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  • Heather McDorman

Make the Most of the Last Half of Your Summer


Two parents with two small children out on a summer hike.

The second half of summer brings with it a sense of urgency to make the most of the remaining days before the season transitions into autumn. Do you feel that way?

Summer brings so much good with it – warm temps, relaxed schedules, longer days, and time with family. While we are almost half-way through the 12 weeks we traditionally think of as summer, you don’t have to let the remaining days pass by without a plan – a fun plan!

Whether you want to spend quality time with your family, be productive, or focus on self-care, here are some options to consider.

Family Fun

Summer is the premier season for family fun. Even if your family has taken a summer vacation, there is still time to create some memories with the kids before they return to school. Whether you yearn for the great outdoors, are looking to expand your cultural knowledge, or you just need some family bonding time – here are a few ideas to easily fill these final weeks of summer:

Outdoor Adventures

Make lasting memories with your family by engaging in outdoor activities. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Hiking and Nature Walks: Explore local hiking trails or nature reserves. Pack a picnic, wear comfortable shoes, and enjoy the scenic beauty and fresh air. State parks are a great option.

  • Camping: Plan a camping trip with your family (find a camping spot suited for your needs). Disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in nature. Enjoy campfire stories, stargazing, and outdoor games.

  • Beach Day: Spend a day building sandcastles at the beach, swimming, and playing beach volleyball. Don't forget to pack sunscreen, snacks, and plenty of water.

Cultural Exploration

Broaden your family's horizons by immersing yourselves in different cultures. Here are a few options to consider:

Young boy with headphones at a museum
  • Museum Visits: Visit local museums or art galleries to expose your family to history, art, and culture. Look for interactive museums, exhibits, or guided tours tailored for children. In St. Louis, I love City Museum and The Magic House.

  • Cooking Classes: Enroll in family-friendly cooking classes to learn about diverse cuisines from around the world. Experiment with new recipes together and savor the delicious results. In the St. Louis area, Dierbergs grocery stores recently restarted their cooking classes.

  • Community Events: Check local event calendars for cultural festivals, outdoor concerts, or food fairs happening in your area. Attend these events as a family to experience different traditions and cuisines. For local readers, check out an earlier blog on the summer arts scene in St. Louis.

Creative Bonding Activities

Unleash your family's creativity and bond through artistic endeavors. Here are a few options to consider:

Two parents and two children prepare for family movie night.
  • Art Projects: Engage in collaborative art projects such as painting, pottery, or making handmade crafts. Display the finished creations around your home to commemorate the experience. Pinterest has a lot of arts and crafts ideas!

  • Family Photo Shoot: Organize a family photo shoot in a picturesque location. Capture precious moments together and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Family Movie Night: Host a themed movie night at home, complete with homemade snacks and cozy blankets. Rotate the responsibility of selecting movies to ensure everyone gets to enjoy their favorites. Add to the ambiance by watching a movie outdoors alongside some friendly lightning bugs! (Here’s an idea on how to set it up.)

Being Productive

The summer months can afford us time to get some personal goals, chores, or projects knocked off our lists. Listed below are a few options to consider for learning a new skill, starting a side project, or simply getting organized. It feels so good to accomplish something productive in between pool days, beach reads, and gardening. Is there something here for you?


Learn a New Skill

Summer is an excellent time to embark on a journey of self-improvement. Consider learning a new skill that aligns with your interests or goals. Here are a few options to explore:

A young woman learns guitar from a young man.
  • Online Courses: Enroll in an online course or workshop to enhance your professional skills or explore a new hobby. Websites like Coursera, Udemy, and Skillshare offer a wide range of courses catering to various interests.

  • Language Learning: Utilize the summer break to pick up a new language. There are numerous language learning apps and websites such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone that make the learning process enjoyable and accessible. (Check out Jodi’s post about learning a new language!)

  • Musical Instrument: Always wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument? Now is the time! Invest in an instrument you've been eyeing and dedicate time to practice and master your chosen instrument. Music stores are more than happy to help.

