7 Summer Activity Ideas for Teens

Bob Carlton
May 9, 2023
min read
7 Summer Activity Ideas for Teens

Summer activities can play an important role for high school students. These activities provide a unique opportunity to explore different interests, gain new perspectives, and experience personal growth. By stepping outside of their comfort zones and taking calculated risks, students can develop essential life skills such as independence, self-discipline, and time management.

At the same time, prioritizing downtime and family time during the summer allows teenagers to recharge and destress, which can ultimately improve their mental and emotional well-being. It also strengthens their support system and fosters a sense of connection and belonging, which can be especially helpful during the stressful college application process.

That’s why it’s important for students to personalize their summer choices, doing things that truly serve their personal growth, interests, and schedule.

Finding an activity that is motivating can be challenging for any student. Check out this listing of more than 800 opportunities for students to consider. Here are some ideas for making your summers meaningful and memorable:

Interest-based Summer Programs

Participate in summer programs on college campuses that cater to your interests, such as STEM, cultural immersion, performing arts, or wilderness skills. These programs allow you to dive deeper into your passions and explore how you might apply them in a real-world setting.

Summer Jobs

Seek out summer jobs, whether part-time or full-time, that allow you to develop skills and demonstrate responsibility. A long-term commitment to a single job, especially if you gradually take on more responsibilities, is an incredible growth experience that will serve you personally and professionally in college and beyond.

Summer Internships

Find summer internships in companies or organizations that align with your career interests. Working part-time or full-time in a field related to your future career shows colleges that you have a genuine interest in the subject. Most importantly, these internships can help you get a real taste for your field of interest.

Summer Classes

Stay academically engaged by taking summer classes. These can be college-level courses for credit or advanced high school classes to explore your interests further. This not only keeps your mind sharp but also showcases your dedication to learning.

Independent Research Projects

If you're aiming for highly selective colleges, consider undertaking independent research projects. Set a specific goal for your research to help you stay on task. This is a unique challenge that will further your intellectual growth and ready you for further research in college and beyond.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering is an excellent way to develop leadership skills and gain a broader understanding of the world. Look for volunteer opportunities online that align with your interests, whether local or international. This is a wonderful way to benefit your community during your summer months.


Traveling during the summer can offer valuable cultural insights and help you develop essential independent skills. Experiencing different cultures can give you a broader perspective on the world.

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to summer planning, and you should choose activities that energize you, build community, and align with your commitment to an issue or area that you care about. Keep in mind that not everything you do during the summer can be translated to the school year, but that's okay. Summer is an opportunity to grow as an individual and have fun while making your summers meaningful and memorable.

Bob Carlton is a College & Career Consultant at College MatchPoint, helping students launch into college and their first careers. A developer of young people, Bob is equal parts cheerleader and challenger. He loves helping students discover their interests and passions.

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