With the end of the school year just a few weeks away, you may be looking for some great ideas of things to do over summer break. You might be wondering: What are some things for middle schoolers to do over the summer? How can I plan ahead to ensure my summer vacation is not only fun but spent in a way that brings some value to my life? How can I prevent having a boring summer? In other words, summer is a great gift of time, and there are a lot of ways to spend it. So let’s go through how to plan out the best summer ever!

Start Each Day with a Plan

One of the biggest mistakes people make during the summer is not planning out their day. It’s so easy to leave your days empty and just drift along. The problem is that the end of summer arrives and you feel like you really didn’t do anything. These become those people that when school starts again in the fall that describe their summer as “boring.” Let’s try to avoid that!

So, in order to optimize your summer, it is ABSOLUTELY essential to start each day with a plan! The good news is that this does not need to be complicated or time consuming.

All you have to do is simply grab a piece of paper and quickly write out a little “to-do list.” The best time to do this is either before you go to bed or right away when you wake up. This gives you the chance to think through your day and prioritize how you want to spend your time.

Feel free to download this free printable weekly planner. Otherwise, any piece of paper will do the trick. The point is to just get in the habit of making a list every day!

Also, I created a template for you to brainstorm ideas for summer. You can download it for free!

Spend Your Time Wisely

The average length of summer vacation is about 90 days. Now, imagine you had $90. How would you choose to spend it to get the most value for your money? How might you invest your time to bring the most value to your life? Think about the things that are important to you, specific ways you would like to grow, and new hobbies or interests you would like to try out.

Below I have put together a giant list of activities, hobbies, and ideas to help you to brainstorm an awesome “blueprint for summer!”

*Note – I tried to come up with ideas that are “less obvious.”

Fitness Ideas

Whether you are a competitive athlete or somebody that’s “not really into sports,” exercising is one of the best investments you can make for yourself. You do not need to be on a sports team or considered an “athlete” to work out. ANYBODY can enjoy and experience the benefits of physical fitness.

Think about it, if you could harness all of the benefits of exercise into a pill, it would likely be the most popular medication in the entire world! Exercise is a great mood booster, confidence booster, brain booster, immunity booster, and the list could go on and on. It is one of the most powerful anti-depressants available, and no prescription is needed!

So, if you aren’t somebody that currently exercises, there really is no better time than summer to try some different things out and find something you might enjoy!

Here are some unique ideas to help you get started:

  • BeachBody
    • This is one of the most popular exercise apps in the world. It features TONS of different exercise programs ranging from cardio, weight lifting, yoga, dance, etc. This might be a great option for those that want to try out some different exercise programs with some structure and guidance. It’s also convenient as you can do the workouts from home.
  • AllTrails
    • This is a really cool app that helps you to discover different trails for hiking, biking, jogging, or walking. A great resources for discovering your next favorite place to adventure this summer!
  • Geocaching
    • How would you love to go on a treasure hunt? Geocaching is a fun outdoor activity that involves some hiking and using the mobile app to search for hidden items!
  • Frisbee
    • You would be amazed how good of an exercise tossing a frisbee around can be. This is one of my favorite summertime activities and would definitely recommend it!
  • Ninja Warrior
    • If sports aren’t really your thing you may enjoy something more like Ninja Warrior. Train yourself to perform cool stunts using various obstacles!
  • Parkour
    • Parkour is like a combination of Ninja Warrior and Gymnastics. This is a really cool “sport” for those that enjoy pushing their personal fitness boundaries!
  • Weightlifting
    • With all of the extra time on your hands this summer, it may be a great time to tone up and build some muscle. Jeremy Ethier is a fitness YouTuber with some pretty solid guidance on general weightlifting techniques. He also provides advice on nutrition and other fitness-related topics.
  • Trampoline
    • Whether you use an outdoor trampoline (or an indoor rebounder) the health benefits are pretty astonishing. For those that might not enjoy jogging, this is a great cardiovascular workout that has less impact on your joints.
  • Yoga
    • Yoga is not only a great way to reduce stress and increase mindfulness but can also provide an incredible workout. Can’t make it to a yoga studio? Check out Yoga With Adriene on YouTube!
  • Rock Climbing
    • You don’t need to scale Mount Everest to enjoy rock climbing. In fact, many gyms today have indoor climbing walls which is a great place for beginners that want to try it out. I definitely recommend giving it a shot!
  • Gymnastics
    • Gymnastics is an incredible combination of strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, and creativity. Plus, you don’t necessarily need a lot of equipment.
  • Tennis
    • Many neighborhood parks have outdoor tennis courts that are freely available. When was the last time you got together with somebody and played? This would be a fun activity for those looking for something different.
  • Pickleball
    • Perhaps you have noticed that a lot of public tennis courts are being renovated into pickleball courts. Pickleball is a lot like tennis but is played on a smaller court with a paddle instead of a racket. It is gaining a lot of popularity in recent years, and for good reason, it’s fun!

