With summer right around the corner, you may be thinking about what to do over the summer break. From stargazing to a family game night and painting to jewelry-making, the possibilities for fun summer break activities are endless! Below is a list of 15 fun ideas to do during the summer break.
1. Make a Summer Scrapbook
Similar to journaling, scrapbooking can be a very fun and creative process. Use any notebook that is wide or has enough space for photos, scraps of paper, receipts, or anything else you would like to include in this memory-keeping book.
Scrapbooks are a great way to remember everything that happens this summer while showing your creative side. You can use stickers, washi tape, markers, brush pens, or any other stationery supplies you have available. Experiment with different colors, patterns, and layers. Have fun with it!
Image: Breefree on Pinterest
2. Go Hiking
If you like spending time in the outdoors, I definitely recommend hiking as an activity this summer. There's always a new place to explore that you may not even have heard of or been to. Find a hiking trail near you and enjoy the beautiful views. It's also a great form of exercise and a source of that much-needed breath of fresh air. You are sure to have a great time!
Credits: Holly Mandarich
3. Start a Journal
Journaling, a popular self-care activity, can be extremely therapeutic and lets you reflect on your day or on how you are feeling. Many studies have shown that journaling can help improve mindfulness, memory, and communication skills as well as helping you sleep better and build confidence. If you've had a stressful day, there's nothing more relaxing than sitting down and journaling.
There's also an artistic aspect to journaling, which like scrapbooking, can help you discover your inner creative side. However, you don't need to do this. Your journal is for you and you only, so it can be whatever you want it to be.
4. Write Poetry
Writing poetry can help you express your feelings in an artistic way. If you are a beginner at poetry or want to write poetry, start by reading other poets' work to expand your horizons (some classics like works by Emily Dickinson or more contemporary poets' works). By doing so, you are exposing yourself to new and diverse voices.
Next, you will want to experiment with different poetic forms like narratives, free verses, and limericks. Here is a full list of different poetic forms and a description of each one. Try writing shorter poems like haikus if you are a beginner.
Credits: Debby Hudson
5. Try Knitting or Crocheting
Knitting, crocheting, and other fiber arts have become increasingly popular during the pandemic. I started crocheting in July 2020 and have been making a wide range of items since. From bucket hats to crop tops and cute amigurumi to shopping bags, there is no limit to what you can make.
When I started, I used tutorials by Bella Coco. She has a whole series where she explains the basic stitches and how to make beginner projects like granny squares. I also enjoy watching Alli Nicole's weekly uploads. She does both knitting and crochet and has done some crochet tutorials. Overall, both knitting and crochet are super therapeutic, and you have a rewarding finished product at the end.
6. Go Stargazing
There is nothing more magical than sitting in the grass and craning your neck to look up at a blanket of stars covering the Earth with the realization that our planet is just a speck of dust compared to the rest of the Universe.
Because of light pollution, you probably won't be able to see many stars if you live in a city. Do a bit of research in advance to discover the best stargazing spots near you. To enhance your stargazing experience, you can also download stargazing apps that can help you see where the different constellations are by tilting your phone upwards towards the sky. (There is an app called SkyView which is available on the App Store and Google Play and there is also an app called Night Sky which is available on the App Store.) Don't forget to reach for the stars! ☆
7. Host a Family Game Night
Whether you like to play the classic Monopoly or newer games like Catan, playing board games is such a great way to connect with your family, and it can help strengthen relationships with your family members. It can also be fun and different board games call for different strategies, so playing these board games can also become challenging!
To complement the night you can also have some snacks, and you're good to go! Let the games begin...
8. Try Painting or Watercolors
You do not have to be an expert at painting to be able to paint beautiful scenes. According to Tessera Brandon, painting can promote stress relief, expand creative growth, enhance problem-solving, and motor skills, cultivate emotional growth, and stimulate an optimistic attitude. Painting can also be a very relaxing and therapeutic activity.
If you want to paint this summer, find inspiration in the surrounding environment: trees, buildings, flowers, nature, the sea, people, etc. If you are a beginner, I suggest practicing the basics first (for example: different brush stroke techniques and how to mix and find the perfect colors for certain shades on a certain object). You can find plenty of tutorials on the basics of painting on YouTube.
You can find paints at craft stores. As paint can often be expensive, you can also use cheap watercolor sets or acrylic paints. Michaels often has sales on their art products, so you can buy your paints from there.
Have fun painting!
9. Make Jewelry
Making jewelry has become an increasingly popular hobby among teenagers. In fact, it has become so popular that a few have even started small businesses selling their jewelry. Styles of jewelry range from bold Y2K-style clay rings to dainty beaded necklaces and so much more. Reach out to your local craft store and get some beads, polymer clay, wire, or any other material you need to make the jewelry of your choice. I have found beading super therapeutic and I definitely recommend making beaded rings, necklaces, phone charms, or bracelets.
