Ah, summer. With so much (perceived) free time, we’re quick to fill it up with all the fun things. Backyard hangs, gatherings with friends and family, and plenty of pool days. But the pull to be out and about often draws us away from our hobbies and creative outlets. As a result, when the line-up of plans starts to wane, our list of things to do in summer can feel strangely limited, and our old mainstays—i.e., Netflix and chill—far less inspiring.
Regardless of whether or not you work in a creative field, it can be difficult to find the opportunity to flex your creativity muscles. As children, most of us tried new things and picked up hobbies (even if it was just rock collecting) much more frequently. But as we get older, somehow our free time gets more easily filled with obligations, both personal and professional. It can be easy to get into a creativity slump, which is why we’ve rounded up 30 new things to do in summer.
And while there’s nothing wrong with vegging out every now and then, there are so many other ways to expand your world!
There’s no time like the summer to take advantage of the long nights and extra energy that all that sunshine brings. So, here’s to intellectual pursuits, volunteering, heading outdoors, and getting active. If you’re not sure where to start, these hobbies supply plenty of healthy, creative, and relaxing inspiration. Happy hobbying!
Featured image by Melissa Gidney for Jenni Kayne.
Read on for 30 new things to do in summer!
Get into personality types
Get outside with a pencil and notebook and draw what you see! Better yet, go on a fun hike and explore a new place. It doesn’t have to be good, just expressive!
Discover new hiking spots
Take advantage of these sunny skies and fresh air and soak up the great outdoors!
Become a pro at grilling and barbecuing
Grilling’s not just for the boys!
Try out paddleboard yoga (or just plain yoga)
There’s nothing like the challenge of a downward dog on a moving board! Whether on land or on the water, summer’s the perfect time to get bendy!
Learn some new makeup techniques
Thanks to YouTube and Instagram, it’s actually possible for even the most unskilled among us to pick up some serious makeup skills. If you’re looking to strengthen your skills or practice some fun, new summer makeup looks, check out Katie Jane Hughes, Cher Webb, Taylor Anise, Lisa Eldridge, and Patrick Ta. Have recommendations for more artists we missed? Share ’em in the comments—we’re always looking for more inspiration!
Sign up for an art class
Get messy and learn a new creative skill! There are lots of classes right now too that can be done both virtually or in person.
Play With Flowers
Is there anything more inspiring than working with nature? Countless blooms come into season all throughout the year, and there’s nothing better than letting their colors take shape in any composition you create. One of my favorite, accessible ways to unleash your inner florist is to head to the store (Trader Joe’s is a great option if you have one nearby!), pick up a few different kinds of flowers and arrange them at home. You’ll have fresh, beautiful blooms that you can enjoy all throughout the week!
Become an expert in a New Topic
Life-long learners, unite! I’m a student at heart, and it doesn’t take a classroom or a lecture hall to get me to seriously geek out and dive deep into something new. Spend a little time reading, browsing, or just intentionally looking for inspiration. When you come across something that clicks—whether it’s a person, place, movement, cultural moment, or anything of the sort—gather all the materials you can find and get excited about learning more.
Make it the most zen summer ever.
Make Your Own Jewelry
DIY jewelry is having a big moment—and for good reason. It’s an easy and affordable way to incorporate sustainable, one-of-a-kind pieces into your accessory arsenal. Grab a kit, browse some DIY projects, and start tinkering. Once you get really good, you can even start designing while binge-watching your fave show or listening to your can’t-miss, go-to podcast.
Indulge Your Green Thumb
….even if you don’t have one! This can definitely mean going all-in on a backyard garden, but it can also look like investing in a small container garden on your apartment’s patio. And don’t forget about the indoors! These are our favorite can’t-kill plants that are perfect for beginners.
Dive Into Fiber Arts
Knitting, crocheting, weaving—the list goes on! While I’m partial to the first option on the list, there’s no end to all the leisurely fun you can have. Pick up a book, watch a YouTube how-to (in my experience, this has been a great resource for starting out and even learning new stitches and techniques as you go!), or sign up for a class at your local store. Bonus: It’s a great way to make friends!
Design Your Own Clothes
This is next-level thrifting. Dust off the old sewing machine your mom gifted you years ago and start dreaming up your most creative designs! Plenty of patterns can be purchased online, and there’s *literally* nothing better than spending a weekend afternoon perusing a local fabric store. Fill your closest, sustainably.
Feeling like climbing? Join a local bouldering group or strike out on your own.
Sure, this one could be roped into plenty of the other ideas on this list, but I’d argue that crafting can be its own thing entirely. Whether you’re taking on a DIY project to spruce up your space, having fun with paper, or getting cozy and making all the (six-months-in-advance) Christmas décor—doesn’t matter when you’re making! Collective Gen is one of my favorite sites for all the crafty inspo. Honestly, even just finding your next DIY is half the fun.
Learn how to cut your own hair
Promise it’s easier than it looks. Then again, try at your own risk!
Grow your own herbs or produce
Get your hands dirty!
Start a wine-tasting club
I mean is there a better hobby? Make sure to wear masks and social distance, or you can do them on Zoom with friends, too!
Start a dog-walking club
Friends, puppies, the great outdoors. Need I say more?
Make your own candles
Crafty, will make your home smell great, and doubles as great, creative gifts!
Become a cocktail pro
No time like the present to get financially savvy!
Pick Up A Camera
Ask any photographer how they learned their craft, and 9 times out of 10, they’ll likely respond with some variation on: I just bought a camera and started shooting! Of course, you can do wonders with just a phone as well. Whether it’s food, lifestyle, landscape, or any subject of your choosing—begin composing your shot and let the documentation begin.
Embrace Your Inner Artist
While I’ll never consider myself “good” at either drawing or painting, I’ve come to learn that that’s not really the point. Stop by your local art store, pick up some supplies, and simply put brush to paper. Of course, you’re always welcome to take a class, whether online or in-person, but I’ve discovered that there’s endless joy to be found in simply exploring what your mind can create on its own, no technique needed.
Start Your Journaling Journey
Journaling has been touted as the be-all and end-all wellness practice. I’m not saying it’s magic, but… it’s pretty dang close. Jotting down your gratitudes and keeping track of your thoughts might take a little getting used to at first, but trust me, once you build the habit, you won’t stop. Get started with this guide and let these journaling prompts inspire your path. It might just change your life.
Get into tie-dying
Eat your way through a new cookbook
Throw on Julie & Julia for a little inspo, then pick a new cookbook and make a few new recipes a week.
Start a two-person book club
Book clubs can be fraught with complications or drama, which is why it can be easier and a bit more pleasant to just keep it small! Grab a partner, friend, co-worker, or sibling and decide on a book to read in tandem.
Become Your Own Barista
You drink coffee every morning—why not make it taste amazing? Get your hands on some coffee-centric reading materials and start your research! Pick a means of preparation that works best for you (pour-over, Chemex, Aeropress, etc.) and work it down to a science. Your tastebuds will thank you.
This post was originally published on June 22, 2020, and has since been updated.