Someone told me when my kids were small that you only get 18 summers with your kids. This was such a gut-punch/perspective shift for me. And I immediately went to work mentally and physically to figure out how I could spend as many of those summers with my kids. This summer bucket list for kids is a love song to me at the end of these 18 years, to make sure I made the most of it.
But, hey, since you’re here I figured I’d share my plans and help you in the memory-making.
But as I found myself down the rabbit hole trying to figure out what to even PUT on a summer bucket list with kids, I felt equal parts overwhelmed and inspired. Because I missed the deadline for summer camps I found myself on the search for some fun summer activities.
Yes. It’s easy enough to print out a printable list and check it off (or worse) immediately lose it…
So I wanted to make your experience this summer and next, and the summer after that, as productive and enjoyable as possible!
You’ve got options when it comes to this summer bucket list for kids.
it’s fully customizable to fit your family’s plans this summer.
Some of the links below contain affiliate linking, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Keep reading to get the full list of fun activities.
And ALSO ALSO there’s a trello board for you to hold onto (and access on your phone, computer, share with your partner/spouse, etc).
But for now. Save this post. Either bookmark it, or save it to a trello board if that’s your thing or Pinterest.
Email it to yourself. Share it via text. IDK. You’ll want to refer to it next year (Hopefully) and the year after that.
What Is a Summer Bucket List?
A summer bucket list is simply a fun a way to keep track of all the activities that you want to complete over summer break.
It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.
The best part about this list is that you can choose your own adventures! These easy summer activities are perfect for the whole family. Depending on if you’re working during the summer, or if you’re hanging on until school starts in the Fall, you have choices here. Activities that are awesome out in the fresh air or even better, in your own home!
Choose activities you can do you do in your own backyard, out in the town, or some combination of both!
Either way, these awesome summer activities will give you tons of ideas for those sunny days and keep your summer schedule full of summer fun!
Grab your flip-flops, pack snacks, and let’s get ready to live it up until the end of the summer.
What Age is this Summer Bucket List for?
Technically this is an all-ages summer activities list but in truth, I tried to come up with ideas that are more specific for the 2 – 12-Year-old crowd.
And definitely repeatable things that are cheap, easy, and fun.
The more affordable (or free) the activity, the better in my book – especially since we are living in very specific times. But this list can definitely apply to older kids, young children, or the entire family.
However, you utilize this just know it’s gonna lead you to a great time and tons of memory-making moments that will keep you and your family active and might become some of their favorite summer activities.
What Are Some Fun Things to Put on your Kid’s List of Summer Activities?
If you are looking to have a great summer, there are some guaranteed activities that need to go on the list.
Water activities, activities that can happen inside (when it’s just too hot to be out in the fresh air), and anything that screams life in nature.
When the school year is over and you’re rounding straight into summer, be sure to reference this list.
Save it to Pinterest (here is a convenient TK pin to pin it to your favorite board). Or bookmark this post and come back to it time and again to reference.
There’s also a link below for a template for you to create your own customized summer bucket list that you can reference every year.
We actually just pulled out the one we used last year to see what was a hit and what was a miss, and I gotta say – being outside and in a bathing suit is basically the only pre-requisite for our summer plans this year.
What to do for Summer 2022? Check out this Summer Bucket List for Kids.
And without further ado, here’s your list for the summer bucket list for kids:
This is going to vary depending on the age of your children but here are some ideas for things to put on your bucket list:
Learn a new skill
Whether it may be archery, swimming, or stacking cards, this is a fun way to explore your child’s natural interest in new activities. If you want to attend some of the classes taught by the masters check out Master Class’s extensive list. There are some fun ones for teenagers.
Go on a Nature walk
In our house, we like to call a fun hike or a walk around our local park “nature’s Playground.”
Read a new book (or series)
Get ready for the summer reading lists! Head to your local library and check out some new books. Be sure to explore any local summer reading programs that offer rewards for the number of books read!
Try a new food
Does your kid avoid a specific food group? I never wanted seafood when I was little, but I think if I was just encouraged enough, I would’ve loved it as I do now. Be sure to check out this post on how to help your picky eater child. Even better, if you get your kids involved in the cooking process, they’re more likely to enjoy the food they’ve helped to make.
Check out cooking classes on Outschool too to help inspire their culinary creativity.
Have a picnic in the park…
Or in the back yard, or at the beach, or if the weather is too hot throw down a blanket on the living room floor and make it an event!
