Summer bucket lists…the list that many parents in the 21st century create before summer starts. The list that is filled with so many good intentions in today’s world of being a Pinterest parent. The list that parents create in hopes of keeping those tablets put away just a little bit longer during the extra hours of summer.
But even the most organized, fun parents eventually hit a wall where the bucket list items seem more unattainable. If you are anything like me, I find that after a busy fun-filled summer, I lose some of my eagerness to go on summer trips come August. The urge to load everyone up for a nice dip at the pool is dissipating, and the amount of dreaded screen time is piling up.
To breakdown my wall, I decided to spend a little time brainstorming some easy, healthy summer activities to keep the kids moving. I call this my summer bucket list – version 2.0. My goal was to think of activities that take very little preparation but will leave my kids thinking I am the coolest Mom ever. And, being the cool Mom that I am, I want to share this list so that other parents can earn this same title.
Let me preface this list with the fact that I have kids ranging in age from 3 to 14. So, while some of these activities may seem somewhat juvenile for older children, I have experience getting a 14-year-old involved. It may take a little prodding, but once the fun starts, the 14-year-old can’t help but enjoy himself.
Summer Bucket List – Version 2.0
Arrange a Bubble Popping Contest: This activity will take bubbles to the next level. Have one child (or yourself) blow bubbles while the other person pops the bubbles as fast as they can. Set a timer for 30 seconds and see how many bubbles are remaining when the timer sounds. Then, switch and declare a winner.
Participate in an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt: Each person quickly jots down a list of 5 to 7 things that can be found outside. Switch lists and go hunting for the items. The first person to gather all the items wins!
Create a Nature Craft After the Scavenger Hunt: Take the items gathered during your scavenger hunt, add some glue, and have a contest to build the coolest item from nature. The winner gets to pick a new game that everyone plays. (Can you tell my family is competitive?)
Take Advantage of a Local Farmer’s Market: This idea may seem a little more daunting as you must get dressed and load everyone in the car. Remember, it is a Farmer’s Market, so yoga pants and a cool summer hat are perfectly acceptable. Let each child take the time to choose a new fruit or vegetable, then bring the stock home and eat some healthy snacks.
Take a Walk: This one seems the most obvious, but I had to add it as part of our nightly routine. After dinner, turn off the television and get the entire family outside and go for a short walk together. We add in a game of “I Spy” or “20 Questions,” and even my 3-year-old is entertained and getting a little exercise. If you are super motivated, look for an upcoming 5K walk in your area. Late summer/early fall tend to be a popular time for many 5Ks.
Plant a Garden: Believe it or not, it is not too late to plant a small garden. Container gardens are especially good at this time of year as the container can be moved inside as needed. Research the vegetables or herbs that can still be planted in your area. I know here in Pennsylvania you can still plant vegetables such as carrots, peas, and spinach in August.
Create a Chalk Ninja Warrior Course: I saved my personal favorite for last. Get out lots of sidewalk chalk and start creating an obstacle course. Draw some tires, ladders, crooked paths, and more. Then, sit back and watch as your children run through the obstacle course again and again. It’s a win-win situation. You can sit and enjoy the summer weather and the kids get some exercise!I’d love to hear your ideas for healthy summer activities. Please add your bucket list activities in the comment section below. And remember, it is never too late to enjoy some last-minute, easy summer fun!
Rachel Lyons is the Lincoln Learning Solutions Manager of Instructional Services – Electives. She is also a Health teacher and has been employed at Lincoln Learning Solutions for 5 years. Rachel has 10 years of experience working in health education.