Exams are over and school’s out.
And students around the world are thinking to themselves, “Now what am I going to do with all of this free time?”
Sure, there are games to play, movies to watch, and friends to hang out with.
But there are also plenty of productive things to do during the school holidays.
So I’ve come up with this list of 40 meaningful things to do.
Enter your email below to download a step-by-step planning worksheet as a PDF. This planning worksheet will help you to have a productive school holiday!
1. Reflect on the semester gone by.
Take out a sheet of paper and answer these three questions:
- What did I do well in the past semester?
- What did I not do so well in the past semester?
- What will I do differently in the coming semester?
2. Set process goals for the coming semester.
This is a follow-up to Point #1.
Set process goals for the coming semester instead of performance goals, because process goals are far more effective.
What’s the difference between the two types of goals?
Process goals are what you intend to do, while performance goals are what you intend to achieve.
Here’s an example.
Performance goal: Get an A for math next semester.
Process goal: Do three extra math questions every day after dinner.
By setting process goals, you’re more likely to take action than if you only set performance goals.
So take some time and set 5 to 10 process goals for the coming semester.
3. Watch educational YouTube videos.
Here are a few of my favorite educational YouTube channels:
- MinutePhysics (all kinds of cool physics)
- CrashCourse (history, chemistry, astronomy, and much more)
- AsapSCIENCE (science topics ranging from biology to psychology)
For more suggestions, check out this Mashable article.
4. Watch documentaries.
You can watch thousands of high-quality documentaries for free at Documentary Heaven.
5. Get a job.
Don’t worry too much about what the job will pay. As the saying goes, “Take a job for what you will learn, not for what you will earn.”
This is especially true when it comes to school holiday jobs. The best learning experience might just come in the form of an unpaid job or internship.
6. Learn a new language.
Visit these websites and learn a new language:
7. Find a cause you care about.
The school holidays are a good time to give back. Find a cause you care about, and start thinking of ways to support that cause.
Then read this article, which lists 10 ways to support a good cause.
As a follow-up to Point #7, find a practical way to serve and contribute. You could volunteer to clean up the beach, help out at a nursing home or animal shelter, or deliver meals to the elderly.
9. Improve your physical health.
You have more time during the school holidays. So this is a great opportunity to start sleeping well, exercising regularly, and eating healthily.
10. Learn a new skill.
You could learn skills like…
- Public speaking
- Positive thinking
I strongly recommend that you read these five books:
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
- The Happy Student by Daniel Wong – International Edition/Asian Edition (I’m allowed to recommend my own book, right? 🙂 )
12. Take an online course.
There are thousands of online courses to choose from on Coursera and Udemy.
13. Build or fix something.
Fix a broken fan, build a computer, or make a table. These are skills that will come in handy in the future.
14. Visit museums.
A trip to a museum will make you more knowledgeable, and you’ll probably leave feeling inspired too.
What’s more, it’s typically free (or cheap) to get in.
15. Start a business.
You could start something small like a …
- Babysitting business
- Dog-walking business
- Pet-sitting business
Or you could think big like these 12 kids, who have built million-dollar businesses in arenas like app development, online advertising, fashion, and hair products.
16. Learn to manage your money.
Money management is a valuable life skill. Get started by checking out the resources at Practical Money Skills for Life.
17. Pick up a new hobby.
You will probably feel bored at some point during the school holidays. That’s the time to pick up a new hobby like…
- Playing the ukulele
18. Sell the things you aren’t using.
I’m sure you own many things you aren’t using, which other people would be willing to pay for.
So hold a garage sale, or put the items up for sale online.
19. Visit a nearby college or university.
Whenever I visit a college or university campus, I feel a sense of excitement. Colleges and universities are so full of youth, passion, knowledge, and potential.
This school holiday, visit one in your area. Learn about the courses and programs offered, and get a feel for the campus culture.
You might just leave the campus with a clearer vision of your future plans and goals.
20. Achieve an athletic goal.
Take Point #9 a step further and work toward a specific athletic goal.
