Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

December 22, 2020

Activities & Gifts for Teens

By: Sam Develli. OTR/L

13-17 years

The teen years lead to less preoccupation with physical changes as they develop acceptance of their bodies, as well as the development of identity. Their interest often shifts to grooming and trying to be “more attractive”. With the development of adulthood, teens start to follow good health habits by exercising regularly and eating nutritious meals. They are able to take medication when it’s needed and make appointments to see the doctor. In addition to a focus on school and the future, this stage is often characterized by engagement in work (whether paid or unpaid) which allows for the development of an occupational identity. With the maturation of the prefrontal lobe, teens experience a change in their quality of thinking, gaining the ability to think creatively, complexly, and efficiently. This age is characterized by the development of symbolic thought and hypothetical-deductive reasoning which helps in the understanding of consequences of actions and reduces impulsive behaviors and increases emotional control/behavior modulation. By the end of the teen years, these individuals gain a stable, positive sense of self and self-knowledge of ability which ultimately enable the establishment of healthy relationships.

Appropriate Gifts:

  • Physical activity experiences (i.e. hiking, swimming, skiing, roller blading, challenge course, ice skating, etc)
  • Games requiring higher-level processing- i.e. scrabble, jenga, monopoly, battleship, soduku, chess, Catan
  • Enhancing processing speed- blink, spot it, tricky hands, blurt, Pictionary, charades, distraction, electronic simon
  • Teamwork Games- Codenames
  • Brainteasers
  • I-spy
  • Bike/Scooter
  • Puzzles 500+ pieces or Paint-by-Number
  • Books
  • Cook Books/Recipes
  • Headphones/Speaker/Music
  • Goal Setting Notebook
  • Mindfulness Journal
  • Bank Account- parent monitored
  • Scratch-Off Travel Map