7 ways to inspire your tween to get outside and active this summer

The summertime is the perfect time to encourage fun outdoor fitness. The warmer weather, coupled with the sunshine, can inspire anyone to get active. With that said, the struggle can be real when it comes to getting your tween or teen to leave their bedroom for an hour, let alone the house.  

The first step is talking with them. Discuss summer break, the need for balance between staying and getting active, and the importance of getting outside.

How else can parents encourage their tween to partake in outdoor activity this summer? Here are seven things to try.

1. Enrol them in an activity

Booking extracurriculars during our children’s younger years seems second nature. From gymnastics to swim lessons, karate to soccer, baseball to horseback riding, and more, there are so many options and exciting new things to try.

But once your kiddo hits a certain age, it can feel as if they’ve exhausted trying out new extracurricular options. Plus, the activities they once loved may not even be tolerated anymore.

The truth is, there are plenty of extracurriculars aimed at tweens and teens. From non-competitive sports leagues to outdoor fitness classes, encourage your child to do something new to help get them active. They can give ultimate frisbee a go, join an outdoor yoga class, play cricket, and so much more. 

Have a chat with them. Maybe there’s something they’ve always wanted to give a chance but never did. There also might be an old sport they used to love that they can get back into. Depending on their age and what they’re interested in, you might be able to join with them. Not only would you be setting a good example and staying fit yourself, but this could also create some bonding time and fun memories.

2. Book a weekend adventure

A camping weekend is a perfect way to stay active outdoors. You can swim, hike, walk, bike ride, kayak, and more. Not to mention the s’mores fun around the campfire when each day is done! If there’s room, let your tween invite a friend. It’ll be easier to entice them to partake in most activities if they have a bestie along for the ride. If you go camping in an area with cell service, make sure to set a “family media plan”, especially if your tween brings a friend.

3. Day trips, baby!

Maybe there’s not enough time in your schedule for an entire weekend of outdoor fun, but you can always cram some activities into a day trip. Skip the local theme park and visit your closest beach or provincial park to enjoy a day of walking, swimming, biking, and other activities in the sun. 

4. Working outside

Let your tween earn their allowance by doing some gardening or yard work. Include these duties in their weekly summer schedule. Weeding, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and pool maintenance will not only build up a sweat but will also keep them in the sunshine and away from technology.

5. Community activities

Whether it’s public swims, cool things happening at the local library, or community walk-a-thons, there’s always something going on in and around your neighbourhood in the summer. The key to finding these activities is online research, checking local listings, and joining community groups on social media for intel. There may be fun opportunities for the entire family or something your tween can do with friends.

6. Instagram it!

Speaking of social media, photo filters can make taking a picture that much more fun. Take a walk and visit a local park for a fun photo shoot. Maybe you can take some cool shots of animals, birds, and trees at a trail nearby. You’ll get outdoors, get active, and have some memories to look back on in the future.

7. Biking scavenger hunt

Let your tween buddy up with a friend or sibling. Create a list of things they need to find in and around your neighbourhood and see what they can come up with. There can be themes to the scavenger hunt if you decide to do more than one throughout the summer (i.e. animals, plant life, etc.), and you can search for ideas on the web

Have them take a snapshot on their phone of everything on the list they’re able to locate. If they find everything on their scavenger hunt, perhaps a trip to the local ice cream shop is in order when they are finished!


Read more about how to get your tween get active:

5 reasons tweens and teens drop out of sports—and what to do about it

Setting a summer screen time plan for your tween

New playground features aim to keep tweens active in parks

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