As a homeschooling family, you know the learning never really ends. Summer can be a great time to make memories and have extra days of fun along with your daily dose of learning. Family bucket lists give everyone a chance to choose a fun memory-making experience no matter your location or budget. We usually break out the summer family bucket list planner in April so my kids have time to start dreaming and prepping.
Family Bucket List Topics
My favorite way to start planning for summer fun is to think about topics. Although I’d like to spend a summer traveling through Europe or living on a beach somewhere – that just isn’t our reality at the moment. We try to focus on topics and create a List O Family Fun. I’ve found over the years that separating our ideas by topic ensures there is something for everyone on the final family bucket lists. Below are several topic ideas to help you get started brainstorming ideas for memory-making family activities to do this summer.
Take a Trip
Where do you want to go? What do you want to do while you’re there? If a long-distance family vacation is not in the cards this year, then think locally. What are some easy day trips you could do? Are there parks you’ve never explored? Hiking trails? Something on your “someday we’ll do that” list?
For us, we do things that are pretty expensive that we just can’t do on a regular basis during the year – such as glow-in-the-dark bowling, a day at the trampoline park, or taking a day of kayak lessons.
I have a good friend who had her kids research where they wanted to go for a family vacation. They had to give a presentation with all the pros/cons and budget – and then the family took a vote. I think this idea is brilliant because then the kids will know exactly what they are in for. It always surprises me, too, how thoughtful the kids can be. My friend said each sibling had specifically chosen experiences they knew the other siblings and parents would enjoy. I’m going to try this method at our house this year for sure.
If camping and the great outdoors make your family bucket lists, then don’t forget 4th graders get in free to all the national parks and monuments. This can really keep those bigger trips more affordable!
Tease Your Taste Buds on Your Family Bucket List
Watermelon juice running down your chin, balancing your bike while trying to eat a popsicle, running a lemonade stand – these are the things childhood memories are made of! Make sure you put food ideas on your summer bucket list.
These could be places you want to try such as a seasonal ice cream shop, a new food truck, an ethnic restaurant, etc. It could also be recipes you want to try – especially ones that can be made outside and are a little messy, like this one for homemade ice cream in a bag.
Visiting a fruit orchard could be a way to tease your taste buds AND take a trip – it’s a win-win!
Make family memories (Literally)
Working on a creative project together can be so rewarding and a great way to create family memories this summer. We’ve done big family projects such as putting in a basketball court. (My kids would probably not describe this as a great memory yet though. They’ll appreciate it when they are older, right?) But we’ve also done simpler things like sitting out in the yard with a big block of clay and making sculptures in the sunshine. (My favorite YouTube art channels are here.)
You can learn a whole new skill together or this is a time when you can spend 1:1 time with your kids teaching them how to build or create something.
Crafting and art projects are also fun to do when the weather is not cooperative.
How can you get involved in your community? I think having service projects on the bucket list is a great way to teach your family to take pride in their community and the value of public service. We have done things like volunteer at the Humane Society, make cards for residents in a nursing home, pick up trash at a park, etc.
Don’t Forget Family Fun Nights on Your Bucket List
In our house, we have family fun nights on Fridays – in theory – but in reality it doesnt always happen. Summer time can add a lot of variety into your family bonding because there are so many activities you can do.
This summer my husband is planning to set up a movie projector in the backyard and host movie nights.
We also enjoy game nights (and bonus they can be educational!) and going for late night walks.
Our community has a local astronomy club that hosts star viewings throughout the summer. We havent’ been able to attend one yet but it is definitely going on this summer’s family fun bucket list!
Recently I heard about people taking mystery trips, where the travel agent plans the trip for you after a series of questions and you don’t find out where you’re going until you get to the airport. How fun is that? If you have a good friend you trust, have them plan a family night out on the town for you or a scavenger hunt through your town. This would be so much fun and affordable, too!
How Do You Actually Make a Bucket List
Now that I have your brain swarming with topical ideas – it’s time to write them down. Use this handy (FREE) family bucket list planner to write down all your big ideas. It is separated out into categories like I discussed above. I’d suggest printing multiple copies so each member of your family can brainstorm on their own without being influenced by more vocal siblings.
Once everyone has their family bucket list ideas written down, you can compare notes. If the majority of you wrote similar things, then make those your priorities.
However, if each person has something really different on their list – see if you can make that happen. For example, one of my daughters really wants to go horseback riding but no one else in the family wants to do that. That’s okay! I can still make this bucket list item happen for her.
Once you’ve acknowledged everyone’s ideas make one big Ultimate Family Bucket List (keep it manageable and doable!). I also suggest that you still keep everyone’s original brainstorm sheets because that way if one item falls through, you have alternate ideas.
Focus on Quality not Quantity
It’s so tempting to make a list of all the things and try to do all of them. But, I am just going to give you the big sister advice of focusing on quality, not quantitiy. Choose a couple of bigger ticket items and assign dates to them. For the other items, keep them simpler, smaller, and much easier to arrange from a logistics perspective.
Leaving room for flexibility in your bucket list schedule will keep expectations at managaeable levels and help you choose another activity when things don’t go as planned. Remember, the point is to create family memories and strenghten the bonds that you already have in your homeschooling family.
The bucket list checklist and activity ideas are in the shop and they are free! Have fun creating your family bucket lists. I can’t wait to hear what you do this summer to make family memories.