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.)

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.)

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

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.)

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