Creating a Family Summer Bucket List

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Creating a family summer fun bucket list is a great way to help you do things together, keep the dreaded “I’m bored” whines away, and when August comes not wonder where all the time went.

I learned about this bucket list concept A few years ago when my kids were still really young. One of my good friends showed off her family’s Summer of Fun list and I was immediately intrigued. She’s super creative, artistic and always doing fun things. If that wasn’t enough, her poster not only looked picture perfect, the activities on it looked super awesome too.

So, I quickly borrowed my friend’s genius and got my kids thinking about what they wanted to do for the summer. The ideas were varied; some small and some large. Some easy to accomplish and others much more elaborate.

One of the items was getting a Slurpee. There was a 7-Eleven just at the end of our block and we didn’t get them year round. Only in the summer. Another was to go to a lake.

All throughout that summer whenever we needed something to do, we looked at our list and tried to make something happen. It turned out to be such a fun summer. When they started school in the fall they could actually tell people what they did over summer vacation and had the pictures and memories to prove it.

Making your Summer Bucket List

Creating your list is pretty simple. All you need is a poster board, a piece of paper or notebook, a pencil and some markers. If you want to get creative and make it more elaborate, go for it!

First–Brainstorming. Just think of ideas to add to the list. All ideas are welcome at this stage. I like things to be nice and neat, so I write the things on a sheet of paper or in a notebook in our brainstorming session.

Second--Narrow down your list. This can be hard for some kids, because they love their ideas. But, depending on how outlandish their ideas, this is where we talk about practicality and limits. It might be kind of hard to take a rocket to the moon or impractical to take a trip to New York City (my daughter’s idea from last year.)

Third–The length of your list will depend heavily on the types of things your kids pick. If they have lots of smaller ideas like visit the zoo, go to the pool, have a water fight, play a specific board game or watch movies all day, then you’ll be able to accomplish more than if they have bigger ideas that take more time.

When you have a reasonable list or 25-40 items, you can start writing them on your big poster. I write them in pencil first, then go over them with marker. But, you can write it however you want.

What’s next?

That’s it! Hang your list somewhere everyone can see it often. If your kids say they’re bored or don’t know what to do, (or you feel like everyone needs to just get out and do something) have them go check the list!

Summer Bucket List ideas

Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Go get ice cream
2. Visit the zoo
3. Take a family hike
4. Visit a nearby lake or beach
5. Visit your favorite museum
6. Library story time
7. Camp in your backyard
8. Roast s’mores
9. Visit the local pool–or run in the sprinklers if they’re still closed
10. Include any planned family vacations
11. Play a board game
12. Put together a puzzle
13. Movie marathon
14. Reading marathon–complete with snacks and comfy pillows
15. Playing at the playground
16. Riding bikes or scooters in your neighborhood, at a park or somewhere else you like
17. Visit a local historic landmark
18. Play tourist in your hometown for the day–what are the highlights everyone should see?
19. Learn to cook something new. Try Granola, Banana Bread, Nicoise Salad, Fresh Pico de Gallo or Chex Muddy Buddies
20. Practice a new language. Spanish, Chinese and French are spoken in the most countries (or by the most people) after English
21. Read (determine a summer reading list–these or these could get you started)
22. Build a fort
23. Learn the constellations and watch the stars one night
24. Draw or paint a replica of a famous artist’s work
25. Write letters or make cards for family members that live far away

Have fun coming up with your own ideas and have a great summer!

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  1. Melissa| It's a Joyous Journey | 15th Jun 20

    Great ideas! Summer always seems to fly by so fast. We have to be intentional about making memories!

    • Kirsten Reeder | 15th Jun 20

      Totally agree! Unless we write it down it rarely happens.

  2. Roselyn Franke | 15th Jun 20

    Great idea and I know the children really enjoy getting to suggest items for the bucket list.

    • Kirsten Reeder | 15th Jun 20

      Yes! It’s one of their favorite parts!

  3. Nissa Haight | 15th Jun 20

    I LOVE THIS! We are a new family. Our little one is only 7 months, but I can’t wait to start making a family bucket list. I find myself already wanting to take him to all the places to learn and explore.

    • Kirsten Reeder | 15th Jun 20

      Aw, thanks Nissa! I was totally like that too when my oldest was a baby. He LOVED the aquarium when he was a baby, so we had a fishy first birthday theme. Now’s a great time to start your list. =)

  4. Sabrina DeWalt | 15th Jun 20

    Great idea! One summer, when my boys were younger, we took a field trip every week. We had passes for Busch Gardens, Water Country and Kings Dominion, but also visited the historic sites in the area, the zoo, botanical gardens, the beach, etc. It was the most fun summer!

    • Kirsten Reeder | 15th Jun 20

      That’s brilliant! I love those ideas.

  5. Kay | 15th Jun 20

    This is a cute idea! I will need to remember this for when my little one is a little older! She is still a baby yet lol. But I love this idea!

  6. Rachel | 15th Jun 20

    This is a great list of activities for kids. Especially now when everyone needs to occupy themselves over the summer

  7. Emily Ackerman | 15th Jun 20

    Awesome list!! I’m going to have to come back to that. We get to the “I’m bored” thing way too quick.

    • Kirsten Reeder | 15th Jun 20

      Thanks! Mine tend to do that too–hence the list. I always just say–go look at your list! We created one for my son that’s just regular things he can do at home when he’s “bored” because he forgets about certain toys or games or whatever.

  8. Eva Keller | 15th Jun 20

    What a great idea! My husband and I have created a bucket list together, but not one specifically for summer. We make a yearly list of where we want to travel though, so it’s kind of similar!

  9. Jordan | 16th Jun 20

    What helpful tips to create a bucket list! Especially with kids, I can see the need to help narrow down the choices.

  10. Erin | 16th Jun 20

    I LOVE this summer bucket list!! Gonna implement this right away! And you have so many great ideas on yours!!

    • Kirsten Reeder | 17th Jun 20

      Thank you! My kids had fun coming up with them! I hope you guys have a fun summer =)

  11. Judean | 16th Jun 20

    Sometimes the smallest brainstorms with younger children will yield ideas that are frugal and simple! I think this is a great idea for families with kids!

    • Kirsten Reeder | 17th Jun 20

      That is so true! Thanks =)

  12. leeandra | 16th Jun 20

    Great ideas to keep the kids busy!

  13. Barbara | 16th Jun 20

    Summer is flying by…get going on that list of activities! 🙂

  14. LaToya | 17th Jun 20

    Great List! Thanks for sharing and providing additional ideas.

  15. Annette | 18th Jun 20

    Fabulous ideas!! These are great to do and keep our families engergized and connected. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Cindy Mailhot | 20th Jun 20

    I have a seasonal bucket list that changes every season. We usually have a big trip, a small trip, and several day trips or activities we do each season. It keeps us active and travelling!

    • Kirsten Reeder | 22nd Jun 20

      Oh, that’s an awesome idea Cindy!

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