Middle School Summer Activities Inspired by Great YA Books

We are so close to the end of our homeschool year we can taste it! The sun shines more, the grass is getting greener, the temperature rises each day, and the buds are turning into blossoms! Visions of bike rides, camping, swimming, and s’mores dance in our heads!

Even though our formal learning comes to an end for the year, true learning never ends! Things like reading good books, visiting new places and exploring nature keep our minds going all summer long! This summer I have found inspiration for some Middle School Summer Activities inspired by the fantastic fiction we will be reading this summer!

Middle School Summer Readers

Sonlight has put out Summer Reader Sets specifically for this summer! They have collections for elementary, middle, and high school readers. Each of the age levels are also divided into separate boys and girls collections.

The boy books tend to have male main characters, with plots that emphasize adventure and danger, with pranks, humor and hijinks for good measure.

The girl books tend to have female main characters, with plots that emphasize courage and connection, with romance, mystery, and beauty for good measure.

{Disclosure: I received the Middle School Summer Readers Girls Set for free. All opinions expressed here are my own, and I was not required to post a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

Middle School Summer Activities Inspired by Fantastic Fiction

Middle School Summer Activities Inspired by Great YA Books! Think summer bucket list! Think field trips! Think fantastic fiction to inspire it all! That's what this is! Read a great book, adventure out onan awesome related field trip, make an inspired craft or project! Screen free summer fun at its best!

So here’s the concept I created for my daughter this summer:  read a fantastic fiction book and visit a place, do an activity or art project, etc. inspired by the book! It’s that simple! Keep your middle schooler engaged and reading this summer with some out of the box fun inspired by the awesome books they read!

The First Last Day

The First Last Day by Dorian Cirrone is the story of an 11 year old girl named Haleigh who must save the future by restarting time after she realizes that her wish to relive the last day of summer may not have been such a great thing after all.

After finding a mysterious set of paints in her backpack, eleven-year-old Haleigh Adams paints a picture of her last day at the New Jersey shore. When she wakes up the next morning, Haleigh finds that her wish for an endless summer with her new friend Kevin has come true. At first, she’s thrilled, but Haliegh soon learns that staying in one place—and time—comes with a price.

And when Haleigh realizes her parents have been keeping a secret, she is faced with a choice: do nothing and miss out on the good things that come with growing up or find the secret of the time loop she’s trapped in and face the inevitable realities of moving on.

As she and Kevin set out to find the source of the magic paints, Haleigh worries it might be too late. Will she be able to restart time? And if she does, will it be the biggest mistake of her life?”

Activities for The First Last Day

  1. Take a Trip to the Beach, any beach. Pack some sunscreen, a blanket, picnic lunch, and sand toys and head out on your adventure. If you are able to visit an ocean beach, consider check out some of the Ocean Animals living there.
  2. Paint a Watercolor Painting of the beach/water/sunset. You might want to paint a picture of your day at the beach.
  3. Think/Write About ThisWhat if you could get a do-over—a chance to relive a day in your life over and over again until you got it right? Would you?

100 Dresses: If the Magic Fits

If the Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid is a story of fantasy and adventure with 10 year old Darling Dimple.

Darling Dimple, age 10, was born in the castle to a mother who promptly breathed her last.  Brought up by good-hearted Jane, official under-slicer in the castle kitchen, Darling is looking forward to a similar culinary career when she is suddenly promoted to under-presser of Princess Mariposa’s prodigious wardrobe.  In between ironing sheets and towels, Darling discovers a closet of unused dresses that appear to have minds of their own—so much so that when she tries one on she is transformed into someone else.  While exploring as someone else, she learns of the two somnolent dragons who adorn the castle, and a plot by one of the Princess’s suitors (along with an unknown accomplice) to unleash the dragons and take over the kingdom.

Activities for 100 Dresses: If the Magic Fits

Middle School Summer Activities Inspired by Great YA Books! Think summer bucket list! Think field trips! Think fantastic fiction to inspire it all! That's what this is! Read a great book, adventure out onan awesome related field trip, make an inspired craft or project! Screen free summer fun at its best!

