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Summer 2020 Ideas for Students

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know students and families are looking for ideas to use their summer meaningfully. Here’s some creative ways students might get engaged this summer and recharge their batteries.


  1. Study a language (using online resources like Duolingo, Babbel, and more)

  2. Take an online class (Coursera and Outschool both have interesting courses!)

  3. Make Claymation videos

  4. Pick up morse code or write something in binary

  5. Gain some cooking skills for life post-high school

  6. Learn how to drive stick shift

  7. Pick up a new style of dance

  8. Write songs using software such as Garageband

  9. Learn how to play an ukulele or another instrument 

  10. Take part in The Great Books Program (Reading/analysis from places around the world)

  11. Participate in an online creative writing workshop (Writopia is currently offering all of its workshops online)

  12. Pick up knitting or crocheting

  13. Try origami, quilling, or other unique crafts!


  1. Build a garden

  2. Produce music online (free hip hop beats now available with the Library of Congress)

  3. Write an autobiography in memes

  4. Start a podcast

  5. Design clothing items or buildings – create a portfolio of sketches

  6. Turn your family photos into a scrapbook 

  7. Keep a journal to document the experience of a high school summer in quarantine

  8. Build a piece of furniture or complete a household improvement project

  9. Start a Depop account (or other online consignment app) and make money selling old clothes OR collect old clothes from family and get creative fixing things up to sell

  10. Redecorate/theme and organize a room

  11. Enter a writing contest or respond to one of these NYTimes Student Opinion Questions (and maybe even get published!)

  12. Create a blog or vlog about something you’re interested in

  13. Build a computer or design a new app


  1. Volunteer for the City of Oakland (e.g. posting signs for slow streets, distribute food to seniors or call them and other vulnerable populations like undocumented, LGBTQ +)

  2. Transcribe old documents with the Smithsonian and other crowdsourcing efforts

  3. Offer to make a website, social media page, or promotional video for a local small business

  4. Get involved in a national, state, or local political campaign for a candidate you care about – phone bank from home or get involved virtually (it’s an election year)

  5. Send mail encouraging healthcare workers or thanking other essential workers

  6. Attend virtual town hall or other public meetings online

  7. Volunteer at the Berkeley Humane or the Milo Foundation (if they’re open and safe)

  8. Babysit the kids of parents who are essential workers and have to work even though daycares aren’t open

  9. Tutor younger students in need of academic support

  10. Work at a food bank or help distribute food to vulnerable communities

  11. Offer virtual lessons in something you’re interested in (music, cooking, a language, art, etc) 

  12. Submit an op-ed about an issue you care about

  13. Make masks and distribute to your community


  1. Needlepoint with grandma/pa over Facetime

  2. Take part in a community storytelling events

  3. Organize a book club among friends

  4. Complete genealogical research and build out your family tree

  5. Join a virtual slam poetry night

  6. Hike with others (from a 6-foot distance)

  7. Organize a group Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon

  8. Connect with animals (some SPCA locations let you just hang out with the cats even if you don’t intend to adopt)

  9. Teach a skill to a younger sibling or cousin

  10. Host or join a virtual workout group/class


  1. Juggle or practice yoga or moonwalking

  2. Watch and analyze classic movies

  3. Learn how to do a handstand or the splits

  4. Start building a collection (of rocks, comic books, or vintage jewelry)

  5. Build a Rube Goldberg machine

  6. Practice Acroyoga

  7. Design and play a new board game or card game OR create a twist on a classic!

  8. Challenge yourself to do as many Bay Area hikes as you can and keep a photojournal to document this

  9. Invent an original recipe

  10. Find and beat the most random world record you can!

What will excite and inspire you?

(that’s the best indicator of success and joy)


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