At the end of every school year, I ask my kids to make a summer bucket list. It’s always filled with exciting activities around friends and outings. This year has been the exception.
Our homeschool became pandemic schooling before summer arrived. We held onto the hope life would return to some sense of normalcy by summer, but faced discouragement as one event after another canceled. Although I allowed my kids time to grieve the loss of the summer they hoped for, I have had them brainstorm a pandemic summer bucket list. Mom and dad have added ideas too.
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- My kids love to play games. Some of our favorites are:
- My daughter loves to assemble puzzles, and we often all get involved when she starts a large one on our dining room table.
- Hand embroidery and machine sewing are both fun skills, and my daughter wants to learn more of each.
- Provide a box of craft supplies and bored kids will create amazing things.
- Plan some structured crafts like string art, painting, or paper mache.
Backyard fire pit
- Roast hotdogs
- Make s’ mores
- Have a sing-along around the fire
- If parks aren’t open in your area, set up a tent in the backyard.
Get outside with nature
- Make feeders to attract birds to your yard. Get a field guide or download the free Merlin App to identify the feathered visitors.
- Plant a garden of vegetables or flowers and watch them grow. Kids will want to get outside.
- Explore nature.
- Most federal parks and hiking trails are open. Watch for birds to identify.
- We look forward to picking huckleberries in the late summer.
Learn a new sport
- My boys have taken up skateboarding. A few youtube videos and I’m amazed at what they can do.
- My daugter is learning to rollerblade.
- A trip to an open skate park and all my kids are ready for scooters. When did scooters turn into trick riding skateboards with handles?!?
- Many parks are closed in our state, but golf is not restricted. Our community has frisbee golf in one of our parks. As it gets us out, I’ve decided it’s time to learn.
- Our community has a number of trails for biking and walking.
- Our public library is closed, but they are offering curbside service.
- Create your own summer reading program. Set goals and make a fun chart or poster to track the books read. When my kids meet a summer reading goal, they earn points toward the purchase of a new book.
- Look for online options for audio and ebooks. My son is always borrowing my Kindle.
- Find a great chapter book and have a family read-aloud. Regardless of age, it’s fun to share a good story.
- Run through a sprinkler, or set up a pool, to keep cool on hot days.
- Create an obstacle course using anything like balls, pool noodles, jump ropes, hula hoops, etc. Use a timer to see how fast your kids can run and jump through the course.
- Set up games like crochet, ladder ball, badminton, cornhole, etc.
- Set up a water play game. Freeze small plastic dinosaurs or action figures in bowls of water. On a hot day, pop the ice out of the bowls and put them outside. Have your kids “free” their toy by shooting them with squirt guns. (Note: having a bucket of water available helps with refilling water guns)
- Add some backyard toys. There are a number of ideas online for premade structures as well as simple ideas to build yourself.
- Teach your kids new recipes and how to cook from scratch.
- My husband has eagerly suggested the kids get out our ice cream maker and see how many flavors we can make. He’s even offered to taste test and judge the best recipe.
- Assign older kids one dinner night per week to plan and prepare the meal.
Movies & Electronics
- My kids are not allowed an excessive amount of screen time, but I’ve given them some extra game time this summer.
- We have regular family movie nights with popcorn. I highly recommend choosing older movies occasionally. We recently watched the 1959 version of The Shaggy Dog. It’s hysterical to watch old movies with my kids!
- Not knowing if our local fair would be canceled, our kids got ewe lambs for their 4H projects. My son already planned to start a small breeding project in the fall. As our fair and youth sale was canceled, the project isn’t as small as originally hoped. Expanding the fencing around our pasture is now on the pandemic chore list.
Although our days do not resemble those of summers passed, we will persevere. We miss our community activities and outings with friends but are having fun together as a family. I hope you found some ideas for your family’s pandemic summer bucket list. Be sure to leave a comment to add more ideas!!