24 Things Middle and High School Students Can Do to Keep Busy This Summer

Dear Teen,

The times have found you. That’s what they say to generations faced with difficult times. I know you didn’t ask for this honor.

For what it’s worth, I’m sorry you have had to shoulder the burden of living through a pandemic. I wish you didn’t have to spend last year taking classes online, far from your friends and your independence. But now that the year is over, and things are opening back up, here are 24 ideas for things you can do this summer.

teen boy in bed
Here are things that teens can do this summer. (Twenty20 @kayp)

And when I say do something, what I really mean is, do anything. Seriously. Get out of bed (preferably before 11 AM). Get yourself some breakfast (you really don’t need me to do that anymore). And fill your day with small increments of activity. Create a schedule—or at least a list, of what you want to fill your day with. (Helpful tip for list-making: Write down something you’ve done already, so you can cross it off.)

What’s that? I can hear you mumbling there’s nothing to do. Hogwash, I say. There is always something to do.

24 summer activities for teens

  1. Learn something by heart. A poem, a song, the Declaration of Independence.
  2. Make something with your hands: knit a scarf, build a bench, create a rock garden. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Or pretty.
  3. Read The Diary of Anne Frank. It will give you some needed perspective. And when you are finished with that, just read. Every day.
  4. Find something broken and fix it.
  5. Make good use of your screen time (and get a newfound appreciation for all of your precious devices) by learning a thing or two about STEM. iD Tech has virtual tech camps on everything from Python to Roblox to Minecraft. The classes are small and taught by college students. They also have special summer camps being led by Dude Perfect on video editing and Daymond John from Shark Tank on learning how to be a big shot entrepreneur. It all sounds cool, right? Grown and Flown has a special offer for families to save $125 on the cost of a week-long computer camp with code GNF125 and this iD TECH VIRTUAL TECH CAMPS unique link.
  6. Ride your bike. It’s waiting for you in the garage.
  7. Run around the block. Ten times.
  8. Don’t want to ride or run? Then choose an activity, but do something physical every day. There are a gazillion workout videos that you can download if you prefer to work out at home.

9. Clean your room. Get rid of the stuff you don’t use anymore. There is plenty of it.

10. Help me in the kitchen and let’s cook something new every week. Look through cookbooks or go online to find a recipe you want to make. I’m game.

11. Grab a sibling or friend and play catch, or bounce a tennis ball off a wall. See how long you can dribble a basketball.

12. Tour a museum in person or online. You can make the trip without me and in a virtual sense the world is your oyster. You can start at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and end up in an Egyptian tomb.

13. Design a new board game, write a screenplay, produce a video.

14. Write a poem, a story, a letter to a friend. Write one haiku a day. It’s only 17 syllables. You can do it.

15. Find something you are curious about and learn about it. It could be a language. Or, history. Or, Mars. Just pick. One. Thing.

16. Wash the dishes that you put in the sink.

17. Leave your phone in another room and be bored for 30 minutes. Stare out the window. Look up at the sky. Just be.

18. Design a trivia quiz with a new theme every week. Professional sports, the French Revolution, weird pets. Share it with friends and family. Here’s one to get you started.

19. Have a contest to see who can find the most interesting podcast. Can’t find one you like? Then come up with your own.

20. Do something nice for somebody else. Kindness is just as contagious as the corona virus.

21. Enjoy the Summer Olympics with me. We had to wait a whole year for live sports to come back and this extra special event only comes once every four years.

22. Watch a silent movie, or an old one, just something that is not typically “recommended for you” by Netflix.

23. Figure out the answer to one thing you’ve always wanted to know.

24. Find out something about a relative you never knew. Try this out on your friends, too. Get and stay curious. Think about it. When you think about the Global Pandemic of 2020-21, don’t you want to have something interesting to say about how you emerged from it?

Love,

Mom

More to Read:

Summer Vacation: 30 Ways Teens Can Make the Most of Free Time

How Middle and High School Students Can Learn Stem this Summer

About Genine Babakian

Genine Babakian wears many hats: journalist, editor, speechwriter, communications professional. She has taught memoir classes to octogenarians and essay writing to teens. She is currently working on a novel set in Russia, where she worked for ten years as a reporter and editor after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Genine loves a good story, and can be caught blogging on her website.

Read more posts by Genine

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