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I love summer. I love popsicles by the pool and lazy evenings eating corn on the cob and juicy watermelon in the backyard. Despite the Texas heat, I like the relaxed schedule, the freedom to play and explore with my kids, and lots of reading time (thank you summer reading challenges!).

However, this is the first summer that I have worked full time since my oldest was 4 months old. He is now 8 and has been joined by brothers who are 6 and 2 plus a 4-year-old little sister. Needless to say, this summer will look a little (or a lot) different than the last several.

While I don’t have as much time with my kids this summer as I have in the past, it is important to me to make the most of the time we do have together and give us all something to look forward to between the camps and the swim lessons and the homework challenges that perhaps they are less excited about than I am.

To help do that, we all came up with a summer bucket list for us – easy things that will work for my whole crew and that all (or most) of them are excited about. We wrote these out on a long list of butcher paper so we can see all our fun plans and track the progress we are making. (Now we just have to find a place to hang it that the 2-year-old won’t rip down.)

I hope our list below helps inspire your family to come up with your own way to celebrate the summertime together!

  • Pick your own berries.
  • Play summer reading bingo – various ways to read and types of books to read with prizes for bingos.
  • Go fishing. My 6-year-old recently discovered his love of fishing but has yet to catch anything. Fingers crossed we can find a stocked pond or somewhere that he can actually catch something. His goal is to grill whatever we catch, too!
  • Look at the stars – and for my bigger kids, try to find constellations.
  • Take a day trip to a nearby small town. There are lots of towns within an hour or so drive that make for a good Saturday exploration. Head out early while it’s still cool, explore for a few hours, and head home around naptime!
  • Set up a lemonade stand.
  • Make homemade ice cream.
  • Take a rain walk – as long as it’s not lightning, get out your rainboots, rain jacket, and umbrella and go for a walk in the rain. Stomp in some puddles while you’re out for good measure.
  • Camp in the backyard. I’m not a camper so trying to pawn this one off on the grandparents!
  • Visit a watermelon festival.
  • Listen to live music outside. We like going to Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra’s Concert in the Garden, but lots of cities have programs like this where you can expose kids to great music in a laid-back, low-stress environment.
  • Visit a splash pad.
  • Have a family or neighbor water balloon fight.
  • Go exploring. Even in the middle of Dallas, we like to find parks with shaded trails and creeks. After however long our legs and attention spans last on a “hike,” we try to end up near shallow water where my littles enjoy splashing around and my bigs throw rocks in the water and try their hand at dam-building.
  • Make smoothies.
  • Have a picnic in the living room while watching a movie.
  • Watch a movie in the theater.
  • Attend a minor league baseball game.
  • Eat a snow cone.

What things do you want to do this summer? The great thing about a bucket list is that it can be totally customized to your family. You can include both tried and true traditions you love and new things you want to try!

I’ve also found that having a list helps me give some structure to our free time and helps my crew remember that we have fun things to look forward to when they start the too-common refrain of “I’m booooored.”

Whether or not you get all the items on your bucket list checked off, the joy is in the journey, so have fun with it! Your children’s Lionheart teachers can’t wait to hear all about the adventures you have together.

~Micah Q, Lionheart Marketing Manager

Children selling lemonade in Texas summer