Here are some examples:
- Do 15 pull-ups in 30 seconds
- Do 50 push-ups in 1 minute
- Do 60 sit-ups in 1 minute
- Run a mile under 7 minutes
- Hold a plank for 2 minutes
21. Reconnect with friends and family members.
Reconnect with friends and family members whom you didn’t get to spend much time with during the school term.
At the very least, send them a text or email to show them that you’re thinking of them.
22. Enjoy nature.
Go for a hike, have a picnic, fly a kite, or visit a nature reserve.
23. Learn about a country or place you don’t know much about.
The world is an amazing place filled with fascinating countries and cities.
This school holiday, take some time to learn about the history and culture of a country or place you aren’t familiar with.
24. Improve your vocabulary.
Students’ success in school and life is linked to the size of their vocabulary, the research indicates.
I’m sure you want to be successful, so use these three resources to improve your vocabulary:
25. Improve your writing skills.
Writing skills are important for academic success, and they’re even more important for career success. So work on your writing skills this school holiday.
Read this excellent article on how to improve your writing. Next, read at least one of these books and put into practice what you’ve learned:
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
- Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Give away books and notes you no longer need, and files you no longer use. In addition, clear your desk and get organized.
This way, you’ll set yourself up for a fruitful upcoming semester.
27. Develop healthy habits.
Nathaniel Emmons once said, “Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.”
These are possible habits to develop this school holiday:
- Daily reflection
- Reading for 15 minutes before bed
- Keeping a gratitude journal
- Getting on a regular sleep schedule
- Drinking more water
28. Read articles on how to become a happy, successful student.
Read these articles:
- How to Study Smart: 20 Scientific Ways to Learn Faster
- 8 Truths That Successful Students Understand
- How I Became a Straight-A Student by Following These 7 Rules
29. Learn about your family history.
By doing this, you’ll discover interesting things about your family.
Not only that, research indicates that people who know their family history tend to have higher self-esteem too.
30. Learn time management skills.
Get started with these three resources:
31. Watch Khan Academy videos.
This school holiday, brush up on your math, science and humanities by watching Khan Academy videos.
(Here are my tips if you’re trying to get better at math.)
32. Increase your reading speed.
The faster you read, the faster you learn.
Improve your reading speed by checking out this resource and this resource.
33. Try out geocaching.
If you don’t know what geocaching is, check out this page.
It’s a fun and educational activity!
34. Clear your email inbox.
Over the past semester, your email inbox has probably become flooded.
You may even have hundreds of emails that have yet to be processed or organized.
If this describes you, then read this fantastic article by Michael Hyatt and implement his tips.
35. Talk to as many adults as possible about career options.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your future career.
Reach out to your relatives, family friends, teachers, and neighbors. Offer to buy them a cup of coffee, and ask them if they’d be willing to share their experiences and insights.
Set a goal for this school holiday of talking to at least one adult a week about career options.
36. Create a personal website.
Your chances of getting into that program you’re applying for – or getting that job or internship – will be higher if you have a personal website.
Your chances will be even higher if your website looks as beautiful as this one, this one, or this one.
I recommend using the WordPress platform for your website; here’s a complete website setup guide. And don’t worry, you don’t have to create your website from scratch. You can find over 60 free, professional-looking WordPress themes here.
37. Increase your typing speed.
In all likelihood, as you get older you’ll need to do more typing on your computer.
Explore these three websites to increase your typing speed:
38. Create checklists.
For the tasks you perform repeatedly, create checklists so that you’ll save time in the long run.
For example, you could create a checklist for the things you ought to do…
- Every day when you get home from school
- When you start preparing for an exam
- Every weekend as you prepare for the upcoming week
- When you’re packing your bag
- Before you take an exam
- To reflect on your life periodically
39. Find a mentor.
A good mentor will help you become more self-aware, make better decisions, and find long-term success.
This Forbes article provides practical tips on finding a mentor. I also offer a 1-to-1 coaching program to help teens become happy and successful.
40. Write thank-you notes.
Many people say “thank you” via text message or email. But few people write actual thank-you notes. This school holiday, become one of those people.
Make a list of the people who have helped you in one way or another the past semester: friends, teachers, relatives, and family members.
