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Looking for some good summer bucket list ideas?
We've put together a mouthwatering list of fun summer outdoor activities, from the simple (fly a kite in the park) to great ideas that may need a bit more planning. All will help you create treasured memories for you and the kids this summer.
Why Make A Summer Bucket List?
We all have high hopes for the summer holidays, imagining lazy days by the pool, on the beach, picnicking with friends, or visiting attractions. But then the summer passes quickly, school returns, and we find that we've spent most of the time at home.
Preparing a bucket list at the start helps with the motivation. Buoyed on by the kids, you'll want to tick off as many of the items as you can.
How To Make A Summer Bucket List
Crucially, you need to involve the whole family in creating the bucket list. Everyone gets to pick a few ideas that they most want to do. Write them all down in a list, and place check boxes beside each one. Then simply tick them off as you go along.
Be as ambitious as you like. It never hurts to have too many ideas, and you can always save any unfulfilled items for the autumn!
Below, we've suggested dozens of summer bucket list ideas to get you started. Of course, you can always add to these with activities that make sense to your family and local area.
Try These Summer Bucket List Ideas
Fly A Kite
Ah, the simple pleasures. Launching a kite is enormous fun for kids, and one of those games that adults can delight in, too. The only problem is that you'll have that song from Mary Poppins in your head for the rest of the week.
Catch A Drive-in Movie
How many films have you binged at home recently? Probably too many to list. Enjoy a movie at the next level by taking the family to a drive-in movie.
You can watch from the comfort of your car without having to put up with noise from neighbouring seats.
See An Outdoor Concert
From classical to rap, rock to musical hits, outdoor concerts are making a big comeback, and most towns and cities will have summer events to attend. Often, you can combine the experience with a picnic and tick two items off your bucket list for summer.
We could recommend a dozen indoor activities, but bowling is perhaps the best idea for bonding as a family. Knocking over the pins is something everyone can have a go at, and the competitive edge adds to the fun.
Organize a Scavenger Hunt
The good thing about a scavenger hunt is that you can make them as short or complex as you like. Plus, it's a totally free idea. Give the kids a list of objects to find around the house or garden, or get them tracking down fun things all over the local area.
Make Your Own Ice Cream
You can make and eat delicious homemade ice cream at home, and you don't even need any fancy gadgets. Try our delicious recipes.
Go On A Road Trip
Take to four wheels for a family road trip, near or far. Whether you're driving to visit a friend or relatives, or off in search of landmarks and attractions, road trips can be a liberating way to see new places without having to get on a plane.
Camping can seem like a lot of effort, but it doesn't have to be. Consider a spot of day-camping, where you simply take a small tent or playhouse into the park for a few hours' play.
Or you could splash out on a 'glamping' experience, where the tent and all the mod-cons are provided for you - you just need to turn up. But nothing beats the authentic camping experience, with the struggle to put up the tent, the spooky bedtime stories and the inevitable downpour!
Visit A Local Lake
You can get a lot of fun out of a lake. On hot days, they're perfect for a splash around or wild swim. You can also simply relax and admire the views, or see how many waterfowl you can spot.
Some lakes have activities, such as inflatables, pedalos or row boats - and there's usually a cafe and playground nearby.
Take A Trip To The Beach
It's another fairly obvious entry for a summer bucket list, but one that can't be left off. Search Kidadl for the best beaches in your local area, and try our top hacks for making the most of your summer beach time.
Be A Tourist In Your Own City
If you live in or near a large city, then there are probably dozens of fun experiences to be had without travelling very far. You could even make a separate bucket list for museums, attractions and venues you want to visit together.
Take A Countryside Hike
Definitely one for a teen summer bucket list, a long walk through the countryside can be rewarding in so many ways. Take field guides to help identify plants and animals. Use paper maps and compass to improve their way-finding skills. And, of course, it's good for the body and soul to get out into the wild.
Take Up Geocaching
Geocaching combines map-reading, puzzle solving and a whole heap of fun. This pastime involves hunting for small tubes (or caches), which have been hidden in public places all over the world.
A dedicated app shows you rough locations on a map, with a clue to help you find the cache. It's a brilliant free game to play with the kids, and helps teach many life skills they won't pick up at school.
These homemade sweet snacks are designed for eating round the campfire. Popular in North America, and increasingly elsewhere, s'mores place toasted marshmallow and chocolate sauce within a sandwich of crackers. They're tricky to eat, but that's half the fun.
