There’s something about the rush of competition that gets us going, so what better way to connect with your teen than through a friendly round or two of laser tag? Chesterfield Sports Fusion, located in Chesterfield, offers four team play every 20 minutes on their 7,500- square-foot movie set designed to look like a city street. Epic 6 Sports Arena, located in Fenton, features a two-level interactive laser tag space. For sky-high fun, spend a day playing at Flying Spider in Ballwin, which features aerial silks, a trapeze and more indoor fun.
The great outdoors
If the weather is cooperating and you want to get your teen outdoors, consider a hike or walk through a local park. Strike up a conversation and get the heart pumping at one of the many picturesque spots in the area. Visit the St. Charles County Parks, St. Louis County Parks, Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri State Parks websites to find a park near you. Feeling adventurous? Explore the outdoors by horseback at Pere Marquette Stables in Grafton, Illinois. In Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park, intrepid parents and teens can bond by exploring the water trail by canoe, kayak or paddleboard, or enjoy a bird's eye view of the park at the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course.
Food has always been a catalyst to bring people together. Finish up dinner, leave the dishes in the sink and head over to your favorite dessert spot for some one-on-one time. Heaven Scent Bakery, located in O'Fallon, has plenty of tables for two. Frozen yogurt is another fun option; Tutti Frutti and Orange Leaf are just a couple of the many self-serve frozen yogurt shops in the area.
Whether clothes, shoes, crafts or video games are your teen’s weakness, you can find it all at the local mall. Regardless of your budget, simply window shopping and strolling through the mall are fun ways to break the rut and spend time with your teen. Check out the St. Louis Mall Guide for a rundown of where to find your teen's favorite stores. Looking for something beyond the usual department store? Go retro at The Vintage Haberdashery in Tower Grove Park.
Take a class
Spending quality time with your teen doing something they love is a sure way to let them know you value their individuality. If your teen is sporty, consider a class at your local YMCA; if they are artistic, find a class at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles or the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, Illinois; if they are crafty, check out a flyer for your favorite craft store for one that might interest you both. Some grocery stores, including Dierbergs, offer cooking classes. St. Charles City-County Library and St. Louis County Library offer free classes on a variety of subjects as well. Introduce yourself and your teen to something different by taking a Classical Fencing class together at the City of St. Peters’ Rec Plex. The possibilities are only limited by your teens’ interests! If you have an open evening or weekend, check the St. Louis Sprout & About Calendar for ideas.
Bonding doesn’t have to be all about in-depth conversations. Sometimes just spending time together watching a good movie can help connect parents and teens. Put down the remote and make it special with a showing of the latest blockbuster. B&B Theaters features reclining seats at its Wildwood and Wentzville locations and retro movie nights so parents can introduce teens to “old school” flicks from their own teen years.
The scenic route
From the time they are tiny, some of the best chats with children happen in the car. While a quick update on the way to practice is nice, sometimes it’s good to get teens away to get them talking. Put the phones in the glove compartment and head down The Great River Road in Illinois. Between the scenic views and interesting stops, your teen will hopefully “unplug,” relax and open up a bit.
Bonding over helping the community is a rewarding way to teach teens to use their talents and gifts for others. The opportunities can also be great discussion starters. Check out these opportunities for giving back to get your ideas flowing. Your local church and city hall are also great volunteer resources.
Best Bets articles represent the views and the research completed by St. Louis Sprout & About journalists and are not driven by advertising or requests by vendors or venues. Best Bets do not imply an endorsement of a business or activity.