In a rut? Here are 13 ideas to help make the most of your summer
You’re ready to take advantage of the warm summer months that feel like freedom — especially after the challenging couple of years that we’ve had. There’s plenty to do in the great outdoors, and many of the activities available just outside your doorstep are practically free.
It’s time to enjoy yourself this summer. Here, we list several ideas on what you and your loved ones can do. Be sure to make your own list and see how much you can do.
Take a hike
Almost 50 percent (46.3 percent) of U.S. citizens hike, bike, or camp in a given year.1 That’s because more and more people are valuing experiences over material things and they want to get closer to nature. And you don’t have to travel to a national park like Yellowstone to be wowed by the beauty of the outdoors.
After being cooped up in your house for so long, take yourself outside and look up. The night sky reveals a whole wide world different from the one that you inhabit. (Channel your inner Galileo and download a stargazing app.) And you don’t have to go to a state park to pitch a tent. Sleeping in your own backyard can be just as magical.
Go to the (outdoor) movies
In the 1950s, more than 4,000 outdoor movie theaters existed across America. Today that number has shrunk to 330.2 But that doesn’t mean you can’t watch the stars under the night sky. Local parks and community centers often host outdoor movies during the summer. You can also play a flick on an outdoor screen at home. Don’t forget the popcorn and inflatable mattresses to get comfy.
Host a scavenger hunt
It’s a fun activity for all ages — even little ones. For example, give them a sheet of colors and instruct them to find nearby objects that match the hues. Or, for older ones, turn it into a photo contest and instruct them to take photos of the found items in nature, such as five types of flowers, a brown animal, and more.
Forage for food
Show your kids where some of their food comes from. Strawberries (early summer), elderberries (midsummer), and blackberries (late summer) are ripe for picking during the summer months at local farms. Then enjoy the fruits of your labor by making a pie or eating them fresh from the stem. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try your hand at hunting for mushrooms. Just be sure to bring along a reference guide.
It seems like everything is better outside — including exercising. Connect with nature while doing a downward dog or moving to the beat of your favorite workout song. (Maybe it’s one from your summer playlist.) If you have kids, design an outdoor obstacle course with old hula hoops, plywood, and more. If you want to sprinkle in some water, set up a slip and slide, play water balloon baseball, run through the sprinklers, or set up a car wash.
Run a race
Speaking of exercise, sign up to run a 5K, 10K, or half marathon with your partner or your entire family. A lot of races support various causes that help the community. Choose one that speaks to your heart.
Use your imagination
You don’t need to be a Shakespeare in the Park actor to stage a play. Work together with your family on writing a short script to put on for a small group of friends and neighbors. Afterward, celebrate with s’mores enjoyed around a bonfire.
Read a book together
Put down your electronic device and pick up a book with real pages that can be creased and made wet with the summer rains. A shady spot under a tree or in a hammock is the perfect spot to spin a tale. Any voracious readers in the family? Then create a reading chart that keeps track of their progress.
Shop a farmers market
Choose a recipe to make and then shop together for the ingredients at a local farmers market. Later, make the dish with the fresh ingredients and enjoy dining al fresco. If you want to break bread with a larger group of loved ones and neighbors, host a potluck in your backyard or local park. And use the lemons you bought at the farmers market to make fresh lemonade, a favorite summertime treat.
Do some research on the food and habitat that attracts birds in your area. Then, install these items in your yard to attract some feathered friends. If you’re feeling crafty, build a birdhouse for them to live in. Or make a bird feeder from birdseed, popcorn, and an orange peel.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to making arts and crafts. One idea is to collect interesting shaped leaves on a hike and use sun-sensitive paper to make sun print leaf art. Another is to make a DIY kite. Or you can bring back some classic crafts such as friendship bracelets and tie-dye t-shirts.
Make a scrapbook
Make sure to take pictures of all of the magical moments you will have together and put them in a scrapbook. The memories you make with your loved ones this summer are sure to keep you warm long after the season has ended.