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Ten Things to Do During Summer Break

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1.Learn a new skill or several. Sewing, cooking, changing the oil in your car, yard work, webpage design, photography – the possibilities are endless. Do not allow your body or brain to turn to mush just because school is not in session. Summer is a great time to pursue other interests or improve skills you already have.

2. Exercise Outside. Head out in the early morning for a hike, do yard work for your family and neighbors for free as a form of exercise, or go for a bike ride. But don't let the summer slip by without getting out into nature and being physical.

3. Read. Read Qur'an, religious books, novels, children's books, magazines, newspapers, Islamic Insights, textbooks and so on. Try to expand your reading horizons by reading a genre or author you would normally not be interested in. Join your local library's summer reading program and earn some fun rewards for your reading. Set an ambitious but achievable goal for your reading, and create a reading routine to achieve that goal.

4. Sleep. Don't spend the days all in bed, but allow yourself an extra hour of rest at night or a nap in the afternoon. For many students, summer provides some needed down time – just don't go so far with it that you become lazy or unhealthy.

5. Create. Make something this summer – maybe a book, a work of art, a craft, the food for a family get-together, a rebuilt car, a robot, a website, or a cure for cancer. Explore ways to express yourself, and you could be building a valuable skill set in the process. Your creations could turn into a way to make a living someday.

6. Volunteer. There are so many ways to help others, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. You can clean the mosque, read to a younger sibling, pull weeds, house sit, help out at a children's summer camp, teach elderly friends how to use a computer, organize a food drive, collect donations and run a race for charity, wash cars, or recite Qur'an and give the reward to someone else every day. If you're not in school, you should have more time to help out other people, and you can have wonderful experiences doing so!

7. Travel. Maybe your budget or circumstances do not allow for you to go on some grand trip, but you could probably arrange to at least get out into the country or to a nearby city you've never been to before and see some of the sights. Go to a museum, a national park, a nature preserve, a campground – just go somewhere you've never been and experience a taste of life in that new place. Try geocaching as a way to travel and see new places in your hometown while getting some exercise and finding hidden treasure!

8. Improve Your Religious Practice. Pick one or two things to focus on this summer to get better at – maybe you need to concentrate more in your prayer, observe Hijab better, learn to control your temper, develop a habit of getting up on time for Fajr prayer or Salat al-Layl, read Qur'an more, or simply get educated about your religion. Summer is a great time to get rid of a bad habit or make a new good habit.

9. Fast. The month of Ramadan is just around the corner. The days are long now, but you might still have some fasts to make up from last year, or you might want to participate in the recommended fasts of the months of Rajab and Shaban. Fasting even one day a week can help you get ready to get the most out of that holy month.

10. Work. Hopefully you do have some time to relax this summer and don't have to work while you go to school, but summer can be a great time to get some job skills or get your foot in the door by gaining experience in a field of interest. Your summer job can help your family get through tough financial times due to lay-offs, health problems, or other needs, or allow you to give a little extra to a favorite charity. It may also help you pay for a special treat for yourself or a loved one – maybe a plane ticket to visit relatives or the cash to buy your first car.

Author of this article: Masooma Beatty
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