20 Unconventional Ways to Spend the Summer

Summer’s here! But if your student’s usual plans for camps, sports, and activities have been cancelled, they might be feeling lost right now.

Without a sense of purpose and some structure, most of us get pulled into mindless activities that aren’t ultimately satisfying (I’m looking at you, video games and social media).

So here are 20 unconventional, but meaningful, ways your student can spend this summer.

1. Cook or bake your way through a recipe book

2. Paint, draw, color, or sculpt a series of pieces

3. Start a vegetable garden or relandscape your front yard

4. Keep a journal and write for at least 15 minutes every day

5. Start or join a book club

6. Take an online course in a topic you wouldn’t study in school

7. Get a geocaching app and search for treasure

8. Redesign and update your bedroom or study space

9. Use an app or online course to learn a new language (bonus points if you find a native speaker to practice with!)

10. Pick up an instrument you’ve always wanted to play; set a goal to perform one piece by the end of the summer

11. Build out your professional presence: start a LinkedIn account, polish your resume, create a portfolio of experience or work samples, and spruce up other social media pages

12. Declutter your house from top to bottom: sell, donate, or throw away items your family no longer needs

13. Identify a cause you care about and commit to consistently volunteering with them (phone banking and admin work are tasks you can easily do from home)

14. Foster puppies or kittens (with your parents’ permission of course) until they’re old enough for adoption

15. Train for an upcoming race (choose one several months from now) in running, swimming, cycling, or all three

16. Explore the local parks and trails in your area. Document your wanderings with a photojournal.

17. Find a regular babysitting gig with a family who’s juggling working parents and childcare (they’ll be eternally grateful!).

18. Virtually tour museums across the world that you’ve always wanted to visit.

19. Plan and host an outdoor movie series with friends.

20. Work on your college applications (not unconventional, we know—but important!)

Picture of Jay B.

Jay B.

Jay Bacrania is the CEO of Signet Education. As a high schooler, Jay won awards for chemistry at the state level in his home state of Florida, and at Harvard, he initially studied physics. After graduating, Jay spent two years studying jazz trumpet at the Berklee College of Music.

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