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school memory printable

School Memory Book Printable: a Simple, Beautiful Keepsake Parents will Cherish

(Inside: Grab a school memory book printable that as parents, you will cherish. This is a keepsake you will be glad that you have.)

I am a memory-junkie mom.

Specifically, photos and words.

I’ve always been the mom with a camera, snapping way too many photos of games, holidays, closed-eyed wishes in front of candles, kids with grandparents, and the dog playing fetch with the family. Then, I have plastic bins full of kids’ schoolwork, art projects, and planners. I love flipping through pictures of my growing kids and holding papers showcasing my boys’ handwriting, words, and drawings.

Time moves so fast, keepsakes are a kind of therapy for me.

They help me see where the moments went – to school, to sports, to concerts, to special occasions, to meals, to walks with the dog around the lake, to family movies watched in the living room.

However, I am not a things-memorabilia-junkie. Clutter makes me nervous, and I’ve donated an excessive amount of participation trophies, clothes, uniforms, toys…etc. I felt good about my mass exodus of outgrown goods until I went to a grad party and saw a mom who had saved all the “things” and displayed them so beautifully. I went home and cried buckets that I had donated the soccer jerseys and Awana vests.

Mom emotions are complicated like that.

But I digress…
 

Every year, I make an end-of-the-year photo album on Shutterfly that I order three copies of – one for us and one for each set of grandparents as their Christmas gifts.

 
I usually asked my kids questions about their year: what were their favorites, whom did they hang out with, what did they learn about themselves…and record that in the book.

This year I decided that instead of my typing their answers into my photo album, I wanted to see their handwriting.

So, I created two pdfs – one for the start of their school year and one for the end. I emailed the pdfs to them; they opened them on their school iPads and filled out the beginning-of-the-school-year page by hand using Notability. In June, I’ll remind them to fill out the end-of-the-school-year reflection. Then, I’ll upload the pages to Shutterfly, and it’ll be a nice addition to my annual memory books.
 
memory book printable
Get the memory book printable here.

That’s how I like to preserve memories, but these printables could be printed out to be put in memory boxes, kept in folders, or displayed at grad parties.

Or they could just be stored in the folders of pictures and memories on your computer. It’s just lovely to have “things” that mark your kids’ years and bring you back to that sweet season of raising kids.

I never look back and am sad I took the picture or recorded my kids’ thoughts.

Because I’m a mom.
 

A keeper of the memories.

Specifically, a photos and words person.

A memory-junkie.

And I love it.
memory book printable
Get the memory book printable here.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens. We try and come up with great ideas like a memory book printable for big kids and more…

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kids, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

 

If you grab the memory book printable here, you will automatically be signed up for emails.

Read more in the “Raising Tweens and Teens” series…

My two oldest sons are in high school now, and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but now parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
You Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teens’ Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing


COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens


PARENTING
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope
Raising Tweens and Teens – THIS is what it looks like…

 

memory book printable
Get the memory book printable here.
gifts for teen girls

Gift Ideas for Teen Girls: Top Gifts Your Teenage Girl Will Love

(Inside: Best gift ideas for teen girls. Gifts your teenage girl will love. Best gifts to get a teenage girl. Shop fun ideas for your teen.)

Are you looking to buy a gift for your teenage girl? A gift that reminds your teen that she is seen, valued, and oh-so-very-loved?

I’m right there with you.

I adore my six nieces and do everything I can to cheer them on during these crazy tween/teen years. I just spent a week with two of my nieces in which we scoured the downtown shops for great gift ideas for upcoming holidays and birthdays. It was extra fun, and I got a million ideas and made some great purchases. 

Maybe it’s only because I have sons and am used to buying gifts for teen boys, that when I get to buy gifts for my nieces it’s just special in a different way. So with their input, I thought I’d share some gift ideas for teenage girls with you.

 

gift ideas for teen girls

*These are Amazon Affiliate links – read more here.*

Crafts and Being Artsy – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

Being a teen is exhausting these days!

One thing that adds to the exhaustion is looking at screens all day. Between Chromebooks for school and cell phones for play, a teenager’s brain is tiredd.

Enter crafts.

This creative outlet is a natural stress reliever! Not to mention working on a different part of their mind that needs attention!

Several of my nieces say that drawing, crafting, or participating in something artistic is one of their favorite ways to unwind. A way to get away from all the daily pressures and focus on creating something beautiful!

Here are arts and crafts ideas to get your teen girl engaged.

gift ideas for teen girls

Sports and Outdoor Fun – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

I’ll admit. Some days when I’m running my teenagers from one sports activity to another, this thought goes through my mind…

Is this worth it?

Because while I think my big kids are talented, we probably won’t be headed to the NBA anytime soon. But then I REMEMBER all the LIFE LESSONS gained from sports teams.

Hard work pays off.

Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win and both teach you something.

To improve you MUST be coachable.

Learning to work with teammates will give you people skills you can use forever.

Moving your body is IMPORTANT for your physical and mental health.

So as you think about the teen girl in your life, remember that supporting her athletic activities is so much more than you may think. Check out these gift ideas to encourage her.

Do you want a fun way to connect with your family? Try these conversation starters.

Cooking and Fun Food Ideas – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

Growing up I have fond memories in the kitchen. My mother getting supper ready for us or teaching me to make homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Visiting my grandma in Colorado meant fresh cinnamon rolls and from-scratch chocolate pie.

My grandparents in Iowa always baked special Christmas cookies the day after Thanksgiving, and my grandpa loved to make his pecan, chocolate turtle candy.

I can even look at a certain utensil, mixing bowl, or pretty dish and be filled with nostalgia.

Here are some ideas to create your own memories in the kitchen with the teen girl in your life.

Accessories and Glam – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

When thinking accessories and glam, I gathered my teen nieces and a few friends to give me the inside scoop on the must-haves. We hoovered over chips and salsa, and they brainstormed and filled me on what’s trending in their world.

