Every year, as the spring begins to give way to summer, I feel excitement bubbling. Warm weather, long days, a world of possibility. It feels like summer is stretching out in front of me and I have all the time in the world to enjoy it.
And yet every year when September arrives, I wonder where in the world summer went. How could it have gone by SO FAST?
The good news is that with a little planning, we can slow down time. That’s right y’all, you can slow down time. Studies show that our brains will take longer to process the details of a new or less common experience, making it feel like time is passing at a slower rate.
If you plan a few new experiences and fun events, you can stretch your summer out and make it feel much longer. Much longer than if we were just coming home after work to the same old routine of dinner and Netflix.
So get ready to be a superhero with your new ability to control time using fun experiences. Choose a few ideas from this list and make the most of your summer.
- Get up early and watch the sunrise.
An oldie, but such a goodie! Pack a luxurious breakfast with mimosas, croissants, and fresh fruit.
- Find a spot high up and watch the sunset.
You've got to catch a gorgeous sunset at least once every summer. Bonus points for leaving your phone at home and focusing on the view.
- Drive outside the city and go stargazing.
Escape the city lights to see infinitely more stars. You can even look for a designated dark site near you, where they keep lights to the bare minimum for star gazers.
- Go for a hike.
Whether it's a quick two-hour hike or a full-day, grab some friends and explore the great outdoors.
- Plan a beach day.
Watch for sunny days in the forecast, then pack snacks, a volleyball, a summer-themed novel, and your favourite oversized sunglasses.
- Play Capture the Flag
Gather all of your friends, tell them to gather all of their friends, and organize a giant game of Capture the Flag.
- Go berry picking.
Many farms offer the option to pick-it-yourself. Just be sure you pick enough berries to bake a pie afterward too!
- Shop at farmers markets.
Support local farmers and businesses, plus enjoy everything in season and homemade.
- Create wildflower seed bombs.
Perfect for a rainy day, put together some wildflower seed bombs. Head out with your umbrella and look for neglected planters and flowerbeds that could use some colour.
- Go on a day trip.
Not so far that you have to spend the night, but far enough to get out of your usual surroundings.
- Hit the water.
Rent a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard for the day. Search ahead of time on sites like Groupon to score a good deal.
- Take your workouts outdoors.
While the weather is warm and the days are long, do your workouts outside and enjoy the fresh air.
- Fly a kite.
Head to a local toy store, look for the most colourful kite they have, and then see how high you can let it fly on a windy day.
- Play with sidewalk chalk.
Hit up the dollar store for cheap chalk, then cover a sidewalk with happy drawings.
- Watch a kid's soccer game.
Whether it's your own child, a niece or nephew, or your friend's kids, head out to one of their soccer games. Cheer them on just for having fun and doing their best.
- Take part in a Shoreline Clean Up.
Help save birds, seals, whales, and more by joining a Shoreline Clean Up. None near you? Organize your own with a group of friends or coworkers.
- Plant something new.
If you've got a garden, plant something you've never tried before. Or, help out with a friend's garden for the day.
- Volunteer at a dog shelter.
Take a puppy for a walk and you'll both score some exercise, not to mention a higher level of happiness.
- Enjoy watermelon in new ways.
Water soup, watermelon popsicles, or vodka watermelon slush.
- Play disc golf.
You know - frisbee golf. Disc golf is a simple game and most courses are free, so all you need is one disc per person.
- Binge on easy summer reads.
Read a book set in a beach town where the main characters fall into a whirlwind summer romance.
- Build a sandcastle.
You can build a simple sandcastle or aim for something a little more complex. If you're the competitive type, challenge your friends to a sandcastle building competition.
- Buy ice cream from an ice cream truck.
When you hear that iconic ice cream truck song playing in your street, embrace your inner child by running outside with a handful of change.
- Build a bonfire.
Hot dogs, regular s'mores, fancy s'mores, storytelling, and smelling like campfire smoke the next day... it's all a win.
- Find the perfect summer patio.
Go on the hunt for the best restaurant patio with lots of sunshine and a delicious happy hour menu.
- Go on a walking tour in your city.
No walking tours offered in your area? Use the power of Google and Google Maps to make your own walking route.
- Bicycle brewery tour.
Like a regular brewery tour, but you ride your bike between breweries. Yes, you do need to be careful to prevent wobbly riding towards the end of the tour.
- Enjoy street festivals.
At the beginning of the summer, spend an hour looking up at all the upcoming festivals in your city and add them to your calendar so you don't miss out.
- Have a lazy day.
Set aside one day and don't make any plans other than sitting outside, sipping iced tea, and reading a book.
- Play backyard games.
You know, like bocce ball, cornhole, and lawn darts.
- Make a bird feeder.
Create your own bird feeder and watch for new feathered friends outside your window.
- Watch fireworks.
Whether it's for Canada Day, Independence Day, or some other special occasion, find a good spot early in the day and watch a fireworks show from up close.
- Check your library for summer programs.
Libraries often have all kinds of events for wide audiences. You'll find programs like story time for children, ukulele jam sessions for adults, and knitting nights for seniors.
- Make lemonade from scratch.
The best part is that you can mix in extra fruity flavours. Or vodka. Or both.
- Watch a thunderstorm.
You can even try to capture a bolt of lightning on your phone by using a slow shutter speed or burst mode.
- Have a water fight.
Water guns, buckets, rinsed out shampoo bottles, and clean sponges all make for great artillery.
- Make a summer playlist.
Whether it's this year's hit songs or your favourite summer songs from over the years, make a go-to playlist that celebrates the summer feeling all day long.