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May 01, 2012

Get Organized for the Summer: create a summer fun list (a.k.a. summer bucket list)


This is the fourth post in our series on getting organized for the summer. Click here to read the first, second, and third posts. 


Now that you have a vision for your summer and you’ve planned out the scheduled events, it’s time to add some fun into the mix. (Woohoo!) Perhaps you’ve seen “summer bucket lists” around the web or Pinterest. I love this idea—creating a list of fun things to do over the summer. For my own list, I wanted to come up with a list of things we could do…but not turn it into a checklist of things we must do. (I like pressure-free fun lists.)

One weekend last month, I went to a young author’s conference with Kailea, and coincidentally, the parent breakout session shared summer ideas for kids. The teacher presented a list of kid-friendly summer activities in alphabetical order, with an idea or two for each letter of the alphabet. Now even though my kids are well beyond the ABC stage, I thought this was a super fun approach to creating our summer fun idea list. Using the ABC approach forced me to think outside the box—since I had to come up with at least one idea for each letter. Then, once I started, I got on a roll. (You’ll see what I mean in a minute.) As you read the list, remember that my kids are older and some of these ideas are things that I think sound fun to do, too. And most important of all, by no means do I intend to do all of these things! They’re simply ideas of things we could do for fun this summer. I’ll let our moods be our guide as we decide what to ideas to actually do.  

Summer Fun Idea List

A:  art projects, art binders, Annie's, art journal, art museum, Arch, art classes

B:  botanical gardens, baseball games, blog, bike rides, barbecues, bowling, basketball, berry picking, berry pies, board games, biography (read one), backwards day

C:  card making, camping, camps, cooking classes, canoeing, concerts, collage making, camp out at home, camp out at grandma + grandpa’s, Cardinals game, circus, Circus Flora, canning, card games, Christmas in July party

D:  duct tape crafts, day in the life, drive in movie, dance, draw pictures, ducks (feed them)

E:  eggplant parmesan. (What else starts with e that is fun to do?)

F:  flea markets, fishing, fitness program, farmers market, fireflies, fireworks, fajitas, fish tacos, flavored water, festivals, friends, fudgesicles

G:  garage sales, grilling out, gardening, grandma + grandpa's house, gazpacho, golfing, go karts, guitar, grizzlies game, garden markers

H:  hammock, homemade ice cream

I:  ice cream man, ice cream cones, iced tea, instruments

J:  jam, journaling, juggling

K:  kites, knitting, kale chips, kickball, kick-the-can

L:  lemonade (fresh), library

M:  movie night, monopoly, mini golf, music (listen to, record)

N:  nature center

O:  origami

P:  popsicles, pool, pj day, photo-a-day, paintball, picnics at the park, painting, paper airplanes, paint pottery, planetarium, plan a party, project life, pesto (make some)

Q:  quit a bad habit and replace it with a good, fun one. 

R:  read, race for the cure, run, river road, redecorate bedroom, rain (listen to it, walk in it)

S:  snow cones, scrapbooking, star gazing, slip + slide, sewing, scrunch, s'mores, smoothies, science center, swings, sunset, sunrise, sponge tag, sports classes + camps, skip rocks, stamp collecting, sketch, sleepovers

T:  tourist in your own town, tennis, tie dye t-shirts, t.v., time capsule, tae-kwon-do

U:  unplug for a whole day

V:  volunteer, vacation, volleyball, video recording, video games

W:  water balloons, watermelon, walks with Maggie, write, wash the car, wash the dog

X:  eXplore some place you've never been before

Y:  yahtzee, YMCA

Z:  zoo

If you’d like a printable copy of the list, click here:  download summer-fun-list 

Or if you’d like a blank list to create your own, click here:   download summer-fun-list-blank

(You will need Adobe Reader to open the file which you can get here:


What’s on your summer fun list this year? And do you have any more ideas for E, O, Q, U, X and Z? Thanks for sharing!



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Great list of ideas!!


E - eating! ;) for example ice-cream, seasonal fruit and vegetables, some specifically summer-y dishes!


Great ideas! Thanks for making the printable available.


This year I want to have a go at making our own ice lollies ... any good recipes? Also in the Summer we like to eat as many meals in the garden as possible!

Alissa W

Love it Aby!
e=elephants at the zoo, elmo,
z=zipline, zero gravity, zines,
q=queen for a day, quilting (?)
o=outdoor party, orange day
u=underwater day, ukulele lessons
x=x marks the spot treasure hunt, xtreme sports,

Oh and here's another F that's local to you= Fitz's Rootbeer (visit the bottling works and eat lunch). I always bring some Fitz's back when we visit St. Louis.


Yay, thanks for the ideas Alissa and Girl! Great idea to visit the bottling works - I didn't know we could do that! See I do need to be a tourist in my own town. ;)

Helen, I love the idea of making your own ice lollies (popsicles here in the US.) I haven't done that before but it sounds like a perfect summer idea! Does anyone else have any good recipes?

~ Aby


i need to make one of these lists. I wish everyone would exclude a circus from their bucket lists. The animals are made to endure horrible existences and a life so outside of what their natural life should be. Seems like fun for humans, but behind the scenes is just sadness and hurt.


Hi, Jane,

Thanks so much for your comment about the Circus. I'm not an expert on this subject, but I do believe that Circus Flora is different. The circus is named after an orphaned elephant that was rescued when her mother was killed by ivory poachers in Africa. Here is more info about Circus Flora and their animal partners:

Thanks so much for raising this issue about circus animals.



We just freeze regular juice in our popsicle molds - you can google ideas, there are a BUNCH out there. :) Great list! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!


(and by the way, eating is a great line for "E". How about Eat a New Food?)


What's backwards day?

?Yad Sdrawkcab S'tahw


E ideas: explore, go on an excursion, exercise your creativity, extend an invitation or a helping hand. (this is kinda fun, better get going on my list!) thanks Aby!


Laney, Backwards day is just doing everything backwards...or as much as you want to. So if you were really crazy, you could wear your clothes backwards, eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner, stuff like that.

Dianne, thanks for the E suggestions! And it is oddly fun, isn't it? That's what I thought when I was doing it, too. :)



I like that Emily, eating a new food is something we did lots last summer. Would like to continue it this summer, too!


I blogged about my twist on this here:
Thanks for the idea!


Fun list. I'll bring my son to indoor kart racing next vacation. Thanks for the ideas.

online todo list

Wow fun share!!

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