This post originally appeared on the blog Live Laugh Love to Learn.  

SUMMER! It’s finally here! I had a great year with my 5th graders but it was stressful and busy. I’m so happy that summer is here. I can sleep late, reconnect with my kids, relax, have fun, and do the things I love to do that I don’t have much time for during the school year.

Here is MY list of 10 things I plan on doing this summer and you should consider, too!

1. Read a great book just for fun!  I love to read, and I read a lot of books. One of my favorite things about summer is that I have more time to read. I know not everyone enjoys reading as much as I do but reading a great book for pleasure is a great way to relax.  Need some suggestions for a great summer read?


Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 
This book is sweet, heartwarming, and sad. Bring some tissues for the end. The movie is now out so you can read the book, then watch the movie. Or vice versa!

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
This book is next on my “to read” list. I loved Silver Linings Playbook (the book and the movie). Love May Fail is about a housewife, Portia, who leaves her fancy life and cheating husband and returns to the place where she grew up. Portia reconnects with her high school English teacher and tries to help him overcome a traumatic classroom incident. Sounds good, right?
2. Take a hike! 
Seriously, go find a trail and hike it! If you are new to hiking, start small. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along some a hat, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, a healthy snack, and a map. Getting outside and exploring nature is relaxing, energizing — it soothes my soul. AllTrails is a great website to search for hiking trails near you. The website includes maps and reviews to make it easy to find a suitable trail.
3.  Make something! 
I love to lose an hour or two painting or creating something just for fun. I love to work with watercolors and ink and also dabble in acrylic paints. I love making my own decorative wreaths and jewelry. Pinterest is a great place to browse for ideas and tutorials for all sorts of DIY projects. Here is a link to my Crafts & DIY Pinterest board to get you started with some ideas.
4. Learn something new!
I’m always wanting to learn new things! What have you been wanting to learn how to do? This summer, I plan on working on learning how to create digital products and activities for my students to use in Google Classroom. I also am planning on learning how to hand embroider. I’ve seen some amazing embroidery artists on Instagram that have inspired me to try. Check out @sarakbenning to see what I’m talking about! What are you going to try?
5. Binge watch!
Find a new series to watch and watch all the episodes. Have you watched “Orange is the New Black”? I can’t wait for the newest season. I’ve heard great things about “Game of Thrones” so I need to get started on that! If you haven’t watched “Downton Abbey”, you should! Summer is the perfect time to catch up on a new show. There are so many good ones from which to choose!
6. Cook new recipes!
Summer is my favorite time to test out new recipes. Pinterest is my go-to place to find new and tasty recipes. Here are a few recipes I can’t wait to try (click on the image to go to the pin):
One Pan Mexican Quinoa
Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken Skewer
7. Reflect and grow!
Summer is the perfect time to look back on your school year and think about what worked well and what didn’t work so well. I keep a journal and jot down notes and thoughts. I like to focus more on what worked well and build on that. Think about the ideas, routines, and activities that worked well and figure out how to make them even better. One activity that I loved this past year was incorporating reading and writing skills into my math block. In my math stations, I had students using my Read and Respond  Math passages with corresponding written response questions. The passages I gave them were review of topics they had previously learned.  It was a great way to review and to practice important reading and written response skills.  Each topic has 3 passages with questions and answer keys available in my TpT store. Read & Respond Math is also available as a growing bundle that you can find here.

8. Explore!
Find something new to you in your area to explore! Maybe it’s a park you never visited, a new restaurant, a museum, or event.  Look at your town/city/community through the eyes of a tourist and be one!  This summer I plan on visiting Loblolly Woods Nature Park in Gainesville, FL for the first time. It’s known for bird watching and has a lush forest that looks like it may be a cool place to visit during our hot summers!
Loblolly Woods Nature Park
9. Family fun!
If you have children (and even if you don’t), go play! Pull out the board games, sidewalk chalk, paint, sprinklers, sparklers, whatever and enjoy! My kids are teenagers now but I know if I set up a sprinkler or badminton net, they will come out and join the fun.  
10. Nap!
Aahhh, the luxury of taking a nap in the middle of the day!  Just being able to relax and close your eyes for a few minutes is a perfect way recharge and de-stress!  Catching up on much needed sleep is a big summer goal for me.
What would you add to your summer “recharge” list?
Debbie Rudtke - Live Laugh Love to Learn

Debbie Rudtke - Live Laugh Love to LearnDebbie Rudtke lives in Alachua, Florida with her husband of 22 years and two teenagers. She has been teaching for 10 years in Alachua and currently teaches 5th grade. Debbie worked as a research scientist in the NY metropolitan area for 17 years before “retiring” to Florida and changing careers. She brings her passion for science and math into her classroom and enjoys giving her students hands-on, inquiry-based activities to make learning engaging, fun, and meaningful. You can find her on her blog Live Laugh Love to Learn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and of course on Teachers Pay Teachers!