That sounds like a great movie marathon for your tween. Set up a movie marathon day with their friends. Have popcorn, candy, and other treats on hand for their ‘movie theatre’ experience.  

19. Making Food and Drinks

With supervision, your tween may enjoy baking, making drinks, and more this summer. 

20. Make Summer Sweet Treats

Learn how to bake cookies from scratch. Make brownies, cakes, and more – all with your unique additions to the recipe. Summer is a great time to whip up some unique, mouth-watering baked goods. 

21. Create Fruity Popsicle Recipes

Making popsicles is simple, and sometimes includes just a few ingredients. Have your tween create their popsicles with Kool-aid or Jell-o. The sky’s the limit for these frozen treats. 

22. Go Crazy with Fruit Salads and Smoothies

During the summer, fruits are even more delicious. Work with your tween to create fruit salads, smoothies, and other fruit-based foods. These recipes are usually simple and easy to create. You may have to cut the fruit for them, though. 

Challenge Yourself 

It can be easy for tweens to sink into technology as a way to escape. With more technology available than ever before, it’s easy to waste a summer playing video games or scrolling through social media. 

Challenge your tween (or yourself) to get away from technology a little bit this summer. Make it a fun activity that doesn’t seem like a punishment. Plan some of these summer activities. It may encourage your tween to spend a little less time with the TV or console. 

Final Verdict

When we think outside of the box, there are so many things for tweens to do. Summer vacation can be filled with unique activities that build skills, create lasting memories, and more.

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