50 Fab Summer Ideas

School is almost over for the year, and summer is staring you in the face. What to do???


Summer is YOUR time to learn and grow

...on YOUR terms!

If you have the chance and the resources for a once-in-a-lifetime trip or experience, go for it! (One savvy student, for instance, went to Cambodia last year!)

But life isn't always like that. Sometimes -- in fact, MOST TIMES -- the best experiences in life are the common, close-to-home, better-than-ordinary experiences we create out of the things, people, and places around us. 


Here are 50 ideas to get you started!

  1. Take an interesting class at the Career Center, Stephens College, Columbia College, or elsewhere!
  2. Join the library's teen summer reading program.
  3. Get a journal. Write a poem a day, every day, for a month.
  4. Get a part-time job in town.
  5. Work in your family's business. For free.
  6. Think of ten people (teachers, coaches, family members, relatives...?) who deserve your thanks.  Write them a full-page, hand-written letter expressing your appreciation and detailing how they've impacted you. 
  7. Write to someone you admire. Them them why, and tell them what you're going to do to make them proud of you. Then spend the summer doing it.
  8. Take music lessons.
  9. Coach little league. Better yet, be a volunteer with a Challenger League.  Or help kids some other way.
  10. Volunteer at the Humane Society, the library, or someplace else that needs you.
  11. Volunteer at Vacation Bible School at your church. Or - volunteer at Vacation Bible School with one of your friends at their church.  
  12. Build prayer or meditation into your daily routine. Stick to it for 30 or 60 days. Journal about it.
  13. Start a business with your friends.   
  14. Set a goal that you are 99% certain you won't be able to achieve this summer.  Then go all out and try to achieve it!! You'll either get there or get much, much closer than you were at the beginning of the summer.
  15. Learn how to code.
  16. Make your own iPhone app and get it on the app store.
  17. Visit a local nursing home once a week.
  18. Learn to paint. Or sketch. Or knit. Or juggle three (or more!) balls at one time.   
  19. Take your siblings out for ice cream, one at a time, and listen to them talk about their life. If you don't have siblings, spend time with your friends, one at a time, and just listen.
  20. Learn some American sign language and make a new friend using it..   
  21. Apply to give a TedTalk about ...something.
  22. Become a YouTuber. Even just for the summer.
  23. Find an organization that works to address a cause that you care about. Volunteer. Learn. Organize people and make something happen.
  24. Offer to intern for free someplace where the work seems interesting, like the city councilman's office or an advertising agency.  
  25. Play guitar at coffee shops and see how much money you can make this summer. 
  26. Learn CPR
  27. Cook dinner for your family once a week.  Each time, learn a new dish to prepare.  Write your recipes down and make a blog about it.
  28. Take a picture a day on a theme of your choosing. Post to Instagram with a hashtag of your own imagining. 
  29. Learn as much as you can about 20 colleges you know nothing about today. Write out the details.
  30. Raise money for someone or something that needs it. 
  31. Learn something that is pure fun, like bongos or hip hop dance or anything you don't already know how to do!
  32. Pick something you love and figure out how to use it to make contributions to others, like playing piano in a jazz band, teaching residents at a retirement home how to use a computer, or helping run the lights or usher people to their seats for a play at one of our local community theaters.  
  33. Audition for a show at a local theatre.
  34. Work full time and give all the money to a charity of your choice at the end of the summer.  
  35. Learn karate.
  36. Join a book club
  37. Organize a book club. 
  38. Go screen-free for an hour a day for a week (or more). No iPhone, no laptop, no TV, not a screen in sight. 
  39. Go to your school principal (or any local principal!) and ask what you can do, for free, to improve the school.  You could paint a classroom, clean lockers, or refurbish the lunch benches.  Better yet, enlist five friends to do it with you.  Don't just tell colleges you want to make an impact.  Make one.  
  40. Set a goal to learn as many new things as possible this summer – facts, skills, concepts, etc.  Write a blog about it.  
  41. Do one lesson a day for a month on Khan Academy or Duolingo - and see what you can learn!
  42. What clubs or teams or organizations are you in? Get those people together this summer. Hold informal soccer workouts, host a BBQ for the new student council members, meet at The Grind once a week with your co-editors to brainstorm story ideas for your school newspaper this fall.  Show colleges you can organize people and lead them. 
  43. Pick a classic author and read all of his or her works. Find out what all the fuss is about Mark Twain or Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound or Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes or Maya Angelou. Or choose a modern author like Zadie Smith or Jennifer Haigh.
  44. Visit as many colleges as you can within a 50 mile radius of your home. Take your friends with you.  Write your own reviews of each school in a new blog you create.
  45. Visit someplace you've never been. It could be a historic site, a city near you, a church or synagogue or mosque. Find a new place and way to experience it.
  46. Vow not to watch any TV this summer.  Not one single second.  Pick something cool and fun and productive to do instead.    
  47. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, every day, for a month.
  48. Learn yoga, and do it often.
  49. Train to run a 10k, or a half-marathon, or a marathon, or to do a triathlon.  And get your friends to join and train with you.  Consider raising money with your efforts and donating to a worthy cause. 
  50. Choose the five most enticing things on this list and do them.  At the end of the summer, let me know how it went! If you give me permission, we'll share your story here on this blog, too!