The talk and laughter brightened my kitchen, and I think these ideas will brighten up the teen girl in your life too.

gift ideas for teen girls

Clothes and Fun Styles – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

I’ve been teaching high school for more than two decades, so I get a good taste of the current fashions and styles. My students and I talk fashion all the time, one even stayed after school to help me pick out online some updated jeans. I told her I was at a loss, she offered to stay – a win for me. My students definitely keep me in the know.

These are some of the fun styles and clothing that I’ve been seeing lately. Keep your teen girl up to point with any of these gifts.

Decorating – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

Decorating your teen girls’ room can be a blast with these fun and whimsical touches. With the internet right at your fingertips, you can get lots of inspiration and seemingly endless possibilities.

What a blessing it is to create a beautiful space for the teen girl in your life to unwind and rest.

But seriously, where was this Macrame Swing when I was a teenager!? I don’t know if I would have left my room.

Journals – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

Dear Diary…

Growing up…”Dear Diary” was about the only option I thought about when journaling. I love how flexible and creative journaling has grown beyond just documenting your daily activities and childhood crush.

These journals encourage you to dig a little deeper into gratitude and creativity. They can encourage teenagers to pray, color, practice gratitude, track their mood and even get silly with journals like Wreck This Journal.

An easy and cheap gift that can have a daily impact on a teen girl’s life.

Games – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

I love board games.

Some of my sweetest memories are of my grandparents, family and cousins squeezed around my grandma’s dining room table playing Trivia Pursuit. Yes, the game was fun, but it was the conversations, inside jokes, and teasing that filled the room with love and connection.

This connection can still be had with teens today.

Grandpa and Grandma having trouble conversing with their teen granddaughter? Maybe the ever-present cell phone is hovering in front of her nose?

Try grabbing some brownies, playing some tunes (share your favorite songs, ask the teens to share theirs), and gathering around the table. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how board games can bridge the generational gap in so many ways.

Not sure which ones to try? Here are some suggestions below.

Grow Your Faith – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

Faith is extremely important in our family, and I am acutely aware that so many things are competing for your teen girl’s time and attention.

One way to counteract the distractions is to be intentional about giving gifts that can strengthen and encourage their walk with God.

We know that this world can be tough. It is essential for teens to fill their minds with God’s truth. Bible reading, studies, and memory verse cards can help do just that.

Here are some ideas to get started!

Books – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

Oh my, books are my jam.

Trying to narrow down book recs for teen girls was an impossible task. (So much so that I decided to make a separate list for reading recommendations.)

Here are a quick few that I think the teenager in your life may enjoy.

Several are memoirs of Christians who have fascinating stories to tell. This piggybacks off of gifts that may help grow your teen’s faith!

I’m also a fan of historical fiction and just-for-fun fiction!

So whether you are buying a book for a teen girl or for yourself, these are a wonderful places to start.

Looking for more books? Check out the book list for high school teenagers  and middle school tweens

Electronics – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

If you have a teen in your life, they will most likely make a gift list that includes something that needs to get plugged in. It’s the reality of our world.

Thankfully, electronics can be used for really cool things! Besides entertainment, these gifts can be used for school, writing, art, photography, and connecting with family and friends.

Browse through these ideas to get some inspiration.

Self-care – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

Being a teenage girl can be tough! So many activities are competing for their attention. It can be hard as a parent to teach the importance of REST, and sometimes it’s because we’re not practicing rest either.

We need to be intentional with our young people to both model self-care and encourage them in pursuit of healthy rest.

To be the best version of ourselves, we need to take care of ourselves.

Here are a few gifts that will help get them started!

Teenager t-shirts and hoodies and things – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

Have a teen girl with a sense of humor? Or someone who likes quirky gifts?

These items can bring chuckles and smiles to their faces.

I know that I would love to cozy up in an “I’d Rather Be Home With My Dogs” hoodie and will definitely be sending a “Call Your Mom” Mug to my niece heading off to college!

Personalized Gifts – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

Personalized gifts are some of my favorite gifts to give.

We’ve all been there…staring at a rotating jewelry case in a touristy gas station and desperately looking for OUR name on a key chain. And of course, it’s not there.

This is where the internet wins. Now we can get personalized presents for any occasion from the comfort of our own home.

I think the teen girl in your life is sure to love a few of these. 

Gift cards – Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

When all else fails…

Grab a gift card.

Whether you have a teen girl that is just hard to buy for, or you’re just short on time. Gift cards can come in clutch.

These are gift card ideas to get started with.

Your Turn

What gift ideas for teen girls do you have? What have you bought a teen girl that they love? Leave your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to add your gift ideas to this list, as well. 

Want more gift ideas for your family?

Book ideas for high school teenagers

Book ideas for middle school tweens

Inspirational books ideas for moms

Gift ideas for moms of tweens and teens (Great for Mother’s Day!)

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens…

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
gift ideas for teen girls
family christmas activities

30 Favorite Christmas Activities That Your Family Will Love

(Inside: Fun family Christmas activities that will bring your loved ones closer together over the holidays. Enjoy the season with these great ideas.)

1. Decorate the house, inside and/or outside.

2. Donate your time, food, money, and/or gifts.

3. Take a winter wonderland hike.

4. Drive around and look at holiday lights.

5. Grab fancy, warm drinks from the coffee shop.

6. Make gingerbread houses.

7. Christmas shop together at the mall or local stores.

8. Get dressed up and go out to eat.

9. Open an advent calendar.

10. Bake holiday cookies and treats

11. Exchange names and give Secret Santa gifts.

12. Spend a day skiing or sledding.

13. Attend a holiday concert.

14. Enjoy a Christmas service at church.

15. Read the Christmas story around the tree.

16. Get a group together to Christmas carol. (In person or over screens.)

17. Snap holiday pictures.

18. Watch Christmas movies.

19. Look through family photo albums together.

20. Go ice skating.

21. As a family, do something extra nice for someone you know.

22. Write handwritten cards.

23. Go out for pastries or dessert.

24. Make Christmas crafts as a family..

25. Light candles and use your “good dishes” for dinner.

26. Play holiday music and enjoy a family game night.

27. Build a snowman, create a snow fort, or make snow angels.

28. Put together a Christmas puzzle.

29. Share your favorite holiday memories with each other.

30. Each family member picks out an ornament that represents their year.

Entertaining Tweens/Teens and Connecting with Your Family Series

The other day, I saw of picture of when my kids were little (like when I wrote this post), and I thought I so deeply want to go back to this season of life. I miss it.

