Looking for lockdown friendly activities for teens during coronavirus?
If you are trying to parent a teenager in the Age of Coronavirus, then you have my sympathies. It’s different for primary school children and pre-schoolers. They are thrilled by educational games and chalk drawings and craft projects. Meanwhile, your average teen knows that these things are BEYOND LAME.
I don’t want Flea to spend this time doing nothing but staring at horror movies and snacking. So I’ve employed all my cunning, along with some recommendations from brands I’ve worked with over the past few years. And I’ve come up with 20+ definitely not-lame activities for teens that they can try during the coronavirus lockdown.
Educational Lockdown Activities for Teens
I’ve accepted that my teenager does not WANT to sit and do the five hours of online lessons a day that her school mandates. When it comes to homework and revision? Pfft. So I’ve identified activities for teens that will support learning, without resembling homework too much.
Science Experiments a la TikTok: Did you know that along with dances, pranks and dogs, TikTok has a huge number of science experiments? Many of these are great activities for teens to try at home. Check out the “Science and Education” section on the home page to learn about the Ben Franklin effect, paper making and even mini history lessons. Just make sure YOU find the clips and don’t turn a teen loose on TikTok. Fair warning – you might not see them again for 12 hours.
Photography Tricks: Flea is sitting GCSE photography so anything that involves her camera counts as education. During quarantine, we’ve done some light painting, which is a great way to learn about long exposure. We’ve learned about depth of field by shooting portraits. Also, TikTok is a fabulous source of Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials. This means Flea can improve her editing skills.
Watch Plays: Loads of classic plays are available to stream online, which can help support school subjects. The Royal Shakespeare company has plays available via Marquee TV and there’s a 14 day trial available (after that it’s £8 a month). Even better, during the quarantine, The Globe Theatre is making six plays available for free via the Globe Player. These include Romeo and Juliet, which is one of Flea’s set GCSE texts.
Tour the Anne Frank House: If you have a teen learning about World War 2, it’s possible to take a virtual tour of the Anne Frank house online. Teens will find 360 degree tours of each room, with clickable pop-up windows with more information. It’s a great activity for teens that will bring the era to life. Teens can also complete online digital lessons with interactive quiz questions.
Explore Design and Image Libraries: Smithsonian Open is a fab project where you can freely download and use more than 3 million 2 and 3D images from the museum’s collection. Flea loved downloading protest placards from anti-racism demonstrations, along with images for coursework.
Practical Lockdown Activities for Teens
One of the things I’m trying to do is improve Flea’s life skills during the coronavirus quarantine. I figure it’s the perfect time for Flea to learn some basic practical skills, from how to paint a wall to cleaning the car, mowing the lawn and washing windows.
Some of these skills I can teach Flea myself. With others it’s better for her to learn from YouTube or online resources.
Learn First Aid and CPR: Safe and Sound is currently offering a range of online e-courses for family first aid from just £20. This seems like money well spent to me. Flea learned the basics of First Aid at cubs, but she is well overdue for a refresher course and who knows when it might come in handy?
Work on Hand Eye Co-ordination: As a hockey keeper, it’s hard for Flea to coach herself at home. Goalkeeper coaching is pretty technical. What she can do is work on her hand-eye co-ordination. This is one of those activities for teens that will help with pretty much ANY sport.
We found a rebound net on AOSOM that’s less than half the price of the major sports brands. Add a £12 bundle of tennis balls, and Flea has a fabulous training resource, which she’s working with for just 15 minutes a day.
Learn Public Speaking: did you know that for just $60 your teen can take an online learning course from the Eton educational platform, EtonX? You’ll get a full online workshop covering 7-10 hours, with a certificate at the end. Many of the sessions focus on helping kids with things like public speaking, resilience, confidence and leadership.
Get Cooking: When I suggest cooking as an activity for teens during lockdown, I do not mean you should start baking muffins and fairy cakes. Get yourself onto TikTok and Instagram. You’ll soon find some really creative recipes and cookery ideas that the teens are watching. I’m definitely hoping to try this apple pie recipe!
There’s no better way for teens to impress their mates when they can finally leave the house again than being able to make a copycat version of Nando’s chicken and macho peas, or their own version of a frappuccino. TikTok recipes tend to be short, accessible and teen-friendly, and come highly recommended.
Creative Lockdown Activities for Teens
At the moment I’m encouraging Flea to explore her creativity, and use her imagination. After all, the real world is a LOT for kids to take on board just now. Who wouldn’t want to escape, a little?
