For The Artsy Kids
In their ironic vintage t-shirts and the latest on-trend sneakers, these kids are undoubtedly the coolest. They are difficult to impress with run-of-the-mill outings, such as cinemas at the mall or milkshakes at your local roadhouse. We recommend taking them down to the Maboneng Precinct's Market on Main. This inner city Sunday market offers a true taste of Joburg's eclectic multicultural arts scene. If you need to find activities for teens that will beat the commonplace, this is your bet.
Stop off at The Bioscope — Joburg's first independently run cinema complex. Here you can catch a few good 'oldies', or the latest cutting-edge documentaries and indie films from around the world. There are also unlimited food choices available from the many trendy food truck stalls. Encourage your teen to bring along a few friends ... if you are capable of rearing together a bunch of nonchalantly excited teens.
Teens love having a rare skill to brag about to their friends. If your child is a confident swimmer with a love for all things aquatic, send them to scuba diving lessons. The Urban Dive Centre in Randburg offers scuba lessons and diving parties for kids eight years and older. Lessons are taught in their outdoor heated pool, ensuring safety at all times. The kids will definitely (maybe) thank you for giving them this neat skill on your next trip down to the beach.
Alternatively, pack up the family for a day out at the Emerald Resort and Casino near the Vaal in Vanderbijlpark. The resort's massive enclosed Aquadome water park is the perfect hang-out spot for a water loving teen. There is a range of fun water slides and games to play as well.
Future Hollywood Stars
Adolescents should have a creative outlet — whether it be music, dance or art. If their school does not offer creative subjects or extra-murals, look out for your nearest after-school drama club or dance class. The Helen O'Grady Drama Academy holds weekly drama and voice workshops for teens aged 13 - 18. They have various locations across the city. Classes are tailored towards developing a sense of self-confidence in young performers, as they are trained in spontaneous improvisation, voice production, theatre games, radio plays, quick fire dialogues, monologues and structured scenes.
Investing in your child's creative talents also offers them future career opportunities and the chance to build life-long friendships. Dance is a fantastic outlet for young adults. It allows great possibility for self-expression, while giving the body a full workout. Katz School of Dance in Sandton holds classes in a wide range of dance disciplines, including ballet, afro-fusion, hip-hop and Spanish dancing.
The Nature Lovers
A breath of fresh air is sometimes all a grouchy teen needs to boost their spirit. Although, you may have to drag them tooth and nail from the comfort of their bed.
Visit the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort for a fun-filled day out in nature. Pack a picnic with your kid's favourite snacks and stroll leisurely through the serene gardens. The park is home to 198 bird species and other cute creatures, like the duiker. So bring along a pair of binoculars. If your teen is into bird watching, look out for rare species of eagle that swoop down from the mountainside cliffs of the park. For the more adventurous teen, there are a few challenging hike trails to choose from. Be sure to take lots of photographs during the day — the cascading waterfall at the end of the park is the perfect spot for a family selfie.
Some kids just love all things technology. Who can blame them? They were basically born with smartphones in their hands. Virtual reality gaming is the latest in-thing for young game fanatics and tech lovers. Blue Ocean VR offers an all round virtual reality gaming experience. They further specialise in educational programmes, which aid learning in subjects like History, Geography, Biology, Art and Design. Budding graphics, gaming and virtual reality designers should also attend this gaming centre's 3-D Art and Design classes.
Alternatively, give your techie-in-the-making an "old school" gaming experience at your nearest arcade. The Fun Company is an arcade paradise, featuring ten-bin bowling, bumper cars, 4-D cinema's, arcade games and mini-golf.