But just as quickly as that thought came, another thought followed Someday, I will see pictures of my current parenting phase (raising tweens and teens) and wish to come back to today. 

So, I want to do my best to enjoy this season of life. These ideas on how to connect with and entertain tweens and teens can help…

ENTERTAINING TWEENS & TEENS SERIES

INSPIRATION
How a Messy House is Good for Your Kids

IDEAS
85+ Kids Activities That Promote Creativity

READING
146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will Also Build Character
Compelling Books That High Schoolers Will Want to Read

EXERCISE
Home Exercises for Your Teens & the Whole Family (Feel Healthy & Happy)

HOLIDAYS
*30+ Ways to Connect With Your Family Over the Holiday Season

family christmas activities

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life-phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life-chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
conversation starters

400+ Great Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

(Inside: Do you want good conversation starters for your teens? Or great questions to ask your teens to help them open up to the family? Read on…)

Conversation Starters For Teens

Moms want to connect with their teens. We want to know what our teens love and don’t, what’s going well and isn’t, how they best feel heard and loved, and about their friendships, school, and life.

We want to know how they think.

We want to know what makes them happy.

And I could keep listing because the truth is we want to know everything about our teens – we want to know who those sweet babies that we carried and nurtured and rocked are growing up to be.

Teens Want To Be Known

Similarly, teens want to be heard. They want to be seen, loved, and wanted by their parents. Even when they are at their worst, they still want their parents to pursue them, over and over telling (and showing) them they are worthy and loved.

Connecting With Our Teens Can Be Hard

However, life isn’t flawless. Teens can hold it together all day and fall apart when they come home, their moodiness tearing through the house with unbridled force. Or they find themselves lost in stress, or emotions or impulsiveness or self-sabotaging or apathy. But, as moms, we don’t buy any I-don’t-need-you signs. Not even one pennyworth – our teens long to connect with their families.

A Simple Way To Connect That Your Teen Will Like


As my sons grew older, I wanted to add tools to my box of ways to connect with them. In my high school classroom (I’ve taught for 20+ years), I’ve noticed that when I put students in small groups and had them answer anywhere from dumb to ridiculous to basic to thought-provoking questions, kids came alive. They loved sharing their thoughts and flourished in the framework of the presented questions. So, I took this idea home and found my quiet sons opening up with these conversation starters – be still, my heart.

Asking The Right Questions Is Key To Teens Opening-Up: Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

But not everyone feels like opening up at all times. Some teens love to jump into all the talking, while others need to warm up. So, these conversation starters include a variety of questions like…

  • Expected get-to-know-you questions: If you could interview someone who is famous, who would that be?
  • Yes-or-no-quick questions: Is chili a type of soup – yes or no?
  • Get-to-know-their-world questions: What’s the best YouTube or TikTok video you’ve watched lately?
  • Get-to-to-know-their-friends questions: If you were planning a cross-country road trip from Florida to Washington State, which three people would you hope would go with you? Tell me why you chose each person.
  • Reflective questions: You come home super stressed, go into your room and lie down on your bed. You flip on a song – which song is it?
  • Insightful questions: If you were told you had to switch friend groups, which peers at school would you like to get to know more?
  • Faith questions: What do you understand about the trinity?
  • Plus, questions about quotes,  scripture verses, deep topics, tricky subjects and more…

400+ Conversation Starters for Teens Are Broken Into Three Categories

Then these questions are broken into three categories, depending on how deep you want to go with the people involved in the discussion:

  • 200+ Fun Get-to-Know-You Questions: Great for enjoyable conversations between friends, among extended family, or for low-stress evenings.
  • 100+ Dive-Deeper Questions: Designed for close family who wants to really get to know each other. There are hard subjects and personal topics covered in these conversations starters.
  • 100+ Faith-Filled Questions: These questions were created to help everyone reflect on their faith journeys and connect over deep discussions.

How To Use The Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens Resource

I’ve found the most success with these questions when I’ve made “a thing” of it. Meaning, just like when we’ve declared family movie night, we plan a family discussion time where everyone is prepared to talk. Here are some ideas of what this could look like:

  • Dinner discussion: We’ve cut up the questions and put them in a gallon-size ziplock bag. Then maybe every Tuesday is “talk night.” Each family member draws one question to ask the group and discuss.
  • Evening Activity: Instead of playing cards or watching a movie, grab some snacks and get comfortable and everyone picks a number. Those are the questions that you ask each other.
  • Car rides: When you’re riding to church or the store or a game together, maybe you pass the time with a question.
  • And more: There is no right or wrong way to implement the question asking – the purpose is to get to know each other. If teens are asked, they usually have good ideas of how to roll out fun and some would like to lead when/how the questions are asked.

The Goal Is To Connect Over These Conversations For Families Of Teens

Remember, the goal of the conversations is for those involved in the discussion to connect. So even if it’s not all going perfectly, if everyone is talking and laughing and getting to know each other – we’ve nailed it.

Here are 12 Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens for your family to try…

1. What’s that one funny thing that pops into your head when you’re supposed to be serious (at church, in class, at a funeral) that will make you laugh every time?

2. Is chili considered a soup? Yes or No. Is lasagna a casserole? Yes or No.

3. Would you rather be someone who makes a ton of money but isn’t sure if you made a positive
impact on the world or someone who made very little financially but touched many people’s lives?

4. When you’re having a terrible day, what do you do to calm yourself down and shake the stress?

5. If you just got elected governor of your state and you could make one rule that the whole state had to follow, what rule would it be?

