Four Ways to Recreate This Summer

woman and young girl blowing dandelion seeds

As we move into the summer season, let’s consider recreation—as in play, amusement, or leisure. How can we recreate?

1. Turn off all your screens.

Because I work on words all day, I often relax by watching TV or movies—mostly from eras past or from other countries. But too much screen time—whether television, computer, or phone—actually sets us into a passive frame of mind. True recreation involves action of some sort. It may be minimal action, such as sitting on bleachers watching the grandkids play Little League baseball, but it requires you to engage, to be part of something. If you really want to play this summer, put down the devices and scoot yourself away from the easy, no-commitment TV watching.

2. Commit to outdoor time.

Allergies notwithstanding, we generally do better when we spend time around plants, water, fresh air, and creatures. Plan recreation that will take you out of the house: a walk to explore a neighborhood, a fishing boat on a lake or a raft trip on a river, a camping trip with family or friends, a sport you enjoy, a city walk through gardens or parks and along waterways.

3. Hang out with youngsters.

We tend to be more active when there are kids or grandkids to keep up with. I remember how I learned to play again when a family moved in next door, years ago, and their four-year-old decided we were part of the family too. Those of us who have no youngsters at home can still help with Vacation Bible School or community activities; such programs always need volunteers. You may think that you’re not that interested in doing crafts or playing games on the lawn. But once you step inside that circle of kids, before you know it, you are playing—and enjoying yourself.

4. Hang out with friends.

We are more likely to stay active when we’re around people with whom we feel comfortable, with whom we can be ourselves. I will learn to paddle a canoe when my husband and I join other friends for a trip down the river—and it’s more fun when multiple canoeing couples and friends are making the same mistakes and looking ridiculous together. It’s more enjoyable to visit an outdoor art fair or attend a play when we’re with even one or two other people who share that interest. Being in the presence of people who care about us and accept us frees us to engage in the activity and enjoy ourselves.

How do you play? What are your favorite forms of recreation?

About Vinita Hampton Wright 171 Articles
Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

3 Comments on Four Ways to Recreate This Summer

  1. I spent the weekend a couple of weeks ago, having water fights with the grandchildren I loved it😊
    When they went to school the following day, my daughter said they were telling their friends all about it and said” it was cool.”
    Haha, I’m looking forward to a rematch😉😉

  2. Love this, Vinita. Kids do give me joy.
    I babysit for a very busy family on occasion. To me, their back yard is a garden of Eden (peach tree, blueberries, snap peas, loquats and more). The one-year-old knows how to pick only ripe items.
    And the busy mom and dad get a break.
    Have a happy recreated summer!

  3. When we do these things, we are giving others the gift of our presence, and if we are smart enough to see it, we are receiving the gift of their presence. Is this not Christ in us? Is this not the love for our neighbor that we are commanded to observe? Is this not an expression of our love of God and all his creation?

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