Ultimate Summer Bucket List Ideas For Kids

Summer is quickly approaching, I can tell my kids are getting the summer itch of slow mornings, unstructured days and lots of fun family adventures! As we all know these days can fly by and before we know it summer starts coming to an end. We have found a great way to make sure we get in things from everyone’s to-do list is by creating a summer bucket list. This is a great way to avoid the “I’m bored” comments from older kids that inevitably happen a few weeks into summer break.  So here are my ultimate summer bucket list ideas for kids that are simple and budget friendly!

Two children on a blanket having a picnic at the park in springtime.

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Get Outside

  • Go On Scavenger Hunts

This is a fun way to engage kids of all ages in an activity. It can be as simple as a family walk around the neighborhood or going out to a local hiking path for a little more adventure. We often will just make things up for our kids to look for while waking. However, it is really fun to crate a printable for kids to make things a little more official. I created an outdoor scavenger hunt free printable here, feel free to use this over and over! Don’t forget to create a fun reward at the end, ice cream or a popsicle is always a hit in our house. 

  • Take A Nature Walk

Going on a nature walk is a great way to fill a few hours in the day and gets the kids outside! Its fun to pack a picnic or snacks and let the kids choose when and where they want to take breaks along the way. Allow your kids to set the pace on these walks, you will be surprised by the beauty you see around you when you slow down.

  • Plan A Backyard Camping Adventure

If you are a family just dabbling in camping, or planning a camping adventure later in the summer, a backyard camping night may be a great way to do a trial run. If you are looking for ideas on camping activities for kids see my post on best camping toys and activities for kids.

Children on nature walk

Hit The Road

  • Plan A Road Trip

It is so fun to partner with your kids and plan a road trip. The family memories made on road trips can’t be beat. See my post here on tips for long road trips with kids and here for the best screen free road trip activities to have on hand to pass those hours in the car! Road Trips are a guaranteed way to make some awesome summer memories. 

  • Go On A Day Trip Adventure

Day trips are a family favorite in our house. It allows us to go on adventures a little farther from home, spend some quality time together and allow us to be back in time to go to sleep in our own beds. You could allow your kids to pick the location for the day, it’s fun to see where they choose to go. Or make a spontaneous decision to hop in the car and see where you end up! 

  • Visit a National park

If you are already planning a road trip I recommend seeing if there is a National Park on your trip route. Its such a fun way to get outside and see some beautiful sites! If you have a 4th grader in your family this idea should move to the top of your list as they will get in free to National Parks for the year! 

Child on beach playing

Activities Around Town

  • Explore A Farmers Market

This is a fun way to get out of the house and is usually free to walk through. Our farmers market gives each child a token for 3$ which they can spend on fresh food. This is such a treat for my kids! If you visit your local farmers market I would ask at the main tent/table if they have any programs for kids that day as they often have things planned weekly. 

  • Family Mini Golf Outing

This is a hit, especially with older kids. Sometimes different mini golf courses will have discounts on certain days or during specific hours to help stay on budget. 

  • Visit A Water Park

Waterparks are so much fun for the whole family. This activity can be a little more expensive so could be saved for an extra special day. We love doing one waterpark day in the summer, my kids anticipation for this day is so fun to watch!

  • Go To An Amusement Park

This is very similar to the waterpark option when it comes to budget. We visit an amusement park once a year for a day. It is such a sweet day to spend time as a whole family and really just be present with our kids. We will often pack our own lunches to save a little money during the day 🙂. Don’t forget to stay until the lights on the rides turn on and then end your night with a ferris wheel ride to take it all in. 

  • Visit Your Local Library

This is a great free option that we take advantage of almost weekly. Many libraries will do events throughout the week like story time, play time or fun events for older kids. They often will have summer reading challenges for kids of all ages which is a hit in our house. 

  • Find a Fun Splash Pad

This is a fun, free, activity for the littlest of kids. It should be at the top of a toddler summer bucket list, however my older boys love splash pads almost as much as my 3 year old. Most towns have a splash pad, and if there are multiple its a perfect opportunity to make a day of splash pad hopping. 

