Summer Bucket List: 10 Things to Cross off as a Family

You’ve finally got into the swing of things and all of a sudden the hot summer days are coming to an end and the kids are off to start another school year. Soak up every last ounce of summer with these nostalgic activities:

10. Go camping.

Listen… do you hear that? It’s beautiful, it’s nothing. No television, no cell phones, no video games, just the great outdoors.

Camping doesn’t have to be in the forest or out in the wilderness, the backyard will do just fine. Set up a tent and spend a night together as a family unplugged from all media and enjoy the sweet sounds of silence.

family camping

9. Catch fireflies.

There’s something so magical about fireflies that brings about a sense of innocence to everyone they reach.

When I was just a kid, my father had a business partner from Japan stay with our family. He had never seen a firefly before and was so taken with them that he decided to capture as many as he could fit into a rinsed-out mayonnaise jar then set them free in his room at night. I remember looking up and seeing what looked like a million little shooting stars buzzing about and it was just perfect… until the next morning. I wouldn’t suggest doing this unless you’re ready for a gruesome cleanup. Your best bet is to capture, collect, then set free.

8. Make icy treats.

Is it just me or has the ice cream man become a scarce sight during the hot summer days? Take matters into your own hands and make some popsicles, ice cream, or even frozen fruit like grapes or bananas.

Save the high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavorings because you won’t miss them, give your kids some energy they can really use.

homemade fruit pops

7. Take a family outing.

The zoo, the waterpark, an amusement park, or even just a long drive—doesn’t matter where you go just as long as you’re all there. Pile into the van, bring some snacks and coloring books, and hit the road for the day.

6. Go on a hike.

Check out hiking trails at your local forest preserve or conservatory. Chances are that your children have no clue of the extent of native wildlife that surrounds them until they see it firsthand.

5. Catch an outdoor movie.

Do you live near a drive-in theater? If not, check out events at local parks; many play outdoor movies at dusk in the summer time.

Or if you’ve got a TV that can easily be moved, plug it into an outlet in the garage or run an extension cord into the yard. Something about watching a movie outside is just more fun.

outdoor movie screen

4. Have a barbeque.

Nothing says summer quite like hot food off the grill. Hamburgers, corn-on-the-cob, hot dogs—so many delicious treats that are much better when charred to perfection on a summer night.

Let dad take the reins on dinner and show off his skills on the grill while the kids can help with dessert, fruit salad, and anything that doesn’t require sharp objects.

3. Go to the beach.

The sun on your shoulders, the wind in your hair, the sand between your toes… and in your suit and your bag and pretty much everything for the next month. It’s a small price to pay to enjoy a memorable day at the beach with your family.

Help the kids build a sand castle, bring a picnic, and if everyone holds up well enough stay to watch the sunset over the water. This is a memory that kids will never forget.

family beach day

2. Soak up the pool.

To many kids, summer is synonymous with the pool. Set them free to soak up as much vitamin D and have as many underwater tea parties as they can in the last few days of summer.

1. Go to a carnival.

The smell of funnel cakes and corn dogs make my nose do a little happy dance. Let the kids play some games, win some prizes, and go on as many rides as they can. This is what they’ll be bragging to their friends about when they head back to the classroom.

carnival at night

Written by Sarah Antrim