Remember when the kids were easy to amuse? Pop them in a sandbox and they were happy for hours. Not so with tweens. An older child’s social and intellectual needs are more complicated, which means as parents we might often find ourselves scrambling for ideas to keep the kids engaged. Here are some simple ways to infuse a little fun into your tween’s summer freedom.

Rock painting—Get on board the recent rock painting phenomenon. Search for palm-size rocks, use acrylic paints to color them or write encouraging messages, then hide the rocks around town in areas such as playgrounds, bike trails, or coffee shop verandas. See how many rocks you can share and collect before summer’s end.

Skating—Put on a pair of rollerskates and glide through town together. This simple change from biking, walking or driving can create lots of giggles and fond memories.

Thrifting—Who says a shopping spree has to be expensive? Take your tween on a date to some local thrift shops and see how many fabulous five-dollar outfits you can find.

Pinning—Allow your daughter to create her own Pinterest account, or to create secret boards through your account. Then invite her to search for fun crafts or activities she’d like to do this summer. Whether or not you actually get around to creating all the crafts may become less important than the simple fun of browsing and collecting ideas.

Ice pop challenge—See how many different flavors and varieties of homemade ice pops you can create this summer. Search for new recipes or create your own. Invite the family to rate every new ice pop, and keep tabs so that by the end of the summer, you can name the top three winning flavors.

Photo treasure hunt—Give your daughter a list of objects or scenes to capture with her camera and see how many she can find.

Read, read, read—Summer is a great time for reading. Be sure to introduce your tween to Faithgirlz fiction series such as Glimmer Girls, Lena in the Spotlight, Princess in Camo and much more.