We parents all want to spend quality time with our kids. Research now confirms what we already know to be true: experiences enrich our lives more than material things.
At the same time, it’s so easy to slip into the same old routine and spend more and more time apart from our kids, particularly as they grow older. With that in mind, and given the fact that we have 940 Saturdays with our children before they turn 18, here are 35 ideas of how you can enjoy the company of your tween or teen girl in Austin, and save that money for the college fund.
- Walk to the top of Doug Sahm Hill at sunset and watch the sky change colors and the lights emerge from the ever-changing downtown.
- Try on silly hats at Lucy in Disguise.
- Watch a Movie in the Park at Republic Square Park.
- Discover a new-to-you local musician – together – at Blues on the Green.
- LOL at the O. Henry Pun Off.
- Reinforce what she learned in school by taking a tour of the Texas Capitol.
- Pick a cool morning to scale the steps at Mount Bonnell and try to find your house.
- Fly a kite at the Zilker Kite Festival.
- Walk the 3-mile loop on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail together.
- See the stars (not a celebrity, those twinkly things in the sky) through a UT telescope.
- Take in some art at the West Austin Studio Tour and/or the East Austin Studio Tour.
- Marvel at the dancers’ grace at Ballet Under the Stars.
- Watch the peacocks strut their stuff at Mayfield Park.
- Watch the bats fly out from under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.
- Take an awkward family bluebonnet photo.
- Decide on your favorite mural at the HOPE Outdoor Gallery.
- Get a preview of college life at Explore UT.
- Hike to the top of the Loop 360 Overlook.
- Window shop on South Congress.
- Decide upon the best view of downtown as you stroll the Boardwalk.
- Go on a mural scavenger hunt.
- Visit the LBJ Presidential Museum on one of the days it is free (MLK Day, Presidents Day, during Explore UT, Memorial Day, July 4th, August 27, and on Austin Museum Day).
- Cool off at your favorite swimming hole on the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
- Watch the purple martins roost near Capital Plaza (or their preferred location).
- Visit the final resting place of many figures in our history at the Texas State Cemetery.
- Volunteer as a family.
- Wander around the shady grounds at Laguna Gloria and sketch your favorite sculpture.
- Throw a Frisbee on the Great Lawn at Zilker Park.
- Ride bikes on the Veloway.
- Go to a Full Moon Swim at Barton Springs (from 9-10pm during Free Swim when the moon is full).
- See how many museums you can visit on Austin Museum Day.
- Go fishing.
- People watch during First Thursday on South Congress.
- Listen to her favorite undiscovered act at a day party during South by Southwest.
- Pick your own pecans and make a pie with your bounty.
What’s your favorite free thing to do with the young lady in your life?
Barb Steinberg, LMSW is a teen life coach and workshop facilitator who transforms the lives of adolescent girls and the adults who care about them. As a teen life coach, Barb has a knack for quickly getting to the core of the problem and guiding clients toward a solution. Both girls and adults find her extremely easy to relate to, open, warm and funny. Barb is gifted at balancing emotion and intellect and serving as a catalyst for long-lasting change.