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Family Time Unplugged: 8 Screen-Free Ways to Hang With Your Teenagers

In today's fast-paced, tech-driven world, it's all too easy for families to get swept away by the chaos of busy schedules and digital distractions. But there's a treasure trove of priceless moments waiting to be enjoyed through quality family time with your teenagers.

Can you imagine, the whole crew huddled together, away from the siren call of smartphones and gadgets? Family time isn't just about clocking in hours, it's about enjoying each other's company along the way.

Now, I know what you're thinking - with work, school, and extracurricular activities, finding time for family bonding seems like a daunting task. But trust me, it's worth every bit of effort. These moments of togetherness form the very foundation of a close-knit family, and it's the memories created during this time that will be valued them most.


Unplugging to Connect

Ah, the digital abyss - a place where hours slip away unnoticed, leaving us disconnected from those who matter most. It's time to pull the plug, quite literally, and set some ground rules for the family. Designate a tech-free zone or specific hours during the day when screens are banished, and true connections take center stage.

As you disconnect from the digital world, you'll find yourself engaging in heartfelt conversations, sharing laughter, and rekindling that long-lost magic of family bonding. The moments when you're fully present with each other are the ones that leave a lasting impact, building the trust and openness that every family needs.

So without screens... what can we do to hang out with the kids?


Go Karting

Rev up the excitement, pump up the adrenaline and hit the tracks with your teenagers for an epic go-karting adventure!

The smell of rubber on the asphalt, the unmistakable sound of engines revving, and the sheer joy of competing against each other at something you have mastered and they are just learning.

Go-karting isn't just a high-octane activity; it's a fantastic way to bond with your teens in a fun and exhilarating setting. As a professional photographer, I can't help but see the potential for some epic action shots while you are there – the determination on their faces as they navigate the twists and turns, the friendly banter as they jockey for position, and the sheer delight when they cross the finish line (behind you, if youre lucky!)

It's not just about the speed; it's about the shared moments, the laughter, and the friendly competition that make go-karting an ideal family outing. So, strap in, embrace the speed, and enjoy those family moments of pure teenage thrill on and off the track!


Family Olympics

What's family time without a dash of friendly competition? Gather 'round for the Family Olympics, where fun and laughter reign supreme.

Choose activities that cater to everyone's abilities and interests Ideas could be things such as:

  • Relay race in back yard

  • Fill cup from ice machine with exactly 8 pieces of ice

  • Cup stacking race

  • Cookie-face race

  • Balloon keepy-uppy challenge

Put all the results on a big colourful piece of paper to make it "official" and hand out funny prizes such as matchbox cars at the end.

The Family Olympics aren't about winning or losing; they're about the joy of participating together. Embrace the cheers and banter, and remember that the memories made during these lighthearted moments will be treasured for a lifetime.



Grab your rods (even cheapies from Kmart will do) pack a picnic, and head out to the bay with your teens for a fishing escapade that goes beyond just catching fish. There are loads of fishing spots around Sandgate, Nudgee, Wynnum and more, jetties are a great place to fish from, just be sure it's not a boat ramp!

There's something magical about the tranquility of a fishing trip – a perfect opportunity to connect with your teenagers in a relaxed and natural setting.

Fishing is not just about the excitement of the catch but also the peaceful moments in between, where conversations flow as smoothly as the gentle ripples on the water. Be ready to snap some phone shots o the joy on their faces when they land that big one - or any one! - not to mention the newly forged fishing tales they have to share with friends now too.

Fishing is a chance to unplug, unwind, and create memories that aren't measured by the size of the catch but by the quality of the time spent together. So, bait some hooks, cast the lines, and savour the simple joy of fishing with your teenagers – because sometimes, it's the quiet moments by the water that speak the loudest.



Trade city lights for starry skies with an overnight camping adventure. Camping isn't just about setting up tents and building a campfire; it's a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with your teenagers in the great outdoors.

There is some real family magic in setting up a campsite together – the teamwork involved, the laughter as you struggle with tent poles, and the satisfaction of creating a temporary home under the open sky.

But the real beauty unfolds after the sun sets, with the crackling campfire casting a warm glow on faces sharing stories and roasting marshmallows.

It's a night where technology takes a backseat, and conversations under the canvas of stars become the highlight.

Brisbane has some great overnight spots nearby, from beach camping on Moreton or Straddie, to bush or farm camping inland.

Sometimes, the best stories are written under the night sky.


Geocache Hunt

Never heard of it? Step right this way!

Geocaching is like a global outdoor scavenger hunt. Using the website above or an app downloaded to your smartphone, follow coordinates to find hidden containers (caches) placed by other players. When you find the cache, you add your name and date into the log and hide it again for the next person to find.

Yes. There are literally thousands of these little treasures hidden in local parks all around you!

Geocaching isn't just a GPS-guided adventure; it's a really fun (sometimes frustrating!) experience that combines technology, exploration, and the sheer joy of discovery.

The beauty of geocaching lies not just in finding the cache, but in the journey itself – the shared laughter, the strategic problem-solving, and the unexpected surprises along the way. It's a chance to turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary adventure, filled with moments that seamlessly blend family bonding and the thrill of the hunt.



Whether it's participating in community clean-ups, planting trees in local nature reserves or assisting at a charitable event, volunteering provides a powerful platform for teenagers to develop empathy and a sense of social responsibility.

Volunteering together becomes more than just a task; it's an opportunity to connect on a deeper level, discovering the joy that comes from making a positive impact as a family.

Beyond the altruistic benefits, these experiences often become cherished memories, reinforcing the values of kindness and community engagement in your teenagers. So, roll up your sleeves, get involved, and let the spirit of volunteerism be the glue that strengthens your family bonds while making a difference in the world.

From helping at events such as the Lifeline Bookfest to weekly visiting in retirement homes, there are loads of ways to be involved in community support. Check out what is local to you in the link above.


Ghost Tour

Book you and your teenager in for a spine-chilling adventure with a ghost tour.

Picture this: navigating dimly lit streets, stories of paranormal encounters echoing through the air, and the thrill of the unknown sending shivers down your spines.

Ok. So its not for me (I scare WAY too easily) but I know loads of kids who would absolutely love this!

I can't help but imagine the expressions of excitement and trepidation on your teenagers' faces as they immerse themselves in tales of haunted history.

A ghost tour isn't just about the spooky tales; it's a chance for your family to bond over shared thrills and chills. It's an experience that blends history, mystery, and the shared adrenaline rush that comes with exploring the eerie side of a city.


Escape Room

The ghost tour is not my jam - but escape rooms are! The puzzles and teamwork was so much fun. We did this as a family at the Everton Park place for one of my kids birthdays a few years ago and it was really awesome!

An escape room isn't just a game, it's a dynamic experience that encourages teamwork, problem-solving, and quick thinking. Unraveling each puzzle is quite a thrill and I love how it all becomes a shared family victory.

Not that we succeeded... our family did not escape the room but we were very close. Cant wait to try another one now the kids are a little older!


So there you have it, a treasure map to creating unforgettable family bonding experiences with your tween and teenage kids.

In this busy world, time is our most precious asset, and spending it with loved ones is an investment like no other.

Here's to the endless joys of spending time with your incredible teenage kids!



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