Tips for Creating a Fun Family Summer Bucket List

On Monday, I shared our family's 6th annual summer bucket list!  We've made so many fun memories and traditions since we started participating in the summer bucket list challenges put on by The Happy Family Movement.  They've discontinued the yearly challenges about 2 years ago, but the site is still up and you can go there get more info and ideas for creating a summer bucket list.  

I got interested in the summer bucket list challenge because we always had ideas of things we wanted to do over the summer, but lots of times we got so busy being busy that we forgot to have fun.  Creating a summer bucket list has been a great way to ensure a fun summer.  It becomes intentional and we've made it a point to enjoy our time together as a family.  Since creating our summer bucket lists is such a huge part of our family life, our kids look forward to it every year.  

Here are a few tips that have worked for us (through a bit of trial and error) on creating a fun and successful summer bucket list that everyone can enjoy.  

  • Don't be too ambitious.  Every weekend doesn't have to be spent at a theme park or away from home for it to be fun and memorable.   Kids just want to spend time with you.  They don't need every activity or event to be super elaborate.  This is especially true for younger kiddos.  Some of our fun and simple activities have included: going out for frozen yogurt, backyard camping, geocaching, and watching the sunset.  


  • Get the whole family involved.  Everyone will be more excited if they have a say in the list, so we make sure to talk about it together. Dinnertime or driving in the car work great.  Kids will come up with some pretty far fetched activities sometimes, so it's good to give them boundaries and suggestions as to what kinds of activities you can/prefer to do, especially if this is your first time putting the list together.  


  • Limit your list.  We found that keeping the list to about 10-12 activities is much more realistic than trying to include 20+ things.  Putting too much on your list can add stress about getting it all done and that's the last thing you want.  Your list should be about sharing a fun time together.  


  • Display your list.  Once you have our activities all picked out, make sure to display the list in a place where it can always be seen.  The last thing you want to do is create all this excitement and then forget about it.  You know the saying, "out of sight, out of mind".  Through the years we've put it at the bottom of the staircase, on the fridge, and on a banner across the kitchen window.  Bonus points if you get the kiddos involved in creating a fun way to display your list ;) 


  • Include traditions.  Most of our traditions became traditions purely unintentionally, but now that we have them we are intentional about keeping them.  We make sure to include them each year in our bucket list.  I'm sure you probably have summer traditions yourself already and maybe you just didn't realize it.  Things like, BBQing with friends, watching fireworks, going to the beach, these may all be things you do each year that can easy be incorporate into your family's summer bucket list.  


  • Document.  Now that you've put some effort into creating and displaying your list, you have to go out and do all those fun things!  And, don't forget to document along the way.  Whether you use a professional camera, a point and shoot, or just your iPhone, it's important to snap a few photos for prosperities sake.  We tend to use all 3! Here are a few ideas on places to document your summer: personal blog, special hashtag on instagram (ours is #emericsummer2016), facebook album, scrapbook, chatbooks, or even a yearly calendar.  There are lots of options!  Whatever you choose, it'll be great to look back at the end of the summer and relive all the cool things you did!    

For some ideas on the kinds of activities we've included, take a look at our summer bucket lists throughout the years:

 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Activities change as kids get older, but I hope to continue our summer bucket list tradition until the kiddos are grown.  Again, it's a great way to be intentional about spending time together as a family, creating memories, and having fun!  

Do you have a summer bucket list? What fun activities have you included? What fun adventures do you have planned for this summer?