Things for Tweens To Do When There's No School

Things for Tweens To Do When There’s No School

Looking for things for tweens to do at home is both fun and challenging–especially when school is out. During the year at my house, my tweens’ schedules feel so incredibly busy with the everyday tasks that you and I remember including school, homework, music, sports, and friends AND the addition of checking grades online and the online world itself, that sometimes when they do get that coveted down time (like now with summer break), we look at each other unsure of how to fill it. This happens during not only during school breaks but also even during long weekends. Maybe you can relate!

Below, I’ve put together an extensive list of things for tweens to do at home so that if — when! — this happens we can refer to it and either pick something from our list to do or, at the very least, be inspired by all of the fun and interesting choices that that there are for us to choose from.

Two tips for using this list well are:

  1. Let them own it. Use this list as a starting point. Read it with your tweens and let them add onto it, delete what doesn’t interest them, and, of course, add their own ideas to it. Giving your tween meaningful independence is a bridge to your relationship. Read this article for more ideas on connecting with your tween.
  2. Don’t fight technology. Technology is a part of our lives and when we mix it naturally into the everyday it stops being a stressor. Read this article for ideas on how to get that coveted online and off-line balance.
  3. Mix it up. The key to embracing down time and avoiding boredom is to move from one kind of activity to the next rather than staying in the same zone for too long. So if you start out baking together, it’s okay to, afterward, move onto reading independently. And if you start out the day texting a friend, it might be fun to go for a bike ride together next. Read this article for more ideas on different kinds of activities and how to move between them.

Helping children succeed and thrive is one of the issues psychologist Lea Waters researches and writes about. In a Science & Health article she is cited to say that, “Slowing down actually helps kids reach their full potential.” Going on to explain that, “It’s a little bit like if you have too many programs running on your computer. Your computer starts to slow down. And when you shut these programs down, the computer speeds up again. It’s very much like that for the child’s brain.”

So that coveted down time can not only be fun, it’s also necessary for our busy tweens — and us — and is helpful to our success. So learning how to manage downtime is a wonderful skill to hone in on.

So with that, here are 40 Things For Tweens To Do At Home. For a printable version of this list, along with 28 more ideas, click here.

Something Smart

  1. Write a story
  2. Do math problems
  3. Try a coding app
  4. Read
  5. Watch a Bill Nye video
  6. Replicate one of his or any other experiments
  7. Learn a language
  8. Minecraft
  9. Check out the NASA site
  10. Try a trivia app

Something Creative

  1. Paint
  2. Watercolor
  3. Make a comic strip
  4. Make a newspaper
  5. Write a play
  6. Make a movie
  7. Bake some shrinky dinks
  8. Listen to music
  9. Learn something about a musician and/or the style of music
  10. Make ice cream

 Something Helpful

  1. Unload the dishwasher
  2. Swiffer the floors
  3. Update the calendar
  4. Create the grocery list
  5. Research an outing
  6. Research an art project
  7. Research a science experiment
  8. Plan dinner
  9. Bake some dessert
  10. Walk (bathe, train, play with) the dog

Something Healthy

  1. Have a dance party
  2. Do a workout from YouTube
  3. Try a running challenge such as “Couch to 5K”
  4. Jump rope
  5. Hoola hoop
  6. Go for a nature walk
  7. Wii sports or Just Dance
  8. Throw a ball
  9. Have a water balloon fight
  10. Go for a bike ride

In today’s busy culture and life, downtime is a gift. And learning how to use it well, is like the perfect wrapping paper and bow on top of that gift.

For your own copy of the downtime list above, along with 28 more ideas and three more categories of activities, click here.


Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple, no-nonsense guide to teaching your child how to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes that you can let your child be online and still create a grass-beneath-her-bare-feet childhood for her. Get her ultimate list of activities for kids for free RIGHT HERE.