Summer is in full swing, and for most people that means a bit of a lifestyle change. Whether your own schedule shifts, or you’re helping manage others, you may need to come up with a few ideas to fight summer boredom before it sets in. Whether or not summer camp is an option, there are plenty of things to do without breaking the bank or spending three months watching reruns.
Managing Your Own Summer
If you’re spending the summer responsible for yourself and no one else, there are plenty of ways to keep boredom at bay.
Set Little Challenges
Treat summer almost like a mini new year—create a list of small resolutions and have fun with them! Challenge yourself to visit a new museum or travel to a new city. Read a book in a different genre or spend a whole day at the beach. The “challenge” element helps add a little structure, so post a list on your fridge or set alarms or events on your phone as deadlines.
Create A New Schedule
If you thrive on schedules in general, a summer schedule can help you stay focused and avoid boredom. Consider daily and weekly tasks equally. Schedule specific times to get groceries or meal plan, to make it to the gym or yoga studio, to pay bills, and even to catch up on your favorite tv shows or movies.
Try Something New
Community colleges often offer classes or workshops without school credit. Look into your local library, community center, college, and other facilities with similar programming. If you are interested in learning a new hobby or taking an old one to the next level, it’s likely that you can find more accessible opportunities than you expected. Wine tasting, book clubs, intro to accounting, swim lessons, cake decorating, and guitar are all examples of classes offered for adults.
Randomize Your Fun
Summer should be a time for spontaneity, for getting out of your comfort zone, and for pushing your creative boundaries. Make a list of activities, places to visit, challenges to try etc and place them in a bowl. When you’re short on ideas or can’t decide what to do, pull out a slip from the bowl.
Unplug and Appreciate
Spend time free from digital entertainment! If you can manage to stay away from phones, televisions, tablets and computers for a whole day, take advantage of that. You can do this partially, as well, by setting a time limit or setting your phone to do not disturb. You can unplug your computer and only use it until the battery dies. Or you can unplug completely and spend time somewhere without electricity, such as a camp site or older cabin space.
Managing Summer For Others
When you are responsible for others, typically they are children on break from school. Whether or not summer camp or summer classes are an option, there will still be times that they are home or on break.
Some of the same facilities that offer programming for adults have classes for different age groups. Most public libraries have summer reading programs that offer rewards for giving mini book reports. Others offer movie screenings or even “sleepover parties” for families. Community pools may have swim lessons or diving teams. Summer time sports and exercise programs are often available at public parks or schools. Some programs offer family time, and some are more individualized. A quick internet search for your childrens’ age group and your city will give you a better idea about your options.
Build in Time for Good Boredom
As adults, we have to figure out ways to fill empty space in our schedules. Let your summer buddies have some unstructured time. Let them fill it with activities of their own choosing, from reading or playing video games to laying in the backyard and staring at the clouds. Allowing them to choose their activity takes some pressure off you and allows kids some autonomy.
Clean Off A Checklist
While emptying the garage or setting up a yard sale might not be the most fun, they need to be done. Having the whole family pitch in is another way of getting them involved with the household. Include them in the yard sale with a lemonade table or allow them to write price tags for older toys, letting them know they’ll also get to keep the proceeds from whatever they sell. Again, this is an easy way to show them adult responsibilities while keeping the objections to a minimum. If they have required summer reading, or other academic tasks, talk to them about how to personalize the learning experience. Let them choose what books to read or subjects to study. Try to come up with unique and interactive ways to learn together, like a trip to the science museum or watching an age-appropriate movie or television show.
Get Everyone Involved
Let everyone in the family choose an activity, within reason. They’re in charge for the day, deciding where everyone goes, what you all eat, and how you get around. Showing everyone in the family what goes in to planning a day out can help them appreciate it more when they don’t have to plan and can help them make appropriate suggestions when they don’t want to participate in a trip or activity.
Unplug and Appreciate
This tip is included twice, as it is something people often complain about but never commit to. One “unplugged” day, or a regular day without electronics, can help the family spend more time communicating. It doesn’t have to mean a day without play—you can break out a puzzle or board game or spend the day at the beach, the park, or your own backyard. Take your pets outside if you can do so safely or go see a theatrical performance or sporting event. Stay off your phone or tablet and in the moment, together!
What are your tips for keeping busy this summer? Have you tried any of the tips we mentioned?