By Brittany Carlson
One of my favorite summer traditions as a mom is to make a bucket list of summer activities with my husband and kids. Once we come up with the ideas, we create a colorful BINGO-style poster to put on the wall so we can check off activities as we do them. (Now that my older son is 6, he loves helping me draw illustrations to go with each item).
I got the idea few years ago from my friend Amber, and it has stuck. Whenever we are looking for something fun to do (which happens much more often now that school and extracurriculars are over!), we check the poster. It has also become a family challenge to try and check off everything on the chart in the course of a summer.
If this sounds like something you’d like to try with your kids, all you need is a list of ideas, a big sheet of paper or posterboard, and some markers (and of course, a sense of adventure!). Ideas for activities range from local (think: your own backyard) to bigger trips (such as to the zoo or a theme park), but many of our favorites are free. To make a BINGO-style poster, you’ll need to create a 5 x 5 box for 25 items total. Once you complete an activity, just draw a diagonal line across the box.
Here are some of our ideas to get you started:
-Summer reading program at the library (many libraries offer prize giveaways to kids who complete the summer reading chart). Just visiting the library can be a fun activity in itself.
-Feed the ducks/fish/turtles at a local pond
-Playground (we have a rotation of favorites)
-Kids’ museum (look for those with outdoor exhibits too!)
-Beach (build a sand castle, swim, beachcomb, walk the boardwalk)
-Fire pit (build one, roast hot dogs and marshmallows for s’mores)
-Hike (come up with list of things to spot/check off to keep kids interested)
-Bike (or even learn to ride for the first time)
-Hunt for bugs (bug tents are great for observing and then releasing)
-Picnic in a favorite outdoor spot (or inside if it’s raining)
-Take your dog to the dog park. The kids like meeting other dogs too!
-Stargaze (get out blankets bring hot chocolate)
-Boat (paddle boat, canoe, any kind of boat)
-Camp (including backyard camping)
- Have a backyard BBQ (invite friends!)
-Pick berries (whatever is in season. Bonus points if you use them in a recipe)
- Vacation Bible School or other kids’ camp
-Learn a new skill (swimming, art class, cooking new food, etc).
-Water fight (water balloons, squirt guns, etc)
Personalize your BINGO sheet by using your kids’ ideas. My boys are far more likely to want to get out of the house and try new things if we’re doing something that was their idea in the first place. Try to keep chores and “honey do” items off this list to keep it fun. Most importantly, have a blast!