Fun Activities For Teens During School Breaks

Finding stuff for teens to do can be a big challenge. Depending on age, family activities can cease to be in any way appealing. Definitely not cool to be hanging out with your parents after a certain point in time!

So I've tried to put together a list of potential diversions that might interest them and give a break from screen time and maybe even get them to go outdoors :)

My main tip for doing anything with teens is BRING A FRIEND! This has been a lifesaver for us over the years. My two have a 6 year age gap so their interests are quite different and my 21 year old doesn't really want to do family holidays anymore so we've almost always included one of our 15 year old's friends on holidays. Alternatively, you can go with another family which can work out really well and economically especially if you opt for self-catering. Two places I can really recommend are Parknasilla in Kerry and Waterford Castle Lodges. I availed of offers for both of these and when you are sharing with other people it can be such good value.

These were both short breaks for us and buying in your own food saves money. You have the flexibility of being able to head out for a stroll as adults if the kids aren't interested.
When they have company they are happy to hang out with their friend and you can set them up with a movie and popcorn at night if you want to relax and have some adult time and a little glass of wine maybe :)

Another suggestion, as recommended by a friend who stayed recently, is River Valley Camping in Wicklow.  I haven't been but had a look at the website and there's a huge range of activities for kids, both indoor and outdoor from Badminton and Basketball to Crazy Golf, Archery and Tennis. Sharing a tent is probably the cheapest option but they also have more luxurious Glamping options which would definitely appeal to me.

If you are travelling on the road anywhere, I definitely recommend bringing a picnic. Roadside food can vary from bland to absolutely disgusting and eating in anywhere can work out quite expensive so we always bring food with us (having a teen with food allergies, this is the safest option anyway).

I normally do up some couscous and pasta salad in a big tubs, bring some rolls or bread and a few treats and you should be sorted for most of the day.

Pasta Salad with Sweetcorn and Peppers

Couscous Salad with Chives and Peppers

A day out idea is to go on a Bargetrip - do fantastic options from an hour long cruise to a two and a half hour morning cruise, setting off from Sallins in County Kildare.  I ran this idea by the teen and she seemed pretty keen - it's a lovely way to spend some family time together and we did it ourselves last weekend. You can read about our trip here.  The cheapest option is to buy a family ticket for the Leinster Aquaduct Cruise. A family ticket costs €40 which is great value and I love the sound of hearing all about the canal history and just relaxing and taking in the scenery. We did the Digby Lock Cruise, this is the longer cruise and according to Ger, the skipper, it gives the best experience.

If you want a little break from your teens (so unlikely I know :) ), you could consider summer camps or workshops. I have to say, I found it very hard over the years sourcing interesting camps for the teen years. There are so many for younger kids but the options become very limited as they get older.
One I can definitely recommend from personal experience is Songschool. If you have a musical teen, these workshops are absolutely brilliant. Our eldest did a couple and I was blown away by the high standard and the end result was so professional. They learn about music technology, song writing and above all, play and sing and work together.

This seems so long ago now but here is my daughter at her end of workshop performance with her group. They wrote the song just before they went on so she had to look down to read the words :)

(Upcoming Songschool is from 17th-21st July and price is €150).

Florence and Milly in Clane do lots of workshops - those for teens include Junk Sculpture and Screen Printing. Perfect for the teen who's not into the more sporty camps and there is also a portfolio preparation class which would be great for anyone thinking of applying to Art College.

Another one I thought looked pretty interesting was this Summer Media Camp for 13-17 year olds. I have no experience of this one but the schedule looks pretty cool, especially for teens interested in getting into media.  The downside of this one is the price - €595 (excluding food) seems pretty steep for a 5 day course and would certainly be beyond my budget.

If you are at home with your teens, my best tip to keep them happy is just to invite their friends over. I like to think our house is pretty welcoming, if a bit chaotic at times, but honestly, a little bit of mess doesn't matter once they are occupied and content.
We don't have a huge house so if the teens friends are coming to stay or sleeping over, we usually just give them the sitting room and it's pull out couch bed and sleeping bags all the way.
They can make their own popcorn and watch tv or just hangout and as long as they clear up afterwards, we just leave them in peace and everyone is happy.

I was asked to work with Provident on their ‘don’t break the bank holiday’ campaign to advise families across the UK/Ireland on what to do, but on a budget.

Check out the some of the other fabulous tips here - Don't Break the Bank Holiday

Have you any tips for entertaining teens or any workshops you can recommend?

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  • Unknown
    Unknown 20 May 2017 at 20:17

    Oh wow my boys would love the media camp - im going to have to look and see if there is anything near us like that!

  • Elizabeth
    Elizabeth 22 May 2017 at 07:24

    Never mind the teens, *I* would love to do any one of the activities you've suggested here! They all sound like a great day out! :)

  • Unknown
    Unknown 22 May 2017 at 08:51

    No tips here. My little ones are still toddlers but I like the sound of the summer camp.

  • rhian westbury
    rhian westbury 22 May 2017 at 09:27

    I bet it must be tough for you considering the ages of your kids now. Me and my brother were only 18 months' apart so it was quite easy to find things we both wanted to do x

  • Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...
    Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... 22 May 2017 at 11:39

    I'm hoping my kids will turn out like me: happiest with a book in their hands!

  • Rachel
    Rachel 22 May 2017 at 18:35

    Bring a friend is the best tip, particularly when you have a big age gap. My boys are 7 years apart and the big one would barely want to go anywhere with us without a friend.

  • Jayne
    Jayne 23 May 2017 at 08:37

    The media camp sounds fab! Barge trips are so much fun too. I went on one pre kids, but as I now have a fidgety toddler, I will have to wait until he's a little older until our next trip :) x

  • Unknown
    Unknown 23 May 2017 at 17:05

    Our boys are 4 & 16 so a big age gap too, and obviously two very different interests. We're friends with one of his friends parents so we either go away with them or take a friend with us too. Plus we always make sure to have some separate one on one time with the boys too

    • Cliona Kelliher
      Cliona Kelliher 29 May 2017 at 12:48

      Yes, that has always worked for us and we've tried to keep time fairly divided between the two girls because it can definitely be a bit tricky with an age gap.

  • the frenchie mummy
    the frenchie mummy 23 May 2017 at 23:05

    I would love to go on a bargetrip! It sounds so lovely! We went to Wicklow 4 year ago but I don't remember the River Valley Camping

  • Travey @ Mummyshire
    Travey @ Mummyshire 28 May 2017 at 22:48

    My daughter is entering pre-tweendom but I'm always interested in reading up about life ahead! Love the idea of the SongSchool and the Barge trip. We did a Song School camp last year and my 9yo loved it!
    Bring a Friend is a mantra I'm going to stick to!
    #BloggerClub #4

    • Cliona Kelliher
      Cliona Kelliher 29 May 2017 at 12:46

      Bringing a friend really does help especially if you want to get a bit of time to relax yourself :)

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