Summer Bucket List

Ahhh summer..a time to lay on the trampoline with kids and gaze at the stars, or a chance to get ahead academically so your kids will be ahead of the game come Fall (or both)?! Whatever you hope to accomplish this summer, a little brainstorming never hurt anyone. You will notice that most of these activities are not expensive or difficult to prepare for. Some people might have other, seemingly more ambitious goals, such as perfecting swimming skills or making dance teams — and that’s great — we will also be doing some things like that, but I think these types of activities are also important, especially during the summer when kids build character through exploration and gain a sense or self through a bit of freedom and new experiences. My family is young; two preschool aged girls and a nearly 1-year-old boy so the list is more for younger children, but some activities are great for any age.  I have included a pdf printable for you to fill in with your own ideas, if you would like to hang your list on your fridge or in some other spot for reference.

Bucket list printable PDF:   bucket_list

1.  Stay up past bedtime and lay on the grass looking at the stars.

2. Go camping, roast marshmallows  and tell silly/scary stories together.

3. Embrace Snail Mail.  Send postcards or other notes and artwork to grandparents or other family and friends.

4. Make some heirloom recipes from my family history with my girls and show them pictures of their ancestors.

5. Take my kids to an outdoor concert..and show off my dance moves sure to humiliate them!

6. Have a family day (or days) where the kids get to direct activities (within reason), and we follow my daughters favorite rule “no rushing around doing adult stuff!”

7. Clean out a large, used egg carton to be used throughout the summer for a rock collection, or for some other type of summer collection.

8. Participate in a service activity/make a care package for U.S soldiers to celebrate the 4th of July.

9. Make a “book”. I think we will do one all about the USA, in a notebook throughout the summer with pictures of landmarks, a map, and information about any place they go on a trip. This is an opportunity for artwork, writing, etc.. *You might choose some other theme that would spark an interest for your child..for example my daughter has been doing a nature book for a while, cutting out pictures of animals and bugs and glueing them in a notebook and writing a few letters or “words” next to the pictures.

10. Enjoy an evening at the farmers market.

11. Plant herbs.

12. Learn a few new outside games..such as croquette, hopscotch, sardines (like hide and seek), freeze tag, flash light tag at night, chinese jumprope, or relay races.

13. Participate in the public library’s summer reading program!

14. Outdoor artwork with chalk, such as doing a mural as a family at the park or trace shadows.

15. Have a family baseball (or t-ball) game and attend a Dodgers game.

16. Kite flying day / Make and fly paper airplanes.

17. Visit a farm / berry picking.

18. Make our own healthy popsicles.

20. Visit the ocean / beach day.

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School is out! (Let the learning begin..)

My daughter recently finished up her parent-led preschool co-op group with a graduation party.  As we watched the kids play in the little pool together I thought about all the great things I learned as a kid during the summer. During summer months, I think it is a healthy thing to ease up on structured academics, and learn in a different and very important way. Summer is the perfect time to explore the natural world, gain confidence by trying new things, build social and familial relationships and let imaginations run wild. Trips to visit relatives, swimming and sports activities, camping trips, nature walks and beach days, bug hunting or bird-watching at the park, learning a new skill or game, picnics, visiting a Zoo or Aquarium, and also important — combining the fresh knowledge from these new experiences together with imagination during play time. All of these things make summer a learning hot-house. As a child I liked collecting interesting rocks and putting them in cleaned out empty egg cartons.  My mother would help me break some of them open with a large and heavy rock to see what the inside of the rock looked like, and many of them were very pretty.  This led to me pretending I was an archeologist while digging in the dirt on the side of my parent’s home.  I really hoped I would find some ancient bones! My daughter loves collecting shells when we go to the beach (we were warned by a ranger against collecting the enclosed type of shells that hermit crabs need for their homes, so now we stick to the flat and open shells).

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Lots of great resources for parents and kids are available in most communities, such as summer reading programs through Public Libraries that offer prizes and incentives (yes, even for kids who are not yet reading, but are read to by parents), inexpensive activities or classes through City Recreation programs, and many communities have free outdoor concerts and performances for children during the summer.  Calling the Parks and Recreation department in your community might give you some fun ideas. Just for fun, I will post a picture of myself as a young girl (I think about 7 years old) posing in my drill team outfit just before we walked /performed in our city’s 4th of July parade.  This may not seem very educational to some parents, but hey — dancing in that parade in front of all those people took guts and lots of practice.  ☺

I wish you and your tots a fun-filled summer of new experiences and happy memories.