Run Through Sprinklers
Another free and simple idea that gets young children laughing like nothing else. Most towns and cities have pavement fountains, designed for kids to run through. Just be sure to have a change of clothes to hand.
Water Balloon Fight
Water balloons are another fun idea you can play in your own backyard. Be sure to seek out biodegradable balloons, readily available online.
Try A Slip 'n' Slide
A slip 'n' slide is a long sheet of plastic with a thin layer of water on top (provided by a garden hose), which children can slide along. They're enormous fun, and perfect for a hot summer's day if you have a garden.
Go On A 'Swim Crawl'
We all want to dive into a swimming pool on hot summer days, but to beef up the bucket list, why not try dipping into several different pools? You could try a different one every week of the summer holidays, or even visit three or four places in one day.
Have A Go At Tie-Dye
This colorful idea will get your kids designing and making their own new clothes. A playful activity, whose results can be enjoyed long afterwards. See our guide to homemade tie dye clothes.
Make A Scrapbook Of The Summer
You've got all these items on your summer bucket list, so you should also make sure you document the fun. Taking photos and video will do some of the job, but pasting memories into a scrapbook will properly cement the joy.
Paint The House
Summer's a good time to do some painting and decorating, as you can throw the doors and windows open without getting cold. Older kids and teens can join in during those long weeks without school. Get them to paint their own room, or help you decorate other parts of the house.
Go On A Digital Detox
Can your kids give up mobile phones, games and TV for a whole weekend? It's a tough one, and you might need to tell friends you're doing it, or they'll wonder why you've stopped messaging. But imagine how rewarding it'll feel to get through two days without touching your phone. One for a teenage summer bucket list.
Visit a Farmer's Market
Find out where your nearest farmer's market is, and take the family along. Not only will you pick up some quality produce, but it's also a good way to teach the kids about food production and the important, if often hidden, role that farmers play in our lives.
Visit A Farm
Of course, you don't need to wait for a farmer's market to visit you; you could pay a visit to a local farm.
Most areas have visitor farms or petting zoos, where kids can get close to the animals and learn about food. Even cities often have small farms to visit - London has over 20!
Another farm option is to do your own picking. Different farms will offer different experiences, but strawberry picking is particularly common. The activity is great for building up team skills, and you get your delicious pickings to take home.
Enjoy a Classic Picnic
One of those items on everybody's summer bucket list, a picnic is easy to arrange and fun for all the family. We've previously rounded up ideas for glamming up your picnic, or hosting a teddy bear's picnic. After everyone's eaten, the kids can play around while you relax in the sunshine.
Host A Barbecue
No fun summer is complete without a barbecue. Invite a friend or two round, smoke up the barbie, and get the kids involved in the food prep. Try our hassle-free recipes for inspiration.
Get Green Fingered
If you're lucky enough to have a garden, you can ask the kids to help you with the summer planting. Winter veg and summer salad both need sewing in early summer.
If you only have a balcony or window box, then there's a long list of herbs and small plants that can be sewn over summer.
Play Garden Games
Meet Up With An Old Group Of Friends
All those people you've been meaning to catch up with - summer is the perfect time. Arrange a play date or park gathering with friends you haven't seen for a while.
Create A Summer Playlist
Much of this summer bucket list for kids has included activities you can do at home or in the backyard. So why not build up a summer-themed list of songs that can soundtrack those glorious sunny days?
Streaming services like Spotify and iTunes make this easy, and you can browse other people's playlists to give you inspiration.
Stargazing is one of those free activities you can do at any time of the year, so long as the skies are clear. Summer has the advantage of warmer weather, so you should be able to sit around in the garden without getting cold (though, on the downside, you have to wait longer for it to get dark).
The skies can be a little overwhelming, so keep it simple and try to learn only a couple of new constellations each time. You could combine this idea with camping.
Watch the Sunrise
Want to try something that's free, beautiful, and predates our species? Then get up early to watch the sunrise as a family. It's not necessarily easy to do.
At the height of summer, the sun will rise at a time when most of us are in deep sleep. But the magic of seeing that red orb climb over the horizon, as the dawn chorus reaches crescendo, will make for unbeatable family memories.
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Although originally from the Midlands, and trained as a biochemist, Matt has somehow found himself writing about London for a living. He's a former editor and long-time contributor to Londonist.com and has written several books about the capital. He's also the father of two preschoolers.