If your family is anything like my family then you’ve probably come to the realization by now that not everything in life goes as planned. In fact, typically things never seem to go as anticipated no matter how good your best laid plans are.
So how is your summer going so far? Is it meeting expectations? Are you crushing all of the goals you set? Are you and the kids firing on all cylinders? Do you feel like you’re dominating? If the answer to those questions is “yes!” then let me be the first to congratulate you.
You see, it’s rather rudimentary, but summer comes down to one thing for the Christian family: God’s glory!
With this as your aim, all of the pressure is off and everything else can be viewed not as an end, but as a means to THE end (ahem, God’s glory!). You can now hold anything you do this summer in an open hand.
Subsequently, this open-handed mindset really sets you up to find freedom for example in having a summer bucket list. Now, I realize that bucket lists get sort of a bad wrap. They tend to make people feel enslaved and are potentially yet another thing in people’s lives to make them feel inadequate. And for those of us that aren’t naturally creative, attempting to make this happen is akin to potty training (okay, maybe not that bad!).
But what if this summer, with your newfound vision that summer isn’t about you or your kids (see the linked posts above), you were able to come up with a bucket list in which you felt total freedom and in which you felt was totally doable - with tons of items you could incorporate into your daily rhythms as a family that are cost-effective and loads of fun? Would you be into that sort of thing?
Years ago, our family decided that at the beginning of each summer, we would come up with a list of fun things we wanted to accomplish as a family. This would only work if everyone gave their input (a family affair through and through) and if the ideas were cheap and not too labor intensive.
We would come up with a list of ideas, write the best ones down on colored note cards, and pin them on a board in our kitchen. The planning sessions are always fun. And over the years we’ve learned to lower the expectations on the results, feeling great if we only get to 5 of the fifty ideas we have because hey, there’s grace for that!
Making a good bucket list doesn't have to be too complicated:
- Sit your family down and begin working through the things you love the most as a family.
- Begin to come up with a list of your favorite pastimes, activities, experiences, or dreams.
- Try to come up with ideas that involve serving others as well (family, neighbors, church family).
- If you struggle to come up with ideas, there are tons of resources out there, like the one we’re going to provide you. (There are even resources that show you how to display your bucket lists if you are looking to get a bit more creative. Check this out!).
- Remember to think super simple, super cheap, and super easy - surprisingly there are an infinite number of ideas!
As a quick reference, here are our summer bucket list items:
(caveat: This list will work well especially for children ages 4-11. We realize that the lists for children ages 0-2 or 12-17 will look completely different.).
- Go on a hike
- Go for a late night ice cream run
- Have a pirate dinner
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Make a lemonade stand
- Go to the zoo
- Play tag in the back yard
- Have a water balloon fight
- Go canoeing
- Go to the beach
- Learn how to ride a bike
- Make s’mores
- Build a fort
- Make a tree swing
- Go to the library
- Go for frozen yogurt
- Have a neighborhood cookout
- Have dinner with close friends
- Tie-dye shirts
- Make banana splits
- Kids fun/fitness bootcamp
- Make chocolate covered frozen bananas
- Go to a matinee movie
- Have a sand castle building competition
- Paint a mural on the driveway with sidewalk chalk
- Go to a baseball game
- Blow bubbles
- Go to a late night movie
- Have a tea party with scones
- Go for a family bike ride
- Have a family work day
- Go for a neighborhood prayer walk
- Make a shaving or whipped cream slip-n-slide
- Do a family 5k
- Go to a local splash park
- Throw a neighborhood driveway 3-on-3 basketball tournament
- Go swimming (a lot)
- Build Legos (grab a handful and see what comes of it)
- Play pie smash
- Visit the local children’s hospital
- Ride go-karts
- Take a mini-road trip
- Have a water gun fight
- Throw a neighborhood pot luck
- Have a driveway happy hour with neighbors
- Watch fireworks
- Make ice cream (yeah, we love ice cream)
- Go bowling
- Watch a sunset at the beach
- Have a movie marathon