Spend More Quality Time with Your Teen with 23 Activities They’ll Actually Love

We asked teens to spill their favorite ways to hang out with Mom and Dad—and you will be seriously surprised at their top picks.

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Volunteer at a kid's charity

01_ways_to_spend_quality_508249466_FatCamera"One of my favorite things I do with my mom is to volunteer together. We have packed meals for families, worked on clean-up crews, hosted medical patients who need a place to stay when they're in town for a procedure, and other cool stuff. My dad and I also collect old bikes and fix them up to give to kids who need a bike. It sounds like work but it's really fun and gives us time to talk. Plus it helps me see how other kids live and be more happy with my life." —Abby S., 14, Omaha, Nebraska. (Need more ideas? Check out these creative and kid-friendly ways to volunteer.)

Make a lovebox

02_ways_to_spend_quality_96782708_ecunninghamiStock/ecunningham"One year for Valentine's Day my mom gave me a little plastic mailbox with a love note in it. I left it in front of my bedroom door and now we trade notes back and forth in it. Sometimes it's easier to write her something than it is to tell her, like when I'm really mad. She also leaves me treats in it sometimes." —Sam A., 14, Denver, Colorado. (Or try one of these non-toy gift ideas that kids love.)

Game night

03_ways_to_spend_quality_503391992_izusekiStock/izusek"I love playing board and card games with my parents. It's something we've done together since I was little. We get really competitive, but we always have fun." —Thomas H., 17, Ridgecrest, California. (Make sure these classic board games on your shelf.)

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Have a kids' day out

04_ways_to_spend_quality_467885894_sturtiiStock/sturti"Every once in a while my mom and I will do a girls' day. We go shopping and out to lunch and then we binge-watch a show together after the little kids—I have three younger brothers!—are all in bed. I love the one-on-one time with her. I feel like I can talk about anything and I don't have to worry about my brothers listening in."—Lauren H., 17, Parker, Colorado

Explore the great outdoors

05_ways_to_spend_quality_161851469_MrsVega-iStock/MrsVega-"I love to go camping with my dad. We go hiking and stuff, but the best part is the campfire. He taught me how to light one and make sure it stays burning. He's great at outdoors stuff so I learn a lot from him!"—Lance P., 12, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Bonus: Test out these 26 favorite camping recipes.)

Learn a new skill together

06_ways_to_spend_quality_507031383_shironosoviStock/shironosov"Probably my favorite way to hang out with my mom is to go shopping! But recently we learned how to can together,and we made a lot of jam. It ended up being a lot of fun. Honestly, my favorite things to do with her is anything that's not cleaning! Chores are not good bonding time!"—Katie H., 14, Ridgecrest, California. (Need a primer on canning? Here's how to preserve fruit.)

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Go on a hike

07_ways_to_spend_quality_175586234_GlobalStockiStock/GlobalStock"I like to go hiking with my mom or dad. It's one of my favorite things to do anyhow and we get to see new stuff. There's also lots of time to talk if I have something I've been thinking about a lot."—Logan H., 14, Parker, Colorado. (Try out one of these spectacular summer hikes in the months ahead.)

Cook dinner together

08_ways_to_spend_quality_482559111_pixdeluxeiStock/pixdeluxe"Our lives are so busy it's hard to find time to be together sometimes. But I've learned one of the best times to talk to my mom is when she's cooking. We make dinner together and chat about our days. Plus now I know how to cook a lot of things, which is a really great skill to have." —Ethan A., 19, Columbus, Ohio

Hit the gym

09_ways_to_spend_quality_609097894_mihailomilovanoviciStock/mihailomilovanovic"I learned how to lift weights from my mom, and now we're both competitive powerlifters. We train together and always cheer each other on through the ups and the downs. She knows exactly what I'm going through."—Holden P., 13, Fellsmere, Florida

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Go to a coffee shop

10_ways_to_spend_quality_515833284_SrdjanPaviStock/SrdjanPav"My mom and I go to Starbucks together. It's our thing. She lets me get whatever drink I want and we sit and talk." —Ryleigh G., 13, Warwick, New York. (Just make sure they're not having too much caffeine.)