Start a New Hobby

  • Cooking
    • Eating is one of the few things that every person will do their entire life, so why not take some time this summer to learn how to cook the food you enjoy? There are lots of great online cooking courses worth checking out.
  • Magic
    • An often overlooked hobby that is actually pretty fun is learning magic tricks. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to know a few impressive magic tricks when you get older. So, spend some time this summer learning some magic and dazzle your friends and family. Here is a fantastic beginners course!
  • Learn an Instrument
    • This could be the summer you begin learning a new instrument! Buy a cheap guitar, drum set, or any other instrument and start learning the basics. Over time, learning an instrument is really one of the best things you can do for your brain. Plus, knowing your way around a guitar is a skill that can only increase your awesomeness level. I absolutely recommend the app Yousician. It teaches you an instrument by turning it into a game (kind of like Guitar Hero or Rockband). Super fun! Here is another great online guitar course for beginners!
  • Record an Album
    • You don’t need a fancy recording studio to produce your own album. In fact, many of the best albums in recent years were recorded in home studios. As a beginner, an app like GarageBand is more than enough to have a good time with. Get together with some friends, write some songs and enjoy the creative process of recording and producing an album! Udemy has a great course that can teach you everything you need to know to produce an incredible album!
  • Make a Short Film
    • There has never been a more accessible time in history to create movies. Smartphones and tablets now come installed with pretty impressive cameras and there are countless apps for video editing. Get together with some friends, write a script and create a short film! iMovie is a great film-editing app!
  • Graphic Design
    • Do you have a bit of an artistic side but also enjoy technology? Perhaps you would enjoy blending those and learning some graphic design over the summer. There are tons of great apps, but there are a few that I would definitely recommend – Canva, ProCreate, and Adobe.
  • Start a Garden
    • Summer weather is the best time of the year to get outside and plant your own garden. Take a short trip to the store, pick up a few bags of dirt, some seeds, and have fun growing some plants. Check out this huge list of online courses to teach you how to grow an amazing garden!
  • Photography
    • The cameras that are built into smartphones and tablets are pretty incredible. Plus, there are countless apps to edit your own digit pictures. This could be a phone summer to learn how to take and develop amazing photographs. Here are some courses to teach you how to shoot like a pro!
  • Flying Drones
    • A new hobby that has taken flight in recent years is drone piloting. It’s basically like a video game where you use a controller, but you are actually flying a real miniature aircraft! Here is a video of the 10 Best Drones for Beginners.
  • Juggling
    • This might seem like a strange thing to add to a hobby list, but hear me out. Studies have shown that juggling is one of the best ways to exercise your brain. Plus, it’s an awesome way to entertain and impress people!
  • Drawing
    • A lot of students seem to love doodling, but maybe this summer you take your artistic skills to the next level. There are so many great online courses and other digital drawing apps to teach you how to draw incredible pictures!
  • Astronomy
    • Who doesn’t enjoy being outside on a warm summer evening? If that’s you, perhaps it would be fun to look up at the stars and know what’s going on up there. Meteor showers, comets, constellations, visible planets… there is so much to see when you know what to look for. Check out some of these great stargazing apps! Also, Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Startalk YouTube Channel and Podcast
  • Udemy
    • Udemy is one of the greatest apps out there! Any skill, hobby, or activity that you would like to learn about there is likely a course designed just for you! Check it out, browse through what it has to offer. They have lots of sales where all of their courses are around $10. Never buy full-price, wait for the sales!
  • MasterClass
    • How would you like to have the world’s greatest experts teach you? Check out Masterclass! This app is $15/month but gives you access to tons of courses taught by some of the most famous experts in the world. This is absolutely awesome!

