NEW YORK – Looking for ways to keep your tween or young teen busy over the summer? Here are six ideas to pull them away from the computer, the television and the cell phone:
• Look into teen classes, said Carol Weston, advice columnist for Girls’ Life magazine. Summer school might not excite, but look for classes in areas kids may have an interest in, like writing, drama, art or lifeguarding. If transportation is a problem, coordinate with other parents.
• Help kids find work, such as baby-sitting, car washing, dog walking or lawn mowing, said Weston. Perhaps you know someone who could use some extra help in his office. Kids want to make extra money.
• Check churches, soup kitchens, senior centers, animal shelters and the like to see if they need volunteers.
• Investigate local summer programming. Try the YMCA, library, colleges, museums or even health clubs. For example, Lifestyle Family Fitness has free summer memberships for teens 12 to 17 in all 55 of its locations.
• Consider a kid swap, suggests Weston. One parent can take the kids on an outing one day, another can take them somewhere another day.
• Explore summer camp options. Many have counselor-in-training or other programs for teens. For pricier specialty or residential camps, ask about financial aid or a group rate if several kids enroll together. Find camps at acacamps.org.