Summer is in full swing, but in many areas recreational facilities are closed and gatherings limited. Wondering how to stay entertained when movie theaters, pools, summer camps, amusement parks, playgrounds, concerts, and sporting events are all canceled or closed? The Internet Archive has a huge number of resources that you can use to make your own fun. Here are a few ideas for activities you can do in small groups, outdoors, for free, AND while using our collections!
Go On a Nature Walk
Want to know what kind of rock that is? Ready to try your hand at birdwatching? Curious if any of the plants near your house are edible? Our collections include dozens of field guides and identification books—go on a walk and see how many different flowers, insects, mushrooms, or trees you can find!
Break Out the Sidewalk Chalk
Chalk art has experienced a renaissance during this pandemic, with artists of all ages expressing themselves on the pavement. If you want some inspiration, check out these videos of local chalk art festivals—or browse art from one of our museum image collections. Here are some watercolors from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, paintings from the City Museum of Quito, drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art, and new additions from the Brooklyn Museum.
There’s nothing quite like a good book enjoyed in the shade of a leafy tree. Grab a blanket, hammock, or lawn chair; pick a title from the Internet Archive’s Open Library; and go read something fun at the beach, on a hilltop, in your city park, by a flower patch, in the woods, next to a river, or even just in your own backyard.
Take Up Gardening
Whether you have a huge patch of soil or a small pot on your windowsill, gardening is a great way to relieve stress and connect with the outdoors. We have a huge selection of books and magazines on gardening, whether you’re an expert horticulturist or just getting started.
Listen to Audiobooks
The Internet Archive is home to thousands of recordings from Librivox—an organization of volunteers that turns public domain texts into free audiobooks. Take a long drive and listen to classic novels such as Treasure Island, Little Women, or Frankenstein. Go on a hike while enjoying books about nature like Walden or The Call of the Wild. Or have a picnic while listening to poetry from the world’s greatest writers.
Turn On the Grill
You don’t have to have a crowd to enjoy some barbecue! Learn some new cooking skills by checking out our huge collection of grilling recipe books. If you don’t have a grill, you can make some summer cocktails instead and sip them on the patio—or you can grab some kindling and learn how to cook over a campfire.
Tell Some Tales
While the fire is going, go ahead and break out your best campfire stories! The Internet Archive has a wide range of folktales, short fiction, and spooky ghost stories. If you want to brush up on your skills, check out our how-to books about storytelling, or browse these recordings of storytelling festivals!
Have an Outdoor Movie Night
If you have a projector and a sheet (or a tent and a tablet computer) go ahead and have a movie night outside! Our video collections include a huge array of silent movies, classic comedies, and animated cartoons—so pop some popcorn and enjoy one of our feature films!
See The Stars
Stargazing is the perfect way to wrap up a summer evening. If you want a guide to the night sky, check out these books on constellations and amateur astronomy. And if you can’t get a good view of the sky from where you’re at, then browse our NASA collections to enjoy a view of the cosmos from wherever you are.
These suggestions just scratch the surface of what’s available in the Internet Archive. If you want more ideas for entertaining activities, check out these books with ideas for outdoor activities. If you’d rather stay indoors, here’s a list of things to do without leaving the house. And of course, there’s no telling what you might find just by wandering through archive.org. Have a great summer, and enjoy the archive!
Paradoxically, the pandemic has positive sides. People stopped for a moment and began to see the world around them.