21 Positive Group Activities for Teens
Learning to invest in the lives and welfare of others, is one of the best uses of time for anyone but especially for a teenager.
Teens can get so caught up in the drama of social circles, striving for perfection in grades, zoning in on things that they are lacking in life, etc. that it provides a really nice reset to those concerns when they devote some time to serving those who are less fortunate.
Is your teen an animal lover? A great way to feel a sense of purpose and contribution to a greater need than themselves is by signing up to volunteer and help out at a local animal shelter. Your local Humane Society will point you in the direction of where to go and how to help:
The American Red Cross has an entire youth section called the Junior Red Cross. Through this organization, teens can organize a blood drive, become educated and ready for disaster relief, or train younger children in home safety.
Think your teen might love it and want to continue helping throughout the year? The Red Cross offers many opportunities throughout the year for youth, such as their knitted items program.
Peruse the national website to find your local chapter: https://www.redcross.org/
Have a teen who likes working with their hands? Habitat for Humanity has a Youth United program in which the youth can help plan and build a home for a local family. They use teen volunteers to assist with a variety of jobs and it can be a very rewarding experience for teens to get to see first-hand how their work helps a specific family:
Does your teen like doing crafts? Some Meals on Wheels programs seek volunteers to make small crafts that can be delivered to the elderly along with their meals. A small little treasure that is placed on a tray, like a napkin ring, for example, can brighten someone’s day.
Contact your local Meals on Wheels program to see if they have opportunities for your teen to get involved:
Is your teen a bookworm? Imagine putting that passion for books to good use while volunteering! Libraries often enjoy having volunteers to assist them with cleaning, organizing, or checking books out. Most libraries will have a variety of programs during the summer months, and your teen may be able to get involved in helping read to younger children or even organizing a special themed day event for kids.
Your local food bank could use more helping hands, in addition to donations. If your teen doesn’t have a lot of time to work in a food bank, they may be able to participate in fundraisers for a good cause! Food banks could also use help sorting food, carrying boxes, or handing food out.
Contact your local food bank to learn how you can best assist them: https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank
To increase empathy and give your teen a greater perspective on life and purpose, consider asking them to volunteer at a local hospital or nursing. Your teen may be able to make photocopies, direct visitors, or work in the gift shop. Contact your local hospital to see if they accept teenage volunteers!
There are many different types of summer camp offerings nowadays, and your teen can attend as many or a few as you (or they) can handle, depending on duration, cost, location, etc.
In our area of Western Washington, Young Life Ministries, Youth for Christ, Camp Nor’wester, Cedar Springs, Sambica, Crista Camps and more – all host camps that will be sure to grow your teen’s faith and strengthen their walk with the Lord.
In addition to these benefits, Bible camps create lifelong memories that your teen will cherish, and create friendships that may last a lifetime! Many people have memories of attending a Bible camp that forever changed their life. Some teens will accept Christ and decide to follow Him for the rest of their lives while at a summer Bible camp.
For the future filmmakers of America, ages nine through 12, the SIFF Film Center offers camps over mid-winter, spring, and summer breaks. Students will have the opportunity to explore filmmaking with exciting five-day sessions with master filmmaking educators. These five-day camps come with a master film educator and four supporting mentors. Students will receive an immersive experience in the craft of filmmaking! For more information, check out www.siff.net
Horse Camp (ages 6-12):
Studies show that horses are very therapeutic, which has paved the way for Equine Therapy to become a popular avenue for healing. Thus, imagine the benefits of your youth attending a summer camp that is all about horses!
According to their website, at Red Gate Farm, campers will be assigned one horse with another camper that will be theirs for the whole week. They will learn everything about horse care including basic grooming, saddling, and even some horse psychology!
Other activities include arts and crafts, on-the-ground horsey time games and gardening. They will learn the parts, colors, markings, and different breeds of horses. There will be instruction in show grooming, braiding, and horse leading techniques. Campers will also learn how to tie-up a horse, place a saddle, arena etiquette and how to control the horse to walk and trot on command.
On the last day of every session, campers get a chance to demonstrate their new riding skills with a horse show for friends and family! Have a teen interested in working with horses and are ages 12-17 years old?
