A bit of boredom can be beneficial! Boredom is needed to spark creativity, and it helps motivate children and teens to pursue new goals and develop self-control. However, sometimes boredom can contribute to depression and other kinds of emotional distress in kids and teens. Knowing when to step in, support children and teens, and suggest some possible activities can be a tricky balancing act. The summer is an excellent time to encourage kids to explore new opportunities and experiences and help your child or teen transform their boredom, find meaning, and develop a sense of purpose — and it is not too soon to start to plan for the summer!
What children are taught in the classroom often doesn’t seem relevant to them, and they may dread school. Teens may be interested in a profession that requires minimal math skills and be required to take advanced algebra in school. Or perhaps they haven’t yet found a purpose in life and feel like there’s nothing that would interest them. On top of other difficulties kids and teens often experience, such as conflict with peers and family-related stress, boredom and lack of purpose can have a real impact.
The world is filled with oodles of interesting ideas, subjects, and pursuits, and often children and teens are only exposed to a small portion of them. Yet there is so much to learn! Kids may not understand the vast amount of opportunity out there or feel motivated to explore new ideas because they haven’t yet had a glimpse of all the world has to offer.
Extracurricular activities and summer experiences can help kids and teens learn about ideas, subjects, and occupations that they have never heard of, and find their real passion. With the onset of the pandemic, many summer and extracurricular programs, including programs at the country’s leading cultural and educational institutions, have gone virtual, enabling people all over the world access to high quality programming. Some programs are free or low-cost, and others have scholarships available. Virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities also offer great potential in helping kids and teens expand their horizons.
Check out the opportunities below. If none of these seem like a great fit, pull up your favorite search engine and do some sleuthing to find other opportunities that might interest your child or teen. You never know what may turn up!
A Sampling of Exciting Summer Experiences & Extracurricular Activities for Children and Teens
- Metropolitan Museum of Art’s free teen art classes & events
- Metropolitan Opera’s free Global Summer Camp
- Local volunteer and job shadowing opportunities for teens (a list compiled by the Pima County Public Library).
- Volunteer Match lists virtual and local volunteer opportunities for kids and teens.
- Outschool offers low-cost, online classes for kids and teens on a variety of subjects.
- The Ironwood Tree Experience offers youth opportunities to engage with nature and support the environment.
At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.
Written by: The Intuition Wellness Center Team