08/01/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Tina's Top 10 Things to Do with Your Tweens This Summer

In light of the recession and conversations with my tween buzzSpotters®, I wanted to share my list of the top things to do with your tweens this summer. Enjoy!

1. Visit a farm. It's important that tweens know where their food comes from. Spending some time at a local orchard or farm allows them to see how their dinner actually reaches their plate, and creates a great sense of appreciation.

2. Take a walk. It sounds so simple, but over and over again I hear from tweens how much they cherish the time they get to spend with their families. We're all so busy and overworked, that sometimes a nice walk (enjoying ice cream) is the perfect way to end a summer day.

3. Go to a classical concert. I know that many orchestras like the Philadelphia Orchestra (shameless plug!) offer concerts at the park, where you can bring a nice picnic dinner and enjoy a lovely concert. Prior to the concert, go online together and look up info on the artist's work.

4. Read a book together. It's no surprise I'm advocating for reading books together! I've gotten letters from moms who are reading my book, Mackenzie Blue, with their tweens. And it made me think that it shouldn't stop with one book. It's a great way to breech hard topics with your tween and be entertained at the same time.

5. Volunteer at your local food bank. Organizations like food banks are always looking for volunteers to help! Spend a few hours making a difference in your local community. It will definitely boost your tween's self confidence.

6. Cook dinner together. Find a recipe that you both like, shop for the food, and cook it together. At this age, tweens become very curious about cooking!

7. Visit a historical site in your town. Every town has one! And it might even be that you discover what your local flower is, or the oldest home in your town. Do something that connects you to your local history.

8. Host a family game night. I have a very large family (8 of us!), and growing up, one of my parents' favorite things to do was have a game night tournament where we played all kinds of board games and word games. Invite a few other families over and have a potluck dinner, too!

9. Research a "pioneer" or potential mentor. Talk with your tween about people (dead or alive) that you look up to and would like to learn more about. Take your top three and research them online (use Google search, Wikipedia, etc) and find out if they have written any books or autobiographies. Read them together!

10. Learn a foreign language. Have you promised your tween a trip to Paris when they turn 16? What better time to start learning French! Is a Spanish vacation on the horizon? Start learning Spanish! It's something great you can do together, and a great way for you to bond.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. This summer, what's most important is spending time with your tween, no matter where you go or what you do. Trust me, they value time with you more than they value anything you can buy them. Enjoy!