185 Ideas for a Summer Bucket List for Kids (Plus Free Printables!)
Are you looking for fun things to do this summer? If so, then you’re in luck! Here are 185 fun activities that your child can pick from and add to their summer bucket list!
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As warmer weather approaches and summer draws near, you may be asking yourself, “What should I do this summer with my kids?” Or maybe you wonder, “How can I make summer fun at home or somewhere local?” If you find yourself asking these questions, then this post on making a summer bucket list with kids is for you!
Here you’ll find tons of activities that you and your child can chose from to add to their own summer bucket lists (no need to try and do them all, just pick your favorites!). Most of the ideas are simple, inexpensive, and fun! You will also find free summer bucket list printables below that you can use to help make this the best summer yet!
So to avoid hearing “Mom, I’m bored!” all summer long, have your kids pick a few activities from the following list of ideas. Then, have them write down what they’ve picked (use the free printables here to help make this part easy!). They’ll have fun thinking about what they’d like to do over the summer, and it solves the problem of “what do you do on a ‘boring’ summer day?!”
Fun ideas for a summer bucket list for kids
Indoor Fun– What kids can do at home in summer
When it’s rainy or just too hot to spend much time outside, these indoor activities will keep your kids busy and having fun for hours!
- Make homemade playdough
- Try a new STEAM project
- Write and illustrate your own story
- Have a family movie night
- Play board games
- Have a slumber party
- Start a summer journal
- Play Bingo
- Do a fun craft project
- Make Oobleck
- Have an indoor “snowball” fight (use balled up socks or crumpled up scrap paper as your “snowballs”)
- Build a blanket fort (and use it to protect yourself from an indoor snowball fight!)
- Have a Pajama day
- Make paper bag (or sock) puppets and put on a puppet show
- Plan your own escape room
- Learn a new skill
- Make homemade slime
- Play card games
- Make story stones
- Read a new book (or complete a summer reading challenge)
- Have a pillow fight
- Learn a new instrument
- Make a time capsule
- Do karaoke
- Paint or draw a picture
- Make a family movie
- Have a dance party
- Play hide and seek
- Paint rocks
- Make up your own game
- Do a (safe!) science experiment or project
- Put on a shadow puppet show
- Create something with Legos (or put together a kit)
- Camp out inside (in a tent, on the living room floor, or in your blanket fort!)
- Have a family game night
- Put on a play or skit
- Learn a new language
- Make friendship bracelets
- Create a vision board
- Have a talent show
- Write a poem or song
- Create your own comic strip
- Have a cooking competition
- Put together a puzzle
- Make an indoor obstacle course
- Find fun exercise/workout videos or challenges
- Put on a comedy show
- Make a piñata
- Play Pictionary or charades
- Invent something using materials from around the house
- Listen to an audiobook or podcast
- Put on a fashion show
- Learn how to do origami
- Make suncatchers
- Do a word search, crossword puzzle or sudoku
- Make paper airplanes (and see who can fly theirs the farthest!)
- Learn a magic trick
- Read a book together as a family
There’s something special about summertime food! Somehow it just tastes better! Here are some yummy treats you can eat or make this summer.
- Go out for ice cream
- Order food from a food truck
- Make lemonade
- Have a do-it-yourself pizza night
- Make homemade ice cream (try making ice cream in a bag for some extra added fun – it’s science and food all in one!)
- Try a new recipe
- Make root beer floats (or try different flavors of soda, like orange or cream soda!)
- Get something yummy from the ice cream truck
- Bake cookies
- Make milkshakes
- Try a new restaurant
- Eat watermelon
- Have an ice cream sundae party
- Make smoothies
- Try making homemade popsicles
- Make s’mores (or have a s’mores bar with all types of different ingredients)
- Have a BBQ
- Go on a picnic
- Make and decorate a cake (or cupcakes)
- Try a new food
- Eat at your favorite restaurant
- Learn a new kitchen skill
- Bake your own bread
- Try a new fruit or vegetable (from the store, your garden, or the farmer’s market)
- Roast marshmallows
- Make snow cones
- Help cook a meal
- Have a spa water bar (refreshing to drink & you can be creative with what you make!)
- Have a fondue party
- Eat fresh corn on the cob
- Have breakfast for dinner (we call this “brinner” at our house!)
- Go and pick your own fruit from a farm
- Eat yummy food at a carnival or fair
- Have an international food meal
- Play the donut on a string game (here are directions for how to play this fun and tasty game!)
- Eat dessert before dinner one night (my kids love this one – and so do I!)
