With no school until May 15, finding things
for teens to do can be a struggle. Trying to occupy them can feel impossible at
times. Teens speak their own language and are always plugged into the internet
and social media sources but may become restless in this time of social
distancing and isolation.
If you have big readers, the Library does
provide access to eBooks and eAudiobooks through NC Kids Digital, Overdrive,
and the Libby app. All students in a Lenoir, Greene, or Jones County school
have access with their student ID using the last four digits of the ID as their
pin. Access to NC Kids also includes videos. To get started download the Libby
App on your mobile device, or visit http://e-inc.overdrive.com
For the coding whiz in your life, there are
free sites available that have skill sets for all age ranges. Hour of Code (http://hourofcode.com)
has different options for popular programs that are familiar to teens such as
MineCraft and Star Wars. The hour time limit makes it an easy limited internet
time activity. Code Academy (http://codeacademy.com)
is more intense and has different options for coding classes. You can learn how
to build a website, create video games, or learn SQL. There is also Scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu/), a program that appeals
to children of all ages to help them create their own interactive stories,
games, and animations.
If internet use is not an option, consider
giving teens a journal. Daily prompts will keep their creative mind working and
can help with basic writing skills. Make sure to give a criteria such as
writing at least one page and using five complete sentences per paragraph. To
switch up the idea, use old magazines to create collage or goal boards. A goal
board can be pictures or words compiled for steps to complete a goal. Teens may
want to create goals for the summer or the next school year.
What about math? This is a perfect time to
cover budgeting with teens and the process can easily be made fun. For example,
each participant is given their monthly pay to record at the start of the month
and then they have to budget in their bills for an entire year. They can be
given various options for bills such as “basic cell phone service – no
smartphone but cheap service – $25” or “entertainment – 3 visits to the movies
a month – $55”, which can teach the valuable lesson on living on a budget.
Categories can include groceries, electric, entertainment, health care, and
with different options to choose from as well as the ability to change a
service at certain times of the year, teens really have to consider what is
best for their budget. We have done this activity here to great results, but it
can be replicated by anyone who wants to give teens a valuable lesson in how
Teens can still get outside
as well as long as they keep a healthy distance from others. Activities like
collecting and pressing leaves are ideal for this, and teens can learn how to
create their own herbarium at https://www.diynatural.com/diy-herbarium/.
Stargazing is another fun outside activity that can be done safely outside.
Teens can plan a stargazing session by learning what constellations are
currently visible at https://stardate.org/nightsky.
Earth Day is also rapidly approaching on April 22; teens can celebrate by
planting something in their yard, taking a hike on a nature trail, or just
enjoying some quality time in the fresh air.
Now is a good time to think outside of the box
when it comes to entertaining teens. Their devices can only pique their
interest for so long. Beat the boredom blues with art, journaling, and
educational internet options but don’t forget, spending time together can be
more valuable than anything else.