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Now that summer has finally arrived, it’s time to figure out all of the wonderful things that we are going to do the next few months.
Deciding on which summer activities you want to prioritize is never easy. Especially if you try to work together as a family. Everyone always seems to have a different perspective of what summer should look like.
My oldest wants to read in a hammock all summer long and fill her afternoons with trips to the library.
My youngest desires hours to play with his toys and build his models.
And I personally want to repaint the entire house.
Although summer is a time for personal goals, there are also lots of adventures that I want to do together. So to make sure that we get to enjoy all of those experiences too, each year we create a family summer bucket list.
Like the song 18 Summers by Dillon Chase, we only get eighteen summers with our kids. Give or take.
That’s eighteen chances to celebrate summer together. Eighteen seasons filled with backyard barbeques, romps through the sprinkler and walks along the beach at sunset. Eighteen opportunities to create moments that will last a lifetime.
This time limit makes the summer bucket list even more important. The time that you do have to celebrate summer together needs to be filled with all of the things you want to do. The summer bucket list gives you an organizing tool to keep all of your ideas in one place.
Photo by Sixteen Miles Out
What is a Bucket List?
Turns out the term bucket list doesn’t actually refer to a bucket. Although the origins of the word bucket list may not be the most pleasantest – think kicking the bucket in Medieval Times when you swung from a noose – a bucket list really doesn’t have much to do with death.
When I think about the term “bucket list”, the 2007 movie The Bucket List (affiliate) starring Morgan Freeman comes to mind. In this movie, the two main characters create a bucket list and actually do it.
Put simply, a bucket list is traditionally a list of goals and dreams that you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Although these days, there are all sorts of bucket lists for many different seasons of life.
I have had lots of different kinds of bucket lists over the years.
When I was a freshman in high school, I had an assignment to write a bucket list for the next twenty years for a class. We had to list 100 things that we dreamed of doing by the time we were forty.
Although I have lost the list, I can officially tell you I didn’t accomplish half of the items on it.
Who knew that forty would get here so quickly? And life would just get in the way.
I also have a bucket list of books I want to read in my lifetime. After finding out that a voracious reader only has time to read about 3,000 books in a lifetime, I wanted to make sure I chose carefully.
You can also make bucket lists for your child’s first year, a certain decade of your life or even to be completed in a season. As long as its a collection of things you want to do, you can call it a bucket list.
The best news. Your summer bucket list has nothing to do with the d-word. It is simply a collection of things that you want to do before summer is over.
Photo by Hannah Morgan
Ideas for your Summer Bucket List
There are no right or wrong items to add to your bucket list. Everyone has different ideas about what they want to do over the summer months.
You can choose adventures you want to take. Books you want to read. Places you hope to visit. People you want to visit. And activities that you want to try.
One thing to remember when creating your summer bucket list is that it’s just a guide. It should be filled with your summer dreams and desires.
But you do not have to complete every item on the list. You might check off most of them. Or you might just have a few that you get done. No judgements made.
Also when making a bucket list, don’t worry about costs at first. Fill your summer bucket list with all of your wonderful ideas. You can figure out how to accomplish them later.
Need some ideas for your summer bucket list? If you aren’t sure where to start with making a summer bucket list, check out this list of summer activities for kids. We’ve filled it with 111 favorite summer activities that we’ve tried over the years. They are some of my favorite things that we do each summer. And many of them make our summer bucket list year after year.
How do I Make a Summer Bucket List?
When we are creating our summer bucket list, we start with a family meeting at the beginning of the summer. Usually right after school gets out.
At the start, each person writes down their summer wishes on a piece of paper. Depending on your family, set a time limit. If you allow too much time for brainstorming, you might end up with way too many ideas.
Then, we go around in a circle and share our lists. When we find things in common, we circle those items. They will definitely be added to the summer bucket list.
After everyone has shared, we start writing our family summer bucket list.
I use this Free Printable Summer Bucket List. There is room for 26 bucket list items. If you need more space, you could print an extra copy and fill out of second bucket list.
Or if everyone wants to do completely different things during their summer vacation, you could have each person fill out their own.
How do I Use the Design?
There are lots of different ways that you can use a summer bucket list.
We post ours on our kitchen chalkboard so that everyone can see it. As I plan our weeks in the summer, I refer to the bucket list. Depending on weather, temperatures and interest, I choose activities off of the list for our calendar.
As we complete the bucket list items, we check them off. There is such a sense of accomplishment as we complete things off the bucket list.
Our summer bucket list also helps us organize our summer activities with purpose. Before I used a summer bucket list, I would randomly select things that we did together. Although I loved my ideas, they weren’t always ones that everyone wanted to do.
By using the summer bucket list when selecting activities, everyone gets to do something they desire throughout the summer. There is very little complaining any more on the activities chosen. And most family members seem engaged in our adventures.
At the end of summer, I save our summer bucket lists. Partially because I like the memories. But also to use at our start of summer planning meeting the next year. We add items that didn’t get checked off to the next summer bucket list. And it’s a good reminder of the things we loved doing. Many times, we add those to do again the following summer.
Ready to Start a Summer Bucket List?
To get you started on your first bucket list, I created a Free Printable Summer Bucket List.
Print the list on regular letter sized paper.
Then, start filling it out. If your family isn’t sure what they want to do this summer, use our 111 Summer Activities for Kids guide to get started. Or if you are looking for more ways to celebrate summer, check out these fun ideas for celebrating summer here.
An Alternative Bucket List
Sometimes coming up with your own ideas for a summer bucket list can seem daunting. I get it. It’s nice to have the ideas already filled out for you.
If you prefer a pre-made summer bucket list, check out this summer bucket list art print I designed. You can print it on letter size white cardstock and place in a picture frame.
As your family completes the bucket list items, cross them off using a dry erase marker. At the end of the summer, wipe down the glass with cleaner and you can start over the next summer.
You can also just display the design as summer wall art. Whichever you prefer.
Still need to download your free printable? Be sure to download your Free Printable Summer Bucket List.
Love this design and want to save it for later? Pin it below.
And if you are planning a summer party, check out our collection of summer party printables. There are lots of printable designs to make your summer celebration shine.