Summer Bucket List: What Can I Do at Home?

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The key to a balanced summer is spending those “chilling out” (as my son calls them) days at the house. But, let’s be honest, kids are still going to need something if you don’t want them playing video games all day.

We created a list together of things my kids can do at home, so when they ask the inevitable question, “What can I do?”, I can point to the list.

Here are some of the things that we loved last summer:

Water Balloon Fights

Water balloon fights are made so easy for us parents now. A single point of entry and instantly twenty filled water balloons. Long gone are the days of spending hours filling up the balloon for a few mere minutes of fun. 

Pro Tip: don’t do it in your yard! The pieces of the balloon make a mess, so pick a place that’s easy to pick up the pieces. 

S’mores Night

Pick a cooler night with clear skies to start up the ol’ firepit to take a moment and transport your child to the camping trip they are always begging to go on. This is a nice, relaxing evening for the whole family.

Pro Tip: Unwrap everything and put it on a plate. Make sure to teach your kids not to fling the stick when the marshmallow catches on fire! Wipes are helpful as fingers get sticky.

Camping in the Backyard

My oldest son has been begging for this for weeks now, but we never have the time with all our activities on the weekends during the school year. So, it’s on the summer list! I’m interested to see if they last all night. 

Night Swimming / Movie in the Pool

We recently got a pool and these were some hits last summer! If you don’t have a pool, you can still pull off a “Movie in the Backyard” night

Pro Tip: Summer nights go late, so make sure your kids don’t have anything pressing the next day and can stay up later. For a Movie in the backyard – BUG SPRAY! We just pulled a smaller TV we have out into the backyard for this (nice when everything is streaming!).

Chalk Day

Get that jumbo pack of chalk and roll it out on the driveway. Hours of fun! 

Pro Tip: Chalk gets everywhere, so make sure they shower afterward or play in the water hose! Make sure they know where they can and can’t use the chalk. 

Family Bike Ride

During the quarantine, my boys learned how to ride two wheels and since then daily family bike rides became a thing! 

Pro Tip: Go early morning or late evening because again – it’s hot!

Water Day

This can be coupled with the water balloon fight, but you can add the water hose (on a trampoline if you have one) or some smaller water pools and tables for the younger kids. Water and hot summer days always go together! 

Pro Tip: Bucket of water by the door to clean off those muddy feet before coming inside. 

Scavenger Hunt

It takes some pre-work, but my boys loved a homemade scavenger hunt at a friend’s party last weekend. Starting with a clue from mom, the kids then hunt down each clue that leads them to the next until the prize at the end. Depending on your prep and dedication this could lead to hours of fun time for the kids. You can also end this with a Chalk Day or something else on the list. 

Homemade Ice Cream

You can also make snow cones if you have a machine (which I do, don’t ask me why) or even homemade pizza. Really anything your kids want to cook or make. 

Pro tip: Get all the materials out first, have a prep area, and make sure if it is ice cream or snow cones, the water hose is ready when they are done eating it outside!

Pizza and a Movie Night

Personally, we do this all year, every Friday Night. It’s something that no matter what brings us together at the end of the week. The movie is a family pick and we all watch it together.

Pro Tip: Don’t start too late and watch movie length. Also, if you have kids of varying ages, set a rating limit before you discuss movie options. I mostly give a few options and we vote as a family.

Family Game Night

Check out my Family Game Night article for more information on various games that are great to play, but overall this is about doing something together at home. 

Read a Book

This is more a goal really that everyone in the family has to have over the summer. If you’re looking for a good starting place for around 3rd grade, pick “My Life as a Book”, it’s about a summer reading list! 

Pro Tip: Take them to the library to pick out a book to get them excited. Establish “Family Reading Times” where everyone is working on their goal. 

Adding these at-home things to your summer calendar will help decrease the amount of technology time your children have over the summer. I don’t know about you but that is always the goal for me! This got my kids thinking of all the other things they can do at home besides play video games. 

Of course, the thing that is really synonymous with summer aside from lazy summer days at home and late summer nights are trips!

Coming up: Summer Bucket List – Day Trips in our Area for Kids.

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Anne Frances MacDonald is a Special Education Teacher for the Escambia County School District. Prior to becoming a teacher ten years ago, she worked in the mental health field and foster care system. Working with kids is her passion that has allowed her to support the community through education, social work, and coaching her son’s soccer team. She has been married for twelve years and has two boys, ages seven and six, both of who keep her busy. As a working mother, she has many roles. In the last year, she has added writer to her list, completing her first novel, A Lost Woman. Throughout her career, she has always been dedicated to supporting others and her community.

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