“I don’t want to go to camp. I just want time to hang out.” Those were the words of my 12-year-old daughter when I mentioned summer plans. And then the parental anxiety set in. I knew in my heart that my middle-schooler was too old to go to that wonderful day camp that kept her busy and active all day long, but I also knew that letting her “hang out” all day would translate into too many unproductive hours in front of the TV or on the computer or the telephone. What’s a parent to do?Luckily, there are alternatives. More and more recreation centers, schools, museums, even colleges are catering to this age group with classes and programs. Volunteer centers are often looking for young preteens and teens to lend a hand. And it’s never too early to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit. This age group may be beyond the general day camp approach so the key is cultivating special interests your preteen or teen has and being creative in finding programs to match. Don’t be surprised if no single program will fill up your preteen’s summer days, but by being resourceful, you can find a number of activities to make this an active, engaging summer, and still reserve a little time “just to hang out.” Here are 10 tips to get you started. And do start early in planning for programs that require advance registration. Popular programs generally fill up quickly.

Source: Young teen’s dilemma: too old for camp, too young to work | Parenting