This is a great way to spend time with the family.
Go to the beach
This is another great way to spend time with the family. Be sure to bring your own kite, flip flops, and some healthy snacks because if your kids are anything like mine we tend to CAMP out at the beach all day long. If you’re spending some time there you’re going to want to invest in my favorite beach towels – the Sand Cloud Towels. They double as blankets, or even sarongs or throws. They’re comfortable, super absorbent, and gorgeous.
Go on a Family Camping Trip
Don’t forget to leave no trace during your nature adventure. Camping with the fam is so much fun and can lead to so many new amazing memories. For this, check out this sturdy tent.
Visit a new place
I’ve seen those Tik Tok videos where family members all write a name of a new place they’ve never been in a giant bowl and they take turns picking out which one they’ll go to first, second, third, etc. Maybe you can do this locally or in your state.
Outdoor water activities for kids is always a good idea and this list has some golden nuggets that’ll spark the dormant ideas in your brain!
Play Board Games
These games are some of my family’s favorite games for game night!
HUES and CUES | Vibrant Color Guessing Game Perfect for Family Game Night | Connect Clues and Colors Together | 480 Color Squares to Guess from | Award-Winning Board Game | 3-10 Players | Ages 8+ Buy on Amazon
Fishing is a great opportunity to spend quality time with the kids. This activity is a great way to teach your kids patience and resilience. Check out these fishing poles that are kid-friendly for those little fingers.
Go berry/orange/apple/ picking
Not only is this fun, but you get to literally reap the rewards (nutrition) after!
Make homemade ice cream
No brainer, if your kids don’t love ice cream, are they really kids? We bought our good friends this ice cream maker and while a bit labor-intensive it is definitely a fun activity to do! ice cream maker.
Go to an amusement park
Roller coasters and wild rides are the name of the game friends!
See a movie in the theater
This is an activity that is fun for all parties involved, kid or kid at heart! Grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy all that cold air! We love heading to the movie theater when it’s nearing 100 (or more) degrees here!
Visit a Butterfly Garden/Conservatory
This gives the kids a chance to not only enjoy, but learn about nature and butterflies. And if you’ve ever had the chance to stand in a room of butterflies floating all around you you’ll understand the magic of it all!
Draw on Windows/Sliding Glass Doors with Washable Chalk Markers. Check out this genius idea to decorate a window and make it into a stain glass motif!
Visit a Pet Store (it’s a lot like going to a mini Zoo!)
Go to a Water Park
I don’t know about you, but as much as I love going to amusement parks, I love water parks even more! Water activities are the perfect way to get your kids to let off some steam and stay cool.
Take a trip to the Zoo
The Zoo is always a great idea! Exploring the various areas and learning about animals can be so fun for little minds.
Go horseback riding
Check out your local horseback riding resources to find a trusted instructor that can help guide your kids to success. Many areas offer horseback riding summer camps as well. If you have a horse lover on your hand be sure to check out this post about horse gifts for girls.
Water play all day!
Get out the water gun, water balloons, water tables, water slide…
During the pandemic, we were able to invest in so many of these activities that when the warm weather approaches we’re sure to get them out and let the kids go wild. In fact, as I’m writing this post, they’re currently having a water fight with re-usable water bombs in the trampoline outback.
Check out some of our favorite water play resources. TK links for water activities.
Chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers go together like the last day of school and the pool.
Camp out in the backyard/sleep under the stars
This is a great end-of-day activity, especially after a full day of swimming.
Bike ride around town/neighborhood
Unlock a new skill or even passion! Get them a bike and teach them safety rules. Be sure to check out any local bike parks
Play in a sprinkler/hose
Less is more and simplicity is akin to beauty. Enjoying the simple things in life teaches your kids to appreciate more what they already have instead of obsessing over what they don’t.
Collect rocks – if your kids are any thing like mine then the drier sounds like rocks are constantly just being shifted around in there over and over again.
Bug Collecting – I love this bug collector. Also, this bug vacuum comes in handy when you want to get a bug that is in your house out OF YOUR HOUSE. If your kids are anything like mine, we’ve got the bug identifying ap, the bug vacuum, the bug cages, and we had to have serious conversations about “no the rolly polly cannot live in your room.” Be sure to let the bugs go back into nature after you’ve observed them for some time. In our house, we like to say that bugs belong in nature, not in our house. Get your magnifying glass to really get up close and examine your collection.
