If you’re looking for a list of boredom busters to get your pre-teens off their devices, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve curated our favorite indoor and outdoor tween activities to help keep your children engaged and entertained year-round. Whether you’re looking for activities your tweens can enjoy independently at home or while hanging out with their friends, or searching for ideas you can enjoy together as a family on weekends and holidays, this post has tons of crafts, games, and activities to inspire you.
18 Indoor Tween Activities
1. Cook a family meal
From yogurt parfaits, to French bread pizzas, to mini lasagnas, there are tons of recipes kids can experiment with as they learn how to cook. Challenge your tween to organize a family meal from start to finish, including finding a recipe, making a list of ingredients, helping with the grocery shopping, prepping ingredients, cooking, and cleaning up, and resist the urge to intervene. This is a great way to teach independence and your child will feel accomplished after successfully feeding the whole family! Check out this collection of recipes kids can make for a little inspiration.
2. Make a scrapbook
Scrapbooking is a great activity to get your tween into as it provides a creative outlet and encourages them to keep memorabilia and document their most important moments. There are heaps of articles and YouTube tutorials about scrapbooking, and Amazon has a lots of scrapbook supplies you can order with a simple click of your finger! This scrapbook starter kit is a great investment to begin with.
3. Learn to draw
If your child has a creative side, there are lots of step-by-step YouTube tutorials they can follow to learn how to draw subjects they are interested in. If digital drawing is of more interest to them, consider investing in an iPad and Apple Pencil, and give Procreate a try. It’s a fabulous app that will allow your child to create beautiful works of art. We’ve written an entire post about Procreate, including tips and tutorials to master digital drawing.
4. Take a photography course
If you’re looking for tween activities that have the potential to turn into a long-term hobby or career, photography is a great option to consider. There are lots of great online photography courses available, and if you don’t have a DSLR camera, don’t fret! There are lots of fantastic iPhone photography courses, which will teach your teen tons of great tips and techniques for taking beautiful photos with his or her phone.
5. Learn to crochet
From coasters and decorative hearts, to a ridiculously easy blanket, to headbands and face masks, to the cutest mini octopuses you ever did see, these step-by-step crochet tutorials will teach your tween how to crochet beautiful items to give as gifts to family and friends.
6. Make jewelry
A list of tween activities wouldn’t be complete without mentioning jewelry making, am I right?! There are lots of great jewelry making sets you can buy on Amazon rather inexpensively, and this post has lots of fabulous DIY jewelry making ideas and tutorials, including washer necklaces and friendship bracelets.
7. Learn card tricks
If you’re looking for tween activities for girls and boys who aren’t really into crafts, card tricks are a great idea to consider. YouTube has tons of instructional videos, but if you want to get your tween off of his or her devices, this card set will teach your kids 50 different card tricks!
8. Do a paint by number project
Paint by number is a great option if you’re looking for tween activities for boys and girls who like to create but aren’t necessarily artistically inclined. Amazon has tons of paint by number kits for beginners and beyond – this one is one of my favorites!
9. Give diamond painting a try
If you like the concept of paint by number projects but need something a little less messy, diamond painting is another fun idea. It’s a travel-friendly art project you and your tween can enjoy, and it’s oh-so-relaxing. This six-pack diamond painting kit has ideas both girls and boys will like.
10. Take a coding course
If your child likes playing video games, why not sign him or her up for coding lessons? There are tons of companies that offer virtual coding camps and lessons, allowing your child to learn coding basics, program their own robot, and even create their own Roblox games!
11. Bottle painting
Bottle painting is another activity your tween can enjoy independently or with a friend, and you can even turn it into a family art project. This post has tons of great information to help you get started, including tips to ensure paint adheres properly to your bottles, and step-by-step tutorials to help you create beautiful masterpieces.
12. Tie dye old clothing
If your tween is obsessed with all things tie dye like my daughter, and you’re interested in learning how to make tie dye shirts at home, this post is a great resource. It includes a list of tips and supplies, teaches you how to create different tie dye patterns, and has step-by-step tutorials for beginners!
13. Organize a family game night
I couldn’t write a post of tween activities without including a link to my favorite board games. While you may be in the habit of playing games as a family here and there, why not challenge your tween to organize an entire night of fun? They can round up their favorite games – or research a few new board games to order – and then make fun snacks and drinks for everyone to enjoy. If you have kids of different ages, this post has a list of great board games the whole family can play!