Family campouts

11_ways_to_spend_quality_488611363_monkeybusinessimagesiStock/monkeybusinessimages"I love camping with my family. It's time we get to spend together without any distractions just talking and playing and whatever. My favorite memories are of camping trips!"—Cole P., 15, Boston, Massachusetts

Play a video game

12_ways_to_spend_quality_482559495_pixdeluxeiStock/pixdeluxe"My mom and I are still playing Pokemon Go together. It gets us out and running around. And it's fun to do something where I get to be the leader and teacher! We don't even care that the craze is over." —Adam G., 12, British Columbia (Hint: Here are some tips to make sure your family tech time isn't getting out of control.)

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Take an adventure

13_ways_to_spend_quality_488559767_PhotoTalkiStock/PhotoTalk"I'm an adrenaline junkie and I got that from my dad. We love to go on mini adventures where we try something crazy. So far we've done zip lining, dirt bikes, roller coasters, boxing, and kayaking. I want to do skydiving but my mom said no."—Kenzie W., 14, Denver, Colorado

Walk and talk

14_ways_to_spend_quality_513301812_SpiderstockiStock/Spiderstock"I'm one of six kids and it can be really hard to get my mom's full attention. So it's really special when we just go on walks together and she lets me talk about whatever is bothering me. It's the most fun if it involves shopping! But really anywhere we can just walk around is good."—Naomi C., 13, Logan, Utah. (Use these tricks to get your kid off their phone and out for a walk.)

Dance party

15_ways_to_spend_quality_503704758_filadendroniStock/filadendron"My mom and dad and I sometimes have before-school dance parties to cheesy 80s music while getting ready. They are not afraid to let it all out! It makes us all laugh a lot and is a great start to my day." —Anelise H., 13, Denver, Colorado

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Get crafty

16_ways_to_spend_quality_598084340_KerkeziStock/Kerkez"My mom and I do crafts together. Our favorite is to make cards but she's also teaching me how to sew, which I really like. We talk a lot and we make some really cute stuff."—Kelsi J., 15, Allen, Texas. (Start with one of these simple, fun craft ideas.)

Play pranks

17_ways_to_spend_quality_133913957_eurobanksiStock/eurobanks"My mom lets me plan our 'date night' together. Last time I decided we would buy treats, put them on plates, and take them to people. We left the plate on the porch and doorbell-ditched and ran away. It was so fun and it felt good to do something nice for someone out of the blue." —Maya M., 14, Salt Lake City, Utah

Share a passion

18_ways_to_spend_quality_458533913_Kokkai-NgiStock/Kokkai Ng"My dad got me into the Lord of the Rings books when I was really little. He used to read them to me at bedtime. We've seen all the movies together, play the games, collect the toys, and talk about it together. We're even planning a trip to New Zealand someday to see where it was filmed. Geeky? Yeah. But we love it." —Justin N., 18, Seattle, Washington

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Get cultural

19_ways_to_spend_quality_543054460_ahirao_photoiStock/ahirao_photo"My mom is Japanese but I was born here so she makes sure I stay in touch with my Japanese roots by taking me to see plays, teaching me words in Japanese, and showing me how to make traditional dishes. I'm really good at making temaki, a type of sushi. It makes me feel connected to her and to my family in Japan." —Ruby O., 16, Los Angeles, California. (Or talk about these customs that are fine in America but considered rude in other countries.)

Tell family stories

20_ways_to_spend_quality_108272245_vasilikiiStock/vasiliki"There's a big family book that shows all of our ancestors and history going back for generations. I love to sit and look through it with my dad. We read stories about people or he tells me stories that he remembers. I'm going to do that someday with my own kids."Allie T., 17, Provo, Utah. (Don't have a book? Go online! Just make sure you know the secrets that ancestry trackers won't tell you.)

Have a religious ritual

21_ways_to_spend_quality_538171348_aldomurilloiStock/aldomurillo"Every night my mom comes in and says a prayer with me in my room. It helps me fall asleep and it's a good time to talk. I just like to hear her pray over me; it makes me know she loves me." —Jesse K., 12, Dallas, Texas

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Catch a movie

22_ways_to_spend_quality_600058006_DGLimagesiStock/DGLimages"My parents and I, our thing is watching movies together. We don't just watch the blockbusters either—we see art films and foreign films, and old movies too. But my favorite part is when we discuss them after. We love to critique movies. And we are always quoting them to each other."—Mason L., 17, Grand Rapids, Minnesota. (Here are 16 funny family movies you'll all enjoy.)

Play a sport

23_ways_to_spend_quality_523863904_AlijaiStock/Alija"My dad and I play soccer together every Saturday. We're not very good but it's fun to kick the ball around. Then we go get Slurpees." —Calvin S., 11, Atlanta, Georgia

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