The ultimate summer bucket list usually includes exciting day adventures, plenty of time outdoors, fun activities for kids, and plenty of lazy afternoons. The challenge is, of course, to find enough great ideas to fill every last one of those days. Luckily, we collected 85 things that fit the bill, and we’re pretty sure there’s enough here to keep the kids occupied for all three months. Keep reading to see each idea, and then get started!
photo: Jason Lander via Flickr
1. Take a family bike ride.
2. Learn a new magic trick. Here are seven easy tricks just for kids.
3. Build a LEGO City.
4. Read a chapter book as a family.
5. Get a paper map of your city and push pins. Plan out the places you’ll visit with the kids, and after you’ve done so, let them pin the location. At the end of the summer, it’ll be fun to see all the places you saw and did together.
photo: Hirni Pathak via Flickr
6. Fly a kite. Our top spots are here.
7. Make your hometown a little bit more awesome. These ideas will get you started.
8. Paint rocks and hide them for others to find.
9. Host an outdoor games party.
10. Organize a scavenger/treasure hunt. We’ve got printables here!
11. Go stargazing. Check out our top tips here.
12. Explore a new park.
13. Learn how to make friendship bracelets.
14. Learn about a different culture (and make a meal to match!)
15. Take a hike—you’ll find our favorites here.
photo: Donnie Ray Jones via Flickr
16. Have a yes day.
17. Visit two (or more!) museums.
20. Spend an afternoon writing a story with your kids.
21. Go backyard camping. We’ve got 10 great ideas to help you get started.
22. Take a picture a day and print out an end-of-summer photo album.
23. Be a scientist for a day with one of these cool experiments.
24. Create an obstacle course for kids.
25. Play hide and seek.
photo: Colleen Kelley via Flickr
26. Play board games for a whole afternoon.
27. Create a secret handshake.
28. Plant flowers.
29. Have a toy car wash. Or better yet, have a real carwash. Nothing thrills a kid like an afternoon spent with a shop vac and a spray bottle.
30. Make a clover necklace. And headband. And bracelet. And ring. And pageant sash. And …
photo: Sharon Mollerus via Flickr
31. Run through the sprinkler. Don’t have one? Make your own by decorating a two-liter plastic bottle with Sharpie designs, poke holes in it, and attach it to your hose. Check out how Dean McDermott did his here.
32. Whip up a batch of homemade popsicles. See some of our favorite concoctions here.
33. Pick a “Summer 2018” song and play it till everyone can sing all the words.
34. Make root beer floats.
35. Visit a thrift store.
photo: 3rd Eye Photographer via Flickr
36. Make lemonade at least once. For a little variation, try these fun recipes.
37. Call or FaceTime with out-of-town family.
38. Go to a baseball game.
39. Make fluffy slime.
41. Visit the library to load up on summer reading material.
42. Stay up late and play flashlight tag.
43. Go to a drive-in movie, pack a picnic summer, and take a deck of playing cards.
44. Set up an ice cream sundae bar.
45. Sign up for one of these awesome national summer programs.
photo: Vicki Watkins via Flickr
46. Lie in the grass and look for pictures in the clouds.
47. Paint rock pets. And then find out how you can care for them by clicking here.
48. Make pickles. Here’s an easy-to-follow recipe using cucumbers from your new garden or from the grocery store!
49. Play games with Dixie cups (that isn’t beer pong).
50. Make a wind chime.
photo: Heather Sunderland via Flickr
51. Head to a local u-pick farm and load up on fresh berries.
52. Break a Guinness Book of World Records. Peruse the titles up for grab on the official site here.
53. Tour your local fire station and bring them goodies. They’ll appreciate it, and you might even get to touch a truck.
54. Make a fairy garden.
55. Learn about rainbows.
photo: Billychic via Flickr
56. Play Marco Polo at the pool, or try one of these classic pool games.
57. Prank someone.
59. Make something out of a cardboard box.
60. Have a potions party.
61. Create an ice cream bracket and work your way through the summer.
62. Find a firework show (check your local baseball team’s schedule) and bring your 3D glasses.
63. TP your kids’ rooms.
64. Set up a sensory play afternoon.
65. Go see an outdoor play or concert.
photo: Austen Squarepants via Flickr
66. Gather your friends and play a scratch game of baseball—adults and all!
67. Make s’mores. You can go gourmet with one of these unconventional twists.
68. Have a shaving cream war.
69. Bond with your kids over ’80s TV shows that are still cool.
70. Learn about a few amazing kids, and talk about how your own can change the world.
71. Bob for donuts at breakfast.
72. Have a tea party outside.
74. Support a small business and stop by your local indie bookstore for a new read.
75. Use ice for more than a cool beverage.
photo: The Mighty Tim Inconnu via Flickr
76. Go to a water park, or turn your backyard into one.
77. Have an outdoor art afternoon. Here are our favorite ideas.
78. Write and act out a play.
81. Learn about a wild animal.
82. Make a bird feeder.
83. Make a dry creek and go fishing!
84. Watch the planes at your local airport.
85. Unplug for a day.
— Gabby Cullen & Shelley Massey