Summer Bucket List

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For kids, summer is a time of exploration--exploring nature, exploring their interests, exploring new places. It's often easier to just get into the same routine, but so much can be discovered by just stepping out of what you always do. We've all heard the "I'm bored" sigh. Sometimes, all kids need is an idea, and they will go with it. I'm terrible at thinking of things to do off the cuff, which is why I've been compiling a Summer Bucket List over the past few weeks. Usually ideas come to me just as I'm falling asleep. I scratch a note of paper with the lights off, and try to decipher it in the morning. Usually I can, but if you can help me figure out what "go to dehioshs" means, I'd really appreciate it! I've also polled friends for ideas, and my kids have added a few already. My plan is to write these all down on a big list in our hallway, and we can check off things we've done. I'll be sure to add plenty of space for my kids to add more ideas as they think of them throughout the summer. It gets them excited and interested in trying new things. (FYI -- I do a similar list on Snow Days. Check out blog about it here. I love lists!)

Summer Bucket List

  • Find a four-leaf clover

  • Find 5 toys to donate

  • Do a lemonade stand

  • Create and do a photo scavenger hunt at a local park or on a bike ride. (You can do one any day July and August at Frelinghuysen Arboretum. It is $10 to do, and you get a prize at the end. Click here for details.)

  • Take photos of objects in nature in the shape of letters in your name

  • Plan and make a dinner

  • Plan and make a lunch

  • Plan and make breakfast

  • Plan and make a dessert

  • Learn to fold an origami frog

  • Climb a tree

  • Learn to whistle on a blade of grass

  • Catch a frog or toad

  • Walk through a creek, pick up rocks, and look for bug nymphs (bonus points if you find a crayfish) Here's my post on creeking, My Kind of Live Streaming.

  • Follow a YouTube beginner painting video. Recently, I came across The Art Sherpa. She has amazingly beautiful beginner (and advanced) step-by-step painting YouTube videos. Click here for her art tutorials for kids.

  • Make a public service video about a cause you are passionate about

  • Go to a carnival and try a ride you never tried before

  • Tie-dye a tshirt

  • Go fishing

  • Paint rocks for Madison NJ Rocks and hide them around town. Here is an article about it, and check out the Facebook page. Also, check out my post #amadisonmom Rocks, about us painting rocks.

  • Walk around Madison and see how many buildings have dates on them. See if you can spot the architectural features I show in my post Look Up!

  • Do a photo shoot of your pet or stuffed animals

  • Go to a 4H fair. Here's my blog about them from last year.

  • Start a book club with friends

  • Ask a friend for book recommendations

  • Post a review of your favorite books on Amazon (with parent permission, of course!)

  • Go to a local baseball game -- NJ Jackals, Somerset Patriots, or Sussex Miners

  • Take pictures of nature and make them into a calendar

  • Pick vegetables or fruit at a local farm

  • Make a board game

  • Write to your favorite author

  • Join the library's summer reading program (kids, teens, and adults!). Here is my blog about last year's program. Check out the library for info on this year's events and reading incentives. Summer Reading Program kicks off Monday, June 18. This year's theme is Libraries Rock (music).

  • Learn to shuffle cards

  • Have family game night (charades!)

  • Plan a family movie night

  • Learn a card game

  • Learn a card or magic trick

  • Make different types of slime. Here are some recipes.

  • Do a simple science experiment. Here are some ideas.

  • Explore a new town (this could include getting online and finding a destination the kids like)

  • Have a picnic

  • Play in a sprinkler

  • Borrow a bird identification book from the library, grab some binoculars, and go bird watching

  • Visit a museum. Get free museum passes at the library. Here is more info on the passes the Madison Library has.

  • Try a new sport

  • Get a book form the library or check out YouTube to help you learn to draw something, like animals, cartoons, anime, people, etc.

  • Teach your pet how to do a trick

  • Learn to juggle

  • Learn to knit or crochet

  • Learn to braid or tie friendship bracelets

  • Go on a bike ride with friends

  • Write a letter to family or friend

  • Learn some new jokes and try them out

  • Fold and fly paper airplanes. Have a contest for accuracy and distance.

  • Spot a shooting star

  • Have a campout in the backyard

  • Fly a kite

  • Blow a bubble with gum

  • Pick up trash along a bike/scooter ride

  • Hold a garage sale

  • Plant an herb or vegetable garden

  • Rescue worms from the sideway after a rainstorm

  • Try geocaching--basically a scavenger hunt for tiny boxes that are everywhere--throughout Madison, along trails in the woods, and even in other countries! Get the app Geocaching by Groundspeak, Inc. There is a free version (great for beginners) or you can pay if you get really into it!

  • Find the best [you pick the food] in the area. Last year, a friend told me that her family created a mission to find the best pizza within 10 miles. The kids researched new places, and then every week they headed to a new spot. By the end of the summer, they had explored many new towns, ate a lot of pizza, and each found their favorite pizza place (of course, each family member had a different favorite!). This can work for ice cream, hamburgers, mac and cheese, sushi, etc.--whatever your family loves!

I hope this kicks off a summer of fun for you and your kids! I'd love to hear your ideas! Please add them in the comments!