Children at splash pad
  • Watch Fireworks

Once a year we throw bedtimes out the window and watch fireworks as a whole family. It is one of my favorite summer memories with my kids. My toddler’s sweet reactions to them and my big kids wide eyes are 100% worth the tired children the next day.  

  • Find Live Music

One of our local restaurants has a band playing every night out on their patio. It is so fun to watch kids dance to their own little beat. This is a staple of our summers. I know that often towns have music in the park weekly or monthly as well so this may be a great option to add to your bucket list.

  • Go To A Local Baseball Game

Think local minor league for this one. Major league games are a blast but often out of budget for us. The small town team games are still incredibly exciting for my kids but well within budget. Its fun to let them pick out a treat at the Dollar Store before we go to create an extra special memory.

  • Visit a Local Museum

Whether this is a local history museum, art museum or children’s museum this is a great idea for rainy days! Many spots have kid activities during the summer so bonus if those events happen on a day less than ideal for being outdoors. 

  • Find A Local Farm or Petting Zoo

We have a farm in town that opens its doors to local families over the summer months. Many times they have baby animals for kids to pet. Its well worth the google search to find something like this close to you!

Child at a petting zoo

Fun At Home

  • Create Sensory Bins

Kids love hands on play and sensory bins are a great way to foster this! Angela at Teaching Mama has some great sensory bin ideas. The best part of doing this during the summer is the mess is outside and my house stays clean 🙂

  • Make Homemade Ice Cream

There is nothing better than a cold treat on a hot summer day! This recipe by More Momma is easy, only takes 4 ingredients, and best of all is so yummy!  

  • Paint Rocks

If you have a craft lover in your life this is a must do this summer. Using acrylic pens you can let your kiddo go crazy with painting fun pictures or encouraging statements on rocks. We have a small planter outside that they keep their rock treasures in for the summer.  

  • Special Screen Time Day    

Screens are pretty much off in our house all summer, the one exception is a rainy day. This is a fun day to allow kids a little screen time or video game time that they don’t get daily. We always do these activities together, whether it is snuggling on the couch for a movie or playing an epic battle of Mario Cart.

  • Water Table Play

We have had our water table for 8 years and its still on the list of most played with outdoor toys. My kids use it to “wash” their toys. My toddler loves to fill and dump cups of water out of it. I saw this awesome idea by Happy Toddler Playtime to use water beads in the water table which is on our list this summer to try!

Toddler playing with water table
  • Family Game Night

We do this multiple times over the summer. Pop in a pizza or have snacks for dinner, let everyone pick their favorite game and sit down for some good ol’ fashioned family fun. 

  • Backyard Movie Night

Last year we bought a projector on Black Friday Sale and it has been such a fun purchase! We love snuggling up on our outdoor couch and watching a movie together. 10/10 recommend this activity for you this summer. 

  • Sidewalk Chalk Art

During the pandemic my kids really got into chalk. We love to create pictures or games for people to play as they walk by our house. We will follow a tutorial on I Can Draw Kids and create our favorite cartoon characters. Simple, cheap and lots of fun!

  • Put Up The Kiddie Pool

We have a pool that we put up for our boys in the backyard at least weekly. We will give them squirt guns or water balloons and let them play. My husband has created a slip n’ slide to add some extra fun for our older boys. 

  • Make Homemade Bubbles

We love creating giant homemade bubbles and letting the kids try to make the biggest bubbles they can with their wands. This is a sure fire way to get your neighbors over as kids seem to be drawn to this activity!

Child playing with bubbles

Make It Fun!

Engaging your kids in making your ultimate summer bucket list is a great way to create a summer full of fun. You could add a twist and do a few weeks of activities that go from A-Z. Click here for my A-Z free printable summer bucket list that we will be using with my kids this summer below! There is also a blank template if you want to add in your own fun activities 🙂

A to Z Kids Bucket List Printable
Blank Kids Bucket List Printable

What are your favorite summer bucket list activities you do with your family? I’d love to add some new ideas to our list this summer!

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