Summertime brings with it endless opportunities for scoring some serious family fun, right? Yes, it's true, but it's also a fact that once the excitement over school-free days and warm weather wears off, everyone in the household can get a little stir crazy. That's why it's not a bad idea to approach the summer with ideas for the whole family to have fun, whether they are DIY, or involve a trip to a local park or museum. Not sure where to start? There are tons of summer bucket list ideas for families that will help get your idea wheels turning.
As you decide which activities will work for you and your crew, consider making it a family affair and keep track of your bucket list on a calendar, chalk board, or dry erase board, checking them off as you accomplish each item. Take photos as you go and make a family project out of putting them in a scrapbook, decorating each page with fun stickers, gems, and sequins, and even writing a few lines about your favorite moments.
One thing you can bet on: Your kid will head back into the school year with some seriously cool stories for their friends — and some ultra special memories shared with you.
1Go Berry Picking
My daughter Claire is kind of obsessed with berries — like, eat-an-entire-carton-in-one-sitting obsessed. So we've made it a tradition to take her to a local farm where she can pick blueberries, strawberries, and even peaches when the various fruits are in season. Try Googling "pick your own [insert fruit/vegetable here here]" to find a local farm that allows you and your kids to harvest your own produce.
2Go On A Nature Walk
Head to the park, a local trail, or even your backyard to do a bit of exploring with your kiddos. Try setting up a scavenger hunt (e.g. find a butterfly, spot a pine tree) or playing a sensory game with them where they name things that they smell, hear, see, and feel around them. It's a great way to get kids having fun while doing a bit of learning.
3Explore A Neighboring Town or City
One of my absolute favorite things we've recently done with Claire is take her on a "trip" to our very own city. My husband Dan and I got a room in a hotel that is literally eight miles from our house and made an adventure out of dinner, ice cream, walking around downtown, and going to a museum. It led us to make a goal to explore more of our city, and even take advantage of nearby ones in Ohio and West Virginia (we live in Pittsburgh). Pull out a map and see what might surprise you and your kids, then make a day of it.
Nostalgic games are kind of the best. Teach your kids how to play hopscotch, jump rope, and other fun tag games from your childhood. (Remember Ghost In The Graveyard?). Not only will they love them, but you're bound to have a blast, too.
5Go For A Family Bike Ride
It seems simple enough, but it's not always easy to get the whole crew together, especially as your kids get older. Plan a family ride, whether it's a daytime event or evening trip around the block, and enjoy the summer views.
6Visit A Makerspace
Even if you don't head out into the great unknown and opt for a setup in your backyard, camping with kids can be a fun adventure and a great way to explore nature. Plus, you can bet there will be s'mores.
8Volunteer With A Local Charity
You're really never to young to learn the value of giving back, right? Sign up for local volunteer opportunities with your kids and help them to discover why helping others — people, animals, the Earth — is all kinds of awesome.
9Go To The Drive-In
As long as you stash some mosquito repellent in your bag, then you should be good-to-go for a fun night at the drive-in. If you don't have a local option, then search for parks that offer big screen showings of popular kids movies — our theater recently showed The Lion King — or consider creating your own outdoor movie fun with a projector and a bare wall.
Sure, buying popsicles is certainly a sign that summer has arrived. But making your own popsicles means summer has arrived and you're a cool mom. There are a number of recipes and DIY methods on the Internet, including this one from Gemma Stafford of Big Bolder Baking. All you need is a popsicle mold (you can also use a disposable drinking cup) and a few ingredients, like fruit or ice cream.
11Make Homemade Lemonade
Search for an easy DIY lemonade recipe, then help your kids host a lemonade stand. They'll love it — and so will your neighbors.
12Visit A Museum
Rainy summer days happen, meaning it's a great time to visit a local museum or nature center. Many of them offer family admission and children under 2 can often get in for free, so be sure to do a bit of research before you go. Many museums and centers offer interactive options for kids that add a bit of learning to the experience.
13Make A Fairy Garden
Oh, how I loved fairies when I was a child and everything that went along with them. And my grandmother indulged my whimsical notions, telling me stories about fairies who lived in her garden or made their homes in tiny openings in tall oak trees. That's why I was pretty jazzed when DIY fairy gardens became a thing, giving me an excuse to play magic with my little gal. Create one in your backyard and don't forget a sprinkle of fairy dust to go along with it.
14Fly A Kite
If there was ever a time to go fly a kite, it's on a breezy, blue-skied summer day. Snag a relatively cheap one on Amazon (most are around $10) and take your kids to a park to watch it float in the sky.