My Summer Bucket List

Photo by graur codrin at

I love love love summer.  I am always a little flabbergasted when I talk to moms who dread summer.  Usually it’s because they feel overwhelmed at the prospect of so much free time.  They feel it’s a bit of a chore to keep their kids busy.

But that’s why I like summer.  I cast aside all efforts to remain busy.  I have no longing whatsoever for the days of waking to an alarm clock, rushing through a frantic morning routine involving three different drop offs, planning my day around drop off and pick up times, driving everyone to and fro after school, pushing them to finish their homework while trying to make dinner and then whisking them off to bed only to start all over again the next day.

If you are a mom intimidated by free time, I invite you to make your own summer bucket list.  Try to remember what you loved about summer as a child and put those things high on your list.  That’s when it becomes fun for you too.  Reliving (or recreating) your childhood beside your own children is one of the great rewards of motherhood so enjoy it!

Summer is full of opportunity to do those things you put off during the school year because there is just never enough time.  It is tempting to sign your kids up for a million activities, but I personally like to provide a good amount of unstructured, creative free time where we can just enjoy being together as a family without rushing around.

So I’m throwing out my alarm clock and trading in the hurried morning routine for a slower lifestyle.  Summertime is just about me and my kids taking it easy, choosing what we want to do and forgetting the rest.  I get a little dreamy and over ambitious with my summer plans, but it never hurts to have a list of activities to choose from.  There are only 70 days left, so I’d better get started on my “to do” list!

Here’s my summer bucket list:

  • Have a library/park/ice cream day each week.
  • Visit an art museum.
  • Plant a garden.
  • Make homemade ice cream.
  • Slip-n-slide, sidewalk chalk, jump rope and bubbles.
  • Grill at least once a week.
  • Help the kids de-junk their bedrooms.
  • Do a lemonade and used book stand.
  • Teach my almost 12-year-old how to do laundry.
  • Visit a natural history museum.
  • Eat tons of watermelon, berries, corn on the cob and popsicles.
  • Go biking at the beach.
  • Have a game and movie day in our PJs.
  • De-junk the craft cupboard.
  • Go to the zoo & aquarium.
  • Play night games outside with flashlights.
  • Visit a pick your own fruit farm.
  • Go to the beach & pool. (Lots!)
  • Initiate an end of summer block party.
  • Teach my kids to make their own lunch and clean it up.
  • Tie dye.
  • Frequent the Farmer’s Market.
  • Visit an observatory.
  • Get a trampoline.
  • Attend outdoor concerts.
  • Paint the little girls’ bedroom.
  • Find a drive in movie theater.
  • Go beach camping.
  • Catalog the home videos from the last 2 years.
  • Go to a county fair.
  • Be “screen free” from 9-5 every day.
  • Eat outside.

Visit my blog to see how I’m doing on my list.

My friend Saren has a great post called “Do-it-Yourself Summer Camp” about putting a little structure together to make your bucket list happen.

QUESTION: What fun would you like to have with your kids this summer?

CHALLENGE: Make your own bucket list!


  1. says

    Submitted on 6-3-2010 at 10:11am
    You inspired me to make my own “Bucket List!” Thank you! I feel like I have a plan now and am really excited about our Summer!

  2. Deb Lowe says

    Submitted on 7-20-2009 at 01:34pm
    I loved your list, too. I am copying it and putting it in my off-track folder so the kids and I can have ideas of fun activities when they are on vacation. I usually let them help me make the list, but you have some great ideas that I will incorporate! Thanks!

  3. April Perry says

    Submitted on 7-7-2009 at 11:04pm
    Love your list! You’re way ambitious, Allyson. I know you still have a toddler, and I’m impressed you’re wanting to camp on the beach, go to museums, and visit so many other fun places. I’m going to try to harness some of that enthusiasm and help my children enjoy their vacation. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. ingridsorensen says

    It was great to meet you today at the retreat Allyson! I love the idea of summer plans. If I don’t plan things, the whole summer goes by and nothing has happened. We can easily take til 11 a.m. to get up and going if we let “relax” reign. So I have to do some structure, and some fun/relaxation balance. Balance! The key! I have a cupcake party when the kids get home on the last day of school and they each fill out a worksheet with ideas and suggestions for the summer. We work from those lists, and while we don’t do it all, we do some of the things and have a good time. I love also keeping a blank calendar taped to the wall that we fill in with the things we DID do. Sometimes we say “wow, we had a fun week,” but so soon we forget what it was we did that was fun. So with the calendar, at the end of summer we have a record of all the fun things we did. (PS Did you know there is a drive-in movie theater in Salt Lake on Redwood Road? Google it. We’ll be going there too!) Have a great summer!

  5. says

    Loved your list too! Summer can’t come fast enough at our house. I can’t wait to ditch the alarm clock! It was fun to meet you at the retreat (I sat by you on the front row and we both really dislike winter..) I enjoyed your insights and our conversations! Have a wonderful summer!

  6. charlena lock says

    Wow, almost exactly like our beach bum list! I cut up little papers & wrote a free activity on each one, we pull one out energy day. One of the favorites so far is make a movie. We pulled out my camcorder & each child gets to direct their own movie. Then we send it to grandma!

    • Allyson Reynolds says

      We have yet to do the movie thing, though it sounds so fun and I always put it on my list. THIS is the summer! 😀

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