Fun, Educational Activities for Parents and Tweens or Teens

As a parent of three, I know how much more difficult it is as the kids grow older to find something fun or constructive that results in parent/child one-on-one time. Especially something that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Kids have their own interests and their desire to pursue those interests gets stronger over time. I also know that my kids need to learn some basic skills before they go off to college, or wherever their next stop from here happens to be.

beef-stewHere’s a rainy day activity that only takes a few hours, but creates some educational one-on-one quality time between parent and tween or teen, where the kid can:

  • Learn something about planning a menu
  • Experience food shopping for a new, empty home
  • Do some hands-on cooking

Have your kid, under your supervision, plan a meal, shop for and cook it as if it’s his first day in a new apartment.

Any random weekend day, ask said kid (let’s call him Jon) what he wants for dinner. After he answers, go along with his dinner choice whatever it is, as long it’s to be cooked and eaten at home. Proceed by saying “Great, let’s get started.”

Tell Jon that he has to get on the computer and research the ingredients and how to cook it. He might resist but after he is done rolling his eyes, have him get on with it. It only takes a few minutes. Next, move on to the shopping.

Head to the grocery store with Jon and have him shop for ALL of the ingredients for dinner like you have nothing at home – no salt, no eggs, no oil, nothing. Explain to Jon the pros, cons, nutrition, pricing etc. of each item. More learning.

When you get home, break the news to Jon that he is doing the cooking, with you staying close by for advice. Jon is probably getting tired of this program by now, but stick with it. The basics of cooking need to be learned, and hands-on is the best way to do it.

As I’m sure you know, any teen might be able to do most or all of the above, but many haven’t done any of it yet.

This can work for any age from 10 – 19, but the older the kid is, the more difficult it gets to have him play along. Taking away his phone for a couple of hours could help.


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