I am determined to make this summer our best summer ever, and I thought a great way to do that would be to create the ultimate summer bucket list. My kids had a bunch of great ideas for things we can do together on the upcoming summer days.
Will we complete them all? I’m really not sure to be honest, but I know we’ll have a lot of fun and make great memories trying!
I think my least favorite sound of summer just might be, “Mom, I’m boooored!” That sentence could drive me crazy coming from just one or two kids, and now that we have seven I know I need a serious game plan to make it through the summer months. Enter the summer bucket list!
What is a bucket list?
I had actually never heard of a bucket list until The Bucket List movie came out years ago.
Basically, a bucket list is a list of things someone wants to do within a certain time period. That time period can be a week, a season, or an entire lifetime. I still haven’t seen the movie that first introduced me to this, but I loved the idea and decided to adapt it for our family! Summer break is the perfect time of year to limit screen time, step away from social media, and try new things. Best of all, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have the perfect summer.
What should I put on my summer bucket list?
The good news about a bucket list is there’s really no wrong way to make one. Bucket lists will vary from person to person and family to family because they are extremely personal, but I wanted to share some questions that can help you make your list.
1 How much time do you want to give yourself to complete the activities?
You could make one large bucket list for the summer of all the activities you want to do or, if that feels overwhelming, make a new list every week or month instead.
2. How many activities should I put on our list?
That really depends on what your schedule’s going to be like when you’re trying to finish your tasks. If your calendar’s already filled with work commitments or vacations, and your kids will be spending most of their time at summer camps or somewhere other than home, it might be best to make a smaller list.
This will also depend on how you and your family will feel if you don’t complete everything on your list. If the list is a resource for ideas and not necessarily something you have a goal to completely achieve, a big list can so much fun to make! It can be a great brainstorming activity and lead to a lot of great family conversations, but if your kiddos are going to be devastated because a few tasks are left undone, it might be the perfect time to make a smaller, more realistic bucket list so the summer doesn’t end in disappointment.
3. Who in the family should make the list?
I am a big believer that the more our kids can be involved in just about anything, the more interest and enjoyment they’ll take in participating in the task when the time comes. Side note: If you have a picky eater, this little trick can work wonders for mealtimes. Food apparently tastes better when toddlers help to make them.
When I’m planning out summers, I like to get input and ideas from the whole family. I’ll admit that every suggestion doesn’t necessarily make the list, but getting everyone together for a brainstorming session seems like the best way to get everyone involved (even older kids) and come up with ideas I’d never even thought of.
Free Printable Summer Bucket List
Bucket lists don’t have to be fancy to be fun. They can be as simple as a list on a phone, activities written on a chalkboard, or a piece of paper taped to the side of the fridge.
I do personally like to have a bucket list displayed for our family so we can be reminded of the fun things we want to do and get the satisfaction of marking them off when they’re done so I made this free summer bucket list printable both with and without tasks so you can create your own summer bucket list for your family, and we’d love to share it with you! There are two pages, one with tasks and one without, so you can make it work for your personal summer goals.
1. Make and eat homemade ice cream
Ice cream and I have had a lifelong love affair so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s at the top of my list! While I know most kids would be more than thrilled with a simple scoop in a bowl or cone, you could earn bonus points and have even more fun by creating a topping bar with things like sprinkles, sauces, and whipped cream or your own version of Cold Stone Creamery where you mix toppings and candies into the ice cream yourself (just be sure to use a cold stone. I tried folding toppings into my ice cream on a cutting board once and couldn’t figure out why it was melting so quickly. Then I realized, “Oh COLD stone!” This happened before I even met my husband, and he still makes fun of me for it!)
I’ve started making ice cream for our family because we’re trying to cut down on sugar as much as possible.
I have three of ice cream makers, and they work pretty well, but if I had to do it again I’d buy something a little larger like a 2 quart machine or splurge on something super fancy with a compressor so I didn’t have to wait for bowls to freeze and can have ice cream on demand.
2. Go to a festival
3. Visit the zoo or a petting zoo
4. Go to a farm
5. Have a car wash
6. Have a water balloon fight
Water balloon fights are always a big hit with my kids, and they even come in bunches with handy nozzles so they can be quickly filled up. Much easier than how I had to fill them when I was a kid.