The Counselors in Training (CIT’s) must be at least 12 years old, and while horse experience is not required it is definitely helpful. Ideally, the CIT’s will have already participated in the Red Gate Farm Day Camp as a camper. For more info, visit http://redgatefarmdaycamp.com/summer.htm
Have a kid who wants to join the circus? The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) offers camps throughout the summer for those who want to develop skills in the areas of Acrobatics, Trampoline, Juggling, Flying Trapeze, Tightwire, Aerial Arts & more! For more information, please visit https://sancaseattle.org/classes/camps/summer-camps/
Does your teen want to work towards developing skills that will translate into job opportunities after high school? There are a variety of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics camps available now for this reason. ParentMap shares the following recommendations for those of us in the Seattle area:
The Digital Media Academy offers a range of camps on topics such as art and digital photography and 3D game design for younger campers, up to camps on robotics and programming to game development and filmmaking for older campers. Camps meet on the University of Washington campus and campers can attend as day campers or stay overnight (ages 12–17) on campus for an additional fee.
D Tech camps in Seattle, Bellevue, Bothell, and Tacoma give future computer science students experience on a university or independent school campus. Technology camp topics include web design, coding and more. Ages: 6–18
DigiPen ProjectFUN Summer Workshops; Redmond-based workshops give a wide age range of kids the chance to explore game development, animation, robotics and more. Even first graders can learn game development skills with camps investigating how video games are made. Ages: grades 1–12
Mad Science partners with schools and community centers to offer hands-on science experiments in camps that gets kids digging chemistry, robots, and engineering. Camps meet in multiple locations including Bellevue, Sammamish, Edmonds, Bothell, Kirkland, and all over Seattle. Ages: 6–12
Offered in three Seattle locations and a Bellevue location, Camp TechWise offers camps for kids ages 8-16. Campers enroll in a primary project (eg, video, music or gaming), but are able to drop in and out of secondary workshops such as programming, 3-D modeling, animation, and gaming. Time for outdoor recreation and sports is also included.
Camp BIOmed allows high schoolers to explore bioengineering and biotechnology with hands-on camps in Seattle. Topics include crime scene investigation, DIY science lab, and bioinformatics.
Have you ever considered helping your teenager enroll in a summer internship program? An internship is a great way to introduce your teen to the workforce, to explore new areas of interest, and to support causes that they care about.
How about the possible perk of being paid for this? This added benefit will help your teen learn how to effectively handle money and begin applying skills at a young age that will benefit them (and their parents) for the rest of their lives.
Have a teen interested in making clean water accessible for everyone? The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is partnering with the King County Wastewater Treatment Division to hire 12 high school-aged interns for the summer of 2019 and the 2019-2020 school year.
The Clean Water Ambassadors will learn the myriad ways to take action to protect clean water in our region and inform their peers and community about clean water issues, including healthy salmon streams and wastewater treatment. Pay: $15.84 per hour.
For more information, visit:
T-Mobile offers internships for motivated high schoolers who want to learn more about what it takes to keep their hi-tech organization running.
The Explorer Program is an 8-week paid learning experience for graduating high school students where they will get hands-on learning experience from T-Mobile’s army of project managers, web developers, and engineers, all working like a well-oiled machine to keep their network running and our customers connected. Visit T-Mobile’s LinkedIn page for application info.
Is your teen interested in medicine? Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is home to three Nobel laureates and has interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seeking new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.
Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. If this sounds like something your teen would be interested in learning more about, visit their website for more information:
Additional internships are available throughout the state in the areas of technology, marketing, business, event planning, and special events, hospitals, insurance, art, culinary arts, and much more. If you think your teen could use the real-life experience that would prepare them for work after high school, or if they are trying to figure out what they’re passionate about, consider encouraging them to apply for summer internship programs!
Travel Abroad or Missions
Did you ever spend a summer traveling abroad as a teen or while in college? If so, I am willing to bet it was a life-changing experience for you. If your teen is passionate about travel and has a case of wanderlust, consider exploring travel abroad and cultural immersion programs for them to participate in.
There are so many summer abroad programs out there, simply conduct a google search for it, and see which program and location are most appealing to you and your teen. Looking up reviews and asking others who have done something similar, is also immensely helpful so that you’ll get a better idea of what the program entails.
If your teen is interested in missions work, YWAM (Youth with a Mission) has been around since 1960 and has the mission to “know God and make Him known” throughout the world. They conduct Discipleship Training Programs throughout the world and have many different ways to get involved with their organization.
For more information, visit their website: https://www.ywam.org/
Last but not least – a positive activity for your teen this summer could consist of learning new skills like emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and more – through therapy. If your teen would benefit from having someone to talk to, process with, and ultimately invest in themselves and their well-being, please get in touch with a Seattle Christian Counselor today so that we can help.
“Ladies”, Courtesy of Jessica Wilson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Crowd”, Courtesy of Jens Johnsson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Slippery Slide”, Courtesy of Luke Porter, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Computer Lab”, Courtesy of Mimi Thian, Unsplash.com, CC0 License