Summer’s Last Hurrah

Don’t waste another moment getting ready for school!

Illustration by Allegra.

Illustration by Allegra.

It’s August, and the shadow of September looms large. Every magazine and website that you usually love is suddenly striking fear in your heart by warning you about all of the things you have to do to PREPARE YOURSELF for the onset of another school year. There are back-to-school shopping lists, back-to-school style guides, back-to-school lunch planners, even back-to-school workouts. If you listened to all of them, you’d spend the entire month of August getting ready for September (or, for the unlucky among you, later this month).

Well, we at Rookie say FUCK THAT. There’s only one month left of summer! Don’t waste a whole third of your break getting ready for September. You don’t have to “get ready” for school—you will get there no matter how many checklists you have or haven’t completed. You can buy a protractor anytime (and school supplies are usually cheaper after the first day)! Now is the time to squeeze every last drop of sweet summer nectar out of this month!

Here are 31 ways, one for each day of August, to savor these precious final days of summer. You’re not gonna be ready to return to school, after all, if you feel like you barely even got a break.

  1. Build a bonfire (some guidelines here) and invite your friends over to make voodoo s’mores of people who are stressing you out. Forgive those people, then eat the s’mores.
  2. Go for an early-morning bike ride. Grab at least one friend, set an alarm for 5 AM, and ride your bikes until the sun comes up. This isn’t about talking or making a scene—just enjoy a quiet moment at a time of day you rarely get to see.
  3. Learn the choreography from the “Love on Top” video. You’ve been meaning to for at least a year, and it’s the easiest Bey routine in absolutely ages. Stop putting it off, learn it today, and get closer to a state of true Beyvana.
  4. Swim in as many pools as possible in a single day.
  5. Make your own ice cream sandwiches. This is actually not as hard as it sounds—here’s how you do it: Make a batch of your favorite cookie dough, but instead of dividing it up into dozens of little globs, spread it evenly into two giant rectangular cookies. Bake those, and once they’re cool, soften up some ice cream, spread it on one layer, and then cover with the other giant cookie. Wrap the whole shebang in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer. In a couple of hours, take it out and cut it into brick-shaped sandwiches. You are now a genius with a whole bunch of delicious ice cream sandwiches. If you want to get super fancy, melt some chocolate and dip the sandwiches in it as you eat.
  6. Find some outdoor steps that don’t get used much in the summer (like a school’s) and make a DIY water slide. (Instructions here.)
  7. Ask a guy/girl you fancy out. Just do it. Even if they say no, it’s a great feeling to know that you asked. You asked. And now you know.
  8. Go berry picking. (Maybe even make some jam.)
  9. Get all your friends together and hold a séance. Make a ghost-themed playlist and bake ghost-shaped cookies. Not creepy at all.
  10. Plan an alone day. Clear your schedule, turn your phone off and stuff it in the deep recesses of your bag, get a blanket and some snacks and a giant drink and the book you have been meaning to read and take them all to the park. Once you are too hot and out of snacks, go cool off at a matinee. Do not text or check your tweets or emails or tell Facebook what you are doing. Exist in your own little orbit.
  11. Go to a nature preserve or a park at dusk and spend a couple of hours creeping around, pretending to be a mountain lion. Get really into it: No talking, just wander around with your eyes wide open and walk on your paws as softly as you can, hyper-alert to everything.
  12. Frolic in the rain. Getting drenched in the fall, winter, or even spring sucks because it’s cold and you could get sick. But summer rain is warm and it smells delicious and is perfect for dancing and cavorting like a faerie goddess in. Next time you hear a storm roll through, don’t hibernate—run outside! Do cartwheels, splash in puddles, and get completely soaked in Mother Nature’s water park. (Avoid lightning and strong winds, obviously, but otherwise enjoy yourself!)
  13. Be a tourist in your own town. This one is especially good if you are moving away at the end of summer, or just really bored being stuck where you are. Look up your city or village or neighborhood online and find all the tourist spots that you never go to because, duh, you live there. Try to visit them all within 24 hours. If you have time in the daylight hours, explore some of the less touristy streets too, and maybe even add your own mark to where you live with some guerilla art: sidewalk chalk, sticker art, fliers and posters, zines, book inserts, letters, or messages in balloons or bottles.
  14. Trespass in an abandoned amusement park, if you live near one.