Grow Your Mind

One of the best things about summer is that it gives you time to learn what YOU want to learn. This is a time when you get to choose your own books, topics, and subjects that you are interested in learning about. This is when learning becomes most enjoyable!

Think about what you wish you could learn in school, and then find some resources to dive into your curiosities. Here are some options worth checking out.

  • LikeWise App
    • Need some great book recommendations? Not sure what podcasts you might enjoy? The best app in the world to get personalized recommendations for books, podcasts, music, movies, tv shows, etc., is LikeWise!
  • Read
    • Everybody enjoys reading once they discover what they like to read. If you don’t like reading, or you think it’s boring, I highly recommend doing a little exploring. There are literally hundreds of thousands of books out there. Start by thinking about the types of movies or tv shows you like? What types of genres and plots do they tend to be? Check out the following resources to help you out! GoodReads (app available), Hoopla (app available), Libby (app available), LikeWise (app), EpicReads (website), WattPad (app available), NewsELA (app available), YA Novels Podcasts, or try turning off the volume and turn on the subtitles while watching movies and TV Shows (better than nothing). Also, check out this list of The 100 Best Teen Novels (seriously a great article!).
  • Audiobooks
    • If you don’t like to read, audiobooks are the next best thing! With audiobooks, you get the experience of reading without having to take time out of your day to do it. In other words, it takes almost no effort or time out of your day. Just pop in some earbuds, push play and go about your normal daily activities. It is incredibly easy to multitask while still receiving many of the benefits of reading. My personal favorite audiobook app is Audible (membership includes hundreds of free titles). Plus, your first month is totally free to try it out. Then it’s only $15/month, which is absolutely worth the price of admission. The other app that is pretty good is Hoopla, but sometimes certain books aren’t available and the quality may not be as good as Audible.
  • Writing
    • One of the best life habits you can get into is doing a little writing each day. Whether it is journaling, writing stories, poetry, lyrics, etc., the options are only limited by your imagination. A few great resources to check out – Reedsy Book Editor, Day One App, and Wattpad.
  • Podcasts
    • One of the biggest hidden treasures in media today is podcasts. Not surprisingly, they have increased in popularity over the past 15 years. Podcasts are basically free audio shows and you can find one on pretty much any topic you can imagine. Anything you are interested in or curious about, there is a great podcast waiting for you to discover. I even put together a list of podcasts for middle schoolers to help you get started, otherwise just go to the Apple Podcast App or Spotify and take a look around.
  • Learn a New Language
    • Interested in other cultures? Perhaps you would enjoy learning a new language. The most popular language-learning app out there is DuoLingo. Otherwise, you could go with a more robust program like Rosetta Stone, but that one isn’t free. Another option that is newer and less expensive than Rosetta Stone is a subscription-based app called Babbel which is also really great!
  • Coding
    • One of the most valuable skills in today’s world is the ability to code. Fortunately, there are a lot of great ways to learn different coding languages. Here are a few great resources to get you on your way – Code Academy, Swift Playground (app), Udemy Coding Courses.
  • Earn Money
    • Summer is a great opportunity to learn and develop ways to earn some extra money. Money will always be a part of life, so maybe this summer you take some time to learn more about it. What are some ways to make money? How do you manage the money that you earn? These are skills that are incredibly valuable, and definitive worth your time. Plus, it’s pretty interesting! Here is a great website called Money Under 30 that has a lot of great information.
  • Udemy
    • This is an absolutely incredible website full of courses to learn about tons of different topics. If you have an interest in learning a new skill or starting a new hobby, check out Udemy to see if you can find an online course to show you the ropes! Also, check out their list of free courses! (Quick Note – Udemy constantly has sales where they reduce the cost of courses by 90%, so don’t pay full price)
  • Masterclass
    • Masterclass is a subscription based service (kind of like Netflix) that grants you access to online courses taught by some of the world leading experts.
  • The Great Courses
    • Want to take a deep dive into some fascinating topics? Check out The Great Courses. This is also a subscription based service which provides you with access to courses taught by some of the best professors in the world. No matter the topic, these professors know how to make them entertaining and interesting to learn about!

