Teens can be a tough sell if you're trying to convince them to spend time with their families. It's a challenging time to raise a teen in our screen-saturated world.
But summer is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your teen with quality time. And there are so many ways to entice them out of their dark indoor lairs, and outside into the fresh air and healthy natural world.
If you have a teen(s) who loves nature, what a great time to explore the outdoors and discover new experiences. If your teen would rather spend their days in front of a screen. it's the perfect time to take a tech break and experience the real world together. Whether it's hiking through a national park, canoeing down a river, or camping in the wilderness, there are endless opportunities for teens to connect with nature and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Here are some ideas for summer experiences for teens who love nature:
Backpacking is a great way to explore the wilderness and challenge yourself physically and mentally. With just a backpack and a few supplies, teens can spend several days hiking through some of the most beautiful and remote areas of the country. There are many backpacking trails throughout the United States, including the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. Some backpacking trips can be physically demanding, so it's important to be in good physical shape and have some backpacking experience before embarking on a longer trip.
Camping is a classic summer activity that allows teens to immerse themselves in nature and escape the distractions of modern life. There are many different types of camping, from car camping in a designated campground to primitive camping in the backcountry. Teens can set up a tent, build a campfire, and spend the night under the stars. Camping is a great way to bond with family and friends, learn outdoor skills, and experience the beauty of nature.
Canoeing and kayaking
Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to explore lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Teens can rent a canoe or kayak and spend the day paddling through calm waters, taking in the scenery and wildlife. For more adventurous teens, whitewater rafting is a thrilling way to experience the power of rushing rapids and work together as a team to navigate the water.
Summer is a great time to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Whether it's birdwatching, spotting deer, or watching a family of bears from a safe distance, teens can learn about the natural world and develop an appreciation for the diversity of life. There are many national and state parks that offer guided wildlife tours, or teens can explore on their own with a field guide and a pair of binoculars.
Farm and ranch work
For teens who are interested in agriculture and animal husbandry, working on a farm or ranch can be a great summer experience. They can learn about planting crops, caring for animals, and harvesting crops, all while enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Many farms and ranches offer summer programs for teens, where they can work alongside farmers and ranchers and learn about sustainable agriculture practices.
Outdoor education programs
Many colleges, universities, and outdoor education centers offer summer programs for teens that focus on nature and the environment. These programs can include classes on wilderness survival, outdoor leadership, environmental science, and outdoor recreation. Teens can learn new skills, make new friends, and explore the natural world in a structured and supportive environment.
National and state parks
National and state parks offer some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring landscapes in the country. Teens can spend the summer exploring these parks, hiking through forests, swimming in lakes, and camping under the stars. Many national and state parks also offer ranger-led programs and educational opportunities for visitors, so teens can learn about the history and ecology of these special places.
For teens who are passionate about protecting the environment, participating in a conservation project can be a rewarding summer experience. They can work with conservation organizations and government agencies to restore habitats, remove invasive species, and monitor wildlife populations. These projects not only help the environment but also provide teens with valuable skills and experience in the field of conservation.
Whether you make nature part of your monthly, weekly, or daily routine, the outdoors is a necessary part of your teen's life. It will stay with them into adulthood, instilling them with empathy, and offering them a place for calmness, relaxation, and inspiration. Who doesn't need more of that in this chaotic world?