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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Swim in as many pools as possible in a single day.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Go berry picking. (Maybe even make some jam.)
- Get all your friends together and hold a séance. Make a ghost-themed playlist and bake ghost-shaped cookies. Not creepy at all.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!)
- 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.
- Trespass in an abandoned amusement park, if you live near one.
- 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.
- 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!
- Set up a bird feeder and watch it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Collect wildflowers (observing a few rules) and put them in water in your room or press them and make your own stationery or cards.
- Finally make a real effort to learn how to hula-hoop. In public.
- Find one of those old-timey soda counters and order an egg cream, a Green River, or another relic-y sugar-beverage.
- 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!).
- Climb a tree! Climb several!
- 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 this 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.