Looking for the perfect, printable bucket list for summer? It's here! Why should kids be the only ones to have all the fun? Follow in their footsteps and create your own bucket list for summer this year, even if you don’t have kids.
Your Bucket List for Summer
Warm weather and clear skies invite us to stop and rethink, to insert some joy and adventure into our routines. And though many years may have passed since we had long breaks between school years, there's always that part of us that remembers when summer used to last forever. When a thrilling sense of escape, freedom, reinvention and fun used to ride into town with those bright summer rays.
So here's a bucket list for summer for all ages, from toddlers to teens, youngsters to oldies and everything in between. Challenge yourself, surprise yourself. And above all, have fun!
Have any better bucket list ideas? Let me know, I'd love to add them!
Your Quarantine Summer Bucket List
Need a lockdown or quarantine bucket list for summer? Yeah, I hear you.
Nothing's guaranteed and we need to become masters of entertaining ourselves indoors and staying in one place.
- Check out these Armchair Travel Ideas: how to travel without leaving home.
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Download Your Summer Bucket List Printable
WHY HAVE A SUMMER BUCKET LIST?
Why have a summer bucket list to begin with? Because life can pass us by so easily if we're not paying attention. It's fun to celebrate the seasons and to challenge ourselves by doing something different.
Plus, in the heat of the moment (badoom!) it's easy to forget what you meant to do and slip into a TV routine instead.
A bucket list makes a note of what's important. And that includes slowing down, too. This bucket list isn't just about filling every minute with non-stop activities. It's about taking the time to stop and savour your one and only life!
Oh, and if the phrase bucket list annoys you? Just think of it another way. It's just a collection of ideas and suggestions of fun things to do in the summer. Summer activities for all ages. Fun in the summer. Easy enough!
How to make your summer bucket list
There are over 101 different ideas on this summer bucket list. A bucket list for the summer is supposed to be fun and inspirational, not another to do list or borderline torture device.
The best bucket lists are full of activities that you long to do, feel a bit nervous about doing... and not a lot else!
So, by all means download this summer bucket list. But wherever possible, create your own one. Ask yourself, what are some things I could add to my summer bucket list?
Personal is best. I’ve added in alternatives wherever possible. For example, the perfect bucket list for summer for a toddler may involve feeding the ducks. For adults, you may want more adventurous wildlife exploits! Instead, try to see an endangered species or capture a wildlife action shot on your camera. Or go birdwatching at night and see if you can spot an owl.
Floating boats can involve folded paper for toddlers and actual boat rides for grown ups and families. Use the ideas on this bucket list for summer to spark your imagination rather than to hem you in. And relish your own summer bucket list.
The Ultimate Summer Bucket List
With over 120 serious and fun activities, we're calling this the ultimate summer bucket list! I've grouped some of the categories together to help you skim read. But don't forget, you can download the list as a printable to make life easier too.
So, whether you're using this as a kids summer bucket list, the best summer bucket list for teens, a quarantine summer bucket list or one just for grown ups, now is the perfect time to start. Let's go!
Your Outdoor Summer Bucket List
Visit the sea
Surely all summer bucket lists have the seaside on them somewhere! Nothing says summer more than splashing on sunscreen and paddling in the sea. Or, wrapping up warm and bracing your body against the wind if you live in Northern Europe.
Either way, Vitamin Sea will make you feel better. Get there!
Find a fountain
Find me a fountain that lives in an ugly spot and I'll find you a child who doesn't like ice cream. Set yourself to find a new fountain in your area. Once found, pretend you're in Rome with a gelato and read a paperback book at a cafe.
Get soaked in a splash pad
These aren't just for kids (although it does make it more socially acceptable.) More and more places in the world are creating splash pads for summer and it's easy to see why. It's fun!
Float boats along the river
Start with origami paper boats, progress to models and then potentially go all out and hire a boat for the afternoon.
Find a lighthouse or a lake
Again, this depends on where you live but the quest to find both should lead you to some gorgeous summer activities.
The UK may reserve its fireworks for Guy Fawkes in November and then the cold of New Year's Eve but plenty of other countries have summer firework displays. And if yours doesn't? Set one up yourself!
