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If this year’s spring break means a staycation for you and your family, don’t be surprised if your teen balks. He may be longing for sand, sun and surf, but he’s also not looking forward to spending time with parents and younger siblings.

Nothing is more important to teens than getting together with their peers and engaging in new activities that give them a taste of adult freedom. Sure, there’s the usual ice skating, bowling and racking up service hours, but teens also seek innovative activities. Here’s a list of novel things teens can do over spring break that meet that criteria without causing too much stress and worry for you and your partner.

Pong at Evolution: Pong is one floor of the Evolution Gastro Pong complex on Old World Third Street. It’s essentially a table tennis paradise. They open at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday but don’t limit entry (that is, check ID) before 9 p.m., so the emphasis is more on ping-pong than the bar during the early hours. Before 6 p.m., the cost is $8 per half hour for non-members. Call 414-831-7746 for more information.

Rock Climbing at Adventure Rock: There are now two Adventure Rock gyms in the area, one north of downtown on Commerce Street, and the other on Capitol in Brookfield. There are no age restrictions on climbers. Beginners get an orientation and are introduced to the auto-belay system and stations, so they can climb safely without having to worry about managing the protective ropes. Minors require a parent’s signature on the visitor agreement, so be sure to download a copy and sign it before they head over.

Make your own movies: What teen hasn’t wanted to make her own zombie apocalypse movie? iPhones make it easy. There are tutorials online or let your teen sign up for classes at the iPhone store. You might want to dig up the old face paint for this soon-to-be classic!

Do something good for planet earth: Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day. Most teens are very environmentally aware and would love to do something to celebrate the day. Have them clean up trash in the neighborhood or at a local park. Keep an eye out for the county park weedout schedule.

Support the Brew Crew: The Brewers are playing St. Louis at home Thursday, April 20 through Sunday, April 23. Tickets are as low as $18. Also, Friday nights are Student Nights at Miller Park. High school and college students can purchase $10 Terrace Reserved or $15 Loge Bleachers tickets (excluding Cubs games), plus enjoy a special $3 menu through the end of the first inning. (Students must show Student Night ticket and student ID at the register.)

Try your luck of the Irish at hurling: This Irish sport has been called the fastest field game on earth, combining soccer, baseball, hockey and lacrosse. The Milwaukee Hurling Club is holding a free youth clinic at Uihlein Soccer Park (indoor field #1) from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 to let kids under age 15 try the sport out before committing to a summer league. Find out more at .

Get artsy: This spring, the Milwaukee Art Museum is holding a studio class called "The Art of Ink: Printmaking and Posters" on April 20. There’s a special section designed for kids age 11-15. Kids will use a printing press, learn to silkscreen and listen to special guest designers.

Get a head start on job hunting: Most good summer jobs are snatched up over spring break. Help your teen edit her resume and brainstorm some places where she can apply. She’ll thank you — someday!

Maureen Connors Badding is a Wauwatosa freelance writer and mom.


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