Alright, so I know that summer is already halfway over, but I wanted to share some awesome ideas for a summer bucket list to check off with little ones! If you want to break out of your usual routine this summer or find new, nerdy ways to bond with your kiddos, here are 20 ideas.
1. Zoo Trip Scavenger Hunt – What kid doesn’t love the zoo? There is magic in seeing real versions of the animals they usually only see on TV or in books. Add some extra excitement by making it a scavenger hunt. Write up clues like “I have a long neck and brown spots. Who am I?” and check off the animals as you go. No zoos near you? Try looking for a nature center or other smaller attraction where animals can be observed.
2. Science Day Camps – Search for local day camps or classes for kids that focus on science. Your local libraries, museums, or schools may offer robotics, coding, or video game making classes over the summer.
3. Guided Nature Hike – Many parks and recreation organizations offer programs for kids of all ages to take a guided hike in the woods. The guides often prepare fun activities to educate kids on the local wildlife and teach outdoor skills along the way. If there aren’t any programs like this available in your area, try picking up a book at the library about the plants and animals you can find locally and take it along on a walk to make it educational.
4. Medieval/Renaissance Faire – These period themed festivals are amazing attractions for nerds, with lots of activities for kids. Dress up in costume or go as you are. There are performances, games, shops, food, and sometimes even a joust! Don’t have a faire close to you? Create your own at home, complete with medieval themed music, food, or games.
5. A Day at the Museum – On a day when it’s raining or just too hot to be outside, why not check out one of your local museums? Whether it’s a museum of art, natural history, children, or some other focus, there is a lot to learn and see. Many museums have special activities geared towards younger kids, so check the museum website for a calendar of events.
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6. Draw Your Own Comic Strip – Another good one for a rainy day, have your kids create their own comics. You can also buy a comic coloring book featuring your favorite superheroes or a blank comic book with templates for creating your own.
7. Outdoor Movie Night – Take family movie night to the outdoors by setting up a screen or projector outside. Grab some blankets and popcorn and enjoy one of the kid favorites under the stars. If you don’t have the equipment to set up at home, many local churches, libraries, or schools host outdoor movie events you can attend.
8. Summer Reading Challenge – Often, libraries will conduct summer reading challenges or contests to keep kids engaged when school is out for the summer. Even kids younger than school age, can participate if you’re reading to them regularly. If there are no programs like this near you, Scholastic is doing an online challenge. Set a goal and get your little future nerds reading!
9. Pool Noodle Lightsaber Craft – Star Wars fans will enjoy this summer craft – making pool noodle lightsabers! This DIY tutorial from The Crafty Blog Stalker will show you how to make one (no kyber crystals required!). Of course, you’ll have to follow up with an epic battle in the pool.
10. Superhero Water Balloon Games – One great way to cool off on a hot summer day is to play games with water balloons. There are some fun ideas here. If your kiddos are into superheroes, see if your local party store has superhero themed balloons, or check out these. You could also draw your own with markers!
11. Sidewalk Chalk Drawing – Let your kids get creative in the driveway with some sidewalk chalk. Check out these ideas for games you can play using sidewalk chalk.
12. Ice Cream Truck – Most people like to eat ice cream during summertime, but have you ever gotten it right at your doorstep from an ice cream truck? These vehicles are a bit antiquated, but you can still find them in many neighborhoods. Half the fun is listening to them approach with their tell-tale music. Wave them down and enjoy a sweet treat without having to leave home! You can also try using the Snack Tracker app to find a truck near you.
13. Backyard Camping – A camping trip can be a challenge with little ones, so why not just camp at home? You can pitch a tent in the backyard, build a fire (check if this is allowed in your neighborhood, you may need a permit), and spend a night under the stars.
14. Catch Fireflies – When the sun goes down, the fireflies come out, and their cute little golden lights can be a wonder to little kids. Stay up late and show them how to (gently) catch and release.
15. Mini-Golfing – A mini-golf course is a fun place to play a game as a family, learn a new skill, and enjoy the outdoors. Kids of all ages can enjoy a round of putt-putt.
16. Lemonade Stand – Teach your children about business by helping them set up a lemonade stand. It’s educational, they can spend time outside, and you can enjoy a cold, sweet, treat!
17. Make and Fly a Kite – Showing your kids how to properly make a kite is a teachable moment and it’s a ton of fun to watch it fly! Check out this kite making kit!
18. Put On an Outdoor Performance – Set up a stage area outside and have your kids reenact their favorite movie or story for you. You could even grab some old costumes or dress up clothes and ask them to create their own story.
19. Stargaze – There’s just something magical about staring up at the stars at night. You could use a telescope or an app like SkyView to identify constellations and celestial bodies.
10. Summer Blog/Journal – Kids can blog too! Set up a blogging account for them and have them make entries about all the other exciting summer activities they’ve been doing with you.