Super summer projects

Talk of summer holidays this year can cause complicated feelings to surface.

A time for sunshine, beaches, friends and fun has been tempered by restrictions and worrying news. Six weeks of holiday is a long time and without the usual leisure activities it could end up feeling like a chore in itself.

However, there are always things we can do to make the most of this time – entertain, challenge ourselves or achieve something to be proud of.

Planning a super summer project to work towards is a fantastic way to make the holidays memorable, whether you’re developing a skill, creating something amazing or simply meeting a personal goal for your own satisfaction.

To get started, why not try one of the ideas below?

Set yourself a reading challenge

Reading challenge

There are entire worlds contained within books, universes filled with exciting ideas, memorable characters and amazing tales. Stories are a door that can take us to incredible places and can transform us.

Deciding to read some books over summer could be informative, emotional or enriching. Travel may be limited, but our imaginations can go anywhere, so why not plan yourself an unforgettable reading journey this Summer?

You’re the captain of your journey, but you could always start out by planning one of the following:

  • A genre reading marathon – Immerse yourself in a particularly genre of books you love, or perhaps one you haven’t tried before; adventure through fantasy, investigate through crime and mystery, or take flight into sci-fi futures.
  • Complete a book series – Try reading through a longer series of books by a favourite author or discover a brand new one. Who knows what you might discover along the way?
  • Read about a topic in non-fiction – History is filled with incredible real stories that can give us brilliant insights into the world we live in now, and science can give a fascinating glimpse at the future that awaits us. You may be amazed at what you can learn in a few months.

Want help organising your book goals and joining a community of young readers? You could try taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge 2020.

Plan a mini-Olympic challenge

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics may have been postponed, but the Olympic spirit could still be a great inspiration for a summer exercise challenge.

To make exercise fun and varied, try planning out your own season of personal events. This could be simply aiming to beat your own personal records, or a challenge to family and friends for them to try and beat.

You might try challenges involving:

  • Running – This could be a short sprint against the clock or a longer jog to test endurance. How fast will you go? Could you build up your stamina to reach new personal records?
  • Sit-ups and/or push-ups – How many can you do in row?
  • Skipping rope jumps – How many jumps can you manage without a mistake? 10? 50? 100?
  • Kick ups – How many times can you kick a football in the air without it touching the ground?

It might be fun to plan out your Summer with a schedule of these events, a score card and maybe some kind of personal treat for ‘winning the gold’.

However you do plan it though, always keep in mind that safety comes first. Remember to follow current social distancing guidelines (friends should only join in from a distance in an open space or remotely) and that more dangerous activities should be left to the professionals.

Create a paper craft city

Paper craft city

Source: Foster and Partners

With Summer at your disposal, there’s no better time to work on a long-term craft project to create something remarkable.

Making a paper craft city presents lots of creative possibilities with the option to make it an ambitious multi-day activity. You can approach this any number of ways, but you could try the following steps as a start guide.

Gather your materials

To make a paper craft city you will typically need the following:

  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Strong (but safe) glue and a glue stick
  • Firm card, small boxes (such as those toothpaste comes in) and empty toilet roll tubes
  • Thick cardboard or a cardboard box

You may also need:

  • Coloured paper
  • Coloured card
  • Various colours of felt tip pen
  • A helpful adult or older sibling!

Remember that creativity counts! You can always substitute items you don’t have for similar things or try a slightly different approach.

Create a base for your city

This could be done using either thick card, cardboard or a cardboard box to form the base for your city.

There are lots of ways to approach this; you could plan out exactly where buildings are or take a more free form approach. Either way, some decoration goes a long way. Try sticking down coloured card to mark out where roads, pavements, grass and rivers will be. You could also draw on fine details with felt tips pens.

If you’re using a large cardboard box as your base, there’s also an opportunity to give your cityscape a sky background.

To do this, remove the top flaps and one, two, or three of its sides. Then use a glue stick or sticky tape to apply paper the colour of the sky you want over the remaining sides on the inside. You may also wish to cut out and add clouds or a sun in the same way.

Creating buildings and skyscrapers for your city

There are a number of ways to do this, but the simplest is to use ready made card boxes and decorate them.

For each; gently unfold the box, carefully unsticking the tabs at either end without tearing the card until it’s flat. Once this is done, wrap it in a thin coloured paper of your choice (using a glue stick or tape to hold it in place) and stick the box back together the way it was.

With this done you could cut out and glue on a different coloured card for windows or (if the paper is strong enough and the glue dry) draw them on directly with a pen.

Once you’ve created buildings, just stick them to your base with the stronger glue and wait for them to dry.

Want to get really creative? Try experimenting with different shapes for your buildings like empty loo roles or perhaps create some cut out trees to give your city a green space.

Want more ideas to make your paper craft city the best it can be?

Try these cut out building designs to print or copy, cut out and decorate

Or this clearly explained guide on how to plan and construct your city

Need more ideas for Summer projects?

If you’re still in need of ideas for summer projects, why not check out some of our other resources?

Create puppets and put on a show

New fun and relaxing things to try

Improve your drawing skills

Tell Our Time about your amazing projects

Our Time would love to hear about the challenges you’re undertaking and projects you’ve planned.

Younger readers should ask a parent or older family member for permission and help before sharing to our social media: Twitter @ourtimecharity or our Instagram @ourtimecharity. 

You can also share directly to our email at talktous@ourtime.org.uk.

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