We’ve put together over 150 ideas to help during social distancing for teens. Look no further for all kinds of ideas for your teens to stay occupied!
The world has become a much different place over the past few weeks. Suddenly, our teens and college students are finding themselves being asked to stay home, and away from friends, all for the greater good. In theory, that sounds doable, right?
After all, online and virtual classes with assignments to complete will occupy some of that time. And then they can enjoy unlimited screen time, binge-watching TV, as much sleep as they want…
But the reality is that they’re missing their friends. The class of 2020 is watching the fun spring activities, prom, clubs, and sports being cancelled, all while wondering whether they’ll have a graduation ceremony. In short, their world has been turned upside down.
Let’s face it, screen time can get boring after a while. In an attempt to make this time of social distancing more enjoyable (and productive!), we’ve compiled a list of ideas that teens can do during social distancing.
Over 150 things to do during social distancing for teens
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- Make a photo collage or photo wall for your room
- Create photo books with the photos on your phone and share them with your friends
- Make photo books as a gift for a friend who is graduating with photos you have of them Enjoy 35% off Your First Photo Book
- Create a t-shirt quilt
- Transform plastic Easter eggs with jute or chalk paint
- Learn how to write calligraphy or do other types of lettering
- Arm knit a blanket
- Design your dream home with an online planner
- Adult coloring books (some of our favorites are here, here, and here) with colored pencils
- Build a ship in a bottle
- Make a bracelet from an old baseball
- Construct a catapult or trebuchet and see how far you can launch things!
- Draw (and color) your own Zentangle
- Make a box (or picture frame) out of rolled magazine pages
- Create a crayon art masterpiece
Fitness and sports
- Go for a run, or try a program like Couch to 5K
- Free CorePower Yoga Practices
- Daily Burn Free 30-day Trial
- 20-minute no equipment required workout
- Orangetheory Daily Workouts
- Peloton Free 90-day Trial
- Planet Fitness LiveStream Workins
- Practice skills for your favorite sport
- Learn a new skill! The sky’s the limit: baking bread, how to cook, origami, hula-hooping, dribbling a ball, hackysack, a new language, how to read music, sign language, the list is truly endless! And Google and YouTube are your friends.
- Practice an instrument
- Journal about your experience
- Start a bullet journal. You’ll love these pens, stencils, and stickers!
- Start a gratitude journal with 3 things you’re grateful for each day
- Download the DuoLingo app and learn a new language
- Improve your typing skills and increase your words-per-minute
- Write a letter to your future self. It may be hard to imagine now, but you’ll forget some of the details about this time.
- Spend time on Pinterest: Create a vision board for your dream home, find funny memes and quotes, recipes you’d like to try, plan a dream trip, pick out a new wardrobe, etc.
- Take a Myers-Briggs personality test
- Make a 5-year life plan. Figure out where you want to be in 5 years and what you need to do to get there
- Create a Bucket List of things you want to do, try, experience
Connecting with friends
- Netflix Party lets your teens chat with friends while watching “together” but apart.
- Do a photo scavenger hunt with friends, but in your own neighborhoods: just share the photos with each other
- Use FaceTime Messenger, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc. to connect with friends
- Play games with friends on Xbox Live or Playstation
- Make paper fortune tellers and tell each other’s fortunes (using FaceTime, etc.)
- Learn new TikTok dances and share your videos with friends. Compete to see who can learn a dance fastest.
- Create a digital escape room with friends and share it on social media. Here’s a Harry Potter-themed one to give you some ideas to get started.
- Take a bubble bath
- Give yourself a manicure and/or pedicure
- Practice new ways to style your hair
- Practice new make-up looks
- Throw out any old or expired make-up products
- Take a nap
- Face masks and other treatments
- Make sugar scrubs
- Pray or meditate
- Create a “Happy List” with all the things that make you happy, no matter how small
- Clean your makeup brushes
- Tour one (or all) of these 12 world-famous museums
- Take one (or all) of these 25 virtual field trips
- Take a virtual tour of colleges and universities
- Tour five national parks: The Hidden Worlds of National Parks
- Watch adorable puppies! Snowy Pines White Labs features two daily live streams of five to six white labrador puppies. Each live stream lasts two to three hours and you can go back and watch old streams at any time!
- Aquarium Webcams
- Zoo Webcams
- Visit Disney World virtually
- “Ride” the Frozen Ever After roller coaster
Netflix | Amazon Prime | Hulu | Disney+
Note: the recommendations for shows are intended for older teens and college students.
- Get a free trial of one of the streaming services you don’t have and try to watch as many shows as you can!
- Netflix ideas: Atypical, You, The Office, New Girl, The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (graphic), Love is Blind, Locke & Key, How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal, Ozark, Cheers, That 70s Show, Blacklist, Peaky Blinders,
- Hulu ideas: Suits, Marvel Runaways, Looking for Alaska, Cloak and Dagger, Light as a Feather, Shadow Hunters, Gifted, Euphoria, Pretty Little Liars, Blackish, The Next Step, The O.C., Freakish, The Wonder Years, Tagged, West World
- Amazon Prime ideas: The 100, Riverdale, American Horror Story, Just Add Magic, Teen Wolf, Dawson’s Creek, Gilmore Girls, The O.C., Beevis & Butthead, Veronica Mars, One Tree Hill, Smallville, Glee, The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friday Night Lights
- Disney+ ideas: Let’s face it: ALL the Disney movies are fun! But a few notables are Frozen 2 and Aladian. Other series or movies to try: StarWars Clone Wars, 10 Things I Hate About You, Marvel’s Runaways, Phinneas & Ferb, Girl Meets World
- Hallmark movie marathon
Clean up your devices
- Delete unnecessary or duplicate photos from your devices
- Organize your photos
- Delete apps you don’t use
- Unfollow accounts you don’t like anymore
- Unsubscribe from emails that clog your inbox
- Create a new playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon Music
- Check out Rita Wilson’s “Quarantunes” playlist
- Crank your music and have a dance party! Either work on your moves solo in the mirror or get social with friends on FaceTime!
