What the heck are you supposed to do with your kids all summer? This summer bucket list has 50 fun free and inexpensive ideas to help!
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Summer bucket list for kids
Even though it feels like we’re having the coldest spring ever this year, I am getting really excited about summer with my 3 year old.
This surprises me, not because I am an inherent grouch. I get excited about lots of things. Seeing the birds come back after winter. Watching my daughter balance on one foot for the first time. A perfectly foamed latte.
It’s because I am not a summer person. The heat just makes me sleepy and uncomfortable. I love swimming in lakes but am not a sunbather. You’d be more likely to catch me with a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves, seeking out shade.
I adore the shoulder seasons, spring and fall.
But summer is starting to win me over and it’s all because of a little 3 year old. I am SO excited about doing all the fun summer activities with her and crossing things off our summer bucket list.
I started writing out a summer bucket list for us on a piece of paper and that sparked the idea for this post for a family bucket list!
And don’t miss this post with 10 fun and free summer activities to stop your kids saying “I’m bored!”
Also head over to 10 cheap summer activities when your kids get bored of the sprinkler – #8 is a SUPER fun idea your kids will love!!!
A summer bucket list to keep kids busy
With the idea of summer days stretching out in front of you, you want ways to keep kids busy, right?
Having a summer bucket list handy is the thing to do, when it’s so hot that you can’t think straight to come up with fun summer family activities.
I am all for kids experiencing boredom – it’s important to cultivate tolerance of boredom. It comes in very handy on road trips if your kids have started to learn that it’s okay to be a bit bored sometimes, and not always up to the parents to rescue/entertain you.
At the same time you want fun activities to keep kids busy on some days. It’s all about balancing.
Other summer posts:
- Frugal family mountain road trip to the Rockies
- Ultimate road trip hacks with kids: how we survived 28 hours in the car with our toddler
- Long road trips with toddlers can be fun (yes really!)
- Sand play benefits + fun dinosaur game for kids
- 25 Fun activities to do with kids inside
Things for kids to do at home
Some days in the summer it might be too hot to go out. Other days there might be a thunderstorm or you could be just worn out from being out a lot. This summer bucket list includes lots of ideas of things for kids to do at home, if you need a stay-in day but don’t want your kids parked in front of the T.V. all day.
As much as I love trying new things, I can be a total homebody. I LOVE recharging at home so some of these family bucket list ideas are all about being around your own home.
Simple bucket list ideas
One thing I wanted to make sure of with this bucket list for kids is that the bucket list ideas were simple. There are 50 fun family summer activities and many of them are free or cheap.
This summer bucket list is full of ideas you can do around your house, in your own backyard, in your neighborhood, or very locally.
You don’t need to have the funds for taking big summer trips, and lots of people don’t have their own cottage. These simple bucket list ideas for families make me nostalgic for the little things I liked to do in the summer when I was a kid. I have the best memories from those simple moments and I’m excited to share them with my daughter.
I remember helping my mom out in the garden when I was a kid and I love having Miss O help me out now in our garden (she’s not a fan of worms like I was lol). For frugal hacks to garden on a budget, check out this post. And here are 5 easy tips to save money on landscaping (I especially love the first tip!)
50 Family Summer Bucket List Ideas
Okay, let’s get into the summer adventures! Here are 50 summer bucket list ideas for kids:
- Have a picnic
- Go camping (check out Frugal Camping Hacks Using Dollar Tree Items)
- Backyard camping
- Visit a garden center
- Plant a garden
My daughter is so excited to have her own kids gardening set. Last year she helped grow cherry tomatoes and potatoes in our backyard, and ate copious amounts of raspberries from our black raspberry bushes.
- Dig for worms
- Catch butterflies
- Chalk hopscotch
- Fly a kite
- Set up a bird feeder
My daughter loves filling up our backyard bird feeder. Those tiny birds can really pack it in so we are constantly filling that thing. She loves learning about the birds that visit and we have started naming some. How she can tell one song sparrow from another is beyond me but this one is Bob and that one is Douglas, don’tyouknowmama?
- Berry picking
- Bake with summer fruits
- Summer library programs
- Family hike
- A farm for baby animals
- Bike/trike/balance bike rides
Our daughter has a wooden balance bike and loves it! She is three now and has been using it since she was about 18 months. It adjusts to several different heights so it has easily grown with her.
This wooden balance bike is so cute and is from a super nostalgic/retro brand (Radio Flyer!). We have the wooden/red one but it comes in wood/pink too!
- Scavenger hunt
A friend of mine with three young kids swears by this scooter. She says it’s the most stable, easy-to-use scooter that they’ve tried. My daughter tried it out at their house (she had never been on a scooter before) and was able to figure it out and feel comfortable on it quickly. (Edit later: we bought one)
- Climb a tree
- Splash pad or waterpark
- Go to the beach
- Outdoor pool
- Visit favorite parks
- Try 5 new parks/playgrounds
- Water table
Kids love water tables! A water table will provide hours of backyard fun for them, while you can lounge in the sun and read a book. Or in my case lounge in the shade with SPF 60 slathered on.
- Blow bubbles
- Family fair or exhibition
- Play tennis
- Have a BBQ
- Ice cream truck
- Make ice cream
- Museum summer programs
- Lemonade stand
- Horseback riding
- Water balloon fight
- Sleepover party
- Free concert
- Stay up late
- Skip rocks
- Play Frisbee
- Drive-in movie
- Built a sandcastle
- Paint garden rocks
- Visit a farmers market
- See fireworks
- Mini golf
- Have a garage sale
- Eat watermelon outside!