6. If you were taking a road trip from Florida to Washington state, which three non-family members would your take with you?

7. What’s a bad habit you wish you could break? Or which bad habit do you have, but you don’t care one bit about giving it up?

8. What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

9. What’s the class at school that has the best environment? What’s the subject you find the most interesting? Which class do you have the most friends in?

10. What age do you think is the best to be? Why?

11. What is your favorite app on your phone? What’s one app that you really should give up?

12. Would you rather own your own business with some risk but more earning potential or would you rather work for someone else and have a stable income that covers your expenses but not much more?

If you liked those questions, grab the full list of 400+ The Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens…

Click the below link to grab the conversation starters for families of teens. As a bonus, I’ll add you to my monthly(ish) parenting tweens and teens inspirational email list. The monthly emails are free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life-phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life-chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms

Read the Full Raising Tweens and Teens Series

My oldest son started high school last week and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
To the Mom of a High School Freshman

family movies tweens teens

Best Family Movies for Tweens and Teens

(Inside: Best family movies for tweens and teens. Get the ultimate list of movies for tweens and teens that your family will love.)

A big bowl of popcorn, the family piled on the couch, and a great movie – those are some of my best childhood memories.

Now as a mom, after a busy week, it feels so good to crash on the couch with my favorite people and watch something great. 

So I made an ultimate go-to list of best family movies. Of course, all movies aren’t best for every family, it depends on the ages of your kids, their interests, and how good you are with the fast-forward button. But, all the below movies are PG-13 (except one) or lower and have solid storylines.

I hope you find something your family will like. 

best family movies tweens teens

Best Family Movies
for Tweens and Teens

**This blog post contains affiliate links, which mean if you purchase through the link, I get a small commission at no extra charge to you.**

Musicals Series

See 100 more best musical movies here, but listed below are my favorites. 

Adventure/Drama Series

family at dinner table
Connect with your family over THESE 400+ Conversation Starters.

Comedy Movies

For more comedy movies go here and here.

best family movies tweens and teens
Get-to-know-you questions, diver-deeper questions, and faith-filled questions. Read more about the conversation starters here.

Adventure/Action Movies

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that Will Also Build Character

Drama Movies

best family movies tweens teens
Get-to-know-you questions, diver-deeper questions, and faith-filled questions. Read more about the conversation starters here.

Sports Movies

Science Fiction/Fantasy Movies

Related Article: One Thing Every Middle School Parent Should Know

best family movies tweens teens
Get-to-know-you questions, diver-deeper questions, and faith-filled questions. Read more about the conversation starters here.

Marvel Movies

We’re huge Marvel fans and have watched all of these movies, except Guardians of the Galaxy Volumes 1 & 2 aren’t our favorite for family movies. If you’d like to know the chronological order in which to watch the Marvel movies, check out this website. 

Animated Disney Movies

Click here to see a list of all Disney Movies. I listed my recommendations below.

Classic Disney Movies (Not animated)

Click here to see a list of all Disney Movies. I listed my recommendations below.

Other animated Movies

Click here to see a list of all Disney Movies. I listed my recommendations below.

Related article: Best Family Devotions That  Create Family Connection

Watching family movies is great, but there are more ways to connect. Read more in the description here.

DC Movies

DC movies are a bit dark for our family; we don’t watch all of them. I listed the movies we like; however, if you want to see a full list of DC movies go here. 

Star Wars Movies

best family movies tweens teens

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

Your brain bounces between your day at work, what time(s) your kids need to be at practice, your teen’s missing school assignments, that you haven’t called your mom lately, the load of the laundry to be switched, “What’s for dinner?” and “Why are 3 of my brain-tabs frozen?”  

You are raising tweens and teens – the unique parenting phase where everything gets easier…and harder.

We’re finally believing all those “they grow so fast” comments. This is your last hurray with kids in your home and you want to love every minute.  

You’re taking a second look at your career, your hobbies, how to share your gifts and talents. 

Parenting grows your faith and then makes you wonder where your faith is. 

You long for friendships and deep relationships, but you’re just so busy. 

You’d love a quick place to connect and feel encouraged.  

Join the hundreds of other women who’ve signed up for Empowered Moms and Kid’s inspirational monthly emails. You’ll look forward to opening them. (Plus, it’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.)  

gifts for moms

 

 

exercise ideas for teens

Home Exercises for Teens: Feel Happy & Healthy

(Inside: Exercise ideas for teens that will help spark a love of movement. These home exercises can help your family feel happy and healthy during the quarantine.)

We’re 11 days into this coronavirus-stay-at-home pandemic and here’s what I’m learning. When spending every waking second together, if we don’t exercise, we get a little, ahem, shall I say…temperamental…

Photo by Andre Tan on Unsplash

Growling becomes our thing. It’s really, really…NOT lovely.

But, exercise helps.

A lot. 

Moving our bodies lifts our spirits and makes us kinder, gentler people.

However, even though our brains know this, our bodies want to eat Cheetos and watch superhero movies. We have to force ourselves to push past I-don’t-feel-like-it and just start.

Exercise Ideas for Teens

Since PE class is canceled, sports seasons are postponed and friends aren’t allowed over, we’ve had to be creative and intentional about trying to move for 30-60 minutes a day in our home. 

We’ve made it a family expectation, and honestly, staying consistent(ish) with it is going fairly well. We all seem to like our chosen activity.

So, here are some awesome ideas to release those happy endorphins, written specifically for teens, but also for siblings and parents…

Related article: Compelling Books High Schoolers Will Want to Read

home exercises for teens
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

1. Sports

If your teen loves sports, this quarantine is an awesome opportunity to work on their skills. Teens can research drills for their sport and come up with a training plane. Here are some ideas:

2. Yoga

For those who don’t love high-endurance exercising, yoga just might be perfect for them. The stretching and breathing can be an instant mood booster. Here are a few places to start:

3. At-home equipment

Time to stop using the treadmill or bike to hang your laundry on… Dust it off, tuck earbuds in, crank up the music or inspirational podcasts and get that body moving. 

