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I was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for many years while my now-adult children were young. We made great memories year-’round, but there’s something special about summer. Can I encourage you in this? These years fly by so be intentional about making memories using this summer bucket list for families.
Bank those memories while you can. You’ll never regret missing a Netflix binge or new movie release so you could spend time with your children.
Why Have a Summer Bucket List?
There is something about summer’s long, hot days out of school that trigger thoughts of water fights and ice cream cones. Those lazy days can usually bring anyone back to their own childhoods.
Memories of ice cream from the neighborhood truck, summer camp crafts, wading pools, swimming lessons, and trips to the beach, the mountains, and grandma’s house bring smiles and laughter. Give your children the gift of great memories!
Even if you work full-time and your kiddos are spending the days in day camps or daycare, try hard to make memories that will stand the test of time. The years are short. Below are dozens of ideas – and you can probably find hundreds of other ideas with a simple search.
Use this Summer Bucket List for Families (click for FREE printable!) or make your own. And – to borrow a phrase – just do it!
Summer Bucket List for Families
- Picnic in the park – even if it’s just peanut butter and jelly with juice
- Play at the playground – especially one with a splash pad
- Go bike riding
- Camp in the backyard – who hasn’t done this? It’s just as much fun for your children as it was for you
- Make s’mores – over a fire, not in a microwave!
- Cook hotdogs over a fire
- Go to a baseball game – even if it’s just Little League or track down a single-A game, they’re cheap and fun
- Catch fireflies – don’t forget to let them go
- Play in the sprinkler or on the slip ‘n slide – my 2-year-old granddaughter did this for the first time (sprinkler) and laughed and giggled till she was exhausted
- Plant a garden – or at least 1 tomato plant in a pot
- Go to a farmer’s market and find something new to try
- Go to the zoo
- Go to an aquarium
- Have a movie marathon day – especially if it’s rainy or 100 degrees outside
- Have a marathon game day
- Learn a new board game or card game
- Make a bird-feeder
- Have an “all day at the pool” day
- Take a beach trip
- Read 100 picture books (that’s less than 2 a day) – the library is a parent’s best friend
- Have a read-aloud time every day – choose your books based on your children’s interest and attention span, but even if they are 1 or 2 years old, read aloud daily
- Take part in the library’s summer reading program
- Check a craft book out of the library and do at least one craft from the book – the fun is in the doing, not the ‘perfect’ result
- Build & paint a birdhouse
- Finger paint
- Finger paint with pudding or shaving cream – a favorite! Pudding is great for those still sticking everything in their mouths.
- Science experiments
- Build sandcastles
- Watch the stars – or a meteor shower. Let the kids stay up, or set your alarm to wake them to see it.
- Watch a sunrise
- Watch a sunset
- Take pictures
- Make a movie with your phone or camera
- Try a new recipe – or a new recipe every week!
- Go to a state park – unsung treasures!
- Go to a national park
- Bird watching
- Go on a hike – state parks again; many have trails you can even take strollers on if you have really little ones.
- Make a summer memories book
- Make bead jewelry
- Go skating
- Learn a new skill or sport
- Build a model airplane or car
- Build a model town
- Have a sleepover – some of my best childhood memories are sleeping on the pull-out couch with my friends. And staying up late the night before.
- Make sno-cones
- Make ice cream
- Make homemade fruit pops
- Drive go-carts and race each other
- Play miniature golf
- Go to an arcade – or someplace like Chuck E. Cheese
- Make fruit smoothies – using fresh fruit from the farmer’s market
- Play catch
- Play Frisbee
- Go to a water park
- Have a water fight – great memories! Involve the entire family, and watch out for hoses coming in windows if you try to escape (not speaking from experience or anything!).
- Watch fireworks – or set them off if allowed in your state or city
- Visit a fair
- Ride a carousel
- Ride a Ferris wheel
- Go kayaking, canoeing, or boating – more water sports – just remember the sunscreen
- Learn to swim
- Learn to bake
- Attend an outdoor concert – many are free
- Go bowling – escape the heat
- Visit a nature center
- Jump rope
Make memories with your children while you can. The years will fly by. Having a summer bucket list for families can help you be intentional about putting down the screens and having fun!