Write each of those people a thank-you note. Then either mail the note to them or give it to them in person.
The bottom line
It’s impossible to do all 40 things described in this article. Besides, I know you also want to have plenty of fun this school holiday.
So don’t feel overwhelmed.
Instead, develop a realistic plan. (To do this, use the planning worksheet available at the end of the article.)
As you follow your plan, I’m confident that you’ll have a meaningful, productive and fun-filled school holiday!
Like this article? Please share it with your friends.
Excellent ideas and suggestions! Thank You!
Daniel Wong says
You’re welcome, Tricia!
Donbo Darlene says
That is great
Very nice ideas
So timely. Yah
Daniel Wong says
Rudranju Rath says
This is very helpful
Daniel Wong says
Glad you like the ideas!
lol it hasn’t even updated after a bajillion years
Wow wee,AWESOME ideas?,Daniel!
Daniel Wong says
Thank you, Juliana 🙂
North South East West, Daniel is the best !! Love all the ideas. God bless u
Daniel Wong says
You’re too kind, Sara. God bless you too!
yukino fuji says
this is cool.thanks for the idea.by the way,i need help.im 16 this year and i will be sitting for a big exam(sijil pelajaran malaysia) next year(2016).for this holiday,im planning to start studying so that i can be more prepared next year.can u please give me some tips on where to start,how to start and how can i be more focused studying during holiday? ill be grateful if u could help me with this.thanks 🙂
Daniel Wong says
You’re welcome. I think you’ll find these two articles helpful:
And I’ve also created a specific system for academic success called the Straight-A Student Weekly Checklist:
I recommend you get a copy of that 🙂
Ruth Tan says
Thanks so much; I was wondering how I should spend the holidays! ??
Daniel Wong says
You’re welcome 🙂 Have a great holiday!
Thanks for all these suggestions.
A free school software for small schools.
prajval jain says
this is the answer i have been looking for! thanks
Airbnb Management Sydney says
There a lots of productive things that are suggested in this article. Thank you for sharing your insight about the things can be accomplish during long holidays.
Using the 40th tip:
Thank you sir for making these tips! I am really looking forward to use them effectively.
Amir Peter Philip says
Hi Daniel Wong ,thanks a lot for the efforts you did to equip students with various skills and directing them on how to be successful. I am a secondary school student, and in fact I have faced a lot of challenges especially this year in my education. I was discouraged due to some factors, interrupted and so many.But I was directed by my colleague to visit Daniel Wong and get solutions to such problems. I benefited a lot from most of your articles.
Thanks a lot!
Atiz melio says
I really bless with those ideas… You just set me up on date about what I to do… Thankz my holiday will be successful and believe what you say really enspire me deep in my heart.. Thankz
I wanna thank you, for putting this creative article together to make us a happy and successful student, Thank you and God bless you.
Nice and helpful article!
Aditi Gaur says
These ideas were really helpful! I hope I can have a great holiday with productive work!
Thank you so much.
Wow, these ideas are so focused on stuff to encourage a successful future for any student! Just the kind I was looking for. I don’t think you could get more productive than that! Thanks the for the suggestions.
Superb! These are the best ideas for holidays .I am very very thankful to you.
Soham pednekar says
Very nice point
Useful for my further life
Kanika singhal says
Too good ideas to follow. …Thank you
Thank you so much this is helpful
very very thank you sir
wow i have never imagined these websites ever existed. Thank you so much sir .
Many interesting things to do. Thankyou
Erika Anne Cruzat says
Thank you it helps a lot.🙂
Very nice I’ll try them
dinesh keshav kadam says
really helpful ideas. me as a parent was such searching on website to keep my daughter busy after college holidays. this article is very helpful and tried to cover all topic carefully and with sincere efforts.
thank you very much
Whoa! This is beyond what I’ve searched for. It’s just perfect. Lots of beautiful ideas. Thank you so much Daniel.
This is really nice! It’s the best answers to how to spend an holiday that I’ve found on the internet yet.