Climb a mountain
Or at least a great big hill. Where I live, in Wales, big hills are called mountains, so this is, of course, easier...
Forage in a forest
Children can hunt for sticks, acorns, leaves and the like. Or adults can lay out a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt in the forest for them. For teens and adults, you can actually take courses on foraging for mushrooms, truffles and edible plants.
Build a den
Again, this can range from throwing a blanket over a few chairs in your back garden for young kids to going all out and building a treehouse from scratch. Or booking a campsite and sleeping beneath the stars. Get creative this summer!
For toddlers, arrange bird feeders outside windows so that you have a chance of spotting the birds away from the toddler noise! For older kids, set up a lookout at home or travel to birdwatching areas. Remember not to wear bright colours and to stay quiet and still.
Your Foodie Summer Bucket List
Have a barbecue
Nothing says summer quite like a barbecue! It's an essential part of any bucket list for summer. You can mix things up, though, by trying new recipes and marinades and getting the whole family to pitch in.
Have a picnic
Likewise, picnics can be snatch and grab sandwich affairs or more elaborate events with delicatessen style snacks, linen tablecloths and luxury hampers. Experiment with your style and see what works best outside the house.
If you haven't heard of smores then you've missed out on so much fun! They're a combination of a biscuit, chocolate and marshmallow. However, the real magic occurs when you melt the marshmallow around a camp fire. The secret involves finding the critical point between gently oozing and black and ruined. And as they say, practice makes perfect!
Bake something new
Baking in summer? Sure, if you live in a hot country, this is a bad idea. Try a new salad instead. But for those of us in, how shall we put it? More temperate climates, freshly baked bread or biscuits can save the rainy day.
Try a recipe from three different places around the world
Decorate a cake
Or twenty! Either go all out on one big cake, or turn your hand to decorating cupcakes this year. Here are some cake decorating ideas to get you started.
Take a cooking lesson
Long-time readers will know that I'm a huge fan of cooking courses as a way to meet people and learn about a culture, as well as food, when on the road. But even if you're at home, you can add a cooking lesson to your bucket list for summer. Take a look locally but if you have no luck there, check out these online courses with Context here.
Visit a farmer’s market
Check out the timetables and get yourself to a farmer's market (or even a village fayre if they still have one!) Look out for fresh and local food produce and, you guessed it, try something new.
Visit a deli and pick something new
Do you ever feel shy when shopping a deli? I know I shouldn't feel that way, but often, I do. So, for this bucket list for summer, challenge yourself to get talking to the person behind the counter. And buy and try something new.
Visit a farm and buy something direct
There's something really special about buying food on the very spot where it was produced. From fresh strawberries to honey and lumpy, bumpy root vegetables, the fresher and more local the better. Get searching!
A Creative Summer Bucket List
Print out those photos and put them in an album!
Yes! Finally! Do it! And if you don't fancy actually printing them out and sticking them in one by one, you can always arrange them online and then order a print book. Photobox is one such company that makes this easy.
Make an ornament for your Home
You can choose from pottery and vases to dreamcatchers and mobiles and more. Just get creative and decorate your home at the same time.
draw or paint on location
If it was good enough for the world's top artists, it's good enough for you! Pack an artist's satchel with charcoal or pastels and head to a beautiful landscape spot. Set up your easel and create!
Head to an art museum and try to copy one of the artworks
Yep! Cosy up like an art student and try to copy one of those famous works. It will train your eye and focus your mind - and lead to a better appreciation of your art!
Make a homemade gift for someone who’s had a tough year
Everyone's had it tough over the last year but some have had it tougher than others. Whether jam is your jam, or quilts or potted plants, make something, anything and give the gift of thoughtfulness.
Try mindful colouring
Not heard of mindful colouring? It's for grown ups, as well as children, and involves intricate designs in black and white. It's supposed to engage your brain enough, but not too much, to give it a break.
Take a wood carving lesson
Wood carving is a fantastic idea for a summer bucket list as it combines creativity with nature and focus outdoors. Very young children can use something like plasticine but adults can take a lesson and strip that bark!
