Whew! Let’s take a big, deep breath. It’s certainly well-deserved. Last summer left us using our imaginations to make the summer days bearable while living in quarantine. But this year is different! With life getting (somewhat) back to normal, it’s time to plan a summer everyone in your family will remember—in the best way possible.

Here are 8 epic summer bucket list ideas to make your summer one for the record books.

1. Run Around An Amusement Park

Those roller coasters are getting dusted off and it’s time to start planning your perfect day at a local amusement park. This is one of the best ways for families to spend time together enjoying the sunshine, cotton candy, and tummy-dropping rides.

Make the day less hectic by having everyone pick one or two must-do attractions. Randomly pick the next one so everyone feels engaged and excited with anticipation about when their favorite will be picked. Check out this list of the best amusement parks in every state. If you have the time, travel a few hours to hit one you’ve never before experienced.

2. Be Brave and Announce A “Yes Day”

Jennifer Garner showed the world how life can be more fun when you instill a “Yes Day” in her 2021 family-friendly film. Here’s how it works: declare one day this summer for your family’s Yes Day. You, as a parent, are banned from saying “No” to anything (within reason, of course). It’s a dream come true for kids. Ice cream for breakfast and zip-lining before lunch will have them smiling from ear to ear prior to noon.

Are you ready to try it? It’s okay if you’re feeling a bit uneasy about allowing your kids to plan an entire day in which “No!” cannot leave your lips. But you may find this to be the perfect way to truly bond with your family. Your Yes Day will even help you let loose for once. We all need more of that, don’t we? Top the day off by watching “Yes Day” on Netflix.

3. Disconnect From Technology At A Campsite

It may seem like an obvious pick, but still worth noting that camping is a great summer activity for families. It gives you plenty of time to spend outdoors and enjoy nature, while also getting away from your daily routine.

Camping can come in all shapes and sizes so where you live can no longer be an excuse. Heading to a true campground, pitching a tent in your backyard, or turning your family room into an indoor campsite (think fireplace, hot dogs, and lots of songs) are all excellent options. And remember that camping in the summer doesn’t have to mean getting dirty in nature. “Glamping” in luxury may be the best choice for your family and that’s fine, too. No matter how you make it work, don’t forget to roast marshmallows and gaze at the stars.

4. Try A Progressive Picnic At the Parks

Have you ever done a progressive dinner with neighbors? The last meal of the day (plus dessert) is amplified as you eat each course at a different house. Why not try the same approach with your kids at local parks? Pack all of your food for the day and go from park to park, having a little bit of food at each one. Try out new parks you have yet to explore.

Start off at an awesome playground and enjoy breakfast on the go. Then, move on to the park with the best swings. Take a quick break while your kids munch on their favorite snack. Jump in the car and head to your airport’s viewing park watch the airplanes take off and land. Have a picnic lunch while you’re there. When you have a progressive picnic at the parks not only do you get to check out a variety of parks, but you also get to eat delicious food that you have prepared yourself!

5. Get Out on the Water and Canoe

Summertime leaves kids full of energy and parents wondering how to help them burn it. One of the best ways to exercise while having tons of family fun is to go canoeing. And you don’t have to live by a large body of water to enjoy this age-old activity. Even a small lake or pond will have room for you, your kids, and a simple canoe. Just type “best places to canoe near me” and a list of possibilities will appear at your fingertips.

Canoeing is one of the most popular activities among families because even the young kids can participate. It’s also great for building teamwork skills. Who doesn’t love it when the whole family is working together for a common goal? You only need three things to have an absolute blast: a boat, oars, and a cooler full of water and energy-filled snacks. Think of your canoeing adventure as the ideal way to explore rivers and lakes that aren’t accessible any other way!

6. Create an Irresistible Scavenger Hunt

How often do you find yourself saying, “We need to check out that place”? Our own towns have so much to offer but it’s easy to take them for granted. If you’ve been putting off exploring your local surroundings, this summer is the opportune time to create a scavenger hunt. Visit your city, town, or county’s official website for ideas on where to go (and keep in mind any COVID-19 restrictions).

Museums, the zoo, parks, and local restaurants are all easy places to visit. And don’t think you have to pay to go inside. Many attractions have statues or signs outside of the attraction that your clues can point to. Choose one or two places to stop for a longer stint (like the zoo) and have different clues available to keep everyone on their toes.

7. Have A “Favorite Foods” Day

Pizza! Tacos! Cookies! Full bellies and tired kids? Yes, please! How excited do your kids get when you ask them what they want for dinner? Let their wish be your command with a day filled with their favorite foods.

As a family, build out a mouth-watering menu ahead of time. Everyone gets to pick their favorite food to add. Head to the grocery store and have each family member shop for the ingredients they need. Then, spend time making the dishes together. This will leave everyone feeling proud of the yummy creations while also learning planning and math skills (without even realizing it).

8. Dip Your Toes in the Water

We all know that over 70% of our globe is covered by water. So, it shouldn’t be hard to find one (or five) places with H2O within a quick drive. Make this activity a fun game with your kids by seeing how many different bodies of water you can dip your toe (or whole self) into throughout the day.

Look for pools, ponds, and lakes, but also try to be creative. Can you find puddles to splash in or sprinklers to run through? What about swimming in the bathtub? Let your kids’ imaginations run wild as they wade their way to splash pads and more. Don’t forget to drink some water (clean, of course) while you’re at it!

With magnificent summer bucket list ideas like this, how do you make sure you fit in all the fun? Schedule each activity on your calendar, just as you would an appointment. And if you can, pick one day per week for your epically fun adventures. The entire family will look forward to these special days, making it the best summer ever. Go ahead and get planning!

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