Alternatives to Video Games

You have probably noticed that videos games are not on this list. Obviously, video games are pretty awesome, but most of us already know that. I’m sure plenty of video games will be played this summer, but this list is all about thinking outside of the box. In other words, what are some things to do besides video games? Here are a few alternatives that can give your eyes a break from the screen.

  • Pool
    • Instead of playing virtual pool, maybe find a place in town with an actual pool table. Get together with some friends and try it out. You may be surprised that it’s actually pretty fun. If you want to purchase a pool table to have at home, check out Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist (a friend of mine got a pretty amazing deal on one).
  • Ping Pong
    • Develop a little hand-eye coordination with some ping pong. It can be a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it you may find it to be pretty awesome. Again,
  • Darts
    • For about the price of a video game, you could buy your own dartboard.
  • Fishing
    • Whether on a boat or off the dock, fishing is one of the most popular summertime activities. Instead of sitting in front of a screen, try sitting outside and enjoy catching some fish!
  • Foosball
    • Looking for an alternative to Fifa Soccer on your Xbox? Try out some foosball. It’s basically table soccer. For those that may not know what this game is, check out this video here.
  • Puzzles
    • Puzzles may seem boring but there is something satisfying to working your way through a puzzle with a few friends.
  • Board Games
  • Cards
    • There is a reason playing cards have been around since the 9th century Tang Dynasty. There are so many different games you can play and all you need is a deck of cards. Here is a list of the Top 10 Card Games!
  • Chess
    • The history of chess goes back around 1500 years! That’s because it is the ultimate game of strategy! Here is a video that will teach you how to play chess!
  • Paintball
    • Instead of sitting around playing Call of Duty all day, maybe find a local place where you can do some paintball! Here is a how-to-play paintball video!
  • Bowling
    • Get together with your gamer friends and head over to the bowling alley. It’s one of those activities that often gets overlooked but everyone seems to enjoy.
  • Golf
    • Whether it’s mini-golf, regular golf, or hitting up a driving range, golf remains one of the most enjoyable summertime activities.
  • Yard Games

Volunteer Opportunities

One of the best ways to feel better about yourself is to try to help others. Fortunately, there are a lot of different options. Find something that you might be capable of doing and see if there is a way to use it to serve those in need.

  • Animal Shelter
    • If you enjoy spending time with animals, maybe contact a local animal shelter and see if they need any volunteers. Check out the Humane Society or find some neighborhood dogs to take for a walk.
  • Religious Opportunities
    • If you attend a religious institution, check with them to see if there are any volunteer options over the summer. It is likely they might have opportunities you didn’t even know existed. This is a great way to combine service and faith and make some friends along the way.
  • Help Out a Family Member
    • Sometimes you don’t need to look too far to find somebody that would appreciate your time. Do you have a grandparent or relative that you could help out with this summer? It could really be something as simple as just hanging out with them.

Get Your Summer Plan Ready

Now that you have read through a list of things for middle schoolers to do over the summer, let’s spend a little time jotting down some of the ideas that look the most interesting to you!

Take out a piece of paper or a notebook and begin making a list. Review the ideas listed above and write down any that stood out to you as things you might be interested in looking into.

The point is that when school gets out you will have a list of ideas ready to go!

What are some other great summer break ideas? Add your ideas to the comments below!

Have a wonderful summer!

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