Remember being a kid and waiting for that final bell to ring? The one that meant school was out for the summer? The sheer joy you experienced knowing you had three months to play, jump, camp and run through the sprinklers? We’re here to help you reclaim that child-like joy and make the most of summer. Sure, you’re an adult with responsibilities now, and you may have kids of your own, but there’s something to be gleaned from harkening back to your inner summer wild child and soaking up these next few months with abandon. This is the summer you put down your phone, put off your to-do list, stop checking your email after work hours and have some fun. Are you on board? Here are 18 ways to make the most of your summer—like your inner child would approve.
Be a Tourist In Your Own City
Who says you have to travel to foreign lands to discover small wonders? Unearth the hidden gems right in your own backyard. When was the last time you made a day out of exploring your city’s best museums, dive restaurants, or markets? Make a checklist of three or four “must-see attractions” your city has to offer and spend the day taking in the sights.
1. Head to A Local Farmer’s Market
Find a farmer’s market you’ve been dying to try and spend the morning taking in the sights, smells, and sounds. Indulge your senses with as many samples of berries as you darn-well please, and don’t forge the flowers! Bonus points if you can stop at a lemonade stand on the way home.
2. Take A Museum Break
There’s something so relaxing about spending the afternoon walking through a museum. The cool, quiet spaces and the history embedded throughout each room make for a pleasantly calming and educational experience.
3. Visit That New Restaurant You’ve Been Meaning To Try
Whenever there’s a hot new restaurant in town, waitlists can feel like novels/aggregious That’s why the summer affords you a unique opportunity—go for lunch. Take a few PTO hours (or bring your colleagues along!) and snag a table for lunch or an ultra-early dinner. You’ll get to check out your city’s hottest new fare and you won’t have to wait in line forever, either.
Get Your DIY On
Summer is the perfect craft season; the messy projects can be done outside! Try these fun ideas to get your own creative juices flowing or invite little ones to join in on the kid-friendly activities.
4. Dress Up Your Porch
Your porch deserves more than muddy shoes and dusty rugs. Make it cozy with vintage signs (you can find letters at thrift or vintage shops to spell out your favorite phrase!) and a bar cart to keep your sangria supplies on-the-ready all summer long. Throw in some oversize pillows in fun patterns, and create DIY wooden planters to you can fill with succulents or gardenias and POOF! —you’ve got a mini oasis.
5. Make Your Own Bug Repellant
Store-bought bug repellants are often made with DEET, a chemical that has been known to cause health problems and also proves toxic to birds and other wildlife. Make a nature-and-body-friendly bug repellant with this simple recipe using essential oils. Spray on clothing instead of directly on skin if you have skin irritation concerns with essential oils:
- Fill a spray bottle halfway full with distilled water.
- Add witch hazel almost to the top.
- Add 30 drops of an essential oil of your choice to scent, or combine. Essential oils that work great as natural bug repellant—and happen to smell good too—include eucalyptus, cedar, lemongrass, tea tree, rosemary, and citronella!
6. Whip Up Some Homemade Sangria
No summer cocktail comes close to the fruity-sweet sangria. It’s super easy to make at home—prepare a batch for the weekend and sip on your porch accordingly. We’re super-fans of this easy DIY Sangria from FitFoodieFinds.
7. Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk
If it’s good enough for Martha (Stewart, that is) it’s good enough for us—we love her sidewalk chalk hack for making this summer staple at home because it’s an easy and fun way to get your kids involved with one art project that leads to another. Picking out the paints ahead of time lets them choose their own colors, and we’ll bet you won’t mind getting in on the artistic action.
Explore The Outdoors
What’s our favorite part about summer? Enjoying the great outdoors, obviously. Being able to let our feet get dirty, our hair get frizzy, and our laughs get a little louder is arguably the best thing about warmer weather. So enjoy these easy ways to get outdoors this summer—just don’t forget the SPF!
8. Plan A Picnic
A bottle of rose, some fresh fruit, and homemade baguette sandwiches are all you need to transform a normal summer day into a romantic sunset picnic! Bonus points for finding a cute picnic blanket that can go from the park to the beach.
9. Try A Hot Air Balloon
Never tried a hot air balloon? What are you waiting for? Find a ride near you and check it off your bucket list—you’ll explore new heights and see your city anew.
10. Get Into Lawn Games
Invite your friends over for a day of lawn games and burgers! Bocce ball sets are inexpensive and provide an instant activity for your next BBQ; you can also customize your own cornhole boards with your favorite sports team or design for another great outdoor game that everyone can play.
11. Kayak or Canoe For Two
Take a kayak or canoe out for the day with a friend or significant other. There are plenty of places to rent them near lakes or the beach—take one out for a spin over lunch and return it within a few hours. You’ll get in a great upper body workout while simultaneously exploring the natural beauty of your city.
13. Get Your Green Thumb On
Have you been avoiding plants like the plague because you think you lack the green thumb necessary to keep them alive? Get into gardening with these simple starter plants and you might just unleash your inner gardening goddess. If you have little ones, you can teach them about planting seeds and how to water them. Each week, show your kiddos the progress their plants have made!
Take A Social Media Break
Make some memories this summer that are just for you (remember those?) by experiencing each moment for what it is—instead of figuring out who or what to tag.
13. Go Off The Grid
Vow to take a weekend break from your phone, or at least a day. Ask your significant other to join you and make it a game—the last one to use their phone gets to pick dinner and a movie. You’ll be surprised how great it feels to live in the moment instead of behind a viewfinder.
14. Play Polaroid
If you do want to capture some moments this summer, make them candid and unfilter-able. Get a disposable camera (yep, they still do sell ‘em) or a Polaroid and let your memories develop instead of immediately uploading them to the internet for all to see.
15. Swap Phone Games For Old-Fashioned Games
Can we harken back to the days of old-fashioned board games? Rainy days call for “vintage” games like Pictionary, Monopoly, or Mancala. (Mancala is a great way to teach little ones to count—and they’ll love the gem-like stones!)
Learn Something New
Day camps aren’t just for kiddos—keep your mind sharp and engaged with these intellectually-stimulating summer ideas.
16. Brush Up On Your Camp Skills
Devote this summer to finally learning how to skip stones, start a fire, or find the constellations the next time you’re out of town or in cabin-land.
17. Start a Summer Book Club
Find some likeminded bookworms and pick three books to read over the next three months. Book commitment-phobes won’t rebuke at the thought of 3 months, and it’s obviously this is the perfect place to serve your homemade sangria from #6.
18. Start a New Fitness Regimen
January 1 gets a lot of attention when it comes to starting a new fitness regimen, but the summer is as good a time as any to make a commitment to your health. Being outside affords you the opportunity to run, rollerblade, walk, bike, or swim more than you otherwise might be able to, depending on your climate. So make the most of this summer by committing to workout at least three days a week, whether it be walking, jogging, or fitting in some outdoor yoga.
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