When fall comes, parents of teens sometimes feel a little nostalgic. Your Instagram feed fills up with photos of tots at pumpkin patches and making hand print turkeys. Back then, fall Saturdays seemed a never-ending parade of quality family time activities. Hay rides and soccer games dominated, but now there is a never-ending parade of requests for money and helping your teen juggle studying and college applications.
So I consulted some “experts,” (awesome moms of teens I know) to find 10 fun fall quality family time activities your kids would love to do with you.
Go apple picking. Your teen probably won’t hit the pumpkin patch for those fall photos you love so much (too many toddlers, too many pony rides), but somehow apple orchards seems a little more grown up. Throw in the promise of an apple pie for dinner, and see how fast they jump in the car.
Take a hike. Fall can be the perfect hiking weather — crisp but sunny, with gorgeous leaves all around. Find a hike that’s semi-close — your teen won’t want to spend all day in the car but a short drive allows you to have a great chat. Hiking can spur those conversations as well — something about not being “face to face” encourages the spontaneous revelation.
See a movie — somewhere else. If they feel reluctant to be seen “in public” with you, suggest you go to a theater a town or two over. Make it seem natural by suggesting a nearby restaurant you’ve always wanted to try.
Go shopping. I know, it can seem like you’re trying to buy their love, but sometimes that’s how you’re going to get that coveted together time— by doing what they want. Or need—your son is probably not going to buy his first real tie and shirt combo alone. Spending time in their departments can also give you a much-needed glimpse into their actual wardrobe choices. Many a teen has said, “But all the shorts are that short,” or “All basketball shoes cost $100,” and sometimes you have to see it to believe it. Your can still opt for different wardrobe choices, but it can help put their desires in perspective.
Get grooming. Girls are easy— few teen girls will turn down a trip to the cosmetics counter for a free application or a main/pedi afternoon. But teen boys might love going with their dad to get a “real” shave. Many “bespoke barber shops” are cropping up all over the country and are fun to check out.
Get moving. Whether it’s running stadium stairs at the local high school, doing a yoga DVD at home or checking out the equipment at the local gym, many teens might be happy to spend time working out with you. If they participate in a sport, be their hoops rebounder, pass or pitch catcher or lacrosse ball shagger. Find a local 5K run, or put together a friendly game of HORSE or badminton. Throw in a smoothie at the end to really sweeten the deal.
Have a game night. Are they home on a Saturday night? Pop some popcorn and bring out the games. Your teen might love a nostalgic evening of Monopoly, but you can also check out something more modern like Catch Phrase, Cranium Pop 5 or Who Said It, which all come in a variety of editions. You can also play card or dice games, maybe offering chips, coins or a day off chores to the winner
Find a local festival or convention. Whether it’s an Oktoberfest or a show focusing on comics, cats or cars, you never know what might be near your town! Check online event calendars to see what’s coming up.
Get cultural. You don’t have to blow big bucks on a ticket to a downtown theater. Check out community theater productions or even ones at a local high school yours or a neighboring town.
Volunteer together. Feel good by doing good when you walk pets at a local animal shelter, beautify a local park or make and deliver sandwiches to the homeless. Let your teen lead the way by suggesting a cause that matters to them.
There are as many ideas for quality family time activities as there are families. The trick is to talk to our teens about what interests them and make time to make it happen!