Careers & Education

What to learn in summer

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What to learn in summer to fill your days with adventure

The beginning of summer is filled with possibility. Visions of blue waters and sandy beaches dance in your daydreams as the smells of dinner on the grill nudges your stomach. So much time to relax and unwind lies ahead. Good for body and spirit, but your mind needs more.

Whether youíre a student, parent and/or full time professional, schedules have a way of opening up a bit in the summer so itís a perfect time to feed your mind something totally new. If youíre wondering what to learn in summer, look no further.

Hereís a round-up of suggestions from practical skills and fun new hobbies, to going deeper with cultural knowledge. The choices may seem overwhelming, but thereís no wrong answer. Whatever you choose to study will help you make the most of free time.

Practical Skills, Hobbies and Fascinating Things to Know

Swim: Summer is an ideal time to learn or improve swimming ability. Itís a practical skill to have and a fantastic way to work every muscle in your body without breaking a sweat. Plus you can contemplate the next challenge on your what to learn in summer list while floating on your back.

Swimming is one of those activities that can be intimidating to learn because it entails overcoming fear and teaching your body to simply float. But once you learn you never forget, and it opens up a world of adventure from drifting with the waves, to fearless kayaking and soaring down water slides.

CPR: CPR is a life-saving skill to have, and one to brush up on every few years. The Red Cross offers certified training classes that include other essential first aid knowledge as well.

Cooking: Warm nights are prime time to break out the backyard barbecue and brush up those grill skills. Sure you know how to throw a burger on, but have you ever made a Greek burger, experimented beyond barbecue or created your own signature chicken marinade? Start simple with fresh, local ingredients.

Musical Instrument: Itís never too late to learn an instrument. Coffee shops and community boards often have postings offering piano or guitar lessons. You can rent an instrument if your heart is set on a horn or violin. Open the door to playing music and you never know where itíll take you.

Photography: A digital camera makes it much easier to capture a special moment than it used to be. Remember blurry graduation photos from the 90s? But photography is a craft. Reading a book or checking out a photography workshop can turn an interest into a passion and lifelong love.

Study a Language: Online language classes make it easier than ever to learn a language. Live Mocha is one that offers 38 languages. In addition to exercises, thereís an interactive element so students can practice pronunciation with a live instructor.

Cosmos: Summer is a time for star gazing so you may as well know what youíre gazing at. All you need is a handy telescope and a good astronomy guide. Carl Saganís Cosmos series is available for streaming on Netflix, and will take you beyond what you see through the lens.

Gardening: Sometimes the answer is right in front of you- in the form of an overgrown patch of grass. Gardening of a classic answer to the age old questions of what to learn in summer. Look up your plant hardiness zone and head to a gardening store. Choose a few types of plants to love for the season. Gardening will have you appreciating the rain and savoring the flavor of home grown tomatoes in no time.

History: The scope of history covered in many schools is limited due to time constraints and other subjects. A wonderful thing about history is that you can absorb so much by reading great books and watching documentaries and period films. Librarians and book sites like are great resources for finding material that addresses your era of choice in a fun, engaging way.

Art: Take a painting class if youíre curious about technique or pick up some art supplies and learn by doing. Paint art for your kitchen, bedroom or office, and depict landscapes, abstracts or favorite scenes from books. Perhaps youíll discover a natural talent and feel inspired to start an art shop on Etsy.

Long days mean plenty of time for growth. Feed your mind and spirit with new creative outlets and stimulating activities and each day will hold a surprise.


Red Cross: CPR Classes

Carl Sagan Portal

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