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that Will Also Build Character

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

4. Use the stairs

I grew up in small homes on the various military bases my dad was stationed – we didn’t ever have extra space for equipment. My dad would set a timer and huff it up and down the stairs. Even 10 or 15 minutes will help us all break a sweat. 

Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

5. Go for a walk

We can grab our dogs (coronavirus is the best thing that’s happened to them), a skateboard, favorite music and enjoy a walk. There’s nothing like nature. 

Related article: 15+ Best Podcasts to Inspire and Motivate Our Teen Boys

Photo by Chris Osmond on Unsplash

5. Ride your bike

There’s a reason why biking is so popular, it’s so much fun. Rekindle the love of two wheels and enjoy being outside through biking. 

Related Link: Everything’s been canceled – but, love hasn’t…

Photo by Murillo de Paula on Unsplash

6. Dance!

I threw on a song and pulled out my nineties moves. My boys were not into it… They ran. But, that’s exercise too so I’m calling it a parenting win.

However, for those that like to dance, here are some fun videos:

7. Strength and conditioning routines

There are so many great videos that focus on strength and conditioning. I can usually talk myself into 10 minutes. Then once I’ve warmed up, I can talk myself into one more video. Here are a few of my favorites:

8. Cardio workout videos

I forgot how much I like a quality exercise video. These are some good ones:

9. Kickboxing

Kickboxing makes exercising way more fun. Here are some quality routines:

10. Play!

There are so many ways to move that don’t feel like exercising because they’re fun:

  • skateboarding
  • rollerblading
  • play tag, ghosts in a graveyard, or capture the flag with your siblings
  • garden
  • jump on the trampoline
  • create street art out of chalk
  • fly a kite
  • shoot hoops – play PIG or HORSE
  • create a fort outside, craft something (think of all the up and down, lifting and moving you do when you create)
  • sculpt your yard – mow, stain your deck, create a pretty outdoor space for your family (working is my version of play)
Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

11. Clean!

I saved the best for last and I’m so incredibly serious about this idea. I can work up a sweat cleaning out closets, vacuuming, and moving laundry around.  Multitask by cleaning/organizing/purging clutter. Get your sweat on and see your rewarding result – a clean, organized room. Need inspiration? Watch Marie Kondo on NetFlix. Or watch her tips below. (Grab a family cleaning chart to help things go well here.)

A clean, tidy space is so nice to walk into – this could be your room!

Photo by House Method on Unsplash

Exercise Ideas for Teens: Your turn!

What’s your favorite way to exercise? Email me or let me know in the comments. 

For more than exercise ideas for teens, read the full “entertaining tweens and teens” series…

The other day, I saw of picture of when my kids were little (like when I wrote this post), and I thought I so deeply want to go back to this season of life. I miss it.

But just as quickly as that thought came, another thought followed Someday, I will see pictures of my current parenting phase (raising tweens and teens) and wish to come back to today. 

So, I want to do my best to enjoy this season of life. These ideas on how to connect with and entertain tweens and teens can help…

 

Entertaining Tweens and Teens Series

INSPIRATION
How a Messy House is Good for Your Kids

IDEAS
85+ Kids Activities That Promote Creativity

READING
146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will Also Build Character
Compelling Books That High Schoolers Will Want to Read

EXERCISE
Home Exercises for Your Teens & the Whole Family (Feel Healthy & Happy)

exercise ideas for teens
Photo by Form on Unsplash

Join this community of moms of older kids

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kids, feel empowered in your personal growth, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get inspiration, resources, and stories in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
best podcasts for teenage boys

15+ Best Podcasts to Inspire and Motivate Our Teen Boys

(Inside: Best podcasts for teenage boys. Inspire and motivate our teen boys with these awesome podcasts.)

I stepped out of my car and visually took in his house.

Wow. This is more than I could ever afford.

I knew this man (a friend of a friend) had barely graduated from high school. He certainly didn’t have a 4-year degree. Or a 2-year degree. Or maybe not even a certificate of anything. I was there to tutor his high school son in math. As I entered his home, I was equally impressed with the beauty and show of wealth.

Week after week, I came into this family’s home and helped the son get his grade up. Finally, I couldn’t even stand it anymore. I ask the dad, “Tell me your journey to success.”

And the door was open…

He explained that he was working, not making the money he needed, depressed, and overwhelmed with his lack of knowing what he wanted to do with his life. So, he started listening to motivational podcasts. (Back when they were cassette tapes.) He listened over and over to inspirational words until he believed he could achieve his dreams, which was to start his own business…

And that’s what kicked off his drive to build his empire: encouraging words.

Inspirational and Motivational Men for Our Boys to Look Up To

I understand his story. Podcasts to me are life-changing. I listen to them while I walk/jog. I listen to them on my way to work. I soak them in as I create images for this blog. The positive messages they convey are inspiring. 

Except, there seems to be an amazing amount of women cheering each other on, but I’ve had more trouble finding male influences that speak to the soul of a young man the same way my women podcasters uniquely speak to my heart. (Of course I think women’s voices are vital in raising our sons, but it was bubbling from inside of me to find strong, motivational men of integrity for my tween/teenage sons to learn from.) So, I asked my students, friends, The Google and listened to a bazillion podcasts…

I wasn’t disappointed – I found some great podcasts and I’m sharing them with you…  (As always, I don’t agree with everything everyone says. And not every podcast is right for every listener. But this is a great place to start when you’re trying to find that motivational person who will inspire your family.)

 

Related article: Frustrated Mom – Your Teen Will Find Success

Photo by Reynier Carl on Unsplash

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Inspiration to Grow into Awesome Human Beings

Eric Thomas, The Secret to Success Podcast

A student recommended this Eric Thomas’ motivational podcast. I’ve seen such growth and maturity in my student over the years, I had to take a listen and it’s good!

Listen to the podcast here: The Secret to Success Podcast

Tim Williams, Inspirational Speaker

Tim started a Thrivehood podcast specifically to mentor and inspire young men through the teen years.  With wisdome and humor, he talks about a varietly of topics that help teens thrive through the growth and maturity process. 

