Things to Do

10 Nostalgic Things to Do This Summer That’ll Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

written by MICHELLE LEMA
nostalgic things to do this summer"
nostalgic things to do this summer
Source: Dupe | Ashley Diego
Source: Dupe | Ashley Diego

There’s nothing like that very first warm-weather day when you can finally step outside without even thinking about bringing a sweater. The start of summer always reminds me of the last day of school when I was a kid. Back then, summertime meant long days of exploring outdoors, endless daydreaming, and quality time with friends. I rarely had a schedule or to-do list and instead spent entire days doing things just for fun. As we grow up, the obligations of adulting sometimes make this type of summer day impossible. But even though we don’t have a summer break anymore (unless you’re a teacher, of course), it’s still possible to make the summer feel just as magical.

If you yearn for those bygone summer days, it is possible to recreate that feeling, even just for a moment. Here are 10 nostalgic things to do this summer that will help you tap into the past and make you feel like a kid again:

1. Host a slumber party

Slumber parties were one of the best things to do during the summer, especially when they involved talking with your friends all night. As adults, we pay a lot of attention to getting enough sleep so we can be our best selves in the day ahead. But summer is the perfect excuse to forget about your alarm clock for a night. Text the group chat and invite your besties over for a slumber party. You can either go all out with decorations and a spread of junk food or keep it simple and have everyone show up with a snack, drinks, and a sleeping bag. If you have a backyard, consider moving your slumber party outdoors. Or, as we know from childhood sleepovers, even a crowded living room with floor space will do. Bonus points if you stay up all night and watch the sun come up together.

2. Reread your favorite summer break books

Did you have a favorite book series that totally altered your brain chemistry as a kid? Or maybe you remember the high school years when you were assigned books to read over the summer. Rereading one of these books is sure to give you all the nostalgic feelings. If you no longer own the books, check out your local library and see if they have any copies. It’s amazing what an original cover of a beloved book can spark in your memory. Then, take a day to sit outside and pour through the story with no agenda. Invite a friend to read next to you or have a solo day. Most importantly, enjoy the feeling of reading just for fun.

Source: @jessannkirby

3. Go for a bike ride

Perhaps you remember riding your bike around your neighborhood in a pack of friends, much like the kids from Stranger Things. Even if you didn’t grow up in a bikeable neighborhood, put this on your list as the ultimate summer activity that will make you feel like a kid again. If you don’t own a bike, many cities offer bike share programs that make renting one easy. Then, simply grab your friends and ride around town or find a bike path with a scenic route. For a more adult twist, bike to a bar with an outdoor patio and cool down with some much-deserved happy hour drinks.

4. Create your own tie-dye shirts

Sometimes, some good ol’ arts and crafts are all you need to feel like a kid again. You can double the nostalgia factor if the end result is something you and your friends can wear together, like tie-dye T-shirts. Not only is tie-dying fun, but it’s actually pretty easy to do at home. All you need is an article of clothing, rubber bands, and fabric dye. Get your friends together and be prepared to get a little messy as you spend the day tie-dying your hearts out.

5. Make friendship bracelets

If Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is any indication, making friendship bracelets will never go out of style. Meet your friends in a local park, bring the supplies, and start crafting. For easy beaded bracelets, all you need are the beads, thread, and fasteners. For a more complex crafting experience, pick up embroidery floss in several colors, and try your hand at some woven patterns. To make this activity even more fun, have everyone create a bracelet for someone else, then swap at the end.

nostalgic things to do this summer
Source: Dupe | Cora Pursley

6. Visit childhood friends

You can obviously visit childhood friends any time of the year, but there’s something special about planning a summer get-together. If you have friends you’ve held onto since your younger years, think back to what you used to do when you hung out as kids. That could mean hitting the mall, making up dance routines, giving each other makeovers, getting active outside, or simply chatting about your crushes. Whatever it is that you and your childhood friends loved doing in the summertime, make time to experience it again as adults for a day. The act of rekindling the origins of your friendship will allow you and your friends to reconnect and unwind at the same time.

7. Play a favorite outdoor game from childhood

Chances are you had a few favorite childhood games that you haven’t played in years, maybe even decades. It’s time to dust off those jump-roping skills and try your hand at it once more. You could also try games like foursquare or hopscotch, or if you’re with a bigger group, kick the can or capture the flag. This might require looking up rules again and grabbing a few supplies. If you’re looking for something easier, a simple game of hide-and-seek in a park could be all you need to bring out that inner child that takes advantage of every summer moment.

8. Host a nostalgic summer movie marathon

Whether you loved adventure movies or lighthearted rom-coms when you were growing up, a summer movie marathon is always a fun way to look back on the past. Rewatch some of the classics you remember from when you were a kid, especially those that were released in the summer months. You can get an inexpensive projector and host an outdoor screening, or take a break from the heat of the day by watching the movies indoors. Don’t forget to pop some popcorn and stock up on your favorite movie snacks from childhood.

nostalgic things to do this summer
Source: Elevae Visuals

9. Start a diary

Many adults still write in a journal as a form of self-expression or reflection. But do you remember what it was like writing in a diary as a kid? I personally did not hold back in my childhood diaries and often wrote every single thing I was thinking in one long stream-of-consciousness entry. Whether you were that kid or you didn’t have a diary at all, this summertime activity can help you tap into your younger self. Pick out a diary with a cute cover you love, then sit somewhere serene outside and let that diary know all your thoughts and feelings. This is also a great way to keep track of all your summer memories!

10. Spend an entire day with only the technology you had as a kid

Regardless of the era you grew up in, chances are technology has changed drastically since you were a kid. What would it feel like to spend one summer day without constant text notifications, emails, or—dare I say it—TikTok? Taking a break from your phone is always a good idea, but mindfully cutting out the technology you didn’t have as a kid takes it to a whole new level. You might be surprised at how it makes you feel, and it could be just the recharge you need to go back to your adult life with gratitude for the kid you once were.