Start a Side Project

Use the second half of summer to pursue a passion project or start a side business. Here are a few ideas to consider (and, again, Pinterest is your friend in getting started in any of these pursuits):

An older man and a woman work with a young girl to plant a garden.
  • Blogging: Share your expertise or experiences with the world by starting a blog. Choose a niche that resonates with you and begin creating engaging content to build an audience.

  • Gardening: Transform your backyard into a flourishing garden. Start by researching plants suitable for your climate and create a beautiful outdoor space that will bring you joy and relaxation.

  • DIY Projects: Engage in do-it-yourself projects that unleash your creativity. Whether it's refurbishing old furniture, painting your room, sewing some throw pillows … there is much to choose from.

Get Organized

Summer is an ideal time to declutter and organize various aspects of your life. Here are a few options to consider:

A closet in need of organization.
  • Digital Cleanup: Organize your digital life by decluttering your email inbox, organizing files and folders on your computer, and updating your digital security measures. (Don’t be surprised if you see a Friendsville Square blog post on this topic in the future!)

  • Closet Revamp: Sort through your wardrobe and donate clothes you no longer wear. Organize your closet using effective storage solutions to make getting ready in the morning a breeze. (Oprah Daily offers some tips for organizing your closet.)

  • Financial Planning: Take stock of your financial situation, review your budget, and set financial goals for the remainder of the year. Consider meeting with a financial advisor to ensure you're on the right track.

Self-Care

Finally, the lazy days of summer are the perfect time to commit to some self-care. Mindful activities, pampering and relaxation, as well as fitness activities and getting outdoors can each help you recharge and prepare for the hustle and bustle that comes with the beginning of fall and our tendency to hunker down during the winter. We all define self-care differently – I hope you find something from the list below that fits the bill for you!

Mindful Practices

Take time to nurture your mind and prioritize your mental well-being. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Meditation and Yoga: Start your day with a meditation or yoga session to promote relaxation and clarity of mind. Explore different techniques through guided apps or online tutorials.

  • Journaling: Dedicate a few moments each day to reflect on your thoughts and feelings through journaling. This practice can help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and encourage gratitude (here are some ideas on how to start).

  • Reading: Escape into the pages of a captivating book (Goodreads is a great resource for book reviews and more). Choose genres that pique your interest and create a cozy reading nook where you can unwind and immerse yourself in different worlds.

Pampering and Relaxation

Indulge in activities that promote physical and emotional rejuvenation. Here are a few options to consider:

Two young women try on rejuvenation face masks for a spa day at home.
  • Spa Day at Home: Create a spa-like atmosphere in your bathroom with scented candles, relaxing music, and luxurious bath products (here’s a sample list of products). Treat yourself to a long soak in the tub and pamper your skin with a rejuvenating face mask.

  • Massage or Wellness Retreat: Treat yourself to a massage or book a wellness retreat where you can unwind, rejuvenate, and focus on self-care in a tranquil environment.

  • Digital Detox: Take a break from screens and social media for a designated period each day. Use this time to connect with loved ones, engage in hobbies, or simply enjoy solitude.

Fitness and Outdoor Activities

Focus on your physical well-being while enjoying the great outdoors. Here are a few options to consider:

A crowd of people at a summer farmer's market.
  • Outdoor Exercise: Take advantage of the pleasant weather by engaging in outdoor workouts such as running, cycling, or hiking. Invite a friend or family member to join you for added motivation.

  • Visit Farmer’s Markets: A trip to your local farmer’s market can be a welcome start to your summer weekends. Fresh fruits, vegetables, jams, preserves, flowers, and plants can add healthy foods to your summer meals (outside!) and can brighten your tables. Often, you’ll find crafters and artisans selling their homemade gift items, as well.

  • Outdoor Sports: Gather a group of friends or family members and organize friendly sports competitions, such as soccer, frisbee, or volleyball. Embrace friendly competition and enjoy the camaraderie.

How Will You Make the Most of the Final Weeks of Summer?

As the second half of summer unfolds, seize the opportunity to make the most of the remaining days by engaging in enjoying quality time with your family, productive pursuits, and prioritizing self-care – the options are endless. By incorporating activities from any or all these categories, you can create a memorable and fulfilling summer experience that sets the tone for the fall.

Tell us what plans you have to make the most of July and August!

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