I see it all over Facebook: “I’m sooooo booooored. Somebody text me, pleeeeeeeeease……..”
Right about now the “What-can-I-do-I’m-so-bored” syndrome should be setting in. Whether they live in the Pacific Northwest (where they are complaining about the cold) or anywhere else in the country (where it’s apparently too hot), non-driving teens are finding their summer days dragging on. It’s too early to get excited about going back to school to see their friends, but they’ve spent so many days at home that il dolce far niente – Italian for “the sweetness of doing nothing” – has worn off.
A break from school doesn’t have to be a break from learning – but summer learning should be fun!
Reading is always an educational activity, but many teens will say, “I don’t like to read.” I say, “Hogwash” (which always gets a reaction). Every teenager will read if offered a book on a topic they find interesting. I ask students if they would read books about:
- How to earn $100 by doing chores, or
- Cheat codes for their favorite video games, or
- Foolproof methods for getting A’s in school.
Most of them assure me they would read such books. At which time I point out it’s not reading they object to; it’s reading stories. (And if I dig a little further, I can sometimes even find stories they’d actually like to read: “A man getting eaten by a shark?” “A 12-year-old who living on his own in the wilderness?” “Two girls stranded on an island with three babies?”)
In addition to reading, fun learning options might include sudoku, crossword, or jigsaw puzzles, or Mad Libs with a friend or family member (all can be found online). Learning to cook (or trying new recipes) is good for honing reading comprehension, math, and problem solving skills. Family trips can include lessons in history, geography, or sociology, as well as instructions on how to be a savvy traveler.
Encourage your teen to be a learner by offering trips to the library or to Barnes and Noble (sweeten the deal with a trip to the Cafe). Explore topics that might be interesting, and don’t give up at the first shrug and “I dunno.”