Check out the podcast here: Thrivehood Podcast

Miles Adcox, Inspirational Speaker

Because this post is about finding strong men of integrity for our boys to learn from, I’m only going to focus on Miles. (Ruthie, you’re awesome though!) Miles Adcox is the “owner and CEO of Onsite, an internationally acclaimed emotional health retreat center that delivers life-changing personal growth workshops, inspiring content, leadership retreats, and emotional health intensives.” Miles hosts a podcast called Unspoken with Ruthie Lindsey. They have meaningful conversations with their diverse guests. They have a unique way of getting people to open up and share with moves them. 

I listened to this interview with John Batiste and thought it was great. This is the type of man I want my sons to learn from. Jon Batiste work has included being the Musical Director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and Musical Director for The Atlantic. His first solo album, Hollywood Africans, was nominated for a GRAMMY.  

Find Miles at his podcast here: Unspoken

Dave Hollis, Motivational Speaker

I loved his honest conversation about self-growth and stepping up to the plate with Jen Hatmaker. Listen to this podcast here. (I had my son listen to this!)

Here’s Dave’s regular podcast: Rise Together

Michael Hyatt, Expert on Leadership

Michale Hyatt specializes in motivating people to lead. No matter where our sons are in their lives, we want them to be leaders. Meaning, they lead themselves in striving for excellence, they lead in our homes by being motivated to help clean and contribute to the family, they lead in their peer circles by encouraging others to be “includers” and make good choices, and I could forever go on. Michael speaks to men with soul, passion, and faith. He’s one to listen to. 

Here’s Michael’s regular podcast: Lead to Win

Do you want to connect with your teens over great conversations? Read more here.

Alex and Brett Harris, Motivational Speakers

These twin brothers took the internet by storm as “they challenged their peers to rebel against low expectations and do hard things.” So, here’s the bummer – as engaging and inspirational as these young men are – they don’t have a podcast. (And all the moms of teens cry oceans of tears.) But they’re worth a mention because they speak specifically to motivate and inspire teens out of laziness and apathy. (It should be noted here that in all my years of teaching high school, I’ve found that all teenagers want to find their purpose and learn how to use their gifts. Every. Single. Teen.) So, I tracked down this interview to inspire teens.

Here’s the brothers’ website: The Rebelution

best podcasts for teenage boys

Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff and Friends, Personal Growth

When I started searching for podcasts for my tween/teenage sons to be inspired by, Bob Goff’s was exactly what I was looking for. His website describes his podcast best: 

“This podcast is all about guiding you to discover, declare, and take action on the big ambitions you have for your life. Each month we’ll focus on one of the foundational principles of the Dream Big Framework.

Every episode you’ll be hearing from one of Bob’s friends, who’s been learning how to chase their big ambitions, despite the bumps and turns life can throw at all of us.”

Listen to the podcast here: Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff and Friends

Dr. Phil, Psychologist/Therapist

Parents of tweens/teens fell in love with Dr. Phil’s matter-of-fact, common-sense advice through first seeing him on Oprah. But, our kids don’t know Dr. Phil. So, let me tell you, I was thrilled to see that he hosts a podcast. He’s still at it. Listening to people’s problems and with kindness but firmness, sheds practical and inspiring light onto everyone’s situations.  

Listen to the podcast here: Dr. Phil in the Blanks

Richard Nicholls – Motivate Yourself Podcast 

Richard Nicholls is a psychotherapist who does these popular 15-minute podcasts to help you get inspired and motivated. (He’s massively popular in the UK.) I liked this podcast on “How to Feel Alive.” After listening – I felt walked with a little more spring in my step.

Listen to the podcast here: Richard Nicolls – Motivate Yourself Podcast

Trent Shelton – Straight Up with Trent Shelton Podcast 

My son and I listen to this as we drive to and/or from soccer practice. He just speaks a lot of common sense with passion and conviction. I liked Episode 63: Stop Wasting Time on the 99%. Focus on the 1% who Care. He encourages people to think about the people in their lives who really matter, telling a touching and eye-opening story about the people who showed up when his mom was sick.

Listen to the podcast here: Straight Up with Trent Shelton

Photo by Joel De Vera on Unsplash

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Learning About Money

Dave Ramsey

You might be wondering why I am recommending a financial guru, but I have a high school student who loves him. There are tweens/teens out there who are super interested in money. (I have a middle-schooler at home who is planning out already how to make his fortune. I have another elementary-age son who worked really hard in his school fundraiser because he thought he got to keep the money himself. I laughed so hard when he told me this – but I also beamed at his work ethic. *Now if only he’d apply that work ethic to keeping his room clean.*) Not only does Dave know his stuff, but I’m super impressed with his character. He is a strong man for teens to learn from. 

Listen to Dave’s podcast here: The Dave Ramsey Show

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Growing Faith

Tim Mackie & Jon Collins

Tim and Jon dive deep into biblical theology in a way that is profound and thought-provoking. They capture the young minds of our worlds and help them to see Jesus all around them. Their podcasts are something else – in the very best way.

Listen to their podcast here: The Bible Project

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce spoke at our church about faith and culture and life – I just can’t really describe what an impact he had on our family. He makes you think in the best of ways, and we talked about his message for days. So, I was thrilled to see that he had a podcast. If you’re looking for a faith-based podcast geared specifically toward teens and young adults, he’s a great one to check out.

Listen to Ben and his team’s podcast here: Provoke & Inspire Pocast

Joshua Dubois

Joshua Debois gained notability as The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in President Obama’s first term. He sent President Obama daily devotions, which he later turned into a book. Joshua then started his own successful consulting company. He is an amazing voice in our world. He speaks wisely and inspirationally regarding faith, issues specifically impacting African Americans, and living life well. He doesn’t have his own podcast, but he is featured in the below podcast. Joshua is a strong, hard-working, faith-filled, ambitious man for our young men to follow. 