Make paper planes and race them with a friend
Easily done and lots of fun. For all ages. How far will yours go?
Anything! Seriously, anything from mending a button on a shirt to designing and creating an entire travel wardrobe. Small hands can easily make felt hand bags, while adults can finally get to grips with a sewing machine - or else take up knitting in a hammock outdoors.
Make a bird feeder
Not only is this fun to make but it's also cool to see the wildlife you can attract to your garden. Find a bird feeder recipe right here.
A People Based Summer Bucket List
Tell everyone you love that you love them
It doesn't get much easier than this, right? But sometimes, the days pass into weeks or even years and we haven't actually said the words out loud. Whether you have total freedom or whether you're in the midst of a quarantine summer bucket list, you can always find a way to do this.
Spend time with old friends
Pretend to be young again or simply catch up.
Make a gift for someone you care about
It doesn't have to be grand but every little gift makes a big impression.
Take road trip with someone or to someone
Throw a party!
Food, drink, music, decorations, done! Time to add a fiesta onto your summer bucket list.
Draw around each other with chalk
Make your own crime scene or else decorate your chalk shadows as clowns.
Have a fancy dress night
Run with a theme, like pop stars or superheroes, or just completely go with the flow. Summer bucket list idea for teens? Dig out your parents' clothes from when they were young and crank up the tunes from the good old days.
Go wine tasting
Now, there are several ways you can do this. You can head off to a vineyard and take part in an in situ wine tasting. You can book a virtual wine tasting online and be sent the wine by post. Or you can head to the supermarket and create a DIY version. Looking for a non-alcoholic version for kids or teens? Create mocktails or try olive oil tasting online instead.
Make a water slide with someone
One large sheet of plastic, some washing up liquid, a hose and a slope. Job done!
Create a TikTok dance with someone
Yes, I know. I cringe as I type this. But often, the sillier the idea, the more fun you can have. Round up a friend or your kids and put together your first TikTok move.
A Nature Based Summer Bucket List
Make a nature book
The simplest kind of nature book involves taking toddlers out and sellotaping their finds to the inside of an exercise book. For adults, you can get immersed in the intricate world of flower pressing.
Whether you plan on growing an entire vegetable patch or just want to start out with cress, planting seeds is a great addition to your bucket list for summer.
Pick up litter
Either join a community team litter pick or simply go for a walk in your local area, armed with a litter picker and rubbish bag. You can buy a simple litter picker here to protect your hands. As well as helping the environment, you'll cheer people up and it's a great ice breaker to get talking to people. Almost everyone stops and says thank you!
Fly a kite
Belt out your best Mary Poppins tunes and get ready to fly up to the highest height. Children will love it and adults will be kept busy as it's much harder to do than it looks...
Try canyoning or coasteering
Canyoning is where you throw on a wetsuit and helmet and jump along ropes and rivers in a canyon. Coasteering is where you do the same kind of thing along the coast. Both are exhilarating and great fun. While you do need to go with a qualified instructor, both sports are open to beginners (but not suitable for preschool age children.)
Sleep beneath the stars
Grab a tent and spend the night camping and gazing at the stars. If that seems a little too, erm, rough and ready for your taste then try glamping instead. Swap the floor for a bed, an in built shower unit and even a hot tub but keep the part where you gaze at those stars.
Make a treasure hunt
Choose a summer motif, like butterflies or Gojetter toys, and hide them around the place like an Easter egg hunt. For adults, you can make this more complicated, with clues and riddles and prizes.
Watch the clouds
Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best. Take the time this summer to simply laze around and look at the clouds. Are they moving? What shapes can you see?
Geocaching is a great big treasure hunt for the digital age. Roam around the countryside, check out your compass skills and find hidden goods and challenges. Here's a beginner's guide to geocaching from the Ordnance Survey team.
Watch the sea go out
This is a pastime as old as time itself but that doesn't make it any less effective. It's remarkably soothing for the soul and can be enjoyed by every age. See also The Importance of Doing Nothing.
