10 Fun Ways to Feed Your Mind this Summer


1. Learn a new language

Summer is a great time to learn new things, why not study a new language? There are plenty of free online tools to help you such as Duolingo that will guide you through learning Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese. Once you've got some phrases down, check out a language learning meetup group in your area and test them out such as the French Language Meetup Group where local French language and culture lovers meet up for conversation and fun. For more online resources for language learning check out 10 Good Sites & Apps for Learning a New Language.


2. Register for a MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses

Through free online courses offered by universities and educational programs you can study anything from the philosophy of the ancients to fashion and pop culture! Check out this easy to use directory of over 10,000 free online classes here at the OEDb, or see a listing of 375 free MOOCs from great universities from Open Culture.


3. Watch Videos from Recent Conferences

Whatever your field there will be major conferences and events in which the latest and most cutting-edge developments and projects are discussed. Much of these sessions can be found online either through YouTube or directly on the conference website. Here are over 650 videos from the SXSW conference – the annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin. And here's over 1,500 TED Talks, a global set of conferences presenting the most innovative ideas in the research and practice of technology, science, and culture. 


4. Create an Awesome Summer Reading List

The Goodreads application is chock-full of recommended reading lists including both Fiction and Non-Fiction book lists as well as lists for particular genres such as teen and horror, etc. You can also create our own. You can also check out the Amazon Best Sellers as well as the ALA's Recommended Reading page which includes links to ALA's literature award winners and various notable reading lists for all ages. But some of my favorite reading lists have been spotlighted in ALDirect such as 22 Pandemic Books to Read Before the H7N9 Virus Kills Us All , 20 Books for the End of the World, and Top 10 YA Books that Buffy fans will want to read .


5. Play an Educational Game

Remember Highlights? The hidden picture game that was strangely addictive and could almost always be found at the dentist's office? Well, now it's online and available as an iPad app along with many other brain-tingling educational games such as Math Ninja, Monster Physics, Civilization Revolution, and more. Online educational games are available for all age ranges from kids to adults. To find some check out 30 of the Best Educational iPad Games, 50 Free Online Educational Games That Are More Fun Than You'd Think, and 50 Great Sites for Serious, Educational Games.


6. Learn how to play an instrument

With all of today's online resources is easier than ever to take up a musical instrument and learn to play it for free, or nearly free. There is a surplus of tutorial apps available for both iPhone and Android devices for nearly any instrument. For example if you wanted to learn the violin you could check out the Magic Fiddle iPad app, the Violin Lesson Tutor for Android, or FiddlerMan on your desktop. There's also a wealth of free YouTube videos offering instruction on the violin and other instruments.


7. Listen to Some Smart Podcasts

Feed your brain some educational podcasts from academics, researchers, and experts that you can listen to on the way to work, school, or at the gym. Here's a giant list of University & College Podcasts – Free Educational Podcasts to keep you busy. And if that's not enough check out 13 Smart Podcasts That Will Feed Your Hunger for Knowledge and Ideas and the The Top 5 Podcasts for Smart People.


8. Download Free Audiobooks

The leading provider of audiobooks is Audible which offers over 100,000 downloadable audiobooks, but there are also plenty of apps and websites which provide audiobooks for free. More than 3,000 public domain audiobooks and eBooks are available at Books Should Be Free. There are also several mobile apps available with packages of audiobooks contained within such as the Free Audiobooks app for .99 cents which has nearly 5,000. Here's a great list from Open Culture: 525 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free, and an article discussing the best websites for free audiobooks.


9. Install Educational Apps on Your Tablet

Thousands of educational apps such as the Khan Academy library of over 3000 free videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of skills to practice, Shakespeare in Bits, Star Walk, Monster Anatomy and more. Check out Apple's Education Apps section, and the Next Web's 12 of the best educational apps of 2012.


10. Read Free eBooks

There are so many ways to download free eBooks for your iPad, Android tablet or other mobile device, why ever pay for an eBook? You can easily search for your local library on OverDrive to see if they are offering free e-Books via their subscription service. You can also check out this post I wrote in November linking to 5 e-Book Collections with Over 100,000 Free e-Books. And if that's not enough, check out: 225 Free eBooks: Download Great Classics for Free and the 20 Best Websites To Download Free EBooks.