Build A Summer Bucket List With Your Family

Published on June 15, 2020 - Updated on June 16, 2020

Tips and Tricks For Guaranteeing A Safe, Positive, and Memorable Summer That Your Whole Family Will Enjoy

Every spring my family and I come together to create our summer bucket list. The list can include a new hike, a trip to your favorite lake, biking, walking, favorite foods/desserts, or a special dinner. Summer is our favorite time of the year and the bucket list is something we look forward to creating and experiencing together. This summer will be different in many ways with COVID-19 and safety considerations, but finding joy and ways to connect are more important than ever for parents and kids alike.

Our family deeply values getting outdoors for fresh air, since it’s good for the heart, body, and soul, so these types of plans take precedence. We also choose bucket list items that help us to get away from distractions at home. A big part of the fun of an adventure is planning it, and while we have some limitations in our ability to interact freely, we can use this opportunity to teach our kids to always find a silver lining and to appreciate what is possible!

kids writing reading

When we’re ready to create our bucket list, we amp up the excitement by letting ideas fly. It’s fun to let everyone participate and sometimes the simplest things are the ideas that become the most fun. While the trip to the moon won’t ultimately make the list, it’s so fun to hear my boys dream!

When the time comes, we begin by adding two to three adventure activities that we have yet to experience. This year they are canoeing, tubing, and learning to fish! The next step is to include activities that we have done before but may slip through the cracks without our bucket list reminder, such as building an epic sandcastle, making pizza on the grill, or taking an especially long bike ride.


Additionally, we always plan at least one trip to be with the grandparents or camping. Finally, we add one or two cooking activities such as going berry picking and baking a pie, making S’Mores over a firepit or whipping up homemade ice cream. Whether we check off every item or not, the fact that we purposefully block off wholesome time together to reconnect is a joy in itself.

We expect so much more family time this year, without as many extracurricular commitments due to the pandemic. So rather than the common feeling that you might not get through your list, you might even consider bulking it up a bit to make it more of a challenge!!

Here are some accessible ideas for summer fun that will boost your list, even in this period of wearing masks and keeping your distance!


  • Find a swimming hole
  • Spend a weekday at the beach (lake, bay or ocean)
  • Discover five new hikes
  • Plan an old-fashioned family road-trip
  • Discover a new State Park
  • Volunteer and/or find a way to give back as a family
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Water Olympics or Backyard Field Day


  • Create a reading nook
  • Each Member of the Family Chooses and Cooks a Family Dinner
  • Bake a special cake or creative treat
  • Driveway or sidewalk chalk messages of positivity
  • Trash clean-up in your neighborhood, or at a nearby waterway
  • Perform a good deed for a neighbor (bring dinner or baked goods)
  • Learn a new board game together
  • Send one thank you note a week to a family member or someone you love

Be safe and enjoy the moments friends!

Does your family create a bucket list? If so how do you make it special? Please share your creative ideas at and tag your highlights on Instagram @gethappyly!! We can’t wait to see your family bucket list in action.

We welcome you to explore our blog for more inspiration from some of our featured activities, such as Elevate Movie Night. For an activity that brings together creativity and outdoor exploration, check out Promote Positivity in your Family Through The Kindness Rocks Project or take a few moments to Fill Up Your Tank: Self-Care For Moms to make sure you're ready to give Father's Day your all!

Enjoying our content? Download the free happyly app, the country’s only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our blog content, favorite activities, and expertly curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Caitlin Iseler
Caitlin Iseler, happyly founder and CEO, was born in New York and is one of eight children. Her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and the chance to sit at one table with her favorite 40 people. Caitlin, her outdoor loving husband, Thomas, and daughter, Hanah, live in Virginia Beach. She is also blessed to be a bonus mom to 2 incredible humans, Max & Elizabeth. Being a mom has always been something she dreamt of and it brings her joy beyond measure. Before starting happyly, Caitlin spent 15 years working in executive search with technology companies, most recently with Korn Ferry. In what seems like a lifetime ago, she attended the University of Virginia and was a member of the National & ACC Championship Teams, a gift that keeps giving.
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