  15. Read a book in a day, even (especially) if it takes all day. When you’re swamped with homework in a couple of months and unable to take time out, you’ll think fondly of this day. Optional: Stock up on candy first.
  16. Have you been to the beach yet this summer? Grab a group of friends, some beach towels, snacks, and bottled water—maybe a kite?—and get going!
  17. Set up a bird feeder and watch it.
  18. Go out with your camera and ask at least eight interesting-looking people if you can take their picture. Tell ’em you’re in a summer photography class and your assignment is to photograph strangers—that usually makes people a little more amenable and less suspicious. It’s exhilarating and satisfying and so much fun to people-watch with a camera. Do this during the day, when it’s safer and the light is better, and try to vary it up in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, size, style, etc. You’ll be amazed by the brilliant and vast life that exists in your little corner of the world.
  19. Kool-Aid Krafternoon: Get a variety pack of Kool-Aid and use the drink mix to make slushies, tie-dye old T-shirts, and dye your hair.
  20. Celebrate the full moon. A summer full moon is particularly special for the simple reason that you have no school to wake up to in the morning. You have total freedom to stay up late–or even all night–with the moon. You can do this by yourself, quietly observing any odd occurrences that might coincide with this lunar phase, or make a celebration with friends—you could make a full-moon dinner together and then go on a walk at nightfall (but stay safe—stick to well-lit, well-populated areas, and don’t walk alone). Don’t be disappointed if it’s cloudy or rainy. The full moon is still out there hiding and casting all kinds of moooony vibes.
  21. Black girls with natural hair, especially of the type-four, or coil-y, variety: Learn how to flat-twist your hair. YouTube is full of tutorials, and with a dedicated few hours, you can master it. Your twist-outs will look BOMB, and your winter protective styling game will be fresh. Best of all, it’s a skill that keeps improving the more you do it. Unlike algebra.
  22. Go an entire day eating only ice cream: ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bonus points if you can get weird flavors of ice cream to match the traditional meals—like french toast and/or bacon at breakfast time and tomato and basil or avocado for lunch or dinner.
  23. Write, cast, shoot, and edit a short film in a day. Or make a short audio or video documentary. Or style and shoot a fashion editorial, casting your friends as models.
  24. Go on a nature ramble. A ramble isn’t just for kids in old British children’s books! Something between a walk in the park and a proper hike, a ramble is a long walk in the countryside (if you’re a city slicker, take a day trip somewhere greener). Take off early in the morning with something to eat and and plenty of water, a fully charged cell phone (preferably with GPS) in case you get lost, and a camera if you want to capture nature. (And definitely get back before sundown, because woods and meadows are hard to navigate at night, even in moonlight.) You’ll rarely find solitude of this kind, and there’s something so peaceful about wandering around in the wilderness on a late-summer’s day.
  25. Find a pool that has a restaurant attached (hotels are good for this). Order food to come to you at that pool—and try to include french fries in your order. Eat that meal poolside and pat yourself on the back.
  26. Collect wildflowers (observing a few rules) and put them in water in your room or press them and make your own stationery or cards.
  27. Finally make a real effort to learn how to hula-hoop. In public.
  28. Find one of those old-timey soda counters and order an egg cream, a Green River, or another relic-y sugar-beverage.
  29. Get a knapsack and pack it with snacks, books, and a pair of binoculars à la Moonrise Kingdom, and run away! Run to the woods, under the jungle gym, or wherever you please. Send letters to your friends beforehand explaining why you’ve dramatically decided to run away; include a map if you want them to find you. Or bring someone along and share your rations throughout the day. Just come back before dark (and tell an adult where you’re going beforehand if you don’t want to get grounded!).
  30. Climb a tree! Climb several!
  31. Stay in bed all day. Everyone, especially parents, is always saying, “What a nice day! Go get some fresh air! You have to leave your room sometime!” Sunshine can be wonderful, but so can blankets and pillows and Netflix. When your alarm goes off for school at the butt crack of dawn every day for the rest of the year, all you’ll want to do is hit snooze and cling to the sanctuary that is your bed. Do it while you still can! Read a not-assigned-for-school book, plow through an entire season of television, or just take a bunch of naps interspersed with snack breaks. For added indulgence, go ahead and set your alarm on the slothy day of your choosing, just so you can experience the pleasure of turning it off and going back go sleep.