Paint the Sidewalk! 25 Sidewalk Chalk Ideas
Draw with sidewalk chalk for endless fun!
This is such a fun activity and will keep your kids busy for hours!
Visit a museum
A museum is a great place to learn about your city’s history and such. Be sure to check out your local museum kids’ “free” days if they are available. Often this is a more busy time but could be a more affordable way to see the art or experience the exhibits. Be sure to check out Viator for local museum ticket deals.
Grab those knee pads and rock the terrain! Check out these rollerblades that are super sturdy and perfect for kids who are just learning. Also IDK about you but I grew up roller skating at the local rink in the 90’s and some of my favorite memories were in those rinks. Roller rinks are coming back in a big way and I am HERE for it.
Make homemade lemonade
Not only is it a great drink for breakfast, but your kids might even want to put up a lemonade stand! This is one of the fun things I remember doing as a kid with my brother. Pro tip make a simple syrup with equal parts sugar to water instead of waiting for the sugar to dissolve…it’s much faster and so easy!
Have a dance party
Hook up the speakers, turn out all the lights, and get yourself these affordable disco lights to rock out in your living room.
Go to a drive-in movie theater
If there’s one in your area, it’s definitely worth going to!
Buy flowers from a street vendor
One, you get flowers. Two, you helped a small business. Win-win!
Volunteer at a local animal shelter
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is to be of service to others and kids can learn the responsibility involved in taking care of pets.
Plant a garden
Let’s find out if your child has a green thumb, eh? An herb garden can be a fantastic starter garden for little hands. And depending on the seeds you sow, you might be looking at some fresh herbs to sprinkle on your breakfast in a few weeks! Start here with the gear.
Compost in your Back Yard
Composting is an easy and fun way to teach your children about the circle of life, about where food goes, and how to become more sustainable (and eco friendly!) We we have a compost bin with worms just like this one and I personally love it.
Visit a nearby lake or river
Get out in the freshwater, and the fresh air and explore your local lakes (be sure to check local listings for lake closures. Out here in California, it’s not always safe to swim in the lakes so don’t just go diving in!
Make tie-dye shirts
First, it’s so fun. Second, it’s awesome to wear! Check out this awesome guide to tie-dye making.
This is another great way to introduce the cycle of life to your kiddos. My boys love growing butterflies every year. and setting them free is an amazing way to see nature in its full force.
Also, there are so many easy summer crafts for kids that it would honestly keep them busy for the entire season! This list is pretty worthwhile too!
Attend a carnival or fair
I think this is something the kids would be screaming for! Literally!
Go on a hot air balloon ride
If this is available and your kids wouldn’t be too afraid of heights it could be a really incredible experience and something they’ll remember for a long time.
Get ice cream from an ice cream truck
You scream I scream we all scream for ice cream!
Make homemade popsicles
MIssed the truck? Then let’s make our own! Kids love adding food coloring to their lemonade popsicles and it’s so refreshing after a long hot day at the park or beach! Check out these awesome popsicle molds.
Go kayaking or canoeing
For the more adventurous of you guys, kayaking or canoeing will surely be enjoyable.
Go to an outdoor concert
As long as it is kid-friendly, check it out! There might be one happening in your area. Pro tip: book ahead of time.
Visit an animal farm or petting zoo
This is a great way to teach kids about animals.
Go to a baseball game
Depending on where you live there could be some of the best games of the season ready for you to attend. Or some exhibition games. Or if you’re in an area with the newest trend in baseball – circus baseball – I’d definitely recommend checking it out! I.e. here’s the Savanah Bananas that I mentioned in list of fun things to do over Spring Break! – their season opener occurred right around spring break locally so woohoo!
Go play miniature golf
This is as wholesome and fun as it gets!
Stay up to watch the sunrise
The greatest things on our planet are typically the ones we did not create. If you can’t stay up late, wake up early to catch it! This might be easier than you think with very small children who are already waking you up at the butt crack of dawn anyway;).
Go on a ghost tour of your city
A ghost tour is an organized event. It tells stories about the haunted history of a particular location. If your kiddos are old enough this can be one of the different ways to make this summer extra special. Again check out Viator for deals on local tours.
Go tubing or rafting down a river
This is an exhilarating activity for kids! This awesome tube that connects to others so you’re never separated from your babies or friends.
