After a busy school year, there's nothing wrong with sleeping late and watching TV or playing video games all day—at least for the first week or two of your summer vacation. If vegging out gets boring, it might be time to break out of your comfort zone. From taking on a project to discovering a new part of town, summer is the best time to have loads of fun and prepare yourself for the next school year or the world beyond the classroom.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Learning New Skills

  1. You can learn to create a website from scratch with HTML. Or, you can learn to create a website without computer language skills on a publishing platform like WordPress. Read free tutorials online or watch YouTube videos to learn the basics of setting up a website. Education websites like Udemy and Coursera also offer basic courses that teach you how to create a website.[1]
    • You can also launch a personal blog on a free blogging platform like WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger to share your writings, images and videos.
    • Once your website is up and running, consider publishing your photos, videos and original writings.
    • You can share links to your website on social media to build your personal brand, which looks great on college and job applications.
  2. There are few things more fun than being able to speak another language. For maximum fun, choose a language you've always been interested in learning. Then find learning resources online. If enrolling in a course feels too formal for the summer, consider teaching yourself a new language. You can learn the basics of a language by downloading a language-learning app and completing all the lessons.[2]
    • You might watch music videos and movies in your new language to test your comprehension.
    • You can also look for opportunities to experience your new language in your community. For example, if you're learning French, browse your local free newspaper to find French cultural activities in your area.
  3. Nothing surprises and delights a family more than a teenager who can cook. Contact community centers in your area to find out about cooking class offerings. During the summer, you may even find cooking courses specifically for teens.[3]
    • You can still learn to cook by yourself even if there aren't any cooking classes available in your area. Simply browse your family cookbooks, choose a dish that sounds delicious, gather the ingredients and follow the directions.
    • You can also follow along with online cooking shows to pick up cooking skills.
  4. You might want to be outdoors during the summer if you're athletically inclined. Consider learning to play an individual sport like tennis, swimming or golf. Local universities, community colleges and sports clubs are the best places to look for beginner classes.[4]
    • Learning an individual sport over the summer is a great way to stay fit, especially if you play team sports during the school year.
    • Even if you don't normally play sports at school, taking any kind of sports class during the summer can help you get in shape and boost your self-esteem.
    • Playing an in individual sport also looks great on a college application.
  5. Like playing a sport, learning to play a musical instrument is a great way to boost your self-esteem. The summer is a great time to learn to play instruments you've always been curious about, for example, the guitar, drums or piano. Talk to your parents about your desire to learn to play a musical instrument, because they might need to hire a private instructor for you.[5]
    • Learning to play a musical instrument requires time and concentration. Before buying or borrowing an instrument and paying for lessons, consider your family's other planned summer activities.
    • Learning to play a musical instrument on your own is possible if you can't afford a private instructor. Music instruction books and videos make great resources for learning the basics of playing an instrument.
  6. Local parks and recreation departments usually publish a list of their summer arts and crafts classes for teens. Library branches, craft stores and local businesses sometimes offer arts and crafts classes for teens during the summer, too.The great thing about arts and crafts classes is that they're inexpensive. They're also short, so you can take several classes over the summer.
    • You can also sign up for online classes and follow online tutorials if you'd like to explore arts and crafts while hanging out at home.
    • From candle making to origami, save your creations for a show-and-tell with family and friends at the end of the summer.
  7. Advertisement
Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Being Productive

  1. [6] Start by talking to your guidance counselor about your desire to get a summer job. Guidance counselors are usually in-the-know about local summer jobs for teens. Your guidance counselor can also help you create a resume. You might also ask your parents, other relatives and family friends if there are any job opportunities for teens at their workplaces.[7]
    • Consider knocking on the doors of businesses in your neighborhood to find out which ones hire teens during the summer.
    • Restaurants and retail stores often hire teens during the summer. To make the most of your vacation, apply for jobs that seem like they would be a lot of fun. If you like animals, for example, consider applying for a part-time job at a pet store.
  2. If you babysit or mow lawns, you're self-employed, so why not organize your efforts? Start by making some fliers about the services you offer and distribute them around your neighborhood. Setting fees for your services helps you know exactly what to charge your clients.[8]
    • Write your appointments in a journal or enter them in your appointment app, so you don't forget any jobs you've agreed to do.
    • Some business ideas for teenagers include cleaning basements, washing cars, walking dogs, feeding pets while their owners are away and helping seniors with household chores.
  3. Think about the kind of job you might want after college. Then, work closely with your parents, teachers and guidance counselor to identify companies that take on high school interns over the summer. For example, if you're thinking about launching a tech startup after college, you might try to get an internship at a local tech firm.[9]
    • Internships don't pay but they offer lots of value.
    • In addition to experience, you might snag a great reference for college from your boss or even get hired full-time in the future.
  4. Choose volunteer opportunities based on the things that matter most to you. If you're an animal lover, you might volunteer at a local animal rescue center. If you enjoy spending time with senior citizens, you might volunteer at a local nursing home. Contacting nonprofits in your community is a great way to get started volunteering over the summer.[10]
    • Try to keep a journal of your volunteer experiences. You can use your experiences as inspiration for a college admissions essay or other writing assignments in high school.
  5. The prospect of college is very exciting, especially if you're a rising junior or senior. Every college has a website, so start by visiting college websites that have majors that interest you. You can also read college review websites like USA Today and Princeton Review to get a sense of things like how much colleges cost and what students think about their schools.
    • Social networking groups on websites like Facebook are great places to find out about colleges. When interacting with students on social media, identify yourself as a high school student looking to learn more about their schools.
    • Consider asking your parents to take you on campus visits. If they're game, they might even organize a fun road trip or two around campus visits.
  6. Advertisement
Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Having Fun with Friends and Family

