Why you Shouldn’t Make a Summer Bucket List

Why you Shouldn’t Make a Summer Bucket List June 18, 2024

Summer is in full swing. Longer days. Warmer weather. More Freedom.

Let’s keep it that way.

In the past I have made a “Summer Bucket List” and attempted to fit in each and every activity as if crossing off a to do list would prove that my kids and I had a great summer. However, summer is a time for unfettered living, spontaneity, and rest. The pressure to come up with a list can cause stress or busyness. If that is how it makes you feel, consider these reasons for ditching the bucket list this summer.


  1. It leaves more room for creativity.

If kids aren’t continually sent or handed activities, they will have to come up with their own fun. You may soon find them creating forts in the bushes, having picnics on the lawn, creating experiments out of water, mud, or soap and many more things. Education researcher N.V. Scarfe once said, “The highest form of research is essentially play”.

Give your kids a jump rope, bike, mud kitchen toys, picture books that inspire play, or a friend and they will inevitably come up with something to do.

2. It leaves more room for connection.

The school year is a busy time, so slow summer days can free up time for one-on-one moments with your kids, more intentional time as a family and other valuable connection points. If you’re too busy trying to manufacture fun, you may miss these valuable simple moments to connect with your kids.

You can plan to spend some quality time doing ordinary things with your kids. Ask one of them to cook dinner with you. Go on a bike ride with another. Play in the sandbox with one or choose a special read aloud book for you and a child. Sticking closer to home and doing less makes room for you to observe your child closely and get to know them better.


3. It leaves space for spontaneity.

If you make too many plans then you might not be free when a friend invites you to the beach or a family asks you to dinner. There will still be plenty of opportunities for activities and events, but you can take them as they come rather than scheduling them all out and leaving no room for delightful surprise.

If a day feels especially free then round everyone up for a beach day or call a friend to join you for a hike. Cook up a bunch of hamburgers and invite over the neighbors. An open schedule can allow you to welcome others in.

If you google “summer with kids” there are a thousand idea lists

and schedules to download. Instead of two months of packing in as much “fun” as you can, try something like this:

You wake up and make breakfast. Everyone rises slowly, eats, and completes the necessary chores. After reading a few books during breakfast, the kids run outside to play. Hours later they ask if they can show you their, “mud bakes, fairy houses, and secret fort”. You come in for lunch and more reading. Everyone finds a quiet place to rest and read and then it is back to their endeavors. Bikes squeak around the yard, watercolor paintings are completed and as the day draws to a close you cook together and then take a walk with daddy after dinner. Later in the evening you receive a text from your friend saying she is taking her little to the beach, so you decide to go too. And on and on the days go, filling up with events here, lingering there.

This year, let summer unfold and see what it might hold for you.


Browse Our Archives