20 Things Every Canadian Should Do At Least Once Before Summer is Over
Don’t let the last few warm, beautiful days of the season go to waste!
Flag down the ice cream truck
The catchy jingle, the delight of choosing one of the novelty treats, and, of course, the cool satisfaction of eating said treat on a hot afternoon—nothing says summer quite like an ice cream truck. Could you buy an entire box of ice cream bars at the grocery store for the same price as one from the truck? Sure, but where’s the fun in that? Make it even more magical and buy a frozen treat for a nearby child.
But if you’d rather head to your local grocery store, this 100% fruit ice cream is a summer treat you don’t have to feel guilty about.
Walk barefoot in the grass
Strolling barefoot through soft grass is the perfect way to get out of your daily bubble and smell the roses (literally!). The smells, sounds, and feel of nature will soothe your work-weary soul and melt away stress. It may even offer some unique health benefits; according to proponents of “earthing,” walking barefoot can help with insomnia and other afflictions. In case you need more reasons to get off the couch: 10 ways to walk more without even trying.
Read under a tree
Unplug and take a fun novel, gossip mag, or other light-hearted read outdoors. Set up under your favourite tree and enjoy the stillness and tactile pleasure of reading a real paper book. Bonus: Everyone looks smarter reading under a tree. It’s pretty much science. (Fun fact: These body parts can actually reveal how smart you are.)
Visit a farmer’s market
Many cities offer a farmer’s market on summer weekends, allowing you to support local farmers and up your health game in the tastiest way possible. Come for the fresh veggies but stay for the interesting crafts, bright flowers, sweet honey, hand-made sausages and new friends.
Heading to Muskoka before summer comes to an end? Check out one of their many local farmers’ markets.
Go to a concert or play in the park
From Shakespearean classics to local bands to movies to music festivals, your park entertainment options are endless in the summer. Check out your neighbourhood Facebook page or city website for dates and times. Even better, many of these events are free or very low-cost. Here are 12 hidden benefits music lovers wish you knew.
Run through a sprinkler
Think playing in a sprinkler is just for kids? Adults can play this refreshing game too and it doesn’t even require a swimsuit. The next time you see a sprinkler watering the grass in the park or at your neighbour’s house, take a few running leaps through it. Skip. Laugh. Frolic. You’ll dry, we promise.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a place still frequented by fireflies (or flying beetles, if you’re being accurate) bring back happy childhood memories by capturing a few to put in a bottle. Their gentle flicker speaks of warm, summer nights. (And then let them go. Seriously. They’ll die if you leave them in the bottle. And no, “feeding” them grass doesn’t work, even if you thought it did when you were a kid.)
Play the cloud game
Finding shapes in the clouds is a simple way to take a break and have some fun. And all it takes is a grassy spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, where you can lay down and look up. When’s the last time you looked up at the sky? Only rule is you can’t say “bunny”—you can be more creative than that. Having a creativity block? Ask a kid to help you.
Want to stress less? Here’s why you should take your yoga practice outdoors.
If you think clouds are fun, the night sky will blow your mind—especially if you can get far enough away from city lights to see the milky way. It’s worth the trip to the mountains or out to the countryside. Seeing the vast expanse of eternity laid out on a clear summer night will change your life. (Find out why this desert country is the ultimate wellness destination.)
Camping is the quintessential summer activity yet so few of us actually head for the hills. Being outdoors (and away from cell service) is a great way to reset and get in touch with nature. If you’re worried about not sleeping well outside your own bed, science shows camping can actually help cure insomnia. No tent? No problem. If you go car camping you can even sleep in your car and if things get rough you’re only a short drive from home. (These are the most gorgeous hiking routes across Canada.)
Build a sandcastle
Sand in between your toes (and in your hair and down your swimsuit) is peak summer. But don’t just settle for laying on the beach. Get dirty the fun way by building a sand castle complete with turrets and a moat.
In need of a vacation? Here’s your 3-week guide to getting beach-ready.
Eat at a food truck
Food trucks and outdoor dining go together like… restaurants with no seating? What they may lack in chairs they make up for in taste, offering a wide variety of new flavours and old favourites at a good price. Make it a walking dinner and you can indulge in a food truck dessert to go! (Don’t miss these 9 delicious recipes from Canada’s top food trucks.)
Have a bonfire and roast s’mores
Sticky fingers, smoke-scented hair, and a smile are the signature style of summer. So invite your neighbours and light (a small, well-maintained) bonfire. Add to the fun by roasting marshmallows for s’mores, everyone’s favourite sticky treat. If you just can’t swing a real fire, try making one of these healthy dessert recipes in the comfort of your own home.
Watch a street performer
Warm evenings turn every street corner into a stage and you’ll be amazed at the talent in your community. Dancers and musicians are staples but in many places you can also find living “statues,” contortionists, and magicians, among others. Don’t forget to leave them a tip to show you enjoyed their performance!
Speaking of performers, don’t miss how this national ballet dancer lives a life of passion and balance.
Get new sunglasses
New sunnies can take your look to the next level as well as protect your eyes. And they’re all on end-of-season clearance now! Buy two. Not sure which ones to pick? Check out our handy guide for buying the best sunglasses for your face shape.
Go to a drive-in movie
Popcorn? Check. Speakers on? Check. Awesome double feature? Double check. Stay up late and watch a movie from the comfort of your own car. You’re outside but with all the comforts of being inside. Here are 13 ways to flavour your popcorn to absolute perfection.
Count your freckles
Who says you have to cover up your freckles with makeup? Wear your summer sun kisses with pride. Count them and remember all the fun in the sun that got you each one. They, along with your memories, will fade all too quickly when fall comes. (And while you’re examining your skin, make sure you check these 10 sneaky spots you can get skin cancer.)
Wear beach-scented sunscreen
Going to the office and not the beach? No problem. Dab some coconut-scented sunscreen on before you leave and all day you’ll be reminded of summer weekends. Plus, you know, it’s sun protection—something you need regardless of the season. These are the best mineral sunscreens you can buy in Canada.
Pull some weeds
This is the perfect time to spruce up your spring garden and get it ready for fall by cutting back plants, pulling weeds and fertilizing. Sound like more work than play? Just try it. There’s something so zen about it and gardening has so many health benefits. There’s a reason your 5-year-old self loved playing in the dirt!
Try an outdoor fitness class
Forget resolutions, this is about fun: If you’ve ever wanted to try a different workout, this is the best time. Outdoor offerings include stand-up paddleboarding, yoga in the park, guided night hikes, bootcamp, fishing excursions, and many other activities. You’ll be having so much fun you’ll forget all about the sweat.
Love paddleboarding and yoga? Here’s your beginner’s guide to SUP yoga.
Originally published as 22 Things Everyone Should Do at Least Once Before Summer’s Over on ReadersDigest.com.