7. Make and play with play dough
8. Fly a kite
9. Draw with sidewalk chalk
Sidewalk chalk can be surprisingly versatile and is really just the beginning of a bunch of fun activities. I especially love creating mazes, games, and interactive images for my kids to pose with. This video has a few fun ideas too. I’ve never seen the spray sidewalk chalk before! I’m going to have to try that soon.
10. Play mini golf
11. Make pizza
12. Go swimming
13. Play in a sandbox
14. Read a book.
Reading a book as a family can be a lot of fun. Everyone can snuggle up together and let their imaginations bring the book to life. Audiobooks are another great idea and the perfect companion for an unhappy kiddo who’s just been told he needs to do his chores. Ask me how I know!
15. Visit the beach
16. Ride bikes
17. Have a picnic
18. Visit your favorite or a brand new park
19. Have a cookout
20. Create an obstacle course at your own home
Obstacle courses are so easy to put together with random things from around the house. Anything from paper towel rolls, packages of toilet paper, and cushions from the couch can turn a regular old family room into an exciting physical challenge.
21. Play tennis
22. Have an outdoor movie night
23. Make S’mores, my favorite way to eat graham crackers!
24. Catch fireflies
25. Play frisbee or frisbee golf
26. Play with a pinata
27. Take a trip to the library
28. Sleep in tents under the stars
29. Run through sprinklers
30. Visit a water park
31. Have a family game night
Game nights are a great thing to add to a summer bucket list! Our personal favorite now that our kids are getting a little older is Catan, but Telestrations and Phase 10 Twist are a lot of fun too.
32. Pay it forward with random acts of kindness
33. Make homemade popsicles
34. Have a sleepover
35. Watch a parade
36. Feed ducks
37. Visit a museum
38. Go for a hike
39. Go fishing
40. Visit an amusement park
41. Make a fruit bouquet arrangement
Creating a fruit bouquet is a really fun way to take snack time up a notch!
42. Have a pillow fight
43. Watch fireworks or play with sparklers
44. Give the kids a wagon ride
45. Have a relay or potato sack race
46. Make a movie
47. Blow bubbles
48. Have a treasure or scavenger hunt
49. Finger painting
50. Play bean bag toss
51. Go bowling
52. Have a movie night
53. Build a fort
54. Run a lemonade stand
55. Plant and tend a garden
56. Play on a slip and slide
57. Take a road trip
58. Have a water fight
59. Visit a splash pad
60. Play at a local park
61. Visit a national park
62. Go down a water slide
63. Spend time with a best friend
64. Go for a bike ride
65. Take a day trip to another city
66. Spend a hot summer day cooling off in the movie theater
67. Watch a meteor shower
68. Check out a garage sale
69. Go to a baseball game
70. Visit a farmer’s market
71. Eat root beer floats
72. Bake cookies
73. Look for shooting stars
74. Visit a state park
75. Build blanket forts
76. Get a bird feeder
77. Pick berries
78. Ride on a ferris wheel
79. Go to a carnival
80. Attend an outdoor concert
81. Explore a new destination in your city
82. Help a local charity
83. Try some new foods
84. Tell ghost stories around a campfire
85. Play with water guns
86. Visit the library for story time
87. Attend summer camp
88. Play hopscotch
89. Jump rope
90. Play kickball
91. Go rollerskating at a roller rink
92. Go rollerblading
93. Have a “YES” day and say yes to everything the kids want to do (some guidelines would also probably be handy)
94. Play hide and go seek
95. Play hide and go seek outside in the dark with flashlights
96. Go horseback riding
97. Look through a telescope and learn about astronomy
98. Learn origami
99. Play capture the flag
100. Put on a puppet show
101. Organize a neighborhood street party
102. Grow or pick flowers and learn how to create beautiful bouquets
103. Climb a tree
104. Do a science experiment
105. Raise a caterpillar into a butterfly
106. Raise a tadpole into a frog
107. Learn to hula hoop
108. Play Marco Polo
109. Play charades
110. Play red light green light
111. Play red rover
112. Tie-dye a t-shirt
113. Have a talent show
114. Learn how to edit videos on iMovie
115. Start a gratitude journal
116. Start a YouTube channel
117. Paper Airplanes
If you liked these summer bucket list ideas, you may also enjoy:
- Fun Pool Noodle Activities
- How to Have Fun Indoors Without Electronics
- Best and Most Fun Educational Gifts for Kids
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