Over the last few weeks, I gave some ideas for activities to do with your littlest children. Many of those were also well suited for elementary-age kids. Not all family activity ideas translate well for a broad age range.
I don’t have teens of my own yet, but several of my friends do. They are a great bunch of kids who are welcome at my house anytime.
Teens have interests and needs different than small children. As parents encouraging more engagement with nature, we must consider these differences.
What kind of things do teenagers enjoy? I have found a strange dichotomy going on among them. They like to be on their phones and social media. They also like being together in real life. IRL, as the kids say.
Combine things your teens like with activities you want them to engage in more for a winning formula. You can mix outdoor time with technology, social media, and friends.
Photo Scavenger Hunt
A perfect way to put all these components together is to do an Instagram scavenger hunt. Many teens enjoy taking photos and posting them on social media.
Take this idea a little further by creating a unique hashtag for your teens and their friend group.
Here is the Winter Scavenger Hunt list from the post about activities with littles.
Your list of items can be the same for any age group. You will make this activity appeal to teens by focusing on the photography challenge.
Here are a few ideas to extend the activity.
Use a unique filter for each photo
Include a friend in each photo
Take half of the photos as selfies
We tend to spend much more time inside during winter. That applies to sports as well. Since our goal is to get your teenagers outside, trying a new outdoor winter sport could be just the ticket.
Last winter, I learned how to snowshoe. I took a few guided walks with my local rail trail, where the guide gave us some instructions to walk correctly in the snowshoes. Almost anyone can snowshoe and enjoy it.
Our rail trail office has snowshoes available to borrow all winter. You can check with your local trail associations to see if they have any perks like this.
Teens love to work collaboratively. Encourage your teens to try snowshoeing. They can track their combined miles all winter. Name their snowshoe team and make a hashtag for it.
Extend this concept with some competition.
Challenge friends to form a team and see who hikes the most miles.
Get the most posts under the team hashtag
Combine the scavenger hunt with a snowshoe hike
Many teens only need a small amount of encouragement to get them out and enjoy nature. We parents can lead by example to spend more time in the fresh air. It’s not just teens who are suffering from a deficiency of what Richard Louv calls Vitamin N (nature).
We hope these ideas are helpful for you and your teens to experience the joy of fresh air and ice-castle forests this winter. Share your adventures on Instagram and use #trailfamily.
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