If you’ve just moved here or your kids are getting firmly into the Tween and Teen phase, you’ll have different questions and need different resources.
Our guide offers things to do: for free, things to do inside, things to do outside, hidden gems, and places to eat the Teens love.
We also cover how to get a Drivers’ Permit and a License, Drivers’ Ed, Insurance, Financial literacy, and spending cards, college and career-ready preparation, Volunteer opportunities, and part-time job opportunities.
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Things to do for Teens
3 things to do for teens for free
3 things for teens to do inside
Enjoy a trip to Pinstack – where their food is not only great, they’ve got a sweet patio but they also have Laser Tag, a high ropes course, bumper cars, rock climbing wall, giant foosball, video games, and laser maze.
Address: 6205 Dallas Parkway, Plano, TX 75024. Locations also in Allen.
Head to Nerfies, for a lot of indoor fun with Nerf Gun battles…
Address: 3045 W 15th St, Plano, TX 75075
Thunderbird Skate Rink
Now under new Management, this old-skool Roller Rink will take you back in time. Roller skates available for rent, concession stand and fun disco ball and great music included!
Address: 3200 Thunderbird Ln, Plano, TX
3 things for Teens to do outside
Try out Adventure Landing in Dallas – for Go Karts, Laser Tag and Adventure Golf, in addition to indoor arcades.
Address: 17717 Coit Rd, Dallas, TX 75252
Go high and outside to Go Ape Plano.
Zipline, navigate the obstacles and ropes course, perfect for older kids and teens or as a family adventure
Address: 5901 Los Rios Blvd, Plano, TX 75074
Open for the Summer, and only $5 per visit (free for members), head to the Jack Carter Pool for their Flow Rider surf simulator and slides.
Newly renovated and great for older kids!
Address: 2601 Pleasant Valley Dr, Plano, TX
3 things for Teens to explore hidden gems
Summit Climbing and Gyms. Summit is a terrific pit stop for moms and dads looking for exhilarating things to do for teens in Dallas.
Known for its bouldering and TRX classes, this indoor gym offers tons of adrenaline-pumping activities for teens and adults.
If your teens are not in the mood for heart-pumping thrills, they may find their inner zen by joining the center’s yoga sessions.
Expert Tip: Consider getting a day pass. Not only will it give you access to all the center’s classes, but it also covers the gear rentals. If you plan to spend the entire day here, you won’t regret buying this pass.
Address: 525 Talbert Dr, Plano, TX 75093
We love Paint my Pottery, for offering a creative outlet to our arty older kids.
You can spend hours decorating and creating keepsakes for the whole family.
Address: Within the Shops at Willow Bend 6121 at W Park Blvd B127, Plano, TX 75093
Enjoy a day out at the Lakefront at Little Elm.
Play Beach Volleyball with friends at the sandy beach on the shores of Lake Lewisville, have lunch overlooking the lake at the Hula Hut and stop by Hydrous Wake Park for some wakeboarding fun.
Address: Lakefront Dr, Little Elm, TX 75068
3 places to eat that teens love
Rodeo Goat – undoubtedly one of the best new Burger joints in Plano, with a great patio and outdoor fireplace.
A great place to hang out for a while.
Address: 641 Powell Ln, Plano, TX 75075
Concrete Cowboy, at the Star in Frisco.
The Rooftop location offers great views over the Star complex and is right next to the Cowboys complex, where teens can throw a ball and imagine themselves on that football field with the Dallas Cowboys’ themselves.
Address: 3685 The Star Boulevard, Suite 210, Frisco, TX
For teen activities, you can check our previous blog for a 18 things to do around Plano and neighboring areas for teens and also get these ideas for Summer Camps and options for Teens
Here are a few basic things to get familiarized with when you have a teen in Plano:
Getting a Driving Permit and a Driver’s License
If you’re new to the State of Texas, you need to know that the process for Teens will differ compared to other States.
Here in Texas, getting a driver’s license involves completing a multi-step application process.
Once they turn 15, they can get a permit to learn to drive.
Knowing which step you need to complete and at what point can help make this process easier, faster, and much less stressful for your teen and the family.
Texas Department of Public Safety got you covered as to how to apply for a driver’s license as a teen.
If you choose to teach them yourself, you’ll need to select the “parent-taught” option when you book an appointment for their driving test.
