Summer Bucket List Guide: Creating Unforgettable Memories with Your Kids

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As the temperature rises and summer break quickly approaches, the kids are bursting with excitement. There are so many activities they are excited to do and see! What’s at the top of their list? How will you fit them all in? I love planning a good adventure for my kids, but an entire summer full of them is a little daunting. A summer bucket list is the perfect way to get all our ideas in one spot to help guide your summer plans.

Regardless of how prepared I am, my role as chief adventure planner starts in less than a week. 

Will I measure up to the job? 

Will my bosses (aka the children) like my vision and execution of summer break? 

Let’s hope so!  

In this blog, I’ll explain how we prep & create our summer bucket list as a family to help guide our summer adventures.

I hope you’ll use this information to become your family’s chief adventure planner, creating an enjoyable and unforgettable summer for your family.

Summer Activities

Summer is the time when the world becomes our playground, just bursting with opportunities for our children to discover, learn, and grow. From splashing in the water in our backyard to exploring the wonders of nature around us, the possibilities are as limitless as our children’s imagination. 

With endless possibilities comes the balancing act of fun and realism—the realization that not every single day can be (or will be) a huge adventure and the acceptance that it’s okay! Your summer may be filled with activities at home. Maybe you’ll escape into nature or maybe plan a day trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to explore. This summer, I want to encourage you to seek adventure when you desire and plan rest days, too.

Your summer bucket list will provide you with a variety of activities, both big and small, that your children will enjoy (because they helped create it). There’s something to be said about balance in life, and it’s important to teach our children that at a young age, too! This summer, we’re teaching them that summer fun comes in many shapes and sizes.

Reflecting on Past Summer Activities

As I try to plan a list of summer activities, I find myself reflecting on previous summers. 

  • What did our past summers look like?
  • What did I like about those summers? 
  • What did I dislike about those summers? 
  • What would I do differently? 

When you start to plan your upcoming summer, I suggest you reflect on these questions for your family, too. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every summer; if you found something your family loved, do it again. If there was something you tried and it didn’t work out, maybe try it again or just leave it off the list.  

But before we can start our summer adventures, we need to know what is on the list?? 

So, let’s dive in.

Summer Break Bucket List

The best way to start summer break (in my opinion) is to sit down with your children and create a summer break bucket list. 

Have you made one before? 

It’s a great way to get the excitement and ideas flowing of what summer could be.

A summer bucket list allows us and our children to write out all our hopes (and dreams) for summer break. It’s always so interesting to see what the kids want to do. I promise you the kids will have AT LEAST one crazy, off-the-wall suggestion that you would’ve never thought of (those are my personal favorites). Your family’s summer bucket list can be as BIG or small as you’d like; there are no rules, so make it work for you.

Preparing to Create Your Summer Bucket List

Before you bring up the idea of a summer bucket list to your family, start by getting prepared with ideas yourself. This will make the bucket list planning go much more smoothly.


  • I used this butcher paper from Amazon for our list. It’s actually paper for our art easels, but I can make a list of as many as I want with this paper.
    • If you don’t have butcher paper or want another option, white printer paper or construction paper is a great option and usually something everyone has at home. You can always tape the sheets together with tape if you want it to be one long list.
  • You’ll also need something to write with. On our main bucket list, I use markers, but the kids use crayons and a mix of colored pencils and markers. This set from Amazon has various options and is perfect for kids who like to use a mix of art supplies.
  • This one is totally optional BUT I love making our summer bucket list day an entire day of fun. We start out the morning with Sunshine waffles.
  • Optional Printed Pages: I’ve made a few activities that you can print for your children to do before you start your bucket list to get them excited about summer (or print these and save them for a rainy day activity!). You can download the images below here!


I suggest making your summer bucket list a day full of planning and fun for the whole family. You can create this list either the weekend before school lets out or the first day of break or just pick a day that works with your schedule. We are most productive after breakfast which is when we start out bucket list.


There is no right or wrong way on “how to create a summer bucket list,” but make sure you keep it fun. If it gets a little crazy, the kids don’t want to participate, or you’re feeling stressed out, take a break and come back to it later. It’s meant to be a fun family activity, not stressful.

Creating Your Summer Bucket List

The day has finally arrived, and it’s time to plan your bucket list! But first, breakfast. 

My family is well known for being hangry (hungry & angry). My 3-year-old routinely walks into my room at 6 am demanding goldfish, “I’m starving, mommy, I want goldfish.” Please note I do not give her goldfish for breakfast (well, not usually). I do make her eat a real breakfast most of the time.

Anyways, back to the point. I know if we are going to have a good day, I first need to make sure the children are fed. There’s no better reason to have a special breakfast than celebrating the beginning of summer. I love doing unique waffle designs for breakfast on special days. This year we’ll be using a sunshine waffle maker and then topping them with whipped cream, strawberries, and sprinkles. After breakfast, it’s time to get the party started!

  1. Rally the Kids: Explain to them that you’re working together to create a list of fun activities they’d like to do this summer. You want to get them really excited about this! If you go into this not excited, your kids won’t be excited, so make sure you bring the fun summer energy. I’ve included a few summer fun activity sheets for you!
  2. Brainstorm: Give each child something to write (or draw) with and paper. My oldest is elementary aged and can write now so he has the choice to draw or write. My younger ones will be drawing, and if they want to write, I’ll help them write their own individual list.
    • *Always encourage each child to write at least ONE activity. You want to make each one of them feel included and important.
  3. Organize: Once everyone comes up with their ideas, we organize them onto our master summer bucket list. I let them read off their list individually to everyone (my kids are talkers and always have so much to say) and then we create our master list.
    • I love the idea of having a bucket list categorized because it makes it easy to visually see different options. Once you start categories on your master list your kids will probably come up with more ideas, just go with it.
    • Some categories we have used are:
      • Simple Backyard Activities
      • Big Backyard Activities (I distinguish between these because adding water to their water table is much easier than setting up their bounce house)
      • Rainy Day Activities
      • Outdoor adventures
      • Indoor Play
      • Day trips
      • Special weekends
    • By categorizing the activities, planning our days, and shaping our summer is easier. 
  4. Display & Track: Now it’s time for the fun part. Decide as a family how you’ll display your bucket list. I usually put ours in our kitchen this way, it’s in a central location and easy to see. You’ll always want to decide how to track which items you’ve completed. This can be something as simple as marking it off or something fun like adding a sticker beside it. I suggest rotating which child marks off your completed task so everyone has a turn. Plus, it’s fun to see how much you’ve accomplished.
    • If you find some items have not been completed at the end of summer, you can keep the list to include them for next year OR try to continue marking them off even if summer has ended. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean the fun has to stop.

Creating a summer bucket list will surely spark joy for the entire family. It’s also a great way to stay motivated during the summer. You don’t have to try and come up with fun ideas everyday; you already have a complete list of ideas your children are excited about.

Wrap Up

Remember, a summer bucket list is meant to inspire and guide, but it is not set in stone. Always stay open to new ideas and spontaneous adventures (they’re honestly my favorite). The beauty of summer is embracing the moment and creating memories together.

I’ve included a summer bucket list below to help you generate ideas with your family. This is meant to serve as a guide to help get those fun ideas flowing. I hope you dig a little deeper and add activities and places that are local and special to the area in which you live too. 

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