Staying Sharp This Summer – Three Creative Ideas for Teens

I know, I know…you’ve barely finished grieving over the fact that spring break is behind you, so why would I torture you with thoughts of summer?! But the truth is that summer is so close you can practically SMELL it (or maybe my bottle of suntan lotion has just fallen over and spilled out in the closet again).

No matter how close it seems, though, summer WILL be here soon, and that means that you can either let your brain condense into a marshmallow while vegging out for three months, OR you avoid becoming Jet-Puffed by finding creative and fun ways to keep your brain active and engaged during break.

Here are three ideas for keeping your senses sharp and your mind moldable:

1. Volunteer for something completely outside your comfort zone

Yes, it is easy to sign up to help coach a little league team if you are a baseball fanatic. It’s equally a no-brainer to work at the arts council if you have been drawing since you were in your crib. But what if you stepped OUTSIDE of your box and looked for a volunteer position that would challenge you in completely new ways? Don’t know much about the environment? Why not check out your community’s green-living initiative and find out what they need help with. There’s nothing like spending a day cleaning out a stream to open your mind to just how much of our natural resources are in jeopardy. Generally an introvert? Then push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of and participate in a booth at a local festival where you’ll be forced to talk to people  – – and even possibly look them in the eye!  Need some ideas for creative volunteer opportunities? Look no farther than!

2. Take the initiative to learn something new about yourself

Summer is a great time to explore more about who you are as a teenager, but also as a human being. And there are a thousand different ways to tap into your true self. Find a horseback riding class for beginners. Explore what it would be like to run your own business.  Give your inner voice a VOICE by taking a high school writing course. Challenge yourself to watch a documentary about a different country every week. Learn sign language. Write a song. Make a goal to visit every art gallery in your local area. Read a classic book. Try a sport you’ve never attempted before.  Do SOMETHING that gives you just a little more knowledge about yourself and what you are capable of.

3. Create something

Nothing stimulates the ole’ noggin like creativity. But sometimes the hard part of creating something is….well….getting started. What’s amazing, though, is how creativity BREEDS creativity. If you can push yourself to create just one thing, it will usually be hard to stop!! And again, the possibilities are endless. If you are a geekling, you might challenge yourself to create your very first flash-based game. Artistic-types might explore working with mediums they’ve never tried before. And nothing boosts creativity like generosity – – make something FOR someone you care about. A poem, a poster, a track of music…something that shows them how unique you think they are. Or, make something for someone who really just needs a boost – – a lonely nursing home patient, a preschooler in a children’s hospital, a soldier overseas. Whether it’s for yourself, or someone else, simply the act of creating something from nothing is one of the most powerful brain-chargers available.

Summer is coming. It’s up to you whether you let your brain become fodder for a campfire or keep it active, engaged, and prepared to take you wherever you decide to go next.


Kerry Jones is a guest author at and the admin of the web's largest community for secular homeschoolers,, She is a "homeschooling alumnus", having graduated both sons who were each homeschooled from kindergarten. You can follow Kerry on Google Plus by adding her to your circles.

April 21, 2013


  1. Jennifer says:
    Posted May 6, 2013 2:23 am

    I love that idea to learn something new about yourself! Awesome suggestion for this age group!

  2. Brandy Strouse says:
    Posted April 23, 2013 3:21 pm

    What a great post. I just shared your post with my readers over at Home School Online.

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