You can also choose to book your Teen into Drivers Ed
What you need to register:
The paperwork is filled out both by the parent and the driver, providing a birth certificate, social security card, and proof of enrollment verification from the high school.
There are different options for Drivers Ed. Here is an example for a 3-week class.
Week One is all class time Mon-Fri from 3-6 pm. On the Friday of that week, they can get their permit.
In the last two weeks, you get one hour of class time and the rest is time to drive. The students will take home a list of the things they need to practice. The class could be from 3.30-7.30.
Then they take their driving test. They have to complete 30hrs of drive time and must be 16 to get their license. The cost is around $400.
What do Moms’ say?
“We did Aceable parent-taught driving course online. Then we scheduled her driving test at a driving school in Rowlett.
They checked our logs, put together/verified all the forms were in order.
We went to the DPS and got her license in 10 minutes”
Lisa, Plano TX
Sending the kids to a driving school is the best option.
They have lots of classroom time before they have driving time with videos and what to not do…
driving time with the instructor showing how to drive/react/turn and make decisions.
Also insurance gives a discount if you send your teen to driving school.
You have to log in 30 hours of parent drive time.
My kid got her license at 15 and a half and got permanent license when she turned 16.
It’s better to start the course when she is closer to 16 as learners permit is valid for 1 year.
If they don’t pass their driving test then they have a buffer to try again otherwise they have to get the permit again.
I would tell you the truth that it was not easy for me to accept it too… I got jitters every time I sat with her while she drove. Sending her to driving school was the best decision.
You can add hourly lessons into your package.
She is a good driver at almost 18 years old now.
It cost us 450$ ! We sent her to the Driving School of North Texas.
Kalpana, Plano TX
Criteria to get their Learner’s Permit
For minors, obtaining a learner’s permit is the first step in the process that will eventually culminate with the issuing of a standard operator’s permit. In order to apply for a learner license, individuals must:
- Be at least 15 years old
- Have consent from a parent or legal guardian
- Completed the required classroom portion of the Texas parent taught drivers ed course
- Provide proof of a Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) form, high school diploma, or GED
If these criteria are satisfied, you will then take a written knowledge test covering a range of topics, including Texas traffic laws and safe driving techniques.
Upon completion of this test, you will be issued a learner license, which will allow you to gain behind-the-wheel experience while supervised by a licensed adult of at least 21 years of age.
This is your first step to getting your Texas driver’s license from the DMV.
Teens and Drivers Insurance
They need to meet the criteria before they can get their permit. Once they have done their driving hours and be sure to let your insurance company know your teen is driving with a permit.
This will not affect your coverage/rates until they get their actual license.
Depending on the insurance company, they might have a teen driver program. Some require them to watch videos. The insurance company will also get the ball rolling on this so that you are set for the discount when they do affect your rate.
Here are our hacks to beat the craziness that is the DMV.
Here are some top tips:
- book early, even if it’s more than 4 weeks ahead. You might not get an appointment for a few months
- Try Garland or Gainesville. These DMV locations are less busy and set up to efficiently process appointments quickly.
If you’re using a family car to take your teens out to learn, be sure to get 3 “student driver” magnets for our car. One on each front door and one for the year.
Financial Literacy for Teens
It’s at this age that your kids will likely start asking for you to buy them specific things they want and you’ll start having conversations with them about earning money for chores.
It’s important to start teaching them the value of a dollar, the concept of saving for bigger purchases or experiences they want to pay for, and earning the money they need.
You can start a checking or savings account at a local bank (we encourage you to shop around for the ones with limited fees and better interest rates) but for more independence and structure around money we recommend the Greenlight card and app.
It’s a Kids’ debit card that also allows you controls and visibility over where they’re spending money and allows you to top up in exchange for chores or just for weekly allowance money.
You can pause and stop the card at any time.
They can save the Greenlight to their Apple Wallet and zap it inside a store instead of carrying the card also.
We have Greenlight set up for our 11 and 14-year-olds and love how easy it is for me (as a parent) and for them to use.
With Greenlight, kids can get rewards (1% Cash Back and 2% on their Savings balances) for Greenlight to really help kids learn about smart money management
Getting teens college and career ready
Plano ISD offers tons of programs to ensure that each student is ready for college or a start in a career.
They offer counseling with a mission to advocate, support and create a continuum of learning in social-emotional development, college, career, and military readiness, and academic success for ALL students.