  1. Try on Dresses – Go to a store, thrift shop, or even costume shop to try on dresses. What would each dress transform you into? What adventures would you have? Consider going to a store you have never been in, maybe in a mall or area you haven’t explored before. Make a fun day of it, exploring and being whimsical with your child.
  2. Draw a Castle – I have always been fascinated with castles! Here is a great art project for Drawing a Castle. It’s a fun, flexible project that will allow your child to use their imaginations and create the castle of their dreams!
  3. Visit a Bird Sanctuary – There is a canary in this story. Take a trip to a bird sanctuary to find a canary, and learn more about them, and even some other birds while you are at it!

The Key to Extraordinary

The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd features 12 year old Emma, as she embarks on a quest to uncover a legendary secret.

“Except for the times when Emma is overcome by “the Big Empty,” a feeling she gets when she misses her recently deceased mother, she is an ordinary girl. Still, there are things in her Blackbird Hollow home that are extraordinary, like flowers with magical powers, the haunted graveyard just beyond her house, the tantalizing “Boneyard Brew” served in her grandmother’s cafe, and The Book of Days, which records the “destiny dreams” of her ancestors (interspersed through the story). When her grandmother, plagued by money worries, considers selling the family business, Emma is determined to save the cafe by finding treasure, reputedly buried in the graveyard.”

Activities for The Key to Extraordinary

Middle School Summer Activities Inspired by Great YA Books! Think summer bucket list! Think field trips! Think fantastic fiction to inspire it all! That's what this is! Read a great book, adventure out onan awesome related field trip, make an inspired craft or project! Screen free summer fun at its best!

  1. Visit a Local Cemetery – Maybe there is a really old one, or a place where someone famous is buried, or a relative that is buried nearby. For instance, Susan B. Anthony (She was a pioneer crusader for the woman suffrage movement in the United States and president (1892-1900) of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Her work helped pave the way for the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote.) is buried in a cemetery near us. We have never visited so we plan to check it out!
  2. Do a Crayon Rubbing Scavenger Hunt – Even my older kids enjoy doing crayon rubbings at a cemetary. You can create scavenger hunts, like find 3 different font types, 4 different shapes, a certain number of men or women, the youngest and oldest people you can find, etc.
  3. Write a Ghost Story – Create your own ghost story. Maybe it stems from your cemetery adventures, or by creating a ghost with its own unique characteristic (like the mysterious singing ghost of this story).

Spring Break Mistake

Spring Break Mistake by Allison Gutknecht sends us on an adventure to NYC with tween, Avalon where she is forced to use her photography skills to track down a missing classmate during her class trip in New York City.

“After years of suffering through the most boring spring vacations ever, Avalon Kelly is ready for a week of adventure. On a hash-tagged whim, she entered the PhotoReady app’s spring break getaway contest to NYC—and won!

But right away, this trip of a lifetime isn’t turning out as planned. Avalon’s best friend isn’t one of the PhotoReady winners, which means that not only will Avalon have to venture to the Big Apple by herself, but she’ll be assigned a stranger as a roommate. The perky and talkative Sofia seems pleasant enough, but snooty Kensington—who was placed in Room 609 at the last moment due to a mix-up—is a whole other story.”

Activities for Spring Break Mistake

Middle School Summer Activities Inspired by Great YA Books! Think summer bucket list! Think field trips! Think fantastic fiction to inspire it all! That's what this is! Read a great book, adventure out onan awesome related field trip, make an inspired craft or project! Screen free summer fun at its best!

  1. Venture Out and Take Your Own Photos – Grab a phone or camera and be like Avalon! Snap photos of your adventures this summer, maybe even create a scrapbook too!
  2. Create a Photo Collage – Collect and create a collage of photos of things in NYC. You can do this via the Internet, or if you have the chance to visit and take your own photos!
  3. Visit a Local Gallery or Photography Show – Many local artisan groups will have shows throughout the year as well as local galleries that may feature photography.

From the colorful covers to the exciting places these tween fiction books take you, this summer will be like no other for your middle schooler! Be sure to stop back in and share some of your middle school summer activities that were inspired by great YA books!

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