- Listen to live opera streams from The Met
- How Did This Get Made? Hilarious discussion about bad movies
- My Favorite Murder True crime, sometimes crass language
- Stuff You Should Know Literally hundreds of random topics!
- Stuff You Missed in History Class Makes history interesting
- Who Would Win Fun debates about epic match-ups
- The Mortified Podcast Grown-ups share their most embarrassing memories
- Spooked True life paranormal stories
- Pardon My Take (profanity) Sports discussions with varied topics
- TED Talks for Teens All of these inspiring talks are by teens!
Other Ideas on Your Screens
- Create a Yelp! or Trip Advisor account and leave reviews for your favorite places
- Go on Goodreads and create a “Want to Read” book list and track all the books you’ve ever read
- Leave book reviews for your favorite books
- Back up your phone
- Clean your laptop’s keyboard and screen
- Update your Home and Lock screens with pictures that makes you happy
- Re-read the Harry Potter novels
- Read or re-read Lord of the Rings trilogy
- Find a new series to fall in love with
- Read the Bible (teen Bible reading plans)
- Check out some YA dystopian novels (Hunger Games Trilogy, Divergent Series, Maze Runner Series)
- Other books to check out: The Hate U Give, Eleanor & Park, Anything by John Green, 13 Reasons Why, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, We Were Liars, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way
- Get the Libby app and check out digital books from your local library
- Get ahead in your schoolwork
- Study for the ACT and/or SAT
- Start working on college application essays
- Research about something you’ve always found interesting
- Fill out paperwork for next semester
- Social distancing is the number one thing you can do to help your community!
- Donate blood or plasma
- FaceTime with your grandparents
- Write a letter to family members (especially grandparents!). They’ll love getting something special in their mailbox!
- Coordinate a neighborhood donation to your local food bank: no contact required. Contact your food bank to coordinate a drop off time. Post about collection efforts on neighborhood social media accounts. Specify a pickup date and have donations left on their front porch. Wear gloves while collecting and dropping off the donations.
- Offer to pick up groceries or prescriptions for at-risk neighbors so they don’t have to go out in public
- Enjoy the low gas prices and take a drive, roll down the windows and crank the music!
- Try on your clothes and put together new outfits
- Sort that LEGO bucket and find all the pieces for different sets. Then put the set together.
- Write (and mail!) thank-you notes or a letter to friends and family members who don’t live with you
- Pull out those Christmas lights to spread some cheer and bring light to your neighborhood during this time that can feel dark.
In your room
- Clean out your drawers and closets and remove items to donate
- Organize your desk
- Give your room a deep cleaning
- Rearrange your room
- Paint your room (with parent’s permission!!)
- Learn how to fold your clothes like Marie Kondo
- Paint all your inexpensive jewelry with clear nail polish to help it last longer
In the kitchen
- Experiment with creating new smoothie recipes
- Bake cookies
- Make candy like these gummy Legos
- Learn how to decorate cakes and/or cupcakes
- Organize the pantry (check with your parents first!)
- Make dinner for your family
- Make popscicles with these great molds
Around the house
- Wipe down/clean all baseboards and doors in your home
- Ask your parents about any home improvement projects they’d like you to help with
- Wash the windows
- Clean and detail any vehicles
- Plan (or plant, depending on where you live!) a garden
- Prep flower beds
- Give your dog(s) a bath
Teens aren’t the only ones impacted by social distancing. Entire families are shifting to working from home and not socializing with other people. Blow off steam together with some quality family time.
Indoor family activities
- Complete a puzzle
- Board games
- Games for ages 17+
- Game apps for a group:
- Play Jackbox games on your TV
- Watch one of the new release films now available to rent and stream in your home (for less than 2 movie tickets!)
- Indoor or back yard camp out (depending on your weather and where you live) with a tent, ghost stories, and s’mores
- Learn a new card game together (Spades, Canasta, Hearts, Poker, Pinochle, etc.)
- Have a dance-off using the Just Dance video game: Xbox1, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Playstation4
- Watch the Harry Potter movies
- Watch the Star Wars movie in “story order:” Rogue One-IV-V-II-III-Solo-VI-VII-VIII-IX
- LEGO building competitions
- Watch the Avengers series in “story order:” Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home
Outdoor family activities
- Go for a hike
- Pack a picnic lunch or dinner and go somewhere new to “eat out”
- Play Frisbee
- Make an outdoor obstacle course and compete to complete it
- Make and play Giant Jenga (or buy a set here)
- Play “Glow in the Dark Bowling” (add glow sticks to filled plastic water bottles and use a soccer ball to knock them down)
- Giant outdoor checkers
We hope these ideas help to make the coming weeks more enjoyable for you and your teens! Do you have some other ideas that you’d like to share? Please add them in the comments below to help other parents of teens!
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