Summer fun, learning & creativity ideas with Apple iPad

by W. Andrew Powell
Apple iPad 10.2"

This summer is going to be a bit different from usual. While kids are off school, and summer camps are cancelled, parents are still working from home–so what’s your plan?

We all need to change things up a bit this summer, and to make sure we’re getting outside for exercise and activities too, but if you’re looking to fill a little time, especially with your kids, I have some great ideas that can help.

Check out a few suggestions that you or your kids can learn, try, and experience with your iPad this summer. Don’t get sucked into social media and endless videos–take the time to do something new.

Learn an instrument

In March, I decided it was time to learn guitar. I’ve wanted to learn for years, but now seemed like the perfect time and I didn’t want to learn from books or just videos, so I found the perfect app.

Fender Play is one of a number of great App Store options that can teach you to play an instrument. From guitar and piano, to ukulele, or bass, there are a lot of apps out there to learn music. What I love is that Fender Play is also easy to pick up when I have time, so I can play a few times a day, when there’s time.

A few other options include Yousician, MuseScore, and Ultimate Guitar. For many, you’ll need a subscription after a free trial, but it’s a small price to pay for learning an instrument and getting into a new hobby.

Create art

There are dozens of ways you can make art with the iPad, and the Apple Pencil is a great tool for unlocking some of those options.

Charging up in about 15 minutes, the Apple Pencil lets you draw, paint, sketch, or write and works beautifully with a wide range of apps. It also offers sensitivity for both tilt and pressure, so you can get the perfect effect for your work of art.

Some of the top apps include Autodesk Sketchbook, Procreate, Adobe Illustrator Draw, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, or for something simpler, colouring apps like Pigment and Colorfy.

The iPad is also excellent for photo, video, or audio editing, if you or your kids have ever wanted to take the leap.

Reading and podcasts

Start your next favourite saga, or dive into a podcast that can open up a something completely new with Apple’s Books and Podcasts apps.

Books offers free classics, as well as an endless supply of new and old best sellers–from Game of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale, to 1984, Animal Farm, and Anne of Green Gables.

With podcasts, it’s almost unbelievable how many series are available, with constantly expanding episodes available each week. There are podcasts about music, comedy, sports, current events, true crime, health, film, and everything in between.

For some suggestions on what podcasts to check out, there’s a great story on

Think of summer 2020 as the year you catch up on reading and the next great story.

Apple Arcade

The iPad is great for taking short breaks from work too, and while you can find a lot of games in the App Store, Apple Arcade is a lot of fun for one monthly price.

For $5.99 Canadian a month, you get full access to a whole library of ad-free games, and they work online or offline. You can also connect an Xbox Wireless Controller or PlayStation DualShock 4 controller to get the most out of your gaming.

New titles are announced every month, and so far some of my favourites include Outlanders, Sneaky Sasquatch, Oceanhorn 2, Sonic Racing, Crossy Road Castle, and Stela.

For any kind of gamer, there are lots of options, from racing and RPG, to arcade, and strategy.

Movie time

Movie time doesn’t just have to be stuck in front of the television. For a change of scenery, take your favourite movies or TV show mobile with Apple TV and Apple TV+.

Apple TV+ comes free for a year with the purchase of select new iPad or iPhone devices, and it has a growing slate of fantastic shows and movies.

Series available now include The Morning Show with Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon, Defending Jacob with Chris Evans, See starring Jason Momoa, and Beastie Boys Story by Spike Jonze.

There’s also classic Fraggle Rock; Bryce Dallas Howard’s beautiful documentary, Dads; and R.J. Cutler’s powerful 10-part docuseries, Dear…

Of course you can also buy or rent just about any movie out there, or stream with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Crave, Disney+, or dozens of other major services.

Apple has also made a number of films available for free in honour of racial injustice, including Jeff Barnaby’s Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Ava DuVernay’s Selma, Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station, and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open.

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