Summer Bucket List: A Free Printable For Toddlers & Preschoolers

Summer is the perfect opportunity for children to build up to longer durations of independent play and so for the most part, our Summer rhythm is rather relaxed. The children spend a large amount of their time outdoors, creating their own games and activities as they go.

As summer approaches and I see more and more jam-packed summer schedules, I want to put this out there: It’s (more than) okay for your children to be bored. Because we live in a world of instant entertainment, where we can just place a screen in front of a bored child, we tend to forget that boredom is when creativity happens.


The problem with non-stop entertainment of children during the long summer months – or at any time – is that they come to rely on you for ideas rather than coming up with anything themselves. This leads to a lack of creativity and independence for your child and is a quick-fire route to being burned out for you.

A much better approach is to design a simple summer rhythm.

With that being said, having a Summer Bucket List, where the whole family pitches in with ideas on what they want to do, is a great way of having some focal points in what can be an incredibly long season!


The Summer Bucket List

These ideas are designed to help you get started with ideas to try over the summer. The list contains a mix of both free and paid for activities that are popular with young children from the ages of 2-3 onwards.

Some of the ideas featured might not be possible, depending on where you live so think outside of the box and make the list work for you . For example, if a beach visit is out of the question, try visiting a local creek or lake instead.

Host a family meeting to get ideas from the whole family so that everyone gets to look forward to something on the summer bucket list. Again some outside the box thinking is needed here, especially when faced with suggestions like ‘ a trip to the moon’; (try a planetarium or science centre) or an expensive trip to Disney (try a budget friendly amusement park or even a Disney movie day) is added to the list.

  1. Build sandcastles
  2. climb a tree
  3. learn to ride a bike
  4. paddle in the sea
  5. collect seashells
  6. explore rockpools
  7. outdoor art
  8. make ice domes
  9. go stargazing
  10. go camping – even if it’s the backyard
  11. run through the grass barefoot
  12. watch the sunrise
  13. watch the sunset
  14. go for a picnic
  15. make chalk spray paint
  16. go swimming
  17. explore National Trust / National Park locations
  18. make sponge water bombs
  19. attend free kids festivals in your local area
  20. make popsicles
  21. wash the family car
  22. play frisbee
  23. make fresh lemonade
  24. have a BBQ and invite friends
  25. put on a puppet show
  26. watch fireworks
  27. watch a live music festival
  28. create rock art, then hide them for someone to find
  29. eat watermelon
  30. create an obstacle course in the garden
  31. explore a new playground
  32. go on a nature treasure scavenger hunt
  33. make floral playdough
  34. create a bug hotel
  35. make a backyard den / forte
  36. read stories outside
  37. make a smoothie with seasonal fruit/ veggies
  38. host a family game night
  39. go berry picking
  40. make bubble foam
  41. visit a splash pool
  42. go to a kids movie screening
  43. plant bee and butterfly friendly plants
  44. visit a country fair
  45. go on a road trip
  46. collect recycling and create an outdoor art collage
  47. make temporary art with nature / beach  treasures
  48. go cloud watching
  49. visit a science centre on a rainy day
  50. visit a butterfly centre

summer bucket list graphic with illustration of a watermelon wedge

Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.