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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Bucket List


On the first day of summer, I pulled out a binder I’ve had since my boys were toddlers. It’s a compilation of all the fun activities and crafts I’ve come across in various magazines over the years. It is organized by outdoor activities, birthday party ideas, crafts, and indoor activities. While my original intentions were to use this binder several times a year, life sort of got in the way.

Colors in Nature Scavenger Hunt

However, on one school holiday a few years ago, we did use it. On the Saturday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I pulled it out, picked a dozen ideas, and let each child select one.  On Monday morning, when the boys were off school for MLK day, we ran to Hobby Lobby to buy supplies. We then spent the entire day and night completing all three activities while hubby had to work.
Making Home-Made Soap
Yarn Art
It was one of my favorite days with my children, and while I had hoped it would become a tradition to spend that holiday this way, I must admit we haven’t pulled out the binder since, partly because my husband now gets that holiday off, so we can travel out of town to visit family that weekend.

While I love getting to go out of town for a three-day weekend, I also missed days of doing something special with the family, which is why I dusted off the binder. After all, it’s full of great ways to spend time together when the kids have a day off school. And summer means 77 days together. What a better time than this to use this binder? Besides VBS, Boy Scout Camp, football, and a couple short trips, we will have a lot of free time. While I’m one of those moms who makes her kids do educational work during the summer, that only accounts for about 20-30 minutes per day, so to keep the kids from fighting non-stop without breaking the bank, I created our Summer Bucket List idea.

So, with binder in hand, our I-Pad opened to my pinterest kid’s board, and a tablet of paper, I asked my children to sit on the floor with me and create a list of 20 activities and crafts we’d like to do this summer. To pick the activities that would excite my kids the most, I’d show them one and let them vote. Two votes meant it got added to our list. (I didn’t vote since I only showed them ideas I thought were good.)

Some ideas were simple, such as playing a particular board game together. Others required trips to the store for supplies. To make sure we pulled an idea out of the bucket list that could be accomplished on that particular day, I color coded them. Orange (think sun) meant an outdoor activity. After all, if it was raining or (more likely) we had a heat index of over 100, we needed to stay indoors. Green (think money) meant it required a trip to the store to buy supplies. Purple had no restrictions.

I then typed up the list and printed the items on the appropriate colored card-stock. We cut them into index card sized rectangles and folded them in half to fill the bucket. I put all the instruction sheets from magazines or printed from the internet that would be required in a folder to keep with the bucket.

Basically, the plan is to randomly pull an activity out, keeping in mind the color restrictions, if necessary, and do the activity together. These aren’t all day affairs, mostly one-hour events to break up the day. I figure I can pull out the bucket when the boys have been watching TV for too long or don’t have any swim dates or play dates scheduled that day. Our goal is to get through each activity before the first day of school in August. I’ll happily share with you these ideas, so you can try them out for yourself. On each Tuesday, I’ll blog about any activities we completed, which means no recipes for the next 10 weeks. Who wants to cook in the summer anyway? As you can see from our list, a few activities are very simple, but they made the list because at least two children requested.

Summer 2012 Bucket List

  1. Have a Wii tournament
  2. Make bottle music
  3. Make and race Plastic Bag Paratroopers
  4. Make Snow Cones
  5. Have an Air Hockey Table Tournament
  6. Make Hand-Print Stepping Stones
  7. Watch Home Videos
  8. Make a Tent with Sheets and Tell Ghost Stories together
  9. Have a cookiebaking contest
  10. Make bouncy balls
  11. Make Fruit Leather
  12. Make a LavaLamp
  13. Make bird seed feeders
  14. Make a Jacob’s Ladder
  15. Make Mini-Caramel Apples
  16. Make Glow-in-the-Dark Mountain Dew
  17. Make Tie-Dye Shirts
  18. Make Solar S'Mores
  19. Make Sidewalk Paint
  20. Play a board game where each player changes/adds one rule.
  21. Make Scratch Art
  22. Make Black Glue & Watercolors Art
  23. Create a Back Yard Survivor Challenge and Compete
  24. Have a Play-Doh Sculpture Contest
  25. Make Flower Seed Cards 

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