14. Decorate with washi tape
Washi tape – a decorative adhesive tape used in crafting, journalling, and scrapbooking – has gained popularly among tweens and teens. It offers a simple way to add a little flare and personality to projects, journal entries, gift wrapping, and school supplies, and comes in many different widths, colors, textures, and patterns. These washi tape crafts are a great idea to consider if you’re looking for tween activities!
15. Collaborate on a jigsaw puzzle
Puzzles are an activity that can be enjoyed independently or as a family, and thanks to puzzle mats, they can easily be stored away when you’re not working on them!
16. Give origami a try
If you’re looking for quiet tween activities, origami is a fun idea to consider. You don’t even need real origami paper – you can just cut regular pieces of paper into squares. Origami.me has tons of easy origami instructions available for free, allowing kids to fold, giggle, and chat!
17. Learn TikTok dances
If your tween likes to dance, learning TikTok dances is a fun activity you can enjoy together. They may roll their eyes at you as you stumble through the moves, but I promise you’ll both share a lot of laughs while you do it!
18. Learn to type
The last item on my list of indoor tween activities is to challenge your child to learn how to type. With kids spending so much time interacting and communicating on their electronic devices, and most classrooms integrating computers into their lesson plans, learning to type is a skill all kids will eventually need to master. These typing games and activities are a great way to help improve your child’s skills!
13 Outdoor Tween Activities
1. Plant a garden
If you’re looking for outdoor tween activities to get your kids off their screens and into the sunshine, why not plant a garden together? Whether you decide to grow flowers, vegetables, fruits, or a combination of the 3, this is a project you can work on together for months. It’s a great way to spend quality time with your tween, and he or she will learn lots of important gardening tips and techniques along the way.
2. Fly paper airplanes
If you’re looking for mindless but fun tween activities, do a quick search on YouTube for paper airplane tutorials. There are a lot more than you probably think, and it can be fun trying different designs and then taking them for a test drive in the backyard to see which ones fly the best.
3. Organize a water balloon fight
I don’t think we ever get too old to enjoy water balloons, and last summer I discovered that Amazon sells ‘Bunch O Balloons’, which allow you to fill and tie 100 water balloons in less than 60 seconds. I’m serious! Your kids can enjoy soaking each other and their friends, or you can setup a family water balloon fight!
4. Make your own sprinkler
Did you know you can make your own sprinkler out of a plastic bottle? Housing a Forest has all the details HERE. Your tween can follow the directions to make their own plastic bottle sprinkler, or you can challenge them to use the concept and create their own unique design!
6. Organize a family relay race
Relay races are a great way to get kids to work collaboratively, and they make for fabulous family fun as well. Check out this list of 45 ideas over on Kid Activities for a little inspiration!
7. Wash the car
If you’re looking for tween activities that offer a fun way for your kids to help out around the house, hand them a bucket, some large sponges, some soap, and a hose and let them wash your car! If they hum and hah at the idea, consider starting a family water fight to lighten the mood!
8. Make a water blob
This DIY water blob by Clumsy Crafter is high on my list of summer water activities for kids I’d like to try. It looks like heaps of fun, and if you’re the parent of tweens, this may be just the project to get them off their screens!
9. Go camping in your backyard
If your tween is interested in the great outdoors but traditional camping isn’t in the cards, why not setup a tent and let them sleep in the backyard? You can do this as a family or, depending on your circumstances, you may allow them to enjoy this with a few of their friends.
10. Have a campfire in the backyard
If sleeping outside isn’t your bag, you can still enjoy a bonfire, make s’mores, and play campfire games as a family.
11. Learn about astrology
One of the perks of having older kids is that you aren’t tied down to early bedtimes quite like when they are younger. While you may still prefer they observe an earlier bedtime, allowing them to stay up late and gaze at the stars with you can be a real treat. Check out the book Astronomy for Kids for a list of things you can look for with a telescope, binoculars, and just your plain old eyes this summer!
12. Do some outdoor science experiments
The internet is full of fun outdoor science experiments to get your kids outside and learning on warm days. A favorite among tweens is the exploding Mentos experiment. Have you tried it? It’s so much fun and doesn’t require a lot of setup, which I love. Tinkerlab has all the details, which you can find HERE.
13. Create your own mini golf course
If you’re looking for tween activities for golf lovers, invest in a few putting mats and create your own DIY mini golf course. You can make this as simple or fancy as you want, and can challenge your kids to use their creativity to design something the whole family will enjoy.
14. Make your own drive-in movie theater
Thanks to tablets and portable bluetooth speakers, you can create your very own drive-in movie theater to enjoy in the comfort of your own driveway!
If you’re looking for tween activities to keep your pre-teen entertained and off their screens, I hope the ideas in this post inspire you.