What’s On Your Summer Bucket List?




While I enjoy each of New England’s four seasons, my children will tell you that, hands down, summer is a prized time for them. It represents the end of yet another school year and reasonable structure as we know it. It ushers in carefree days where they can be children, and warm nights where play doesn’t have to end. In comes the summer bucket list.

I have wonderfully fond summer memories of my childhood. I lived in a rural area, and I’m old enough to have entertained myself free of electronics — even television. My childhood was before the days of cable, and neither our aluminum foil-covered “rabbit ears” nor the ginormous antenna questionably secured to the roof did much for reception…and that was fine.

I want that for my children. A simple, but active, memorable summer.

Enter the bucket list. The summer bucket list.

I have but one bucket list rule: it has to be genuine. A list of kid-focused, child-approved, summertime activities that your family can use to stay busy and build great memories. Everyone’s list is different but for me the most awesome lists include grassroots-style activities, many which are low cost or free, and involve being outdoors. And the extra awesome lists also include both sunny and rainy day activities!

I’ve listed some of my top summer bucket list suggestions to help inspire you. Part of the fun is creating your own list and I’d love to hear what you come up with!

Starting at the top! (Also, this is much more fun if you read it like David Letterman used to read his top ten list.  If you don’t, that’s fine too. I’m flexible like that….)


Number 10: Run through an old fashioned sprinkler! Seriously, who didn’t love this as a kid?

Number 9: Sidewalk chalk art. You can even have a second margarita and start drawing with your kids, making them the star of their own masterpieces.

Number 8: Roasting marshmallows or hot dogs. Nothing says fun like pointy sticks and delicious processed meat when you’re six. Seriously, nothing.

Number 7: Catching fireflies or digging for worms. Just make sure you explain about “catch and release.”

Number 6: Fun with shaving cream or water balloons. My kids almost vibrate with excitement if I so much as utter the words water balloon.

Number 5: Build a sand castle (preferably at the beach) and be sure to bury someone in the sand. If that someone is you, know it is normal to have sand in your unmentionable areas for the rest of the summer.

Number 4: Visit a water park or local fair. Farmer’s Markets are fabulous too. And our Seacoast Farmer’s Markets…beyond fabulous, actually.

Number 3: Feed a pig. No, an actual pig. At a farm. Maybe pigs aren’t your thing? Go to the farm anyway. Visit a goat, ride a pony, smell some fresh cow manure (watch your step)…it’s all good!  Your kids will be uber-delighted.

Number 2: Make potato stamps. This is my token “rainy day activity.” We also like to make pizza, play dough and build blanket forts.

And the Number 1 summer bucket list suggestion (according to my preschooler, anyway): Sleep in the backyard in a tent! No backyard? Borrow one. Just ask first. People think it’s creepy when strangers start pitching tents in the yard unannounced.

This is just our short list. My children also love to watch the sunrise (at the ocean), go on hikes, eat a picnic lunch, plant a garden, make fairy houses — the list can be as long as you like. Kids love to make the list interactive by helping plan daily adventures and then crossing activities off the list.

Stay safe and remember we’re all in this together. Here’s to you and your family’s best summer yet!


  1. i love this! And i NEED to do this. I always end up doing the same things with my daughter (which she loves) but definitly need some variety! Thanks for a great post!

  2. I love this too!!

    You must have read my mind because all of these activities are my favorite things! Charlie may not be running through a sprinkler just yet but we don’t have to rush it 😉

    Thank you for sharing this amazing post.

  3. Fantastic! I think we all become too consumed with fun “costing” and forget the best memories are free! Every tried washable paint, watered down and added to squirt guns????

  4. Oh my golly what great memories: this bucket list is amazing. When I grew up you ate breakfast and sent outsoors to play and TOLD do not come back til noon..same with dinner…. Watched some children play tag and red rover, wonderful to witness children playing without electronics…. Summers here so create your specialized bucket list.,,, cheers

  5. #3 is right on! Visit Jenness Farm in Nottingham NH! Lots and lots of goats, a potbellied pig, sheep, bunnies, a horse, donkeys! Plenty of chickens, peacocks & turkeys! No charge to visit and feed the animals…stop into the shop and check out our all natural bath and body care products made right here on the farm. Our lip balm was unanimously voted “Best of NH” by the staff of NH Magazine! Open Thurs-Sat 10-6 and Sun 11-4! See you at the farm!

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