101 Small, Simple Things to do on Your Gap Year
Updated: May 26
If you are short on inspiration, we have provided a fun list of things you could get up to on your gap year. You might have some large projects, trips, work or volunteering opportunities on your list and need to fill in some smaller holes in your plan. Or maybe you are looking for some inspiration for those larger pieces. In this list we have some ideas that are bigger, some are smaller but they are all VERY achievable!
It’s time to choose your own adventure and put together an amazing gap year plan!
Sell something that you can create – photography, garden planters, 3D printed items, jewelry, websites, etc.
Set up a service-based business – law care, technology education, child-care, swimming lessons, etc.
Find a local climate action group and get involved.
Renovate your basement into your dream bedroom suite
Learn how to change your car’s oil, tire, or do basic maintenance/repairs - trust us this is a adulting skill that everyone should know.
Learn an instrument or pick up where you left off from a childhood hobby
Learn a new language - French? Mandarin? German? Japanese?
Get your driver’s licence - we know you have been putting it off!
Learn to cook new recipes - Pick a new type cuisine every month and learn a new recipe or hone in on one specialty - cupcakes anyone?
Start a band with your friends - Rock On!
Learn to take better photos with your iPhone - there is so much more than the basic point, shoot, apply a filter - take your photography to a whole new level
Write a novel or short story - put pen to paper or get typing and put your creativity to the test.
Start a book club - Pick and Idigenous author, or a prominent Biography and get some friends on board to chat about the book.
Research your ancestry. Find out where you come from - what is your family’s story?
Learn an indigenous language native to your area - you might not use this language every day but you can learn so much about other cultures through the use of language
Learn about Indigenous Issues https://pdce.educ.ubc.ca/reconciliation/
Research native plants and what they can be used for - the natural world has so much to offer us!
Connect with your closest Indigenous Friendship Centre and learn more about their cultures and traditions.
Learn to code - doesn’t everyone say we should all know the basics?
Use your new coding skills to develop an app or something else cool
Enter some type of contest – win or lose, it’s a great experience!
Work towards a fitness goal, like a 10K run or a ski trip to Banff
Take a course – you can even try to get a university credit or two out of the way
Volunteer with a local organization you believe in. Need some help finding a place?
Join a pen pal program and hear about somebody’s experiences that are different than yours!
Connect with an old friend - what about that childhood best friend that moved away? Ever wonder what they are up to? Track them down and find out!
Try a different new food every month. Record your thoughts on each dish and you can look back on all of them at the end of the year.
Go on an international trip - on your own or with a group, there is so much to explore.
Go on a trip right inside Canada’s borders – there’s so much to see right in your own country and/or province
Find a new job - check out ways to earn some money in order to pay for school or a large purchase.
If you don’t love your job, look for a new one! You can find something you like better, gain new skills, and meet new people this way
Have a coffee date with somebody you admire - see if you can build a mentoring relationship
Have a coffee date with somebody who has a job you think you would enjoy and take the opportunity to learn more about it (also known as an informational interview
Go viral on Tiktok. The video editing takes some major skills, so you’ll get creative and technical
Visit your friends who are at school. It’s a great way to stay connected and get a more intimate feel of what life on these campuses would be like.
Retake a high school course or take a new one to boost your grade 12 grades or explore a new area of interest.
Need a mood boost? Redecorate your bedroom. A gap year marks a transition into adulthood so revamp your room to reflect the adult-you!
Find an internship - there is no better way to test out some different career paths
Visit museums or the local zoo - there is so much to learn about the world around you.
Create a photo series of your adventures! You can dedicate a whole Instagram account to capturing moments over your gap year so you have a ‘virtual scrapbook’ of sorts to look back on.
Join an online book club
Join a movie club with some friends! Same as a book club, but for the newest movies
Attend a protest or march for a cause you are passionate about
Try a recreational sport by joining a sports team
Try some new fitness classes, like a spin class, boxing, dance crossfit or bootcamp
Develop your green thumb. Plant a vegetable or flower garden and nurture it!
Learn to knit, crochet or sew and make yourself something
Mix tapes are not dead - Make playlists for your friends
Volunteer at a retirement home – you will meet some super interesting people!
