Rose Murphy: Nine activities for your teen this summer
Summer is the perfect time for students to rejuvenate after another busy year of school. It is great to unwind, for sure. Students deserve a break!
Parents of teenagers may be wondering if there are some ideas that are fun and rewarding, but also a learning experience that would prepare their child for the future.
Summer is a great opportunity for teens to uncover valuable insights about themselves. Through discovery activities teens can build confidence, skills and character. These traits can be added to students’ resumes, college and job applications. Teens will discover valuable insights to help them plan for their futures in a way that will bring satisfaction and purpose.
Here’s a list of ideas to create a meaningful, impactful, yet fun summer for teens:
1. Free online self-assessments
Learning about oneself is the first step to making knowledgeable decisions about your future. Some online assessments will be more valid to the taker. It is wise to try several different assessments and evaluate the results. Think carefully about what you discovered. The purpose of these assessments are to provide ideas you haven’t thought of, with suggestions to follow up on. Some online assessments that I have found to be helpful: https://www.cacareerzone.org/ and https://www.careerexplorer.com/career-test/
2. Find a part-time job
Jobs come in many shapes and sizes. A student could take their application to a restaurant or coffee shop in town. They could create their own job, by charging a fee for a service, like yardwork, tutoring or dog sitting. Work history demonstrates responsibility. Working with a team promotes good collaboration skills. Team work is a desired skill by today’s employers. Experiencing a part-time job is a great way to add to your skillset and make some added cash.
3. Create your own project
You have talents and passions already. Put them together and do something new. Form a band and give a house concert to friends and family, learn to knit and make scarves to donate to those in need, write short stories and send them in for publication, learn to watercolor and create an exhibit of your final and best work, start a podcast. The possibilities are endless. Keep a journal to track your progress and reflect on your growth through the process.
4. Take lessons to learn a new skill
Self-defense, CPR/First Aid, digital literacy, car repair, gardening, another language, a musical instrument, budgeting and finance, dancing, as well as many more skills are taught both in-person and online. Google what you may be interested in. Looking for options for video-based classes? Try https://www.skillshare.com/
5. Volunteer for a non-profit organization
You may not earn money as a volunteer, but giving back to the community is rewarding to both you and the recipients. There are many ways to volunteer in our community. Seniors in care facilities would love company, their meals delivered or groceries picked up. Foodbanks and festivals accept volunteers, as do thrift stores, animal shelters and rescue organizations. River clean-up, trail clearing or agencies who help those without homes are all places to assist and find purpose.
6. Learn to make your own food
There are a multitude of excellent videos that show step-by-step the process of creating every imaginable food item, from pasta to pastries, souffles to sourdough bread. The local library is full of cookbooks from around the world. Try something new for your family. Making meals from scratch often saves money. The more you perfect your cooking skills now, the better you will be when you are out of the house and on your own.
7. Research and investigate
Curious about something? Investigate! You can look for a mentor who has knowledge of the subject and can provide resources. You can use the library, Google it, listen to podcasts or educational films to learn more about what you are passionate. Share your passions with others. Compile what you’ve learned in a report, art piece, musical score or podcast.
8. Practice Self-Care
Self-care is a lifelong practice. Now is a good time to get in the habit of self-care. It is important to learn to take care of yourself, your mind, and your body. Exercise, healthy food, a good night’s rest, drinking lots of water, are all important steps to keeping the body in balance. Develop healthy coping skills, practice mindfulness and learn how to deal with stress. There are many apps to use to track your progress with healthy habits. Set a goal and work towards the goal you set for yourself. Try this app especially for teens https://www.educationalappstore.com/app/sworkit-kids or this website full of resources https://studentmentalhealthtoolkit.com/
Read a book, on any topic. Read for pleasure. Reading enhances your focus, boosts memory and increases vocabulary. You can never go wrong with a good book.
Rose Murphy is a retired high school counselor now working as an independent educational consultant. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or her website at abestfitcollege.com.
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