Keeping the Teens Entertained

Sometimes, keeping your teenage family members entertained is harder than keeping the little ones entertained! Arm yourself with this list if you don’t want your time down the shore to be filled with cries of “I’m bored!” and “There’s nothing to do!”
Plan Ahead! You can fight boredom before you even leave the house.

  • Pack a beach ball or a flying disc, or any small, flat toy. You don’t need to spare a lot of space in your luggage, and it will give the family a reason to get moving! And a ball or Frisbee is a good way for your teens to meet other teens — the activity might just draw in other bored teens.
  • Have everyone pack at least one book or magazine, or even mail order catalogs for a vacation library. If you’ve got four people in your family, that’s four different things to read. (The advantage of magazines and catalogs is that you don’t even have to bring them home! Just toss them when you’re done with them.)
  • Mini travel games are great for the car ride, but maybe not such a good idea for the beach… the small parts can easily get lost in the sand.
  • If your kids have handheld game systems, you’ve got an instant source of entertainment. Make sure everybody has plenty of games and batteries, or charges their handhelds (and cell phones!) each night, so you’re not stuck without your last resort entertainment source.

Get Moving! Your teens may want to loaf around for the duration of your Jersey shore vacation, but there are a lot of ways to get them moving!

  • Walk the Wildwood boardwalk. All the games and shops will provide enough entertainment that you won’t even notice the miles!
  • Walk the beach. You can people-watch… check out the lifeguards… you might just find a bunch of people your age to hang out with.
  • Who needs a surfboard? Use your body to ride the waves in.
  • Wade out until you’re waist or chest deep in the water and jump the waves: jump up as the top of a wave approaches and float down the other side.
  • Rent a bicycle and take a ride around town. (Some bed and breakfasts even provide bikes for free!) Helmets are mandatory for riders under seventeen, and are just a good idea in general. Make sure you know the bike basics — ride on the right side of the road, ride single file, and obey all traffic laws and signals. A cell phone or two-way communicator isn’t a bad accessory for the directionally challenged.

Get Creative! Travel will inspire your young artist or writer.

  • Pack a sketch pad and pencils. The change of scenery may be a great inspiration. A set of pastels is great for creating a sunrise or sunset scene.
  • Keep a travel journal. Updating your journal daily will not only hone your writing skills, but you’ll have a detailed reminder of your Jersey shore experience! If you have an online journal like MySpace or LiveJournal, you can post the highlights of your trip when you get back home.
  • Collect shells. The beach is full of interesting whole shells and colorful bits. The shell pieces can be used to make a mosaic style picture. Whole shells can be painted and given as gifts. Or, make a shell wind chime! Clean the shells thoroughly, then use a Phillips head screwdriver to bore a small hole near the edge. String the shells on fishing line and suspend them from a short piece of wood.

When all else fails, you can always send your teens to the arcade. Five bucks should give you at least an hour of peace and quiet. And if your teens are the responsible sort, you can have them take younger siblings along! Just make sure that everybody checks in regularly.