It’s all good to have the little kiddos in day camp for the summer, and the teenagers all have jobs (or they SHOULD!) but I always find that summer time is awkward for the tweens (I’m talking the 8 to 12 crowd). Many of them feel too old for day camp, but they’re still too young to work (legally, anyway!)

So how do we make sure these kids don’t just spend their summers aimlessly scrolling through Instagram? Here are 5 great ideas.


Send Them to Sleepaway Camp

Getting tweens out of the house and into nature (and off their phones) is always a good option. Sleepaway camp offers them the opportunity to make new friends and experience new adventures. They will go back to school refreshed after some time away from the usual routine and a nice technology detox.


Flex Their Entrepreneurialism

It’s a great time for your young entrepreneurs to turn their hand at starting a business. Last summer, my tweens started a neighbourhood camp at our house. Parents could register their kids with our very flexible and affordable daycare option. I made sure my tweens set a schedule that included nature time, swimming, water play, crafts, etc.  It taught my tweens many lessons, including how to work together. The boys next door also started their own little business. They created a car washing service, with a wagon full of cleaning equipment and a vacuum. Neighbours could book them, and off they went with their cleaning mobile to do the job! Lots of busy stay-at-home moms have their hands full in the summer. A tween also makes for a great “Mother’s Helper”, someone to play with bigger kids while mom tries to feed baby or put baby for a nap. I especially love tweens for this job because they still really know how to PLAY and have fun with little ones.


Get Them Qualified

Have a kid who’s hoping to find some babysitting gigs? Now is the time to do that babysitters course. Is he or she hoping to be a Lifeguard one day? Then get doing those swimming and First Aid levels completed. Want to be a camp counselor? The summer is a great time to work as a CIT (Counselor in Training). Talk to your child about their goals for future summers and get going on those qualifications now. 


Have Them Volunteer

Many school boards require kids to have a certain number of volunteer hours before they graduate. Summer is a great time to complete those volunteer hours at local camps, food banks, community initiatives, etc. Plus, your kids will benefit from the added bonus of learning about the importance of volunteerism and how good it feels to be a part of something for the greater good.


Let Them Play

And I mean PLAY!  Let them explore ravines, disappear on their bikes for the day, call on neighbourhood kids, swim in creeks, etc. The 1970s called and they want their kids back!  Kids will not be complaining about being bored if you loosen up and let them be kids.



Do you have tweens kicking around your house this summer? How are you keeping them busy and productive?




Julie Cole is a recovered lawyer, mom of six and co-founder of Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless awards. Julie is no stranger to the media, having appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, HLN’s Raising America, Breakfast Television, The Marilyn Denis Show, CP24, among many others. As a blogger and writer, her articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, Today’s Parent, The Globe and Mail, Profit Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, Chicken Soup For the Soul - Power Moms and numerous websites. When she’s not juggling her busy family and professional life, Julie is an active volunteer and engaged community leader, who is passionate about women’s issues, mentoring young entrepreneurs, poverty alleviation and social justice.

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