Enter a Writing Competition: There are loads of writing competitions that will help your teen to improve their writing AND could win prizes! Write about a day out for a chance to win £75 towards a day out. There’s £1,000 on offer to a young writer of adventure stories. If you have a young poet, they could win £50 for them and £50 for their school in this competition.
Google Arts & Culture: Google has an online repository of cultural imagery from museums, galleries and institutions all over the world. We’ve found it’s so easy to get lost in this site. Take a virtual tour around the Met Museum in New York, or learn about the art of Hokusai in Japan. The world is literally your teen’s oyster.
Take an Animation Class: This online animation class would make a great activity for teens who love to doodle. There are 10 classes costing £15 each and they are seriously impressive. Students learn how to make vector images, the basics of graphic design, creating fonts and working with scale and layers.
Make a Movie List: Flea isn’t interested in writing film reviews, generally. But we recently set her the challenge of creating a movie watchlist to share with my parents, who are isolating at home. Winner! Teens pride themselves on their knowledge of Netflix, Prime and Sky TV. They will generally be only too happy to dive into the archives and share recommendations with people who are stuck inside the house.
Just for Fun Ideas for Teens in Lockdown
Explore the World: I love Geoguessr. It’s an online game that uses Google Maps and drops you somewhere in the world. Your challenge is to try and work out where in the world you might be. Choose a continent, play solo or with others, and with/without a time limit. You can play one free game of 5 rounds per day and it’s a blast! Look for clues like road names, flags or (on one occasion) try and guess the animal that’s been run over by a truck in the middle of a desert.
Play SIMS: When the real world is alarming, what’s more fun than this lockdown activity for teens? It’s basically playing a game where you’re in charge of the whole world! Sims 4 is on special offer at just £8 on Origin right now. It’s a fabulous activity for teens who need to escape reality and get some quiet time.
Bike Rides: I think quarantine has been hard for teens because they have lost the independence and alone-time that’s so important at this age. I’ve been encouraging Flea to take a daily bike ride. She can use her iPhone to track her speed and distance. Cycling is an ideal activity for teens because it gives my daughter some time away from me (and vice versa). Also, the physical exertion helps with anxiety, sleeping and gives immunity a boost, too.
Teen Movie Marathon: It’s a fact that the best movies ever made were the teen movies of the 80s and 90s. Why not devote an evening to introducing your teen to Ferris Bueller and other classics? Check out some of our favourite teen movies and movies from the 1980s to share with your kids.
Relax the Screen Time: If there was ever a time to turn off screen time controls, this is it. Flea’s Dad has set up online gaming for Flea on her PlayStation and Nintendo consoles and she now regularly plays Fortnite and other games with kids from school. I know they chat while they’re playing and those games, along with House Party, allow Flea to feel connected with other kids. It’s so important that she isn’t lonely during this time.
Good Deeds for Teens in Quarantine
Life can seem harsh and sad at the moment. So I think it’s critical to help our teens see that even in tough times, kindness and service are never wasted. With this in mind, I’ve been thinking up activities for teens to contribute to their community, in small ways.
Set up a Community Facebook Group: At the start of the outbreak, we printed up a short note and Flea delivered it through the letterbox of every house on our development. We invited all of our neighbours to join a Facebook group. The intention was to offer support to anyone who needed to self-isolate, or who was struggling with shopping or other basic needs.
Since then it’s become a valuable resource on who in our area is delivering food and other supplies. Our neighbours have also created community Easter Egg hunts, chalk games on the pavements and a request to wave to a little boy who is at home being shielded.
Donate old Clothes: This is the perfect time of year for teens to clear out old summer clothes that don’t fit, ready to be passed on to good causes. We can’t donate clothes just yet but we can sort, wash and pack them so we’re ready when the time comes.
Help Elderly Relatives Keep Connected: One of the best activities for teens during lockdown is to have them share their expertise with older relatives who might not be confident using technology.
Take a Spa Day: Frankly, I am not above asking my teen to give me a shoulder massage. But if you’re feeling generous how about giving your teen a home spa day?
Flea has been showing her Dad how to use TikTok and WhatsApp while they’re distancing. She’s also she’s been teaching my parents about Zoom calls and how to get FaceTime calls onto their TV, so my partially-sighted Dad can see her better.
I’d love to hear about your lockdown activities for teens in the comments!