Now that summer is in full swing, the question on everybody’s minds is how to make the most of these warm and welcome months. This is the time of year for road trips, swimming, cooking out, and outdoor sports. But what if you want to break out of your normal routine? Summer is the season of possibilities, so don’t limit yourself to your usual yearly activities.
Branching out into new possibilities doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg or leave a lasting mark on the environment. There are endless creative ways to use your free time in the summer, many of which cost nothing and can boost your quality time with Mother Nature. The next time you’re itching to try something new this season, mix things up and follow one of these summertime activities.
Fun, Inexpensive Summertime Activities
1. Use Your Nearby Parks and Their Programming
If you aren’t already a recipient of your local park’s newsletter (or if you don’t follow them on social media), you should change that today! Both national parks and other community-driven outdoor spaces often have all kinds of interesting summer programs for people of all ages. Use these opportunities to become an amateur birdwatcher, create some family fun crafts, or begin a regular hiking routine. You will not only walk away with a new hobby, but also a greater understanding and appreciation for your city and its surrounding land.
2. Start Your Own Summer Camp
Who says you need to spend tons of cash on official summer camp activities for the kids? You can start your own miniature version of the real thing. First, coordinate with other parents in the neighborhood who would like their children to have something fun and wholesome to do this summer. Then, create a rotating schedule of activities at each others’ homes, such as outdoor movie nights, DIY crafts from recyclable materials, talent shows, gardening projects, and low-key team sports. If a group of four parents gets together to plan something weekly for their kids, that means you’ll get three chunks of designated grown-up time every month!
3. Host a Meet-Up Group
Adults can follow the same suggestion as above. But instead of a summer camp, you can start hosting a meet-up group. This could be in the form of more conventional book or gardening clubs. But you can also get creative and create a fermenting or pickling club, a make-your-own household cleaners or beauty products club, a board game club, or a writer’s club. Get your friends together or create something more formal on MeetUp.com so you can bring like-minded individuals together. Bonus points if your meet-up group meets outdoors!
4. Attend an Outdoor Yoga Class
Practicing yoga outdoors is a truly wonderful experience that, in many places, can only be done during the summertime months. As pleasant-smelling the essential oils and sprays used in yoga studios are, breathing in fresh air during your practice is even better. Many yoga studios host outdoor events (which may be on the pricier side), but so do local parks, local farms, wineries, community fitness centers, libraries, and independent yoga teachers. Search for some opportunities to do some sun salutations in the sun!
5. Help Out at a Local Community Garden
Now is the time for gardens to start churning out our favorite summer produce. Local community gardens and those associated with certain institutions (daycares, nursing homes, medical centers, libraries — you name it) can always use extra help with weeding and watering. There might even be a local restaurant who uses their own garden for their dishes and could use some helpful hands. Use this time to get your hands dirty!
6. Create Art Using Objects Found in Nature
Leaves, pine cones, river stones, found antlers, twigs, and dried flowers all represent the simplistic beauty of the outdoors and the wildlife who inhabits it. Using these objects in unique pieces of art is fun for any age. Press leaves and flowers to create stunning scrapbook pages or DIY greeting cards, transform river stones and twigs into free farmhouse decor, or save up some pine cones to sweeten with the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg during the winter months. As long as you are not disrupting nature or those living in it, you can use the outside world as inspiration for meaningful and truly one-of-a-kind artwork.
Katie Medlock is a writer, mental health counselor, and educator on a quest to make the world a better place. Her writing has appeared on Headspace, Inhabitat, Care2, Ravishly, and Chic Vegan. On her days off, you will find her cooking, catching up on nerdy podcasts, blogging at The Offbeat Herbivore (https://offbeatherbivore.com), or lounging with her partner and rescue dachshund.
Which of these creative summertime activities will you participate in? Do you have favorite summertime activities that you do with friends and family? Let us know below or on Facebook and Twitter.