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Creating Life-Long Learners

Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad. Radio Lab Podcasts (Science)

This podcast captured my attention because it’s an engaging and interesting way to get our teens thinking about science and the world around them.  The podcast moves through exploring the “big questions” in science, philosophy, and mankind with curious questions, interesting dialogue, and a hold-your-attention speed.

For example, this episode questions where animals go in the winter.  The hosts  (with an 11-year-old) visit a Bavarian farm where they “follow warblers and wildebeests around the world, and get a totally new kind of view of the pulsing flow of animals across the globe.”

Side note: Naturally in science evolution is discussed. Being a Christian who teaches math at a large public high school, I’m okay with all of the discussions. I firmly believe in creation, but bring on the other theories. Let’s talk about it all!

Listen to the podcast here: Radiolab

Chris Anderson – Ted Interview

One of my most valuable teaching strategies in trying to educate my high school students is storytelling. There’s something about the lesson you learn through a story and how it reaches deep into our hearts and finds a place to connect and stays.

The Ted Talk podcast is storytelling. Their website says, “Head of TED Chris Anderson speaks with some of the world’s most interesting people to dig into the provocative and powerful ideas of our time.”

Listen to the podcast here: TED Interview Podcasts

 

Dear Hank & John Podcast

Okay, here’s why I like these two. They talk about the things you notice in life like:

  • Why does my brain release endorphins for things that are bad for me?
  • How do you interject in conversations smoothly?
  • How do we know no two snowflakes are alike?


They discuss these thoughts in an engaging, smart, and fun manner. When I think about one of my parenting goals of creating lifelong learners and listening to men who ask smart questions –  I like the idea of my sons listening to a podcast like this. 

Listen to the Podcast here: Dear Hank & John

How to! With Charles Duhigg Podcast

I first hear Charles Duhigg talk about his podcast here and I was fascinated. He takes smart topics, odd issues, random problems – it all – and helps us all peel back the layers and wonder what is really happening. It encourages us to think analytically and wisely as we solve each other’s problems. There’s a topic that for sure will engage your teen’s brain.

Listen to the podcast here: How to! With Charles Duhigg Podcast

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will also Build Character

 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
summer activities for kids

A Fun Planning Activity that will Help Your Kids Have the Best Summer Ever {Printable}

(Inside: Help your kids come up with fun things to do in the summer at home. Kids will have the best summer ever with this awesome planning activity.) 

 

Moms, we feel it coming. 

We can hear it in the beat of the drums at the 6th grade May band concert. (And older sister’s 7th-grade concert…and younger brother’s spring choir concert…all attended this week.) 

We feel it in the warmth of the sun setting at the Thursday afternoon high school track meet.  (After you’ve dropped another kid off at her dance recital practice and given the third a pep talk about finishing their creative writing project. May is the best.) 

We see it in the I’m-giving-your-kids-back-to-you excitement of the elementary school teachers at spring conferences.  

Summer.  

Blessed, holy summer.  

Summer starts out with whimsical beauty. At 6:00 am on that first day of summer everyone is still sleeping. At 8 am moms linger over coffee while the kids, in the novelty of summer, rediscover the joy of their toys. By 9:30 am, we’d biked with our family to the park and it was so fun because no big yellow bus! 10 am boasts happy kids climbing the monkey bars and tearing around the park like King Kong. By 12 pm chicken nuggets heated in the oven never tasted so good. (See ya bagged lunches!) 

But then 1 pm hits…and everyone’s over it.  

“Mooooooom…I’m bored!” 

summer activity for kids
Elena Koycheva on Unsplash


Why it’s not the parent’s responsibility to entertain our kids at home in the summer.
 


I just had a conversation with a mom friend who works as a night nurse in the summers. She confessed, “My problem with summer is that when I’m home with my kids, I’m just so tired. I don’t feel like organizing anything for them.”  

Stop right there.  

Moms, when did the pressure to entertain our kids fall on us? Was it the rise of Pinterest where everyone puts their ONE project they did with their kids online and all together, it looks like all other moms are continually entertaining their kids? Or other social media pressure? Or is it because we’re a mom-generation of over-achievers? 

In contrast, when we reflect on our school summers, do we remember our own mothers creating premade crafts, structured play dates, or organized games? 

No. 

Never. 

Related Article: 85+ Kids Activities that Promote Creativity

 

summer planning activity for kids
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash


Unleashed imaginations and free play make the best summers ever.


But I do remember building a stage with my neighbor Teri where I belted out Tiffany’s, I think I’m Alone Now with blissful (and ignorant) confidence. And I recall setting up thick mat-like fold-up beds in the trailer in the garage for places to sit when we hold our neighborhood “Unicorn Club” meetings. Then there were the cartwheels done in my turquoise and black polka dot swimsuit back and forth over the sprinkler. All of this happened because there was no pre-schedule fun and I could unleash my imagination.

Want more faith-based parenting hacks and encouragement in mom life? Subscribe here!

Of course, it’s fun to plan some activities,  but we don’t need to piece together the perfect summer for our kids. I’d even argue that the opposite is better for our families. When moms plan every minute of our kids’ summer not only are we putting pointless pressure on ourselves, we’re robbing our kids of the joy of creative play. 

 

summer planning activity for kids
Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash


What our kids are really saying when they tell us they’re bored
. 


When our kids say, “I’m bored,” that’s not what they really mean. Instead, they’re saying “Mom, I’ve been so busy over the school year, I’ve forgotten what to do with all this free time.” So they argue for screen time because it does all the “thinking” for them. But screen time makes them grumpy and unmotivated and is not the answer.  

In contrast, we know our kids long to play. Recently – at the beginning of busy May –  my kids were talking about all the things they wish they had time to do. “I’m tired of being busy,” one complained. They talked about fishing at the lake, riding bikes, Nerf wars, jumping on the trampoline, playing with stuffed animals, and driving their remote control cars.  “Soon!” I said as I hurried two of them to soccer practice. 

Then I realized I had a golden opportunity.  