  1. [11] You want to choose a place to visit in your city or town that's close by. You can check out a place you've never been or a place you don't visit often, which can still be enriching. Places you do visit regularly can also offer new experiences if you explore them from a new angle.[12]
    • For example, if you usually breeze past a local museum, take some time to check out the exhibits over the summer.
    • Historic sites, parks and recreation areas, walking and hiking trails, farms open to the public and amusement parks make great places to explore.
    • You might also plan a trip to a new mall or movie theater that you haven't visited yet.
    • Consider riding the bus or commuter train to see even more sights in your area you haven't seen before.
    • Don't forget to take lots of pictures of your adventure to share with friends.
  2. Going bike riding on warm summer evenings can be great exercise and lots of fun for the whole family. Play it safe and stick to popular biking trails in your community. You can make the activity interesting by going a bit further along the trail each time you go out.
    • If you and your friends don't have bikes, consider renting them. Not every community has bike rentals, but take advantage of the opportunity if your community has such an option.
  3. Get together with other teens and plan game nights. Game night can be just for teens, or you can make the event for all ages. Games that work great for large groups include street hockey, dodge ball, whiffle ball and frisbee. The point is to have lots of fun, so consider games that don't require much skill or athleticism.[13]
    • You might plan to play board games and card games, especially for smaller groups.
    • You can build buzz for your neighborhood game night on your favorite social networking site.
    • Try to get everyone who participates to bring a beverage or a snack to the event.
  4. Movie nights are easy to plan thanks to streaming video services. All you need for successful movie nights are blankets, pillows and snacks. You can organize movie nights just for your immediate family and separate movie nights just for you and your friends.[14]
    • If you have a projector or someone you know has a projector you can borrow, consider setting up a screen and showing movies outdoors.Showing movies in the backyard can be lots of fun on a hot summer night.
  5. No summer would be complete with a cookout by the community lake. The park works great, too, if your community doesn't have a lake. You can help your busy parents by creating a to-do list for a successful cookout. Then, delegate responsibilities to different members of the family.[15]
    • For example, have one or two people make decorations, another person plan the games and another person make cupcakes.
    • You might make a quick trip to the recreation area to find entry fees and park rules—such as rules for using grills—to avoid surprises on cookout day.
  6. Advertisement

Expert Q&A

  • Question
    What should a 16 year old do over the summer?
    Desiree Panlilio
    Desiree Panlilio
    Teen Life Coach
    Desiree Panlilio is a Teen Life Coach and the Owner of Encouraging Teens, LLC. With over three years of experience, she specializes in helping teens and young adults define roles, set goals, develop healthy academic and personal habits, grow in leadership potential, and create their life paths. Desiree holds a BSN in Nursing from The University of Victoria and an MA in Human Services Counseling with a concentration in Life Coaching from Liberty University.
    Desiree Panlilio
    Teen Life Coach
    Expert Answer
    Set 3-4 goals for what you'd like to accomplish over the summer! "I want to see my grandparents," "I want to learn to surf," and "I'd love to read this book series" are all viable goals that you could pursue over the summer.
  • Question
    If my mom is working for three days and needs me to find somewhere to be, where can I go?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    You can go to a friend or family member's house, or if you just need to be somewhere during the day, you could go to the library, a public pool, rec center (like the YMCA), or an arcade if your town has one.
  • Question
    How do I make the most of my summer vacation if I have to stay home and have no friends?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    You can always read, do arts and crafts, organize your room, and go outside. Also, try going out to places where people your age hang out and make some friends!

Reader Videos

Submit a Video Tip!

Share a quick video tip and help bring articles to life with your friendly advice. Your insights could make a real difference and help millions of people!

Submit a Video


  • Keep your parents or guardians in the loop about all your summer activities. For safety reasons, it's vitally important for your parents or guardians to know who you're interacting with at all times.
  • Be mindful about the questions or responses you post about a college or university on social media. Questions and comments are searchable, and posting negative questions and comments might cause a college or university to reject your application.

About This Article

Desiree Panlilio
Co-authored by:
Teen Life Coach
This article was co-authored by Desiree Panlilio. Desiree Panlilio is a Teen Life Coach and the Owner of Encouraging Teens, LLC. With over three years of experience, she specializes in helping teens and young adults define roles, set goals, develop healthy academic and personal habits, grow in leadership potential, and create their life paths. Desiree holds a BSN in Nursing from The University of Victoria and an MA in Human Services Counseling with a concentration in Life Coaching from Liberty University. This article has been viewed 571,996 times.
22 votes - 80%
Co-authors: 78
Updated: March 2, 2024
Views: 571,996
| Youth
Article SummaryX

To make the most of your summer vacation as a teenager, try to balance fun outdoor activities like camping and gardening with relaxing indoor activities like reading and listening to music. Consider taking a cooking class or a yoga class to learn something new, and don't forget to spend time with your friends by hosting movie nights, sleepovers, and shopping trips! On your free evenings, bike around your neighborhood or hit the local bike trials to get in a little exercise. For tips on earning some money over the summer, read on!

Did this summary help you?