We decided to try something new this summer.
Instead of letting the days and weeks fly by, constantly hearing “I’m bored” from the kids, we wanted to start a new tradition. I had been seeing different people post about their summer plans and noticed a few specifically saying they had created a “Bucket List” of things they wanted to do this summer.
I loved the idea but knew that having a newborn through the summer usually means I stay inside and don’t go anywhere. (Sorry kids, it’s just who I am! Judge me.) But, I didn’t want the older kids to have a lame summer even if newborn life has been hard to readjust to.
So, one evening as we were sitting in the pool, I brought the idea up to the kids and Daniel and asked if they wanted to come up with a list of things we wanted to do together this summer. I was met with a resounding, “YES!”
First, we had to lay some ground rules. I knew without some sort of guidelines, they would’ve tried to put some crazy stuff on the list (they meaning my husband, Daniel).
Summer Bucket List Rules
The Whole Family Participates - All 6 of us have to be at and participate (to the best of our abilities) in every activity
Keep It Local - It has to be within a 30 minute driving distance #NewbornLife
Majority Rules - Every activity had to have a majority vote to be added to the list. We didn’t count Arthurs vote, because let’s be real here... he’s tiny and has no option but to go along with whatever we say!
Picture or it Doesn’t Count - We have to take a picture at every event! BUT, if we forget to take our picture with all 6 of us in it then it doesn’t count as completed and we have to do it again.
We took the next 24 hours to dream up activities we wanted to add to the list and planned a family meeting for dinner the next day to share our ideas.
The next night at dinner, after reiterating the ground rules, we all started sharing the things we had come up with. These kids were throwing out some pretty weird ideas! Several of their events and activities basically totally ignored the 3 rules. But, it was so much fun laughing and talking about all the crazy ideas we had.
After we wrote down every idea, we went through the list and voted on each activity. If it didn’t get 3 votes then it didn’t make the list. We ended up with 19 summer activities total, some free and others a bit pricey.
Our Summer Bucket List
Here are the 19 things we have on our Summer Bucket List:
Movie Theater Night
Shaved Ice (we’re doing this one in the pictures in this post!)
Night Swim & S’mores
Picnic at the Splash Pad
Backyard Obstacle Course
Service Project - Animal Shelter
Root Beer Floats
Family Bike Ride
Paint Your Own Pottery
Crucial Summer Bucket List Scrapbooking Supplies
#1 - The right Scrapbook
I had purchased some clearanced K&Company Smashfolio scrapbooks from Target a few years ago and pulled one out to use as our Bucket List Book. I knew I wanted to document this as we went along. Here’s the exact scrapbook we’re using:
#2 - a Photo Printer (That can print 4x6)
I also ordered a small photo printer* so we could easily print full size 4x6 inch pictures directly from my phone. (*Daniel did a ton of his nerdy tech review research and we ended up ordering a Canon CP1300 with a 108-sheet paper and ink pack and love it so far!)
Documenting The Bucket List Activities
After each bucket list event I’ve been doing my best to come home and immediately print a few pictures to include on that activity’s page. I’ve also always included some sort of little trinket or memento we’ve kept from the activity. For instance, when we went to the movies I saved the ticket stubs and a little candy wrapper. Just a few fun physical items to add to our memory book! The kids have loved helping me make each page and are always excited to write down their favorite parts of each activity.
Bucket List Lessons Learned
I’ve discovered a few important things to note as we’ve been checking things off our list.
1. Keep the list manageably short.
First, we put way too many activities on our list!! We ended up with 19 things on our Summer List and with only 8 weeks of summer, there is NO WAY we will be able to get everything in. I’ve realized it is much more likely you could do one bucket list activity per week, maybe every week and a half. So ideally I would have had between 8-12 things on the list.
2. Keep the weather in mind.
Second, we didn’t account for the weather. We put a few things that are definitely “summer specific” like going to a water park and picnic at a splash pad, but we also put things like a hike, kite flying, going to an outdoor nature preserve… and although those are awesome ideas for our bucket list, we would be miserable (especially Art) doing those things when it’s 100+ degrees outside.
3. Consider inviting family/close friends along.
And lastly, we realized that some of our extended family wanted to participate in our bucket list. We’re blessed to have AMAZING parents and grandparents around that have been able to join us in some of the activities like picnics and going to the movies. It’s made it extra special knowing my kids will have memories with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I can’t wait to someday look back through our very first Summer Bucket List scrapbook and see all the pictures, read the notes and smile.
Never-ending Bucket List
We decided that the bucket list shouldn’t stop at Summer’s end - every season needs a bucket list! We’ll continue making our little scrap books full of these amazing memories as each season comes. It’s been so rewarding for me because it’s a small amount of work on my part to create these special little books that we’ll have to look back on forever.
They’re nothing fancy, and I am trying to keep it that way so that my focus and energy goes into making the memories with my family! The years really do fly by so fast, I want to soak up all the moments I can with these amazing little people.