Normally on websites, you’d find things like go to the beach and la di da but this website actually focused on the other side of the holidays, studying and catching up. Thank you so much for this!! Helped me heaps!
What an inspirational list. I hope my daughter thinks so too when I share it with her! But seriously, even for me it makes me excited to go learn or do something new!
Greatest ideas..! However watching videos of khan academy became more useful for me then all the suggestions, thanks for sharing.
Very insightful post, Daniel! I agree that learning should never stop during semestral breaks but learning should become more fun and flexible then. Students could learn new skills that are not included in their curriculum or they could simply learn how to make life more fulfilling and enjoyable by doing what they love or by practicing their talents more! School holidays means more bonding with the family too and students could spend most of their time at home, helping their parent with chores or showing their love and care to their siblings and parents!
It help me a lot to improve in learing for me during the holidays. I got to know more online course from this website and it make me to be more professional the area that I specialized.
J Azumi says
Thank you Daniel, I am making my students read these tips too!
I have to say Mr Wong, this is a surprisingly well put article and you deserve a big THANK YOU for all the hard work you put into this.
Thank you Daniel, this is just what my daughter needs . She is going through an extremely difficult time and she can really do with your inspiration list.
Huh this really awesome article. Thank you for post an article like this. This really help me to spend my time on holiday.
Thank you so much 💜
Thank you this really helps me to spend my holidays
Wow thank you so much…..these points were really useful….
Hi ….I really really loved your ideas …..can you please suggest me some books or articles for how to become a good teenager
really bro This article was very helpful and insightful 😍👍
Rekha aggarwal says
Can you suggest something to get rid of my short temper and preventing me from becoming an introvert
Excellent ideas. Thanks ❤️
Kavya Garg says
ver good things are mentioned
Adams Victoria says
Thanks for posting your article
It’s going to help me a lot
Learning something new before the new semester
Thanks so much
Aswin Hareesh says
Thank you daniel for your wonderful tips
Smiling sunitha says
very useful article and i’ll share to my friends too,
This article is inspiring and helpful. I’ve realized there’s much I can do as a student. Thanks
May i share this article? This is so helpful!!💛
Georgie Shibu @YT says
This is so great. I am not able to do some of them as I am in quarantine. But I will do all the other things. I am going to make my vacation fruitful. Thanks a lot Daniel Wong!!!
Thank you very much for your time
Thanks a lot Daniel for the ideas.
Helped me a lot.
God bless you Daniel.
Daniel is the best.
I am from pakistan reading your golden words and suggestion. Thanks for your work
Thanks. Great article indeed.
My son just entered IX grade and holidays are coming up due to Corona. I was wondering how to help him utilize his time properly and I found this article. Thank you so much Daniel.
Oh this is really helpful
Thank you so much🤩👍
Dentist Parramatta says
Your article is such an informative article. It is glad to read such articles. Thanks for sharing.
Okoli D. C says
This article is very rich and imparting. Good work and more grace to continue.
Dominic Kaydee says
Nice Ideas. You definitely deserve a Thank You Note
Hi. This is a useful post. I took my young child to a library in town during the recent half term last month in order to escape my usual routine at home. We went to another town in the car in addition. We wanted to take a look at the shops and have a nice meal in a riverside pub too. We had a dance party at home as well with white wine for me one night and watched a family movie. We played mini golf. We even did a lot of baking and art and craft activities on top of that. We read so many books. Best wishes. We had a Valentine Day lunch too to celebrate.
This is a very useful piece.
I love your post. You can even have a nice picnic with the children at home in order to save money. Otherwise you can take them to a cinema downtown in addition with cups of hot chocolate or sweet popcorn bags in tow. You can even decide to watch a movie on the cheap all late at night to make ends meet. You can even teach them how to bake up a few biscuits, pies and cakes on a tray. Always a good idea. Try it.
This is always a classic option to try. Good luck. Alternatively you can opt to visit a farm shop to do a weekly food shop. You either can choose to take a road trip to a decent family beach. You can aim to simply spend the whole day out at a fun museum or art gallery in question as well. As a family you can have more fun shopping. Instead of going to a bookshop use your local library to find books. This is always worth a shot.