Even though some of your summer plans may have altered, you still can have fun and stay busy during the warmest time of year.

There are plenty of free or low-cost activities to keep you entertained at home this summer. From hiking to backyard camping, gaming and virtual museum tours, there are many ways to stay busy.

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1. Go for a Hike

Nature is a natural de-stressor, and hiking is a great way to get some exercise. Instead of staying cooped up in the house all summer, why not plan morning or late afternoon hikes to get out and enjoy the fresh air?

Even if there are no traditional hiking opportunities nearby, there’s bound to be a park or other natural area where you can walk, explore and just take in the beauty of nature.

Aim for early morning or late afternoon when the weather is cooler, and the crowds are smaller. If you can’t get to a park or natural area, just go for a walk around the neighborhood.

2. Plan a Bike Ride

Prefer biking over hiking? Plan a ride around town, a local park or a scenic route. The fresh breeze will keep you cool while staying active and giving yourself a much-needed change of scenery.

Stop to see the sights, bring a picnic and stop for lunch at the park. Biking can be a great family activity, or you can use this as an opportunity to get away for some much-needed alone time.

3. Start a Summer Reading List

Reading benefits the mind and enriches your life. Creating and committing to a summer reading list can help you grow, learn and de-stress.

Reading helps:

  • Strengthen the mind
  • Build vocabulary
  • Improve empathy
  • Alleviate depression
  • Reduce stress
  • Prevent cognitive decline

Reading, even for just 30 minutes, will give you a chance to escape for a little while and use your imagination. Choose books that you’ll enjoy reading, and make sure that your list is realistic.

4. Take an Online Museum Tour

The pandemic forced museums around the world to shut their doors, but many are offering online tours for free. These tours allow you to see virtually every exhibit right on your smartphone or PC and without having to leave your living room.

Some of the museums offering virtual tours include:

  • The British Museum in London
  • Guggenheim Museum in New York
  • Musée d’Orsay in Paris
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles
  • Uffizi Gallery in Florence

Although the experience isn’t quite the same, virtual museum tours will provide an educational and enriching experience.

5. Hit the Virtual Slots

Many casinos are closed for the time-being, but you can still get your gaming fix online. Certain casino websites will let you play slots, blackjack, roulette and other casino games right from your home computer for just as little as £5 minimum deposit to start with.

Responsible adults can enjoy an evening (or afternoon) of games to pass the time and have some fun either in their air-conditioned apartment or on a away to the beach.

6. Camp in the Backyard

Summer is the season for camping, but right now, it’s difficult to find campsites that are open or aren’t completely booked up. But there’s no reason you can’t sleep under the stars right in your backyard.

All you need is a tent and a few sleeping bags. The great thing about camping in the backyard is that you have all the comforts of home (including indoor plumbing!) just a few feet away.

Backyard camping is a fun family activity that the kids will love, but even adults will enjoy it. There’s nothing quite like waking up to a cool morning and the birds singing in the trees above.

7. Watch the Stars

Summer is the perfect time of year for stargazing. The nights are cool and comfortable, and on the right night, you may even catch a few shooting stars. In late summer, you can catch a meteor shower or just spend a few hours gazing up at the sky.

Bring some snacks and a hot drink. Enjoy the cool air and relax. Stargazing can be a very relaxing activity, so if the current situation has you feeling stressed, watching the sky may help calm your nerves.

8. Learn a New Language

In a globalized world, learning a new language is beneficial and can prove to be an asset. It allows you to communicate with people in other parts of the world and to learn more about other cultures.

Learning a language also provides other benefits, such as:

  • Improved memory
  • Improved problem-solving and cognitive thinking
  • Prevention of cognitive decline

There are many free resources out there that can help you learn a new language, including Duolingo and Babbel.

9. Plan a Game Night

You may not be able to have friends over to play board games, but you can plan a family game night or play online with your friends.

A game night, virtual or in-person, is a great way to socialize and have fun without putting anyone’s health at risk. Make sure that you have plenty of snacks on hand and allow everyone to choose a game to play.

10. Go Virtual Window Shopping

It may not be as easy (or safe) to window shop downtown or in malls, but you can do virtual window shopping. Leave the credit cards in your wallet to eliminate temptation. Use your window-shopping session to find inspiration and ideas, whether you’re planning your summer wardrobe or a home remodel.

11. Expand Your Cooking Skills

Restaurants are only offering carry-out or have limited seating capacity. Now is the perfect time to develop or improve your cooking skills. Learn to cook a new dish. Try different types of cuisine. Have fun and get the family involved. If you’re new to cooking, stick to simple dishes with healthy ingredients and easy preparation.

Summer is in full-swing, but with many restrictions and closures still in place, many people are still stuck at home. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun and enjoy the warm weather. Use these ideas to change up your at-home summer routine and stave off boredom.

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