What, are you still here? Get off the internet and close the season out right. Hurry up now, time’s a-wasting. ♦

Contributions from: Anaheed: 6, 19, 23; Anna M.: 11; Bim: 3, 7, 21; Caitlin: 13; Dana: 4, 16; Danielle: 2, 15; Emily: 17, 25, 27; Emma S.: 5; Gabby: 8, 14; Jenny: 18; Jessica: 10; Joe: 31; Laia: 22; Lena: 1, 28; María Fernanda: 26; Marie: 9; Monika: 29; Ragini: 24, 30; Rivkah: 20; Stephanie: 12.


  • Chloe22 August 1st, 2013 7:17 PM

    You should have added ”Look for a One Direction Member”- I was successful once! :)

    • Princess Mononoke August 4th, 2013 3:43 PM

      Really?! Who did you see?! XD

  • Celynne August 1st, 2013 7:23 PM

    I love this so much. Thanks for the supportive, positive vibes!

  • Eryn August 1st, 2013 7:40 PM

    oh my goodness, this couldn’t have come at a better time! I just spent several hours with a friend discussing/planning going back to school. I just emailed this link to her. These were some very inspirational ideas (and they made me feel better about all the time I’ve spent doing nothing)!

    Thank youuu, Rookie!!!

  • Laia August 1st, 2013 7:44 PM

    i was trying to decide whether i should stay in and clean my room on my birthday or go to a pool and eat poolside and i think you convinced me to do the latter.


  • abby111039 August 1st, 2013 7:59 PM

    Number 7 made me seriously consider asking out the guy I like. BUT I’M SO FUCKING SCARED.

    But I just might do it.

    • Helena K. August 1st, 2013 8:33 PM

      You go girl!

      • Princess Mononoke August 3rd, 2013 10:15 PM

        You should, I’m in the same boat right now. Since I’m a very odd person I’m worried that I’ll freak him out (I already sent him a text that said I was stalking him :!). Help!

        • abby111039 August 5th, 2013 5:20 PM

          Duuuude, I felt the same way! But even though it didn’t work out in my favor (I think, still not sure lol) I still feel proud and liberated just by telling him. So if you think you can handle any outcome and that it’ll lift a burden off your shoulders, then just go for it! I’m rooting for you girl! :)

      • abby111039 August 5th, 2013 5:18 PM

        Thanks! I already did it! :)

  • MabelEnchanted August 1st, 2013 8:01 PM

    Am I the only one who finds it really crazy that there is a back to school workout?

    I better get started on those things instead of staying up til 1am to write a comment…

  • dottie August 1st, 2013 8:02 PM

    omigosH! i love these so much, but two of them i can’t do because i don’t have the right resources/hair. can anyone suggest two more to fill their place? I want to try and do one each day! :)

    • Tangerine August 1st, 2013 9:20 PM

      -Go to your public library if your town has a large/cool/old one. Ask to see the microfiche room/collection. (I have heard that some libraries have new digital systems now. Witchcraft I say!) Look up anything you want. Old murder scandals, hollywood’s golden age, local history, what was going on when you/your friends/your dog were born.

      -Make watermelon jack-o-lanterns. Use the innards as fruit salad. Decorate your yard, confuse your neighbors.

      -Scout out the perfect roof for sunbathing/reading/pretending you are a spy. Careful not to fall off, or trespass on any property with a security force.

    • eremiomania August 1st, 2013 9:27 PM

      look up the loser’s guide to a good summer, they’re all over tumblr and some things sounds really nice

  • cole123 August 1st, 2013 8:52 PM

    This is perfect! I’m definitely going too do some of these. I was super lazy this summer but I’m going to make up for that!

