Leaving a tween at home alone can be concerning. We want to be sure to keep them entertained and out of trouble. During the summer tweens and young teens spend a good portion of their day alone.
Tweens either grow during the summer months, or start losing the progress they made over the school year.
Best Summer Activities for Tweens at Home Alone
Here are some of the best activities to keep your tween busy during the summer.
Try Something New
There are a whole host of activities that a tween can do when on their own. Some of these activities may depend on your child’s maturity level. For example, cooking is a fun hobby when it is pursued by a mature tween or teenager, however, some kids are not ready for this responsibility. Consider your child’s maturity and limitations when choosing what to allow your child to do on their own.
1. Take On A New Hobby
There are a variety of hobbies that your tween can take on. Some of the ones that might interest your child include knitting, crocheting, drawing, painting, or even making friendship bracelets. Taking on a new hobby is a great way for your child to explore their interests and learn what they have an aptitude for. They don’t have to choose a hobby from this list, either! The sky’s the limit where new hobbies are concerned.
2. Learn A New Skill
If your child is exhibiting an interest in learning a new skill, like modding Minecraft or building their own website, encourage them to get creative and learn a new skill. There is a multitude of websites that offer free lessons and tutorials on how to learn something new. As long as your child’s interest is something that they can pursue in the absence of an adult, why not go for it!
3. Start A New Project
Perhaps your tween has been looking forward to starting a large project, like painting their room or planning a birthday event for their best friend. No matter the project, the summer is a great time to start because of how much time your tween will have to complete it. They can devote a large chunk of their time to the project or spread it out over several weeks or months.
4. Participate In A Virtual Event
While typical events aren’t being held this year, there are many online or virtual events taking their place. The summer is a wonderful time for your tween to connect with others virtually. Check local museums, your library, and websites targeted towards teens to see what types of events are being held. If the online environment is a safe space, it can encourage your child to be social.
5. Take An Online Class
There are a large variety of online classes that have been made available for everything from piano lessons to studio art lessons that a tween can take in their spare time. During the summer when tweens are out of school is the perfect time for your child to indulge in some extracurriculars. Think about registering your child with a local business so that when lockdowns are over, your child can resume classes in person.
Sports are a great way to keep kids active during those summer months. Check with your school or city for organized sports to keep your kid moving. Summer is typically a sedentary part in a tweens life, especially with all the technology around them. Rather than leaving them in front of the TV all day, you could have them join a sport. Even if your child wants to start lifting weights, here are some middle school weight training exercises for getting started.
Here are some of the most common and beneficial summer sports for tweens:
- Rowing (Kayaking)
- Weight Lifting
Your tween could take the opportunity of being home alone to help out. There are a variety of ways that a tween could help out on top of the chores that they are already expected to do. Some of these might be fun for your tween to take on. Gauge their interest and see if there is anything they want to take responsibility for.
1. Care For Household Pets
Do you have pets? If so, your tween could take on the pet’s care. For example, brushing the dog or cat, playing with the pet, or taking the dog on a walk. If you have a small animal like a rabbit, your tween could spend time with the rabbit to help it get some exercise in a bunny safe room.
2. Take Care Of The Garden
Your tween could water the plants in the house or the garden. Better yet, offer your tween a small space to plant their own seedlings and give them the opportunity to learn how to water, fertilize, and weed their own plants. Over time they can see them grow and they’ll have a special area of the garden or a plant that’s all theirs.
3. Make The Shopping List
If you frequently shop at stores with the best sales, give your tween the opportunity to sit down and look at the ads to find the best prices. You can even go one step further and ask your tween to consider planning family meals. Then, your tween can create the shopping list with all the groceries necessary to make the meals for the week. This will save you time and might be a fun experience for your child.
4. Organize An Area Of The House
Does your pantry need to be reorganized? Is your hall closet full of half-folded sheets and towels? Give your tween an area of the house that they can have free reign over for a period of time. Allow them to organize the space in a way that makes sense to them. Not only will this clean up the area, but it will give the space new life. Your tween will feel a sense of accomplishment in tackling the project and the space will be a place you both can enjoy.
Chores and helping out is a great summer activity for tweens to learn some responsibility. Just keep in mind, they are still on vacation. I personally think it is only fair to give them a majority of the day off.
Pursue Their Passions
Does your tween have a special interest or particular hobby that they already enjoy? Spending time at home alone is a great opportunity for your child to hone that interest and learn more about it.
1. Learn About It
Encourage your tween to take the time to learn more about whatever their favorite topic is. Challenge them to learn so that they can take their interest to the next level. For example, if they’d like to write a book, encourage them to learn about the publishing process or to look into a writing challenge.
2. Write About It
If your child is passionate about something, encourage them to write about it. Perhaps they could keep a blog or write a short story. If they are actively engaged in current events, they could even write a call to action or a news article.
3. Engage With Others
Engaging with others is a great way to enjoy a shared interest. For example, local groups or summer clubs related to your child’s hobby will help them to stay engaged and may give them ideas about how to continue pursuing their passion. Additionally, there are online communities devoted to being safe spaces for tweens to talk about what they enjoy.
Limit Screen Time for Your Tween
One of the big mistakes parents make when choosing what activities to get their tween in for the summer is overusing technology. Technology is a great tool but it can be over abused, especially by a child sitting at home all day. Be sure to limit screen time so that your tween is being active and productive. Rather than just letting them watch Netflix for 12 hours a day while you are at work, have at least one activity per day scheduled to keep them moving.
Also if your tween is home alone, it is hard to tell what exactly they are doing online. The internet is a dangerous place with lots of content that is not suitable for children. Be sure to have a software like NetNanny installed to keep them safe from certain sites
Technology is both a blessing and a curse. If not monitored properly, your tween could be building a dependency to their phone or laptop that won’t go away in high school.
No matter what types of summer activities your tween enjoys, they’ll find something to do during the summer while home alone. Starting a new project or learning a new hobby can be a great way for your child to occupy their time, as well as helping around the house, or engaging in a favorite activity. Encourage your child to be as social as they can, to be a part of a community related to their hobby, and participate in events with others. This list is not exhaustive, but hopefully, it sparks some ideas!