Image: Zircon Bleu on Pinterest
10. Cook or Bake
Cooking and baking, like any other hobby, increased in popularity when the pandemic began. Not only are cooking and baking essential life skills for the future, but they can also help you experiment with different dishes and flavors.
If you cook and bake with others, it can be a great bonding experience and if you rather do it on your own, it can be therapeutic. As you cook at home, you also know what goes into the recipes making it a healthier option than fast food.
Try looking for recipes you've never tried before and experiment with dishes from around the world.
Happy baking and cooking!
11. Go Fruit-Picking
Fruit picking is a fun activity that can help support local farmers and giving you the feeling of a farm-to-table experience. To find a fruit-picking location, simply search “fruit picking near me” on Google, and it will give you a list of orchards, fruit farms, fruit gardens, and berry farms that you can get your fruits from.
Last summer, I went strawberry picking at a local strawberry farm, and the experience was truly unique. I was able to pick my own strawberries: fresh, juicy, and simply delicious, home-grown goodness. You can eat the strawberries, or other fruits you are picking, as they are after a quick rinse in water, or you can use them in a recipe like smoothies or cakes.
12. Channel your inner Pen-Pal
Technology plays a major role in the lives of teens today, but why not take a break from your phone once in a while? Get out the old-fashioned paper and pen and get writing!
The first step you'll want to take in pen-paling is finding a pen pal and reaching out. You might know a friend who lives in another country or city, or you might want to write to someone you found on a pen-paling website (here's a list of websites you can find you pen-pal). Another great way to find a pen-pal is through social media.
When pen-paling, it's good to keep in mind that you should look for sites' longevity and good privacy policies. You might also want to consider opening a P.O. box to keep your address private.
Other than that, pen-paling can be a fun way of expressing yourself creatively and getting to know someone who is possibly on the other side of the globe! For your first letter, I suggest introducing yourself (your interests, hobbies, etc.) You can also include little “goodies” like stickers, jewelry you made (see number 9), or other things. Try sticking with items that are as flat as possible because the bulkier they are, the more you will have to pay for shipping.
13. Try Gardening
Unlike fruit picking, gardening lets you grow your own produce and plants all while creating a beautiful effect and being a therapeutic activity. It is also beneficial for mental health as it can help you escape everyday stress. A few cons of gardening might be that it's dirty, there are bugs, it's hard work, and it can be a little expensive when you first get started. However, the many positives outweigh these negatives.
Some plants in your garden will need more care than others, so be sure to do some research before you decide which ones you want to plant. You will also want to get the proper soil for your plants so that they can stay healthy and strong.
Next, you will need to take care of your plants. This will require you to water them as often as they need it and finding the right spot to plant them. Once your garden is set up, you will need to keep an eye on it: are animals eating them? Set up a barrier. Did you pot some of your plants too close together? If so, move them apart from each other. This garden is your responsibility and by caring for it, you will learn to love it.
Image: Country Life
14. Have a Picnic
Picnics are such fun ways to spend your lunch, afternoon, or even dinner!
First, you need to find the area where you want to have your picnic. Try to find a spot where it isn't very crowded or noisy to ensure you have the best experience possible. Next, you will need to get a blanket, towel, sheet, or any other large piece of cloth (like shown below). This will be the base of where you will sit and eat. You will also need to get the picnic's essential element: food! Get some snacks like chips, fruit, sandwiches, cheese platters, pastries, juice, water, or anything else you think fits your picnic. Be sure to bring some plates and cutlery as you will want to eat the food!
And finally, to top of your picnic, you can also play some music on a portable speaker, but be sure not to play the music too loud as not to disturb anyone if there are people around you.
15. Get Your Covid-19 Vaccine!
Over the last couple of months, scientists and researchers from all over the world worked together on finding a cure for the virus that is currently taking over our world. Usually, developing a vaccine can take around 10 to 15 years. Considering the fact that the development of Covid-19 vaccines only took 10 months, we can safely say that it is a big accomplishment. Many companies including Pfizer, Moderna, and BioNTech, worked on developing a vaccine. Here is a short video explaining the process:
Recently, vaccines by Pfizer have been approved for children over the age of 12. This pandemic was something most people weren't prepared for, and by getting a vaccine, you are helping stop the spread of this deadly virus.
Hopefully, you were able to get inspired by the list of 15 things you can do this summer... so what are you waiting for? Get out there and have some fun! You deserve it. This year may have been stressful due to the pandemic and the endless homework you may have received, but you are allowed a break too. Remember that, and you might just have the best summer ever.