The Tween Years (11-14 Years Old)
Sure, hormones are beginning to kick in, but these can also be some wonderful years for traveling and adventuring with your kids. By this age, your child should be ready to tackle a big adventure, like summiting a (moderately sized) mountain or doing a multiday backpacking trip. They can carry their own gear and go at their own pace with regular regrouping sessions. “Teen and pre-teen is the time for them to do this,” says Wheeler, but she adds that for the most impact, include some sort of service in your adventure — be it hauling out trash or delivering books to kids in remote areas of Tibet.
This is also the age to let your kid do some very controlled exploring on their own, but make sure you have clear safety plans — and know your phones may not work in all places. Wheeler started letting her girls surf on their own rhythm at this age (she’d be in the water too but catching her own waves).
Activities to Introduce: Backpacking, moderate hikes, SCUBA, sailing, caving, safari, surfing