Summer vacation is an exciting time for teens.  There’s no homework, they have more time to spend with friends, they can sleep in and the weather allows them easy access to outdoor fun.  Of course, that can get old after a while and soon, you might find your child is actually a little  bit bored.

One way to make sure the summer is more than just two months of watching your teen sit on the couch is to come up with a plan for keeping them busy.  Not only does this have entertainment value but it can also help them stay out of trouble.

The good news is that there are a lot of things kids can do during the summer break and many of them are inexpensive, if not free.  Here are some suggestions to discuss with your teen.

Volunteering – Is the local science museum looking for someone to help out with the exhibits?  Is the seniors’ home recruiting people to spend time with the elderly? Does the food bank need someone to help them sort through food donations for the needy?  The answer to all of those questions is probably yes.  Help your child find an organization that is personally relevant so that they will walk away feeling good about giving their time freely and helping others.  It also looks great on college applications and resumes later.

Summer classes – Was there a subject that gave your child trouble during the school year?  While they may not want to go to school during their break, this really could be a perfect time to help them grasp any concepts that they are struggling with so they are adequately prepared for the upcoming school year.  Along these same lines, local colleges often offer free or low-cost classes ranging from business management to computer skills. It could be a perfect time to upgrade.

Summer job – Getting a summer job is great for a variety of reasons.  It will keep them busy and allow them to earn their own money (which is great if they are saving up for a car or college). They also gain experience and begin learning the ins and outs of budgeting.  While these summer jobs are usually at a local fast food restaurant, teens can also look at other options including lawn maintenance and tutoring.

Internship – Does your child already know what they want to pursue as a career?  If so, they should consider applying to be an intern at a business within their chosen field.  The benefits here are overwhelming. The teen will be able to learn first-hand about the industry, which helps them have a better understanding of whether this is truly the profession for them.  The added experience also gives them an advantage when applying to colleges or for jobs in the future.

Summer Camp/Sports – when all else fails, go with an old standby.  Summer is a great time to enroll your teen in lessons.  Some popular ones for this time of year include swimming, soccer, tennis and golf.  They can also go to a summer camp where they can be exposed to a variety of different sports and activities.

How else do you keep your teen busy during the summer?