Create a Summer Bucket List With Your Teen

Create a bucket list to do with your teen this summer.
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Families often start out with the best of intentions for summer fun. But, before they know it, summer has flown by and they never found the time to do a lot of their favorite activities.

This year, don’t let that happen to you. Create a summer bucket list with your teen that outlines all the activities you’d like to do this summer.

That doesn’t mean you need to overschedule your time. A good summer vacation should include plenty of opportunity for spontaneity and relaxation.

But, creating a bucket list can help you prioritize the most important activities that will help you strengthen your relationship

Setting goals and then reaching them is good for teens—even when those goals involve going to the beach. In fact, reaching fun goals can be a good way for your teen to see how good it feels to accomplish something, which can encourage her to continue setting goals for herself in the future.

Creating Your List

Your teen may want to create a separate bucket list for the activities she wants to do with her friends – like going to see a certain movie – or she may have some activities she wants to do on her own – like read a particular book. That’s great if she wants to create an additional list, but make sure to create a bucket list filled with family activities.

As your teen grows up, it can be increasingly more difficult to find time for family fun. Friends, sports, and summer jobs can make it hard to get time with your teen.

A good bucket list however, can ensure that you’re planning plenty of summer activities that will create lifelong memories.

Sit down and create your list as a family. Solicit some ideas from everyone to make sure there are a variety of options on your list.

Then, talk about how you’re going to schedule your activities.

Will you do one thing on your bucket list each week? Are you going to schedule your activities in advance or wait until you can get a weather report? Are there some activities that require advance planning—like buying tickets for a concert that is likely to sell out?

Let your teen do some of the planning. Being involved in scheduling these activities gives your teen an opportunity to practice problem-solving and goal setting.

Summer Bucket List Ideas

Your summer bucket list should be filled with activities that your family will enjoy.  Here are a few suggestions of the types of activities you may want to include on your list:

  • Swim in the ocean
  • Camp at the lake
  • Make s’mores
  • Go to a concert
  • Make homemade ice cream
  • Go to a festival
  • Go to a water park
  • Go to the beach
  • Invite friends over for a barbecue
  • Make snow cones
  • Fly a kite
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Climb a mountain
  • Have a bonfire
  • Learn to do yoga
  • Build a birdhouse
  • Participate in volunteer activities 
  • Plant flowers
  • Go on a road trip
  • Visit a museum
  • Go on a family vacation 

Avoid the Bucket List Mistake

The biggest mistake people make when creating bucket lists, is that they treat the list like a to-do list. They rush through each activity so they can check the items off the list.

They view their bucket list like a challenge, rather than an opportunity.

Stay flexible with your list and recognize that it’s okay if you don’t get everything on your list done. Forcing yourselves to go on that hiking trip or the camping adventure when it’s rainy and cold could make the experience miserable. Recognize that you might not get everything on your list done, and be okay with that.

You can always extend some of your bucket list items into the Fall or add the activities you didn’t get to do to next summer’s bucket list items. Make sure that you take plenty of opportunities to simply enjoy the moment and spend quality time with your teenager.


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