  • Electra Heart August 1st, 2013 8:59 PM

    Ahhhh, Rookie!!! Thank you so much!! This is exactly what I needed right now.

  • Sophie ❤ August 1st, 2013 9:11 PM

    This has officially become my summer list! Thank you, Rookie!

  • eremiomania August 1st, 2013 9:27 PM

    Did anyone else fine #27 odd? Is hulahooping rare?

    • em.h95 August 1st, 2013 10:36 PM

      I sort of found it a bit strange. But maybe they don’t mean childish stationary hula hooping…my friends and I learn hula hoop tricks and they look super cool and they’re super fun (although sometimes hard especially when you lack coordination) to learn!
      That’s a tutorial for a trick called the vortex, which is a pretty easy one. There are plenty of others and it’s super fun to do to music or whatever! :)

  • Vriska August 1st, 2013 9:44 PM

    My summer ends in either 6 days or 11 days depending on the school I opt to go to. So I think I’ll do it all in 6 DAYS. Watch out, folks.

  • myy August 1st, 2013 10:10 PM

    I’m starting with a 5am bike ride tomorrow!

  • cybelesreverie August 1st, 2013 10:21 PM

    The other day my friend and I went to this abandoned factory near my neighbourhood and ended up finding a mass of wild raspberry bushes behind it. We picked them and made delicious smoothies. :)

  • FlowerandtheVine August 1st, 2013 11:10 PM

    I want to do all of these things, and I’m not even going to school.

  • lyssagrltx August 2nd, 2013 12:43 AM

    I love this is thanks.

  • sissiLOL August 2nd, 2013 3:18 AM

    Oh yeah!!!! This list will make me a GREAT last holidays month!!!!

  • Mary the freak August 2nd, 2013 4:12 AM

    In Germany, actually, only in Bavaria, we have only six weeks summer break and they started yesterday. It drives me crazy that this is the last month of summer! I hope I can do some of that awesome stuff on this list, though.

  • julalondon August 2nd, 2013 4:57 AM

    My sister and me already had one ‘Ice-cream Day’, the only other thing we ate that day was a pack of chinese instant was amazing and we didn’t feel sick at all!!=)

  • moonshine28 August 2nd, 2013 6:29 AM

    I love this! Thank you again to Rookie for posting exactly what I need in this moment. I’ve been feeling really bad thinking about school and this month just feels like the getting ready month. But now I’m going to PARTY! xxx

  • emkellz August 2nd, 2013 9:30 AM

    I needed this a month ago SCHOOL STARTS IN SIX DAYS!

  • Monroe August 2nd, 2013 10:19 AM

    Wow, I love this list. But it doesn’t quite have the same relevance to me, because I’m not going back to school..
    Oh well! More time to do it all then, I guess.

  • wallflower152 August 2nd, 2013 11:03 AM

    This is awesome. I want to do a lot of these. I didn’t have a summer technically cuz I’m not in skool and I work. But I’m quitting my job soon and I’m gonna have a month of freedom before my new job starts. I’m so excited. I didn’t have a summer last year either.

  • Ella W August 2nd, 2013 12:36 PM

    The fact that you refer to the WHOLE OF AUGUST as a THIRD of the holiday made me laugh! In England, we only get 6 weeks summer holiday (although I got 10 weeks this year, as I finished my exams!), making August pretty much the whole of our holiday!

    Anyway, rant over, brilliant ideas you guys! I love the ice cream sandwich one, it sounds so yummy!!!

  • la fee clochette August 2nd, 2013 12:39 PM

    phooey- my little sis starts her senior year on the 6th-this Tuesday, and last night our mom passed away. Summer is over for us..but was non-existent anyway

    • Princess Mononoke August 3rd, 2013 10:09 PM

      omg, I’m so sorry for your loss, stay strong. *hug*

    • Tazaa August 4th, 2013 12:09 AM


    • Anaheed August 4th, 2013 3:34 AM

      Oh god, I am so sorry. Are you going to be OK?

