Savor Summer -- Play: Ideas for Making the Most of Summer

Ah, summer. Have you been savoring it? Making time for play?

Play can mean so many different things. Active things like going swimming at the lake. Restful things like reading a book on a blanket in the grass. Creative things like sketching flowers in the garden. Productive things like refinishing furniture. On summer vacation you might do all of those things in one day (well, possibly not refinishing furniture). For Savor Summer I'm saying, let's incorporate some of these types of play into every day.

Clouds, Sky, Summer, Savor Summer, #ssjuly2015, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Maybe you want to be organized and make a list. Sharon who writes the blog The Teacup Incident recently shared her summer "bucket list".  She was inspired by this post on The Fresh Exchange. I think they're onto something. Make a plan. Be intentional. Otherwise the summer might just slip away.

Do you have ideas? Last summer, inspired by Dana Barbieri's summer to-do lists, I wrote my own list of ideas for Creating Summer Joy. Mostly small, simple ways to savor summer -- there are some I never got around to last year (make ice cream, make a sunhat...). I'd love to know what you'd include on your list.

Are you having a hard time coming up with ideas? Feeling stuck in a rut? I've gathered a collection of ideas and inspiration that should help!

I'm still discovering things to do and places to see in our area. We've only lived here for a short time, but I think that even if you've been living in the same place for much longer there are places to discover.

hiking, nature, woods, summer savor summer, #ssjuly2015

Sometimes you'll be surprised by what you find when you pick up printed tourist information where it's available locally (shops, restaurants, etc). The newspaper, local bulletin boards (try the library) and word of mouth are all great sources of information. Or take a look online. Search "(state name) department of tourism". You can order free travel and event guides to help you plan outings. For a nation-wide source, try Discover America (if you don't live in the US, just do a search for your own country's tourism department and I'm sure you'll find an equivalent).

Some ideas for things to look for:

  • parks (look for National Parks here and State Parks here)
  • lakes or beaches
  • festivals (try searching here)
  • flea markets and art fairs
  • museums
  • botanical gardens (try here and here)
  • scenic drives (try searching "scenic byways" and in Wisconsin "rustic roads" -- maybe your state or country has its own designation?)
  • local baseball or softball games
  • breweries or factories to tour
  • drive-in movie theaters
  • farmers markets (do a search here) and farm stands

Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Summer, Madison, Wisconsin, Savor Summer, My Giant Strawberry, Anne Butera, #ssjuly2015

Other ways to play:
  • have a picnic or eat your meals on your deck or patio -- even just drinking your coffee out in the garden can make the day feel like summer vacation
  • draw with sidewalk chalk
  • blow bubbles
  • read outside
  • cloudwatch and stargaze (try here)
  • bring cut flowers inside (from your garden if you have one or buy some at the farmers market) -- make tiny arrangements in small jars or bottles (empty spice jars, vanilla extract bottles, jars that held things like olives or maple syrup, mini-bar type liquor bottles, thrift shop finds...) 
  • get food from a food stand or cart or go out for ice cream
  • have a barbecue 
  • make sun tea
  • paint your toenails a fun color and go barefoot (or wear sandals)

sidewalk chalk, summer, savor summer, fun, play, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry, #ssjuly2015

Get creative:

  • learn something new -- take a class (in person or online), check out a book from the library or ask a friend to show you how to do something (this is a great way to learn to knit or crochet)
  • or learn from a blogging friend... try out some crafting with seashells -- Simone shows you how in this post
  • start a portable project -- again, knitting, crochet and other needle arts are perfect for this, so is a sketchbook or journal (find sketchbook ideas here, here and here)
  • make sun prints
  • refinish or paint a thrift store find (something like this... I'm working on another piece right now and it's amazing how much easier and quicker it is working outside).
  • sew some summery clothing (lots of ideas here)
  • make a rope basket
  • work on a garden project (here are some ideas)
  • make a teepee or set up a tent (try one of these)
  • try a DIY project from your idea file or your Pinterest board (here's mine)

flower arrangements, garden flowers, upcycling, reusing, flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry, Savor Summer, #ssjuly2015

Here's to a play-filled weekend!


  1. So many ideas here Anne! I've never made sun tea - maybe I will try! I like the idea of putting tiny floral arrangements in miniature bottles too. I am sure to find enough plants in the garden for that one! I am going to my first barbecue of the year tomorrow so I can check that off the list! Have a great weekend doing summery things :-)

    1. Sun tea always sort of amazed me. I'm not sure why; it just seemed a bit like magic!

      I hope you fill your house with flowers and that the barbecue was fun and delicious!

      Enjoy the coming week!

  2. What a wonderful inspirational post!! I love lots of the ideas & will try some this summer. The kids break up from school in about 10 days time & you're right, if we're not careful then the 6 week break could just fly by. Thanks for sharing this fab post! Hugs, Kat xx

    1. I'm glad you have lots of ideas for enjoying your summer, Kat. I hope you make it go nice and slow. :)

      Hugs, back!

  3. May the summer be long enough for you to get through your entire list! Great inspiration here, Anne, and I love your tiny bouquet in a vanilla bottle :) Thank you for linking to my "bucket list" - between our two lists there are a lot of joyful hours. I'm definitely going to blow bubbles for our cat who loves to "catch" them.

    1. Our old dog used to love catching (eating) bubbles and once we had catnip infused bubbles that our cats weren't that thrilled with. Maybe I should try again.

      Wishing lots of joy for the both of us, Sharon!


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