Welcome to summer!
Although the summer solstice is still three weeks away, as temps are heating up and school is winding down, I think most Americans acknowledge that the Memorial Day Weekend is the opening ceremonies and unofficial start of summer.
I love summer. I love swimming in the pool, the smell of food cooking on the grill, eating outside on the back deck and having a constant excuse for craving an ice cream cone (which – let’s be real – I crave all year long, but it’s more socially acceptable in the hotter months).
I get antsy in the summer; I want to go out and DO things! And so do our kids. But I’m not so good at coming up with something fun to do on the fly (no one has ever accused me of being spontaneous). I swear, I can daydream a million fun things to do when I’m in the office staring out my window or driving down the freeway on the way home from work. But when I’m home and the kids are looking for something fun to do? Then, poof! Fun mommy has left the building and in her place is the no-nonsense house manager who can only think about getting the laundry done, the dishes clean, and meals prepped. I swear this must be some version of Murphy’s Law.
Enter: The Farrow Family Summer Bucket List
I got this idea from a Facebook friend last year. At the beginning of summer, the family comes together and writes down a bunch of fun things (requiring various levels of planning and execution) they want to do over the summer. Put them all together and voila: your Family Summer Bucket List! The perfect antidote to summer spontaneity for Type-A parents.
Not everything on the bucket list has to be big, over-the-top or cost much. Summers are one of the most expensive times of the year for our family because our seven-year-old leaves public school for full-time summer camp for 12 weeks. So I thought I’d share some of our fun, low-cost bucket list items for this summer to get you brainstorming for your own family’s bucket list:
Ice cream for dinner (Mom) – Ask my kids what the rule is about treats in our house and they will both tell you that you have to finish all of your fruits and vegetables first. In fact, my husband generously offered both of the kids a marshmallow in the middle of the afternoon this past weekend and our two-year-old son responded, “No, daddy! That’s for after dinner!” So this bucket list item earns me some major cool points and doesn’t cost a whole lot. And I love ice cream. Every body wins!
Camping (Avery) – We have actually crossed this one off our list already. We went camping over Memorial Day Weekend and proved that you don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money to have fun with this one. Because it was our son’s first time camping, we rented a camp site for $10 at a small park about 30 minutes from our house (bonus: we swung through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive through on the way home to get coffee).
We threw stones in the lake, climbed rocks, grilled hot dogs and s’mores, slept on sleeping bags in a tent and the kids had a blast! If camping isn’t really your thing, consider doing a family slumber party in the back yard or the living room. Do something fun and different!
Family water balloon fight (Avery) – Not gonna lie, this isn’t my favorite one on the list, but the kids want to do it and costs virtually nothing. If they’re willing to clean up all the little pieces of balloons after, I’ll survive it.
Pool party with friends (Mom) – When I told my husband that I was willing to move to Texas, I told him that I would do so under one condition: we had to have a pool. I think he thought I was kidding! I will admit that the upkeep is a bit of a pain, but it’s built-in entertainment all summer long. And since we’re fortunate enough to have a pool, we love to have friends over to swim, so this is a no brainer for the list. You can do this at a community pool too, though. Many of the pools in our area have cabanas that you can rent, so grab some friends to swim, eat and split the rental cost with!
Snow cone tasting (Avery) – Our kids have recently discovered the joy of snow cones.
Unlike ice cream and fro-yo which you can find on every block all year round in Texas, snow cones seem to be seasonal, popping up right at the end of spring. The challenge is trying to decide what flavor to get when there are so many to choose from. So why not have a tasting!? Order one of each, or just your top four and everyone grab a spoon to sample them together.
Trip to LEGO Land and SEA LIFE Aquarium (Dad) – It’s stinking hot in Texas in the summer (Dallas is expecting out first 100 degree day before the end of May), so some of our bucket list items are necessarily indoors. This is one of our more expensive bucket list items, but if you purchase admission for both together, there is a significant discount.
So what have you and your family always wanted to do? Are there movies coming out that you want to see? Favorite childhood memories that you want to share with your kids? Add them to your bucket list and make this the best summer ever!