13 Things For Teens To Do Outside This Summer

teens playing with inflatables in an outdoor swimming pool
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So many days out are aimed at the under 12s, it's not always simple to find fun activities for 12-16-year-olds, especially if they want some independence but still rely on parents for transport and money!

So we've gathered together a selection of fun days out and summer activities for teens that should keep them away from their phones, consoles or Netflix for at least some of the summer. They might even let you come along with them -- but don't push your luck...

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White Water Rafting

Go one up on kayaking and take to the white water -- in a raft or on something called a hydrospeed (it looks like a giant swimming float that you steer yourself, with the fins on your feet). You'll find a wild ride at  Lee Valley White Water centre and Cardiff International White Water.

Disc Golf And Foot Golf

A game unlike any form of golf you've seen before. On a disc golf course you'll see a number of poles with a chain 'net' at the top. Spin your flying disc (Frisbee) and aim for the basket.

There are a number of disc golf courses around the country, including one at Lee Valley Park (close to the white water centre) and in Croydon, where members even offer free introductory sessions. If your teenager prefers a game of footie, foot golf is another fun way to spend a couple of hours.

Follow a course, just as you do in golf, but instead of hitting a small white dimpled ball with a club, you kick a football, aiming for each flag, which marks the giant 'golf' holes.

Go On A Ghost Walk

Now they're older, you can do the spooky things you avoided when they were little and susceptible to nightmares. London and York have some great tours, most now operating, simply with smaller groups.

darkened alley on a ghost walk tour

Skate Parks

Skate parks are high on the list of things for teenagers to do. The good news is they are free and available in most towns and some villages, so you should have one reasonably nearby that your teens can visit with friends. They will need a decent scooter or skateboard, helmet and knee/elbow pads and wrist guards, but they could borrow some first to see if it's something they really want to do.

Bike Pump Tracks

Like skate parks, bike pump parks are often free. These are closed circuit tracks that feature regular bumps, jumps and chicanes. The more complex ones may require entry fee and booking, so check beforehand. A bike and a helmet are the only equipment needed -- and maybe nerves of steel!

Outdoor Swimming

If the sun is shining, have some outdoor fun at an open-air pool. Lidos and pools can be found all around the country, but if there isn't one near you, and you have a strong swimmer, look out for some organised open water swimming opportunities.

The rules for outdoor swimming may have changed somewhat -- you must get changed before you get there, you must keep away from anyone not in your family group, and you might end up getting dried in your car -- but at least it is a way to get outdoors.

Check out our guide to wild swimming with your family here for more specific detail on where to head, and what to expect.

Other Water Sports

There's so much fun to be had outside on the water -- and even the coolest of teenagers will enjoy a go at StandUp Paddleboarding. Wakeboarding is another one of the summer activities that looks incredibly cool. It's like surfing but without the sea! If they enjoy it, you might be able to sign them up for a weekly session over the summer.

two teen girls sitting on friend's shoulders in swimming pool

Orienteering

While younger kids will usually happily follow you on a walk if there's the promise of cake or an ice cream at the end, it takes a bit more persuading to get most teenagers to come along. But orienteering might just be one of those summer activities that they'll enjoy.

Permanent orienteering courses can be found all around the county. The aim is to run (or walk) around a course, navigating your way to each of the checkpoints in the shortest time. The great thing for teenagers is that they can be independent -- send them off on their own or with a friend (as long as they socially distance). They could compete against other teams of friends or your family team.

Exploring Potential University Locations

Got a teen who has high hopes for their GCSE and A Level grades? Why not take a few day trips to university towns to inspire them? Many will be less busy than normal, so this could be a great chance to take a relaxed stroll around. Head to Cambridge, for example, and you can take a punt on the river and explore The Backs, a beautiful area where many of the colleges back onto the River Cam.

High Rope Courses

One of the most fun things to do as a teenager, if you're not scared of heights, is a high rope course. It's a chance to test both physical and mental agility while spending time with friends -- a great antidote to the past few months of home schooling. Venues such as Go Ape are all open now (Scotland July 25) and have extra precautions in places, such as hand sanitiser and 2m distancing on the ropes and on the ground.

below shot of person on high ropes course between trees
Image: Go Ape Battersea

Paintballing/Laser tag

The worst thing for teenagers over lockdown will most definitely be the inability to hang out with their mates. The great thing about paintballing and laser tag is that you can do just that, while you splatter them with paint or point a laser at them! Most paintballing arenas are outside in areas with plenty of space, so players are able to keep to 2m social distance, while having fun.

These are some of the best outdoor games for teenagers, allowing them to let off steam in a safe environment. Some laser tag companies have managed to transfer their offering to outdoor arenas, although indoor laser tag arenas are also now opening.

Coasteering

If you have a thrill-seeking teenager, this must be one of the ultimate summer activities. If they don't mind getting wet, they'll get to explore caves, scramble  on cliffs and leap into the sea -- all with the help of an experienced guide.

Escape Rooms

Escape rooms across the country had to shut during lockdown, some of them pivoting to provide virtual games instead. But now they are open, operating strict cleaning regimes between groups.

The aim of an escape room is to find clues, decipher codes, search for missing pieces of maps -- whatever it takes to find the final code, which opens the door to let you out.

With themes from World War 2, to mad scientists, zombie breakouts and lots more, there's bound to be an escape room that will provide an immersive experience for even the most cynical of teens. If you're not comfortable with indoor activities yet, some companies offer an outdoor escape room experience - great to play with friends. See, for example, the Crystal Maze game, and a Sherlock-themed game.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong. 

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.