Twenty-Four Things Students Can Do to Keep Busy This Summer

Dear College Student,

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 take classes online, far from your friends and your independence. But now that the semester is over, and things are opening back up, here are ideas for how you can spend your time 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 2pm). Make yourself some breakfast (preferably before 5pm). And fill your day with small increments of activity. Create a schedule – or at least a list, of what you want to get done that day. (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.

Twenty-four summer activities

  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. Ride your bike. It’s been waiting for you in the garage since you got your driver’s license.
  6. Run around the block. Ten times.
  7. Don’t want to ride or run? Then pick your poison, but do something physical every day. There are a gazillion work-out videos that you can download.
  8. Paint something. A room. A bannister. A bookcase.
  9. Learn to cook something new every week. Look through cookbooks or go online to find a recipe you want to make. Here’s a free pasta-making class.
  10. Grab a sibling and play catch, or bounce a tennis ball off a wall. See how long you can dribble a basketball.
  11. Tour a museum online. You may be cooped up in your room, but 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.
  12. Design a new board game, write a screenplay, produce a video.
  13. Write a poem, flash fiction, a screenplay, a letter to a friend. Write one haiku a day. It’s only 17 syllables. You can do it.
  14. Learn a language. Duolingo is free, and you can even learn Vulcan, if you choose.
  15. Wash the dishes in the sink. Even the ones you didn’t use. You’d be amazed how much time washing dishes consumes.
  16. Leave your phone in another room and be bored for 30 minutes. Stare out the window. Look up at the sky. Epiphanies are born in boredom.
  17. Design a trivia quiz with a new theme every week. Professional sports, the French Revolution, weird mating habits. Share it with friends and family. Here’s one to get you started.
  18. Have a contest to see who can find the most compelling podcast. Can’t find one you like? Then come up with your own.
  19. Do something nice for somebody else. Kindness is just as contagious as the corona virus.
  20. Stream free, live theater! Check out the National Theater in London’s schedule.
  21. Watch a silent movie, a foreign film, or something that is not typically “recommended for you” by Netflix.
  22. Figure out the answer to one thing you’ve always wanted to know.
  23. Find out something about a relative you never knew. Try this out on your friends, too. It’s perfect for those socially distant circles on the front lawn.
  24. Register to vote by mail. Get your friends to register, too.

Think of your grandparents and great grandparents. Do you know what they did on their summer vacation? They went to war. That was much worse than playing Call of Duty. And need I add, as Drill Sargent Mom, that you should limit your video gaming hours? I’m not saying stop altogether, but PS4 should only be one of the items on the list. Not THE list. Ditto for binge-watching TV.

Think about it. When your kids ask you about the Global Pandemic of 2020, don’t you want to have something to say about how you endured it? Oh, and in the meantime, you might want to keep a journal. It might have historic value some day.

Love,

Mom

More to Read:

Virtual Volunteer Opportunities for Bored Teens

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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