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Making a Summer Bucket List – Fun Activities for Kids & Families

I’m so excited about today’s post!  For a few reasons — first, we had a great time creating it and second, it’s a post about SUMMER!

For the past few weeks, we’ve been working on our Summer Adventure List – a.k.a. the summer bucket list.  

Most years, we just have a list, sometimes colorful or worthy of a place on the fridge, but mostly it’s just a list of fun things we’d like to do (along with a few new things to learn too).

But this year, we got creative!




How to Make a Summer Bucket List

We’ve created a list of fun things to do during summer for the past 12 years.  Once my oldest turned 4, he had a lot of ideas for things he wanted to do and places to visit during summer vacation.  About the same time, my husband and I realized that we wanted to experience a variety of things with our kids while they were still young.  So, we started our annual tradition.

Our kids are older now so I really wanted a list that was flexible, would be fun to use and had some character.  We all enjoy science so it seemed like a fun idea to create a list that was structured like a periodic table. 




Supplies for a Summer Bucket List

First, here are the supplies I used:

  • Large foam board (you can find these are most craft stores or art supply stores) – you can also substitute a large colorful poster board
  • 4 colors of Post-it notes
  • Colorful summer stickers
  • Markers
  • A list of fun ideas

Obviously, the first step to any bucket list is to gather ideas from the family about what fun things they want to do this summer.  We keep it casual and talk about things during the year.  If the kids mention they want to visit a new attraction or try our something fun that just doesn’t fit our schedule during the school year, it goes on our summer list.

We also talk more frequently during the last month of school about items we’d like to add to the list.


Why do we create a Summer Activity List? 

Honestly, so we can remember all the fun things we’d like to do and avoid the “But we didn’t get to do that yet and school starts next week” exchange. 

And having a list that’s posted somewhere also keeps us ALL involved in making suggestions on what we’ll do each week. I don’t like being ‘the keeper of the list’ so there’s a great advantage to having it accessible to everyone in the house.

“Hey, what do you want to do this Saturday?” 

“Let’s check the list and pick something!”

So, the first goal is to make the list USEABLE! 

We chose Post-it Notes because we can list one activity on each one.  This also allow us to add new ideas as they come up over the summer or move things around and it will still look nice.  As we move through the summer, we can place the completed items on one side of the board so we can easily see what items we still want to do.




So what about all those crazy color Post-it notes?

Glad you asked!  The colors actually represent the four categories of things we enjoy doing during the summer:

Green = New Adventures

Orange = Fun Favorites (things we’ve done before and want to do again)

Yellow = New Things to Learn or Life Skills to Achieve

Pink = Summer Book List (each of our kids works on a list of what they want to read – or might need to read if something was assigned over the summer).

Each year we’ve done this, I’ve realized that we want the kids to have some new experiences in addition to enjoy some favorite activities.  And we also enjoy sneaking in some informal learning during the summer.  The colors help me to see that we have some balance (it may be overkill for some families but it works for us 😉


A Calendar of Summer Activities

Our Summer Activity List also serves as one of our calendars for the summer.  And by this I mean that some of the fun things that happen don’t make it on our ‘scheduling’ calendar because let’s face it, summer is about NOT scheduling everything.  But I still like to have an idea of when we did things — it helps for sorting pictures and writing in the kids’ scrapbooks.

As you can see with our examples, we listed a summer activity item on each Post-it and then created a fun abbreviation for the item (similar to the periodic table with the elements).  Keeping with the theme, instead of listing the atomic weight of each item, we will list the date we do each item.



Creating Your Own Summer Bucket List

I promise I’ll share our full list of activities in a future post, but I wanted to give you some time to create your own because I would love to see them!  Start thinking about what your family would like to enjoy this year and create your own fun list.

For more cool & creative ideas for collecting all your fun summer ideas, check out our Summer Bucket List Ideas board on Pinterest.


fun things to do this summer


So what are you waiting for? 

Let the summer fun begin!


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