Your Summer Bucket Listby Elizabeth MacDonald
The temperature is rising. Spring is finally in the air. But the talk around town is Summer. Summer camps, vacations, playdates, and pools.
The endless days of sunshine, swimming, and outside play will be here soon, so it’s time to start planning.
Summer is the time for water play, sunscreen, popsicles, forts, sleeping in, and counting stars. The kids and I sat down and talked about what we would like to do this summer. Most of our activities take a break until September, so we switch to summer-mode. I won't lie, we typically just live at the pool every day, but it's fun to create a bucket list to make sure we do accomplish something that each child wants to do!
Are you in need of some ideas? Feel free to borrow a few of ours. Remember that the goal is to create fun memories, so don’t stress, yell, or fret if things don’t play out. You can always stop for some frozen yogurt and all will be right again.
Summer Bucket List
- Map your city and place a sticker on each playground, splash pad, and park. (Google search for local Splash Pad Playgrounds in your area.) Plan to visit one a week and decide which is your favorite and why. Take the time to discuss what was loved, disliked, even rate the experience.
- Get your toes in the sand. Pack the essentials and drive to the nearest beach. Not within driving distance to the water? No worries, a sand box in the backyard set up next to a water table will create an afternoon of smiles!
- Collect sea shells to paint (or rocks from a stream). Imaginative play is the foundation of a creative mind. This activity turns into days of follow-up fun.
- Go camping. (In the living room if it is unbearably hot outside) Camping is an inexpensive vacation that helps get the family back into nature. Roast hot dogs, tell stories, walk through a stream, catch tadpoles, read bedtime stories by flashlight.
- Have a BBQ, with the sprinkler on. Invite everyone to bring food and beverages, leave a tip jar to cover a house cleaner so you can sleep peacefully. (You know everyone will throw some money toward your hostess/tip jar, especially because they’ll want you to host again.)
- Dance in an afternoon rain shower with the kids.
- Make shapes out of the clouds during a picnic. Bring a kite and spend the entire day outside. Take this a step further and have the kids draw their cloud designs.
- Make some homemade popsicles (sneak in some probiotics and chia seeds with some spinach). What to do with the left over smoothie that didn’t fit into the kid's popsicle molds? Add an adult beverage, reblend, and freeze as ice cubes – or adult popsicles! (Make sure to label which are kid-friendly!)
- Unplug the TV and PLAY PLAY PLAY PLAY!!! When you run out of energy, read. Open a real book and read to yourself, to your kids, on the floor, outside, in the car, it doesn’t matter.
- Plant a garden – or just flowers.
- JUMP into a pool, lake, ocean… lounge in a baby pool. Get WET and smile about it. Join in with the kids and splash. Don’t worry about your hair getting wet or being self-conscious in a swim suit. LOVE the moment and enjoy how much fun you are having.
- Shop at a local farmer’s market and see what other local shops have to offer. Let the kids pick out a new food to try and cook an entire meal based around it.
- Chalk is wonderful. Hop scotch, tic tac toe, water balloons, squirt guns, and buckets filled with water can create an entire afternoon of fun.
- Search for summer deals near you: $1 movie days, paint your own pottery coupons, live music during a family-friendly happy hour.
- Run a family-friendly 5k WITH the entire family
- Drive to the nearest zoo or aquarium. Give the kids a disposable camera and let them go at it. Then turn their pictures into an album.
- Have the kids choose dessert and help make it. If you have the patience, that can include creating the shopping list, joining you at the store, and then measuring, sifting, stirring, and baking before enjoying.
- Write letters to friends –penpal style- instead of sending a text, and ask them to write back. If your children aren’t at “writing” age, then draw pictures. Kids LOVE receiving mail.
- Turn on the music and have a dance party. Dance like there’s no tomorrow. Dance to whatever music YOU love. This shows your children that you have likes too!
- When all else fails, let everyone be bored – it will harvest their creativity.