  • Rutabagas August 2nd, 2013 5:06 PM

    No way, BACON FLAVORED ICE CREAM? Where has this been all my life?

  • MegW August 2nd, 2013 5:18 PM

    All of these are fabulous, except today marks 6 days until school starts… :(

  • oharnoldlayne August 2nd, 2013 6:06 PM

    Going on a hike with lots of rocks to climb on is also a fun summer activity. And hula-hooping is even more fun when you make the hula hoops. And August is almost half of summer break so school’s not THAT soon… well it’s about half at my (public) school.

  • Monq August 2nd, 2013 7:33 PM

    Love this! Though I am not in school at the moment. I will definitely be bookmarking for those days when I am bored and need something to do.


  • Ariella95 August 3rd, 2013 12:26 AM

    “Well, we at Rookie say FUCK THAT.” HAHAHAHA I love you guys! Although I kind of do need to get ready for school as I am going to college…

  • gothsloth August 3rd, 2013 12:57 AM

    i would totally do some of these if i didn’t have to go back to school on august 7th. sigh : (

    • Tazaa August 4th, 2013 12:07 AM

      Whaaaat!?!?!?!? I’m so sorry!

  • KatGirl August 3rd, 2013 12:17 PM

    Two more:
    -Read things (currently reading the handmaid’s tale and it is amazing)
    -lament over the fact that there are no cool rookies to spend the summer with where you live. ;)

  • lauraunicorns August 3rd, 2013 12:18 PM

    Thank you so much for this! I love the link on 23 to little Tavi doing a photoshoot with her friends :D SO CUTE!

  • Courtney T August 3rd, 2013 11:00 PM

    y always so much math hate on here?

  • Tazaa August 4th, 2013 12:06 AM

    Yay! more ideas for my bff and i. As much as we’d like to though we can’t do #11, we have to watch out real mountain lions!

  • wallflower152 August 4th, 2013 12:46 PM

    #21 I know you probably made the comment about algebra without really thinking about it cuz math is one of the most disliked subjects of both genders. But there is this stereotype that girls are bad at math/science and I think it is a negative thing to say on a feminist site for teen girls. There is a low number of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) jobs and college majors because of this idea that begins in elementary school. I heard about this theory that at around age 8 or 9 boys brains develop math skills faster while girls are developing the language areas of the brain. Boys and girls brains end up evening out around middle school but by then it can be too late cuz these ideas are already in their minds that it’s ok for me to bad at math cuz I’m good at other things and vice versa, well this is what I read somewhere. Like I said, I know you probably didn’t mean anything by this comment but I felt I needed to point it out.

    I love this article. I printed it out deleted some of them and added my own and added some from the ideas in the comments. I have a total of 20 that I’m gonna do. Thanks for the inspiration Rookie and commenters! Follow me @SarahSpacetime on Twitter and Instagram and look for #AwesomeAugust to follow me as I go through the list. FYI the Perseid Meteor Shower peaks August 12th. : )

    • Rebdomine August 8th, 2013 7:01 AM

      I totally agree with you about the math-hating comment. Math is really fun actually!

  • Taavishi August 5th, 2013 3:07 AM

    This sounds amazing!!!!!
    I really really wish I had found Rookie earlier I only have two more weeks of summer left :( I am now going to spend the rest of the school year immersed in perpetual regret……. Oh well.

  • KirjavaMX August 5th, 2013 11:16 AM

    So much cool ideas !

  • KirjavaMX August 5th, 2013 11:18 AM

    I would add a thrifting adventure, donating or trading clorhes you dont use or fit anymore, and then explore the city and getting a totally new thrifted wardrobe !

    Cheers from Mexico.

  • meow_its_sarah August 5th, 2013 10:24 PM

    You guys are making me want Summer to last longer! School starts on August 8th for me.

  • zozo515 August 7th, 2013 3:20 PM

    Best list ever, I’m going to hang this up in my room now!

  • Harrrris August 8th, 2013 10:46 PM

    Summer is coming for me is Aus, this is going to be my summer bucketlist. ‘forwarded to all friends’