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  • Writer's pictureGuest Post

Exams finished - ideas for your child’s summer bucket list

So, post exam days are finally here! Exams are over and your child will be as free as a bird and may never again have such well-deserved ‘me time’ on their hands.

As a parent, the post exam relief is tangible. Months of routine, discipline and angst give way and you finally have your child back. But as any parent knows, idle hands are the devil’s workshop so while you want your child to be able to kick back and enjoy the freedom from all of the slog, you also want them to embrace their time out in a healthy and positive way. No festering on the sofa for weeks at a time or preserving their livers for generations to come. Many will have already made plans and the moment before the ink on their final exam paper has dried those plans will galvanise into action. For others, some inspiration may be needed.

Here at Yipiyap HQ we have been thinking of ways we would fill these happy, summer days if we had the chance again, and so we’ve compiled a ‘Yipiyap Summer Bucket List’ to give you and your child some inspiration if needed.

Female student reading her kindle whilst relaxing in the park

1. Read a book (and not just any book!)

We challenge you to use this time to read a book that you can wax lyrical about for years to come, and that will never fail to impress others when you tell them you’ve read it: a long, restful summer is an ideal time to read weighty classics such as War and Peace, The Count of Monte Cristo, or Middlemarch.

Alternatively, the well-defined genre of ‘campus literature’ (i.e., books about university and campus life!) yields plenty of enjoyable books to whet the appetite for life as an undergraduate. Sally Rooney’s Normal People, Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and Decline and Fall all come to mind!

2. Give something special to your community

We all know that volunteering is standard CV and personal statement fodder, and many Year 13s will already have some volunteering under their belt. And it’s also one of the most proven ways to improve life satisfaction– if you’re in a rut, getting out of your own head and thinking of others does wonders.

However, giving something back to your community doesn’t begin and end with a Saturday job in Oxfam. It could be anything from volunteering your time in a care home, supporting in a local food bank, sports coaching, conservation volunteering, taking elderly neighbours’ dogs for a walk, and more!

Female student volunteering at an old peoples home playing chess with an old man

3. Start exercising

Exercise in any form is fantastic for your child’s physical health, but exercise is also good for their ‘brain health’ and mental wellbeing too. It’s widely recognised that even a little bit of exercise has a substantial impact on the brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which improve one’s mood, and that’s not to mention the less-tangible satisfaction of achievement that comes too.

In fact, whilst exercising and physical activity may momentarily make them tired, it actually leads to greater alertness and focus... i.e., more energy, not less. So, getting out there and being active is not only good for your child’s body, but it can help them keep a sharp, healthy mind. This can be anything from a daily walk to something altogether more vigorous. It all counts!

Father and daughter cooking together in the kitchen preparing dinner

4. Create a dish fit for MasterChef

Learning how to cook for themselves is a great way for your child to make friends, stay healthy, and also to save money at university. It’s far better than them getting a takeaway every night!

However, why not challenge them to master a culinary dish or two worthy of Greg and John’s taste buds! Expanding their culinary repertoire is not only an impressive feat in its own right, but really is a skill for life.

5. ‘Know their place’

For many school leavers, this summer will mark the beginning of a long process of flying the nest completely, and as such coming to the end of the time when they are truly ‘living’ in the place they are right now. So, why not encourage them to get out there and really get to know where you live? Explore it like they would a European city on holiday: look properly at the buildings and architecture, explore local museums, parks, and galleries, and explore those roads and paths they’ve not been down before!

Male student cycling through the town he will study at

6. Take a hike

Venturing into the great outdoors is always worthwhile, but now your child has a whole summer’s worth of time they can now invest more time than ever before getting back in touch with nature, especially as many will have spent much of the last 6 months indoors revising!

England is home to ten national parks (covering 10% of its land area!) so everyone has one relatively close to hand, and there are literally thousands of walks to go on, and so there’s never been a better time for your child to get their walking boots on and head outside for a hike.

Male and female student hiking through the Lake District with backpacks

7. Learn a new language

With the rise of new technologies, it’s never been easier to learn a new language. The ‘lockdown love-affair’ with language learning apps has continued, with free apps like Duolingo still gathering 50 million monthly users. Learning a language is a great way to keep your child’s mind sharp and also pick up a valuable skill for life along the way.

Male student looking after indoor plants

8. Get into gardening

Despite the name, you don’t really need a garden to get into the ‘nitty gritty’ of gardening. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing something you have planted flourish with the right care and attention. And gardening is not just the preserve of the retired, blue rinse fraternity these days.

Gen Z appreciate the mindful nature of this pastime and connecting to their surroundings. So, whether you have a garden or some window pots, give your child the challenge of making something beautiful grow there!

9. A grand day out

With the warm weather and longer days, summer is the perfect time for a good, old-fashioned day trip. We’re incredibly fortunate in England in that we have dozens of beautiful, historic, and interesting cities that are perfect to visit in a day. With a student travel card, your child can hope on a bus or a train to castles of the North East, the sunny, Jurassic coast in the south or the great, eastern cathedral cities of Lincoln, Peterborough, or Cambridge. England is steeped in history, and wherever you are in the country, there’s plenty for your child to do close by.

Cambridge Sunday market on a cloudy day

10. Get creative

They say that everybody has a talent, and we at Yipiyap know that young people are teeming with creative ability. However, sometimes this creative urge doesn’t get the opportunity to reach its full expression when they are up to their ears in coursework and revision so now’s the time for your child to let loose, and get creative. Be it painting, drawing, writing, making music, snapping away with their phone cameras or even film-making, now is the time for your child to scratch that creative itch!

We hope these ideas have given you some inspiration to share with your child for the coming weeks and months but however they decide to spend those post exam halcyon days, we really hope they enjoy themselves! They have deserved every minute!

Catherine Birkett - co-founder of Yipiyap

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Catherine Birkett is the Co-Founder and COO of Yipiyap. Yipiyap has been instrumental in developing the peer tutoring sector for over a decade, working alongside gap year students to provide relatable peer tutors to schools and colleges across the UK.


Inspiring ways for your teen to stand out from others If you’d like to know how your teen can build their character, develop skills, stand out from others and improve their chances of success at interviews, all while doing things they enjoy, read our suggestions in The Parents’ Guide to Standing out from the crowd. It includes sections on:

  • Self-development and increasing confidence;

  • Getting work experience (including virtual placements);

  • Benefits of research and how to take a different approach;

  • How different hobbies impact mental and physical health;

  • Which hobbies hone different transferrable skills

  • Recommendations for non-curricular online courses



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