Get a pet and learn to take care of it
Research & save up for a big purchase
Learn about and invest the stock market
Connect with a financial advisor and open an RRSP or TFSA and boost your savings know-how.
Try your hand at tie dye and create something spectacular
Find a mentor – whether it’s career or life
BECOME a mentor – look at volunteer opportunities with organizations like Big Brother Big Sister.
Create a time capsule of all the amazing things you’ve done during your gap year
Create a LinkedIn profile and take a free Linkedin course and learn some great professional skills
Research local charities and pick one to make a donation
Send a thank you letter to any frontline or important workers – even after the pandemic, they still do so much!
Send yourself a letter that you can read in the future – look at https://www.futureme.org/
Pick up a hobby you stopped in high school – were you a big artist? Basketball player? Take it back up!
Look into becoming an au pair, either within the country or somewhere overseas
Write a “grown up” resume and update that resume as you gain new skills on your gap year!
Book a road trip with friends
Try out solo travel! There are a ton of organizations that plan trips for youth that you can look at so you aren’t traveling completely alone
Get certified to teach English online
Invite your favourite high school teacher to coffee or lunch. It’s a completely different relationship now that you’re graduated.
Do a “photo a day” project where you take a picture of yourself everyday to see how you change. You can also try a “one second a day” video, where you film one second of your day and you have something great to look back on. There are apps that make it super easy for you also
Try your hand out at calligraphy – literally getting to try your hand out!
Create a special experience with one of your parents - a trip or a shared project
Learn about a religion that is not your own.
Learn about a culture that is not your own.
Make a family recipe book - reach out to Old Aunt Betty and Nona and add some of your own creations - yes, avocado toast counts.
Do university and college campus tours
Start your own podcast
Start your own Youtube channel
Join a local club or meetup.com group for something that interests you
Become familiar with the stars – you can even buy your own star to find while you’re learning different constellations.
Take some free master classes online (https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/free-masterclass-courses)
Design a scavenger hunt around your own hometown and share it with your neighbours’ kids – who knows what you’ll learn!
Plan your university or college courses for the next year
Pitch to small publications and write articles – it’s always exciting to see a by line with your name on it
Make a recipe with the plants or herbs you’ve grown in your garden
Listen to a new podcast
Read some of the ‘must read’ books. You can see if they live up to the hype (https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/30-books-that-everyone-should-read-least-once-their-lives.html)
Send care packages to your friends who are away at university. If the transition of living in dorms has been slowed down due to the pandemic, you can send them a ‘study’ care package to their house
Marie Kondo your space – get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy and start your first year of post-secondary with your spaces all cleaned out
Watch as many films as you can that are nominated for Oscars and make your pics
Interview your grandparents and see if you can turn it into a story! It’s a great keepsake for you and them
Keep a list of everything you’re grateful for during your gap year so you can look at it as the year goes on
Write your own autobiography
Go to an event with a speaker you admire, whether it’s online or in person
Learn sign language - wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to communicate with those who are hard of hearing/deaf?
Learn more about the LGBTQ+ community - understanding their strengths and struggles and their culture will go a long way!
Take as many personality quizzes as you can find! Learn more about yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses and how you relate to others.
Write a bucket list - all the things you want to do before you die. How many of them can you check off on your gap year? Why wait for later, do it now!
. Go to the dentist, the doctor, the chiropractor, the physiotherapist - take care of your body and all of the little aches and pains you have been neglecting while you were “too busy”
. Revisit your program choice – after all of your experiences, has your idea of what you wanted to do shifted?
Once you’ve reached the end, take the time to look back on all the amazing things you’ve accomplished during your gap and how all these new skills will help you in your first year of post-secondary and beyond
If you need additional help planning your year - we offer a gap year planning course where we will help you make sure you are coming up with the best ideas for your year. We will help you to make sure you are not missing any amazing opportunities and that you don’t stall out and end up sitting on the couch.
Tap into our experts to get your gap year kick started! It will save you hours of work and endless stress of trying to do it on your own. You have some ideas and we will guide you to make them even better!