Five Ways for Your Middle/High Schooler to Tackle “Endless Summer”
It’s been several months since kids went to school, and we’re now facing even more months without organized summer activities. What can your middle- and high-school-aged children do this summer to remain engaged, entertained, and excited? The easy answers are spending time with family and friends (if safe), playing outdoors, and working on any summer assignments from school, but there’s a lot more that students can do to fill their time this summer: here are five ways for your middle or high schooler to learn, grow, and play.
Become an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship is not limited to founding and managing a full-on business. Entrepreneurship is about identifying problems and solving them; it’s about observing what the world lacks and filling those gaps in innovative ways. Entrepreneurship teaches resilience, risk-taking, grit, dedication, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and many other core soft skills that will be immensely valuable as students grow up. Encourage your child to harness their passion and pursue impactful projects, whether building a website, starting a blog, launching a non-profit initiative, or starting a real company. Starting a thriving Tik Tok channel is an entrepreneurial venture, too!
Learn a New Skill
Summer offers the perfect opportunity for your student to spend time learning a skill that they’ve long been interested in. If they are interested in mastering a new foreign language, sign them up for a free online educational program like Duolingo. If they’re tech-savvy and interested in stretching their computational skills, use a free online program like Codeacademy to pick up a programming language. They could even enroll in The Coding Space, a virtual coding camp that runs all summer.
Is your child a budding artist? Encourage them to research well-known artists and create pieces that reflect each artist’s style. At the end of the summer, help them select their favorite pieces and organize them into a formal art portfolio (a great addition to school applications if they’re applying in the fall!). Maybe your child is musically-inclined: encourage them to learn an instrument independently, with help from one of these free online resources. If your child is a foodie, help them to explore new recipes and even create their own cookbook or host cooking classes for friends and family members.
If your child is interested in giving back to the world through philanthropy, urge them to think beyond a lemonade stand or bake sale and start a lasting charitable movement to benefit a cause that holds a special place in their hearts. The last several months have emphasized the urgent work that needs to be done on many issues like racial justice and healthcare; if your student has been affected by recent headlines, help them explore how they could make a difference.
Hire Your Child as an Intern
Most parents will be working from home this summer, so your child has a unique opportunity to “intern” at your home office. Let your student shadow your day-to-day schedule if possible: they’ll learn about the industry you work in, and can even help out with small tasks based on their age and your profession. Outside of job-based skills, they can take on home-related to-dos like organizing books, categorizing photos, decluttering their room, and grabbing coffee. You could even provide them with a small stipend each week and teach valuable financial literacy skills in the process.
Keep Engaging with Academics
Ask your child to brainstorm academic skills that they’re most interested in and want to master. Encourage them to plan out a summer schedule with clear milestones to achieve, like learning 50 vocabulary words by August 1st or completing one new science experiment per week. They could also sign up for an online course: check out Khan Academy, Schoodle, or a local tutoring company offering online summer courses. Independent planning and self-motivation are key skills to pick up before more rigorous high school schedules and life beyond graduation.
One of the highlights of summer for many middle and high schoolers is spending time with friends, often through sleepaway camps. Continuing to feel isolated after months without in-person social time may be one of the most difficult challenges for teenagers this summer. Thankfully, Summer 365 launched a new initiative called s’more 365 to keep camp magic alive virtually. Students can join a “bunk” with their friends from camp or school, family members, etc. and engage in camp-like activities with their bunkmates. Students get access to top-notch instructors offering engaging, high-quality private virtual electives for bunkmates, like tie dye, friendship bracelet making, fitness, theater, dance, and much more. Pre-register now for s’more 365 so your student can enjoy as much of the camp experience as possible while staying home.
However your student spends their time this summer, try to keep them engaged in planning and measuring their progress. Children who gain a sense of accomplishment from completing a summer project will be energized and ready to head into a new school year, whether virtual or not.