College counselors are available at every high school. Make use of these as much as possible and the resources they can provide and suggest.
Writing your College applications: this is the best place for help in writing essays!
At all charter and private schools, you should have access to a College Counselling service to help you with applications and decisions.
Volunteer Opportunities for Teens
One of the best ways to keep your teens occupied during a vacation break is to enroll them in some volunteer work, not just because it can help strengthen their college applications but also because it can help shape the kind of person they become.
Many high schools do ask freshmen and sophomores to start collecting volunteer hours as part of their school journey.
Plus, these activities can be enriching, especially when they are passionate about the cause and if they are doing it with some friends.
|The City of Plano VIP Teen Program|
|Volunteers in Plano (VIP) offer various volunteer options, but due to a lengthy waiting list, students apply early at age 12. They work in partnership with City staff, corporate and civic organizations, faith-based groups, schools, universities, and nonprofits organizations.|
|American Red Cross Youth |
Address: 1450 Redbud Blvd, McKinney, TX 75069
Phone: (214) 678-4800
|90% of the Red Cross workforce are volunteers, so there is always something you can do for them. Check out their websites for service opportunities to make a difference in the community.|
|North Texas Volunteer Now|
Address: 2800 Live Oak St, Dallas, TX 75204
Phone: (214) 826-6767
|VolunteerNow (formerly the Volunteer Center of North Texas) serves as the hub of volunteerism in North Texas and is one of the largest volunteer centers in the country. They provide a wide range of programs and services that build capacity for nonprofits and community organizations.|
|Feed my Starving Children ||It’s a Christian nonprofit organization and has been called to feed God’s starving children hungry in body and spirit with a mission that with God’s help, they will work together with organizations and ministries across the globe to end hunger.|
|Lion’s Heart – Teen Volunteers||They work with local nonprofits to find student-friendly volunteer opportunities and send them directly to our members. Teens have the freedom to choose their favorite places to serve – anything from helping animals at shelters, supporting our military, cleaning up beaches or parks, and working at food pantries.|
|North Texas Food Bank |
Address: 3677 Mapleshade Ln, Plano, TX 75075
Phone: (214) 330-1396
|North Texas Food Bank distributes all the donated, purchased, and prepared foods through a network of nearly 1,000 feeding programs and 262 partner agencies in 13 North Texas counties. They offer many ways your teen can get involved in making an impact on our community.|
|The Plano Rotary Clubs||There are various clubs around the City that offer multiple opportunities for Teens with a waiver being signed by the parent.|
Don’t forget, we have a number of other Volunteer suggestions for kids of all ages to check out!
Part-time Jobs for Teens
Part-time jobs are excellent ways for teens to learn about responsibilities, financial independence, and life lessons.
Be sure to ensure when they pick up shifts, that you can balance this with them along with keeping their grades up at school.
That’s usually the biggest consideration when it comes to their opportunity to earn money but not picking up too many hours.
So, let’s talk about part-time opportunities for the teens around Plano.
Who hires Teens?
- Teens most likely end up working at one of the typical part-time jobs, like waiting at restaurants and fast-food chains. You can find these jobs at the company’s website or online job search like Indeed.
- Babysitting can be a good source of extra money, especially if your teen has first aid and CPR certification. This job is perfect for teens planning to go into education, which gives them an excellent opportunity to learn how to work with kids when they are helping with school works and after-school activities. They can check Bambino Sitters to get them started.
- Customer service representative or a receptionist for teens who are looking to work in an office. These roles will teach them a lot about office work like answering calls, writing emails, entertaining clients, and other administrative tasks. But of course, they can always find these types of jobs online.
- Most teens love working in retail stores because of discounts they might get on the products but those who plan to pursue marketing, merchandising, retail planning, or fashion design will learn a lot from the experience too.
- Being a lifeguard at the local community pool can be rewarding during summer break to those who love the water. And, to those who are great swimmers, most especially those part of a swim team, can teach swimming lessons to kids. You can check out the City of Plano for any jobs they’re hiring for.
- To those who plan to go into the culinary arts, they may want to look into working for a catering company.
- Grocery stores very often hire teens to be a cashier or a stocker.
- To those who love sports and want to go into the industry, becoming a youth referee is a perfect opportunity. Some schools or recreational sports leagues offer teenagers some training to get certified to officiate games.
- Teenagers gifted in math or science and taking advanced courses may want to start checking out tutoring jobs or even a business.