Have a family movie night
This can be one of the best activities you can create for the kids. Alternate who picks the movie to make it extra fun.
Make homemade Playdough
Check out this recipe for easy play dough that is fun for hours!
Make Homemade Slime
Check out this TK article about how to make super fun slime.
Make a soap foam water table
Get the tear-friendly shampoo, a little bit of water, and the immersion blender, and WATCH WHAT HAPPENS. Add some food coloring to really jazz up the fun.
Make Card Board Box Dinosaurs out of Recycled Materials and household Items
Get out the toy cars, shaving cream, toothbrushes or head to the dollar store and grab some new cheap ones that you don’t care about to have your kids get crazy washing their cars! when your kids are done washing their cars they can do others and create a giant toy car wash!
Mix the water in plastic cups or add sidewalk chalk to tubs of water for some color play.
Go to a Concert in the Park
Many urban areas offer a free concert series in a local park. Check out your local listings to find the perfect one.
Start Music Lessons
Either attend a local class that allows your kids to experiment with several different musical instruments or if they already KNOW what they’d like to try, then get them hooked up with the right instructor. Outschool is a great resource to find music classes for kids (as well as so many other fun online classes).
Freeze those tiny toy dinosaurs and have fun digging them out of the ice! Pro tip – freeze different sized dinos and different sizes of ice depending on your space in your freezer.
This is a super fun thing to play in the bath (which in the summer can be any time during the day!)
We love to use water guns for this. For younger kids learning to read write high-frequency words in sidewalk chalk around your backyard, and once they read the word, it’s time to erase it with water!
For litter ones, the simple act of finding their name among other written words or names is the game!
Learn how to jump Rope
And all the fun jump rope games and songs too.
Get yourself a water slide
This water slide is the birthday gift that keeps giving. Something we splurged on in the midst of the pandemic, that we break out every few months when the weather is unbearable here in Southern California.
BOUNTECH Inflatable Water Slide, 7 in 1 Water Slides for Kids Backyard w/ Climbing Wall, Splash Pool, Cannon, Ball Gate, Accessories, Bouncer Park Water Fun for Kids (with 740W Air Blower) Buy on Amazon
Make Mud Pies!
Not the kind you eat! but actual mud pies! Kids LOVE this one, but it does warrant a nice water balloon battle at the end to clean everyone off;). Use water bottles, a spray bottle, and paper plates to make your “mud” and “pies” a little bit easier.
Fill up a Cheap plastic pool with water and have the kids use garden shovels to turn it into a mud paradise (and make mud pies!)
Member these? They’re updated now often with slides and boards for the kids to ride on and to (hopefully ) prevent those bruises and aches the next day!)
Sensory Play for Summer
Water tables are the ideal summer sensory bin but there are so many others that you can come up with. Be sure to check out this Etsy store that has amazingly done for you sensory bins for kids. Also, check out this TK post with sensory bin ideas for one-year-olds if you have any babies or taby’s to cater to.
Make an obstacle course in your yard
This was a fun way to pass the time when we were stuck at home. And can be done inside the house too!
Either the classic bottles or get one of these relatively inexpensive bubble makers to let your kids really experience the joy of a bubble dream. Even better Blow giant bubbles.
Bubble Machine Durable Automatic Bubble Blower, 5000+ Bubbles Per Minute Bubbles for Kids Toddlers Bubble Maker Operated by Plugin or Batteries Bubble Toys for Indoor Outdoor Birthday Party Buy on Amazon
Decorate the Car (and then Wash it!)
Get these great washable chalk markers to have your kids draw on your car, and then have a car wash to get it all off!
Create a time capsule
Have your kids write notes to their future selves, grab a few favorite toys (that won’t be missed!) and add it to a small-time capsule that you can either bury in your backyard, or save in a closet somewhere.
Additional Water Play Summer Activities With Kids Ideas
Summer 2022 will be magical!
Summer is the perfect time to try new things and make memories with your kids. With this list, you’re sure to have a summer to remember!
What’s on your summer bucket list for kids? Let me know in the comments below!
You can customize this bad boy to be perfect for YOUR family. I.e. flying a kite may not be doable for a 1-year-old, but could be perfect for your 10-year-old.
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Do me a favor, if this helped you, help me? You can pin the below image to Pinterest to save it for later OR just pin it to help a momma out and let other moms know about this valuable list of summer activities for kids.