My light bulb moment 

The fishing at the lake, riding bikes, Nerf wars, and all the things my kids just said they wanted to do – I needed to capture their list right now when they’re busy and long for specific summer fun. Then, I can remind them of those words weeks later when “I’m bored” shows up. I don’t need to come up with the ideas, I just need to set the stage: a pre-summer brain dump session and a limited screen time expectation.


summer planning activity for kids

 

Grab the free summer planning activity now! Simple, organized, free printables!

Count me in!

 

 

When to plan awesome summer activities for kids 


This is where it gets fun. We get to encourage our kids to unleash all the ideas bouncing around in their head. Set aside time before the school year ends or make this a beginning of summer activity, but here’s when brainstorming can happen… 

  • Enjoy the pre-summer brain dump session during a hot meal around the dinner table.  
  • Make a party of it – declare a family night, grab delicious snacks and go.  
  • Or assign it as homework, let your kids work on it on their own, and discuss the results later. (My night-shift-nurse mom could tell her sweet kids to fill it out while she’s at work, and she can’t wait to hear what they came up with over breakfast.) 

 

summer planning activity for kids
Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash


How to 
plan awesome summer activities for kids 


Encourage your kids to list out the answers to the below questions. Though we want most of the ideas of things they can do at home, give them permission to dream and come up with places they want to go and things they want to see. (Who knows – maybe you will take them!) 

  • What’s some skill or talent they want to get better at?  
  • What are some activities you simply want to enjoy?  
  • Who do you want to get to know more or build a better relationship with? 

 

Important: Make sure you keep this pressure-free. We don’t want to add to our you-are-important-only-because-of-your accomplishments culture. Keep it light and fun.  

 

Download the detailed, free worksheets that will guide you and/or your kids through the activity. 

Count me in!  

 

 


Here are the questions highlighted in the free worksheets. You want your kids to write down their answers to these questions… 

 

summer planning activity for kids
Photo by Laith Abuabdu on Unsplash

“What are some skills or talents that you want to get better at? 


There are so many crazy fun things to do in life! What’s something that you want to learn? Or something you want to get better at? Write down any activity that sparks interest on your Summer Fun List. Here are some ideas:

        • Shooting free throws, soccer footwork or another sport
        • Dancing, acting or another aspect of entertaining
        • Playing guitar, singing or another part of music
        • Writing music, writing books, drawing cartoons or creating in another way
        • Sewing, making leather earrings or crafting
        • Reading, basic math facts, coding, computers, or something else academic.
        • Memorizing scripture, studying the Bible, or something else faith-based related.
        • Whatever other activity that you want to get better at.


Now look at your list and narrow it down to 1-2 choices. What daily actions can you take to get better at your given activity? Be specific about what action you are going to do each day to achieve your goals. For example, if you want to get better at basketball, pick how many shots you are going to make per day. (50 free throws, 50 layups…etc.)

summer planning activity for kids
Photo by Anton Darius | @theSollers on Unsplash

 

“What are some activities you simply want to enjoy?” 


Summer holds many fabulous activities! Do you like to feel the dirt in your hands as you garden? Do you like to create forts? Do you like to bead necklaces, or learn about different kinds of rocks? What are things you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had time for during the busy school year? List them out. This is a brain dump, so write as many as you can think of on your summer fun list. Here are some places to start:  

        • Water activities: swimming, slip ‘n slide, sprinklers, kiddie pool…etc. 
        • Science projects: google science experiments, be in nature and make observations, work with a chemistry set, and more. 
        • Nature: hiking, rafting down the river, collecting rocks, throwing sticks in the lake, gardening, fishing…etc. 
        • Working with wood/metal: Putting together a model airplane, making a birdhouse, working on a car, or some other “STEM-y” project.  
        • Art: painting, sewing, making jewelry, crafting…etc. 
        • Reading: comic books, fiction, nonfiction…there are so many great stories out there! 
        • Creating: write your own story, make your own comic book, come up with a podcast…enjoy creating. 
        • Grow your relationship with God: do a Bible study, read an inspirational faith-based book…etc. 
        • Service: volunteer petting dogs at the local shelter, make cookies for the neighbors, invited someone to play who needs a good friend…etc. 
        • Start a business: mow yards, babysit, walk dogs, create a lemonade stand…how can you provide a service and make money? 
        • Whatever other activity makes you happy. 

summer planning activity for kids
Photo by Felipe Bustillo on Unsplash


“Who do you want to get to know more or build a better relationship with?”


People can be so fun! We learn and grow by hanging out with others. Who do you enjoy being around? Who is someone you want to get to know more? Write out all the friends you’d like to hang out with. Here’s a place to start:

        • School friends
        • Friends from activities
        • Neighbors
        • Church friends
        • Aunts & Uncles
        • Cousins
        • Grandparents
        • Godparents
        • Bonus moms and dads

 

Hang your kids’ summer fun activities list in a visible spot. 


Now that the list is finished, it gets hung up in your child’s room, on the refrigerator or in the bathroom mirror. So when the “I’m bored” happens – and it will – moms get to use this beautiful phrase, “Go look at your list!” (Cue confetti!) 

Why having your kids make the list of summer activities works. 


I keep a journal of all of my blogging ideas. When I get stuck for ideas, I look back through my scribblings. I can always find something I want to write about because the list is of ideas that interest me. Similarly, the summer activities list works because it’s our kids’ ideas of what interests them. By empowering our kids to create their own fun things to do in the summer list, we’re teaching them so much more than simply finding something to do when they’re bored. We’re teaching them to… 

  • Listen to what their heart is interested in. 
  • Plan out a summer. (Which leads to taking charge of their own lives.) 
  •  Live intentionally 
  • Be creative 
  • Try new things 
  • Enjoy life 
  • And more… 

 


Now, of course, there will be moments when your kids will look at your list and still sigh with boredom. But then again – there will be times when the list jump-starts a fun creative day for them. And I bet there are more of the second kind of days.  

Happy Summer! 

 

 

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