Tomorrow, June 21, marks the first day of summer (for those of us here in the United States and the rest of the northern hemisphere), and this year we will be celebrating with a Summer Bucket List pajama party!
We will be wearing our PJ’s all day and sleeping in after the rooster crows (hopefully the toddler will cooperate)! If this goes against some parenting law somewhere, sorry we are breaking the rules!
A Summer Bucket List party is basically a time to spend the day planning summer activities and setting goals for the next few months. As much as I love no schedule (I’m the anti-type A mom!), with four kids, I need to have some plans in place. We will create our summer bucket list of fun activities that the kids say they would like to do or accomplish, sprinkled in with a few from Mom. Then on bored days (also days known as “The Kids Are Driving Me Crazy, What Do I DO?”), we will turn to the bucket list for ideas.
If your family has writer’s block while working on your lists, check out this great resource, 1001 Things Your Kids Should See and Do by Harry H. Harrison, Jr. My family has this on our shelf and we refer to it often!
4 ideas for creating a summer bucket list for your kids:
Summer Bucket List Idea #1 – The Bucket List Jar
Everyone writes down their wish-list of activities on a piece of paper, then cut them into strips and place them in a cookie jar or glass container; on days when you want to tackle the Bucket List you go to the jar and pull out an activity. “Surprise! This is what we’re doing today!” you can announce (speaking from experience, we always end up putting some activities back in the jar to “save them for a rainy day” and re-draw).
Summer Bucket List Idea #2 – Custom Bucket Lists for Each Child
Get crafty and encourage your kids to write out their bucket list in their handwriting and decorate it with stickers, stencils, or other embellishments. Post the bucket lists in their room, on the mirror in the bathroom, or in a journal so it can become a keepsake memory of their summer.
Summer Bucket List Idea #3 – Bucket List Rewards
Do your kids’ Summer Bucket Lists contain too many expensive outings like going to museums, zoos, the movies, and amusement parks? The costs can add up fast if you’re leaving the house every day! Help your children set realistic expectations for what they can do on their summer break, and let these special field trips and excursions be rewards for good behavior, completing chores, or accomplishing summer goals.
Summer Bucket List Idea #4 – Helping Others Bucket List
Make sure your bucket lists have a good mix of activities–from no-cost to low-cost–including some ideas for serving and and helping others this summer. There are so many ways kids can spend their extra free time giving back and showing others the love of Christ through random acts of kindness and service. You can start preparing Blessings Bags or shoe boxes for needy kids during the Christmas season, surprise a neighbor with baked goods, donate the proceeds from a lemonade stand, or write letters to missionaries or people in the Armed Services.
Remember to be Realistic and Take Turns with your Summer Bucket Lists
If you have kids with varying ages like I do (two toddlers and two tweens), it can be a challenge finding activities that make everyone happy. On days when we’re all together, we simply take turns on our bucket lists, with the end goal everyone having a great summer.
Last year, my family spent practically the entire summer living out of our car. Our house was on the market and the only way to maintain a show-ready house was to not be home. It was not a fun summer, so I promised the kids this summer we will not have to keep a clean house, nor live out of the car.
I’m hopeful that the first day of summer will be amazing this year. I might feel well rested, the kids will not have the weight of school on their shoulders and we’ll be home together. That said, I know the days following will include many that will have me wanting to pull out my hair! I pray that God will give all of us parents the grace and patience we need to parent our children with love and encouragement this summer!
How will you celebrate the first day of summer? What is on your kids’ Summer Bucket List this year? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!