Sign up below to get these FREE summer bucket list printables that you can use with your kids as they make their own fun lists!
Outdoor Fun – Ways to entertain kids outside
Summer is the perfect time to get outside and have fun in the fresh air!
- Play frisbee
- Jump in puddles
- Make your own sundial
- Backyard camping
- Blow bubbles (try making bubble snakes – super cool!)
- Make mud pies (or make a DIY mud kitchen!)
- Watch a sunset
- Build a sandcastle
- Ride bikes
- Rock hunting
- Fly kites (you can even try to make your own kite!)
- Take a nature walk
- Play in the rain
- Watch the clouds
- Plant something
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt
- Build a fairy garden
- Take a walk
- Decorate your bikes and have a bike parade
- Make an outdoor fort
- Read outside (kids can read on their own or you can read aloud to them)
- Make an outdoor obstacle course
- Play hide and seek
- Play tag (or other playground type games)
- Jump rope
- Play a sports game (kickball, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc)
- Use (or make!) sidewalk chalk
- Play hopscotch
- Skip rocks
- Do a messy STEAM project
Water Fun – What you can do on a hot day outside to stay cool!
Cool off with these fun (and refreshing!) summertime games and activities!
- Water balloons
- Slip and slide
- Have your own car (and bike) wash
- Make a water balloon piñata
- Wash water safe toys (plastic animals, cars, baby dolls, bathtub toys, etc)
- Make sponge water bombs
- Splash in the sprinkler
- Play in the hose
- Water limbo (use the hose to spray a steady stream of water and use it as a limbo “stick” that kids try to go under as you move the water stream lower and lower)
The fun doesn’t need to end when the sun goes down. Here’s a list of fun things you can do outside when it gets dark (just remind your kids to be careful!).
- Flashlight tag
- Catch (and release) fireflies
- Use sparklers (carefully!)
- Have a campfire
- Watch fireworks
- Play glow stick bowling
- Put on a shadow puppet show
- Stargazing (with or without a telescope will work just fine)
- Outdoor movie night
- Paint using glow in the dark paint
- Play glow stick volleyball
- Play fun nighttime outdoor games (such as statues, ghost in the graveyard or sardines)
See this post for more night time fun and games, along with instructions on how to play!
Places to Go
Take advantage of the nice weather and plan a trip to somewhere fun! It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate – your kids will just enjoy spending time with you doing something special.
- A lake or beach
- Fishing (check with your state on license requirements)
- Play mini-golf (or disc-golf)
- Visit a farm
- Bowling (check out Kids Bowl Free to see if it’s available in your area)
- Ice skating
- Botanical garden
- Local free community events
- Theme park
- Sports game or event
- State or national park
- Water park
- Farmer’s market
- Movie theater (or a drive-in theater)
- Pick your own fruit/veggie farm
- Local outdoor concert, plays, movies, etc
- Watch a parade
- Fair or carnival
- Rock climbing (indoor or outdoor)
- Local swimming pool
- Nature center
- Spend the night at a hotel (and do a fun hotel scavenger hunt while you’re there!)
Sign up below for a FREE printable list of all these fun ideas and activities!
Doing good things for others can be fun and rewarding at the same time!
- Write letters to someone you haven’t seen in awhile
- Leave a small note or gift for a neighbor, friend or family member on their doorstep
- Make cards for soldiers or those in a nursing home
- Bake some goodies for your neighbors
- Clean up the trash on your street or around the neighborhood
- Donate any unwanted and outgrown items
- Bring a meal to a neighbor
- Find an opportunity to volunteer in your community
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How can I keep my tweens busy in the summer?
With these 185 summer bucket list for kids ideas, your tween can probably find enough activities to stay busy all summer! However, some of the ideas may seem too babyish for them. So in addition to the list of 185 ideas, here are a few more that are geared towards your tween.
- Help around the house – Ok, so this one may not exactly scream fun, but summer is a great time to start (or continue) teaching your tween the importance of helping out. They are capable of many household chores such as sweeping, vacuuming, taking out the trash, caring for pets, dusting, doing dishes, and laundry. It probably won’t be their favorite summertime activity, but they are being helpful to your family as well as learning valuable life skills.
- Take fun classes – There are many online and in person classes that your tween can pick from and take over the summer. They can choose something that they already enjoy, or look for a chance to learn a new skill. Maybe they can learn a new language, play a new instrument, learn how to cook, or practice a new art technique.
- Plan an event – Let your tween help plan an upcoming event. Or, you may even feel that they can plan it all on their own. They can help you plan someone’s birthday party (or even their own) or a back to school party. You could also have them be in charge of planning your next family night.
