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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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Make the Most of Hot Months with this Summer Bucket List Challenge (in GIFs)

Written by Rebecca Tunney

Yielding fewer responsibilities, more free time, and actual warm weather, summer is nearly every student’s favourite season. But summer comes and goes; you’ll want to cram as many cool experiences into your break as possible so you’ll have epic stories to tell when your teachers ask about them in the fall. We’ve made a list of some of the best things to do during the long summer days, and we’re challenging you to do them all. Make the most of your summer while it’s still here!

Outdoor Adventures

Hit the Road, Jack (or Jill)!

Nothing brings you closer to the ones you love than a good ol’ road trip. Although it does take more planning than anything else on this list, it’ll all be worth it when you’re on the road with the car windows down and happily bouncing along to the killer playlist you made. My friends and I went to a cottage for a couple of days last summer, but you could visit a campsite, a hotel in a different city, or simply go on a day-long trip to the beach. You could even hit a nearby town you’ve never seen. With the right people and some good planning, your road trip will totally be worth bragging about when you get back to school, no matter the destination.

Get Your Head in the Game

Summer is the perfect time for sports, and sports are a fun way to get exercise! Get your buddies together for a game of basketball, challenge your family members to a kids vs. adults volleyball match, or go to a free event held by your city if you can find one. If you’re not the playing type, watching sports can be a ton of fun, too. I personally love watching a Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre with the sun in my eyes and a hot dog in my hand, but if major league sports are out of your price range, go with your friend to cheer on her little brother at his soccer tournament or attend another local sporting event. Whether you’re playing or watching, outdoor sports are a good source of suspense, excitement, community, and vitamin D! Just don’t forget the sunscreen. For real. Don’t.

Peanut Butter and Jam Out

If athletics aren’t your thing, then music might be. Summer concerts tend to be a lot more enjoyable than fall or winter ones since you’ll be less stressed about school projects and deadlines. Plus, you won’t need to check a coat! Check the schedules of nearby venues or use Bands in Town to see which shows you can attend. If major artists are out of your price range (and if Stub Hub doesn’t have anything good), then you can always check out some of the lesser-known acts. They tend to interact with the audience more and sometimes hold meet and greets after their shows! Don’t forget to see if your city will be hosting free concerts, too. Those are a lot of fun, and you never know what kind of new artists you might discover.

Watch That First Drop, It’s a Doozy!

Another summer staple, carnivals are a definite must during the hot months. Indulge in rare treats, oversized meats, and delectable sweets. Get on those crazy swinging rides and lose your voice screaming all the way down the first drop. Whether you’re an adventurous eater, a ride warrior, or simply enjoy the vibe of amusement parks, there’s always something to see and do at major carnivals. And if you’re in the GTA, don’t miss the CNE this August!

Venture to Lands Unknown

Inspired by the book All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, wandering involves discovering your own town by hitting up its lesser-known locations, followed by leaving a bit of yourself there (not littering). Find the quirkiest places your town has to offer and visit them—if nothing in particular comes up, you can blindly wander until you stumble upon some cool sites, which you can then blog about later to let people know what your city has to offer! Oh, and don’t forget to take lots of pictures! Check out Tumblr user buttermybooks’ photoset from her ATBP-inspired wandering to see this activity done firsthand.

Inside Rides

Make a Splash

Load your water guns and prep those balloons, because when the first splash strikes, all hell breaks loose. Water wars are a good way to cool off in the summer heat while still being active; if you’re really competitive, build forts and obstacles out of cardboard boxes for an even more challenging war!

It’s Just a Small Get-together, Mom!

If huge house parties aren’t your thing, small, themed get-togethers with friends and family can be loads of fun. For instance, you could do a movie night! All you need to do is make some fresh popcorn, lay out plenty of blankets and pillows, and line up some DVDs, Netflix tabs, or VHS tapes (if you’re way, way old school). You can watch whatever you and the crew feel like watching or set up a theme. A Disney renaissance with your friends, Jane Austen films with your mom, or all the James Bond films with your brothers are pretty safe ideas. If you’re feeling really adventurous, watch some of the indie films that Netflix has to offer.

If you tire of staring at screens, you could also run a family game night, crafting party, or cooking/baking extravaganza! Basically, make an event out of whatever you and your friends and family enjoy.

Burn, Baby, Burn

Would summer be complete without a bonfire under the stars? Bonfires are perfect for late-night talks with your friends. From my experience, you get to know a person a lot better when you sit with them around burning pieces of wood in the dark. There’s also something very comforting about the whole scene. Don’t forget to bring marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers, too—s’mores aren’t going to make themselves.

Channel Your Inner Bear Grylls… Kinda

It’s not real camping, I know, but setting up a tent in the backyard and sleeping in it is a good way for outdoorsy people to introduce their friends (or their moms) to the idea of real camping. Make sure you have a big enough tent—or at least multiple tents—complete with sleeping bags, playing cards, flashlights, a barbecue/fire, and a drink cooler. Ideally, you’ll only use the house for the washroom, but it’s acceptable to store your food inside until you plan on using it. Bonus points if you disconnect from the Internet and only take your phones with you for some cute campfire and tent selfies. A night under the stars is relaxing and fun, not to mention a nice break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Give a Little

If you’re feeling particularly generous, why not run a charity event? Pick a cause that you, friends, and family are passionate about and start raising some money. Plan a car wash, a bake sale, an art show, a community movie night, or any other fun thing you can think of. Name your prices and let everyone know about your event via social media, old fashioned construction paper signs, and/or flyers. If you can grab an ad in your local newspaper, even better! Just make sure you have everything planned out for the event so it runs smoothly. You could either contact a charity organization in advance and let them know what you’re doing or simply keep your donation a total surprise! If you do it right, your one-time event could become an annual charity ball in your community. Just think about the stellar difference you’d make in the world.

Let us know what sort of cool things you have planned for the summer in the comments below!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.