Group of four teens going for a hike together

How to Motivate Teens to Get Outside This Summer

Motivating teens to go outside, get some fresh air and enjoy nature can sometimes feel like a battle against the almighty screens. But the benefits of time spent outdoors for both physical and mental health are seemingly endless — so getting them out there is well worth the fight. Outdoor activities for teens can include socializing, getting exercise, and even simply feeling free and alive — all things teens truly need.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that teens have had to spend so much time indoors this past year, and it may be tough to break that habit. That is why, this summer, it is especially important to focus on getting your teen to engage in some fun in the sun. So with that in mind, let’s look at some tips on how to motivate a teenager to get outdoors this summer. 


What might have once seemed like an activity for older folks, gardening is now totally on-trend, yes, even for teens. Gardening means exercise, sustainability, and time outdoors — all things teens can benefit from. This is an amazing chance to help your teen not only get outside but have a project that shows them the fruits of their labor, literally. They can work on their personal growth and the growth of their plants side by side. Get involved by offering to build a garden together. If you don’t have the space, visit a community garden with your teen. This is a great opportunity to teach your teen about the beautiful things nature and your community has to offer. 


If gardening is too much of a commitment for your teen right now, start small with foraging! Find a nearby landmark that offers fun outdoor activities like strawberry picking. For something even more summery, see if there are any local flower fields nearby. These instagram-worthy moments  are a great way to motivate your teenager to get outside. If this turns out to be something they love, see what else your community offers! Maybe one activity will have them looking for other fun outdoor hobbies.


Sometimes we can forget the amazing things located in our backyards! Wherever you live, there is often a chance to be a tourist for a day in your own city or town. Offer to drive your teen and their friends to the nearest park, forest, beach, lake, or monument. Or maybe there is a well-known place in town that you just haven’t gotten around to visiting yet. This is a great chance to spend time out of the house enjoying fun outdoor activities with your teen. On top of that, it might just feel like a mini vacation!


It might sound simple, but this is really an easy and effective way to help your teen enjoy the outdoors. If you aren’t already, start going on morning, afternoon, or evening walks and invite your teen to come with you. They might not say yes the first time, or even the first few times, but when offered regularly, or as a break from studying, they might realize it can be a perfect retreat. If you can’t make it on the walks, or if a lack of privacy is a worry for your teen, offer a walk around the neighborhood as a way for them to clear their head or call their friends. If you have a pet, encourage your teen to take it for a walk and play for awhile outside. This can be an excellent chance to get a little exercise and escape all at the same time!


Your teen probably already loves a good challenge. Whether they are into sports, video games, or simply like to compete, encourage them to take these games outside. Anything from pickup basketball, a quick game of badminton, or even chess in the park can be a great way to challenge your teen to get outside. Maybe there is something they like to do or play with friends? Ask them to show you how it’s done! To level up, visit a flat grassy area and bring along a picnic to keep the fun going!


If your teen seems stressed or tied down by their studies, encourage them to do some of their regular indoor activities outside. Help them set up a space like a patio or a lawn to read, study, listen to music, or work on their art projects. This can be the perfect chance to help your teen relax and wind down while still feeling productive. When they decide it’s time to take a break, they are already out of the house and ready to enjoy any of the fun outdoor activities that they love!

At Tilly’s Life Center, we are here to help your teen be the best version of themselves possible! Part of positive mental health is being proactive about taking time to relax and enjoy life, that’s why our social and emotional workshops encourage teens to feel motivated, confident, and supported as they take strides to better themselves. To learn more, visit