Summer Educational Activities for High School Students

While many high school students spend their summer vacations working, others pursue recreational activities, and still others enjoy the opportunity to explore interests and hobbies in greater depth.  All of these possibilities hold the potential to be educational in nature, depending on the students’ approaches to their endeavors.  With some good advice and oversight from parents or guidance counselors, high school students can gain through immersion learning over the course of their vacation time.

On the verge of adulthood, high school students are old enough to manage their time, but sometimes need direction.  Help your child, or students, in setting goals for the summer.  You don’t need to emphasize the educational elements of those goals, particularly with those teenagers who may not be successful in the realm of academics.  Rather, emphasize the value in the experience.


Volunteering provides hands on learning in the area of social studies.  Whether a student spends time at an animal shelter, or the public library, or assisting with a Vacation Bible School program, there will be one on one involvement with an area of interest.  Insight will be gained into the needs and interests of those served by such a program.  Volunteerism brings to life the ideas and understanding that a book can only describe, and a student who participates in volunteer activity has the opportunity to expand his horizons by immersion.  When relevant topics are presented in classes in coming years, he will have practical insight, and will be able to make valuable contributions to classroom instruction.

~Work Experience

Whether a teenager spends the summer as a lifeguard, a car hop, or a babysitter, economics will be extremely important.  The youth will have the opportunity to manage money, and to spend it.  While this may seem to be common activity, this is a taste of what adulthood has to offer, namely earning a living, and wisely handling resources.  This is an immersion experience in the realm of economics, with a healthy dose of consumer mathematics included. 


Whether a student travels within his country, or internationally, there is no limit to the possible educational activity that can occur.  As a parent planning a getaway, be sure to look for some interesting museums, exhibits, and historical sites in your target destination.  National parks are a wonderful resource, and visitors centers in such areas are full of valuable information.  As an instructor leading a group of students, balance the educational elements of the excursion with fun activities.  In the case of foreign travel, allow plenty of opportunity for teenagers to interact with others, particularly in a foreign language.  Some of the best language learning is by immersion, experientially obtained in context. 

~Community Arts

Whether your teenager sings, plays an instrument, or loves acting, there are many community based organizations which promote these pursuits, and which include youth.  Prior to summer vacation, inquire of band, chorus, or drama teachers, as these individuals will have the most information relevant to your community.

~Summer Camps

If your teenager, or student, has a particular interest, summer camp can provide extended learning in that area.  As well, themed summer camps can provide a short term, intensive learning opportunity in an area that schools might glance over.  Cooking camp is great for the student who loves to experiment in the kitchen.  Sports camp will provide an immersion experience more targeted than community sports organizations can offer.  Rocket camp can ignite the interest of the future aerospace engineer.  Research online, and consult with guidance counselors, to obtain leads on the educational camp that is best suited to your teenager.

Summer is often seen as a wasted time for youth, but teenagers who pursue a specific experience will be immersed in a setting that offers educational benefits, whether from a consumer point of view, or from a topical frame of reference.  Include your teenager, or teenage students, in the planning and discussion.  Spend plenty of time conversing during, or after the summer educational activities.  Provoke thought, and challenger the teen to verbalize their learning.  This is building material for coming academic studies, or for future life experiences.