How to Create a Summer Bucket List


Summer bucket lists are the best. We have been doing one for the past four summers and it has seriously become one of our family’s favorite summer traditions.

To be honest, our family summer bucket list was born out of necessity. See my entire family is home for the summer. Yep, that is right, ALL four of us have the summers “off.” My husband and I both work in the field of education so there is a lot of “family time” for weeks on end. When the girls were little and not in camp, we were looking for things to do. The summer bucket list became a great “idea generate” for ways to keep the children entertained and to give us back some semblance of sanity.

We created one HERE for you to simply PRINT and use, or follow the steps below to create your own. 

Brainstorming and Planning

The first year I created the summer bucket list all on my own but in subsequent years we have brainstormed ideas together and it has been a great way for us as a family to decide some of the activities. For example, last year my husband insisted that we add “go to a baseball game” to our list. This year the 7-year-old really wants to “swim in a lake.” The little one has lofty plans for the summer like “water balloon fights” and “surprise ice cream trips after dinner.” By getting the family’s input they are more invested in the activities.

This Is Not Supposed to Stress You Out

As the “planners” and “keepers” of the list, this activity is not supposed to be stressful. The last thing we want is to add to “Mommy summer stress.” We have never and let me repeat NEVER accomplished everything on our list. And that is ok. I mean as a recovering Type A it took some getting used to, but it is fine to not accomplish it all. And actually, I think it is a really great lesson to not finish “everything” on the bucket list.  

Create a Mix of “Gimmes” and “High Expectations”

If you know your family is going on vacation to the shore, add it to the list. I mean how good does it feel to “check something OFF a list.” Therefore, make sure you include some things that you know you are going to do. I like to add “have a family BBQ,” “watch fireworks,” or “catch fireflies.” I basically know that we will be doing these things but no matter what, the girls get so excited when we do accomplish them and cross them off our summer bucket list. I also like to include some HAUGHTY goals. For FOUR years we have strived to have a day with absolutely NO SCREENS. It still hasn’t happened. But a girl can dream.

Make It Your Own

The best part about the summer bucket list is that it should be all your own. Feel free to pick and choose from this list of ideas and create one that’s perfect for your family! Feel free to get specific. If there’s a place you want to eat, add that specific restaurant to your list. If there is a beach or park that you have really wanted to explore, this is the perfect opportunity. We also leave some of the squares blank on ours and we fill them as we go! 

Play Tourist

When trying to come up with all the fun and amazing things you can do this summer, think about what you would tell someone visiting this area to do. We always try to add some great touristy adventures to ours, like “ride the Island Beach Ferry,” “go on the Metro North Train,” or “visit the aquarium.”

Our favorite tourist attraction of the summer is in our hometown of Stamford! We love visiting all the sculptures of the Stamford Downtown art installation. It is so much fun to park your car, grab coffee and breakfast from Lorca and then walk all around downtown Stamford to check out the sculptures.

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Element of Surprise

Last year, I added a little twist to our annual list and for one week I surprised the girls. Basically, each morning they woke up and had NO IDEA what we a were going to do that day. They loved this so much. Who doesn’t love a good surprise? We will definitely be doing this again this year. Our weeks’ worth of surprises included:

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I am seriously so excited to see what the Summer of 2019 brings!

Do you and your family do a Summer Bucket List?

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Nikki has called wonderful Fairfield County her home, her entire life. Growing up on a campus of a private school in Greenwich, CT Nikki swore to her educator parents that she would never be a teacher. Well life has a way of repeating itself and now Nikki and her amazingly supportive husband are happily working at a different independent school in Greenwich. A recovering “type a” perfectionist she is learning to let go of her color coding, alphabetizing ways and embrace the mess. Helping her enjoy life’s everyday messes are her two precocious girls Sofie (11/15/11) and Keira (9/7/13). Nikki loves all things mommy cliché including but not limited to walks on the beach, running, reality TV, organizing closets, wine, chocolate and having her kids help her out in the kitchen.


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