- Complete a challenge – Together you can decide what this will involve, but help them come up with a challenge that they can work on all summer to achieve. Maybe it’s a reading challenge (your local library may have something to help with this) where they have to read so many books by the end of summer. It could be a physical fitness challenge where they run or walk for a certain amount of time each day. Or an outdoor challenge where they need to spend a set amount of time outside each day.
- Plan activities for younger kids – If you also have younger kids, then your tween can help plan art projects, crafts, games, or fun snacks for them. If your tween is feeling really ambitious, they can even attempt to plan a fun escape room at home for the whole family to enjoy together!
- Go to summer camp – This one may not be something that works for your family, but if it is, you can look into different day or overnight camps for your tween to attend. They’ll get to stay active, do fun activities, and make new friends. Or, if you are able to do it, then planning an “at home summer camp” is also a fun option. As a family you can pick what you want your theme for the week to be and then do fun activities (at home) based on that theme. It’s also a great time to get your tween involved by having them help you plan and run things.
What can a teen do in the summer at home?
Just like tweens may find some of the 185 summer bucket list for kids ideas too young for them, your teen will also. That’s ok – there are plenty of other activities they can still enjoy! They can pick from the long list above as well as do the same things that tweens can do. In addition to all of this, here are a few more summer bucket list ideas for teens.
- Volunteer – Look for places where your teen can help out over the summer. They will be building their resumes, learning valuable skills, and helping others at the same time. I call that a win-win!
- Find a job – Again, not always the most fun part of summer, but getting paid for doing work is one way to spend their time off from school. They can do anything from mowing lawns, to babysitting, to dog walking, to getting a “real” job at a local business.
- Research options for their future – Have them spend some time this summer thinking ahead to what they may want to do in the future. If they are older teens, they can start looking up information on different schools or programs they might want to apply to.
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With this huge list ideas, no one will be bored this summer! I have given tons of ideas that your child can add to their own list, but what if you’re unsure about what a bucket list even is!! If so, have no fear, I will explain what it is as well as how to make one and how NOT to use one!
What is a summer bucket list?
A bucket list is simply a list of things you want to do. It’s not a to-do list, but rather fun things you want to do and experience. It’s usually thought of in terms of what you want to do before you die (aka kick the bucket), but I like to think of it a bit differently.
I use the term “bucket list” as a way to help me organize the ideas and activities I want to do during a certain period of time. So my summer bucket list will include the fun things I would like to do this summer. I may or may not get to do them all, and that’s ok! It helps me focus on the things I want to do most.
And my children enjoy making their own summer bucket lists as well. They can pick a few of the things from the huge list above and put it on their own list. This gives me an idea about what the most important activities are for them so that we can try to do something from everyone’s list.
How do you make a summer bucket list for kids?
It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated – making a kids summer bucket list is actually fun! And remember, this is not another to-do list so have fun with it! You do not have to try and do it all.
Step 1. Use the list of ideas in this post and let your child (with or without your help depending on their age) pick a few of the things they would like to do over the summer. This is a good time to remind them that you cannot do everything on this list and that there may be things that you won’t be able to do.
You also may decide that it would work better to do one family summer bucket list together instead of each child doing their own…this is a great option too!
Step 2. Write down their choices. You can use regular paper, make it into a poster, or use the FREE printables in this post. However you decide to do it, make sure their list is in a spot where they can see it throughout the summer.
Step 3. Have fun doing the activities and ideas on their list! Some are things they can do alone or with siblings or friends, while other things are better done as a family.
Get this FREE printable list of ideas when you signup below!
What NOT to do when making a summer bucket list for kids
While making a bucket list can be a fun thing to do together, it can also be stressful if you look at it the wrong way. So here are a few tips on what to avoid when putting your bucket list together.
- Do not try to do it all! There are so many ideas on this list that you would never be able to do them all in one summer without losing your mind! Focus instead on what will work best for your family and budget and pick those ideas. Not everything on this list will be a good fit for your family, so do what you feel is best and save the other ideas for another time.
- Don’t do it alone (unless your kids are still way too young!). Let your kids help with making the list so that everyone gets a say in what happens over the summer.
- Don’t think of making a summer bucket list as another chore. Rather think of it as a planning and organizational tool that your whole family can help with and be a part of.
- Don’t forget to relax and have fun! Enjoy the sunshine and warm summer months with your family doing fun and meaningful activities together!
I know there is a lot of information and tons of ideas in this post, but I hope that it has been helpful for you! What are some of the fun things you hope to include on your own family bucket list?