Contribution Based Summer Bucket List Ideas
Write a letter about a cause
One of the most powerful ways to bring about change is to put pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard. Write to your local politician about the issues that bother you. Write to companies if you want them to change how they operate. Stand up for your beliefs by sitting down to write.
Find three greener ways to live
There's always more we can do to live a greener life. Brainstorm ideas and choose three to turn into a reality this summer.
Support a cause on social media
Supporting a cause or a business on social media may not feel like doing much. But every like, comment and share tells the algorithm that the message is important. By boosting messages in this way, more people will see them and more change will happen.
Visit someone lonely
This last year has been one of the loneliest, surely, on record. As soon as guidelines allow, visit someone especially lonely and simply have a chat.
Donate some of your stuff
Clear out your clutter and donate or sell second hand. You may have just the thing that someone else is looking for.
Learn First Aid
It's a crucial skill that could save a life. What's not to love?
Most areas are crying out for volunteers... To pick up litter, to help run soup kitchens, to offer tea and biscuits to victims of domestic violence. Start looking around and find the place for you.
Buy some local produce
Buying local food means buying green food as you've instantly cut down on all those travel miles. Plus, whenever you buy from a small business, the owner does a dance inside ;-)
Try random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness can be great fun. Try paying for someone's drink in the queue. Or cleaning up an area at the service station. Posting a thank you note to someone who has made a beautiful garden for the neighbourhood to enjoy. Find more random acts of kindness ideas here.
Send a friend a surprise card
Spread a little cheer this summer by simply popping a card in the post.
Musical Summer Bucket List Ideas
Choose a theme song for summer
Cheesy? Maybe! Fun? Sure!
Browse through those Spotify lists and find yourself a summer bucket list song!
Look up the hits from the year you were born
Throw yourself a retro party with tunes from the days when you were a babe. You can always combine this with the fancy dress or costume idea as well.
Try out a musical instrument for the first time
Always been too nervous to play an instrument? It's not reserved for children! Again, you can find online courses and tutorials for free or follow the traditional path and sign up for lessons from a local teacher.
Write your own lyrics for a song
Why not? Pick up a pen and pencil, get humming and get writing. Find ideas on how to unleash your creativity here.
Listen to one new song every day
It's so easy to get stuck in a musical rut. Broaden your horizons by setting yourself a challenge for your summer bucket list this year. Each day, make sure to listen to something brand, spanking new.
Play hits from your parents’ heyday
If you enjoyed heading to your own past, then have even more fun by looking up the hits from when your parents were young. You can do this with them, if possible, or by yourself. Nothing makes a connection quite like music does.
Listen to live music
Find live music wherever you can! On a street corner, in a bar, at an organised concert. Even an online Zoom has more energy than a recording.
Covid may have limited our options but wherever you find live music, you find a reminder that we're connected and that we're still alive.
Book tickets to a concert
Depending on how the lockdown is going where you are, find somewhere (anywhere!) and book tickets for a concert. Not only will you help independent musicians survive, but you'll also set your heart on fire, just a little bit.
Make a summer playlist
Summer time... And the living is easy... OK, so that's a good start. How many others can you find? Studies show that scents and sounds help us remember things more easily. Wouldn't it be great if years from now, one song reminded you of the great summer you had? Build those memories by adding a summer playlist to your summer bucket list.
Choose a new ringtone
In with the new, out with the old! It doesn't have to be your theme tune for summer but why not find a new song to liven up your phone's call?
Low Key and Snuggly Summer Bucket List Suggestions
Read a book
Or if that's too easy, read ten. Fifteen?
Create a reading chart with fun targets for kids and a grown up version for adults. Many libraries run specific challenges during the holidays and it's great for kids to have the independence to pick out what they like.
Snuggle beneath a blanket and watch an outdoor film
Drive-thru if it's available, or else turn your TV around...
Make a cosy spot in your home
Take another look at your living space and make sure it has a cosy spot for reading. Think about cushions, soft but bright lighting and a light throw for bare summer feet.
Get a giant blanket for snuggling
Lots of summer activities take place outdoors but in many parts of the world, the temperature drops as the sun goes down. Make sure you're ready with a giant, snuggly blanket like this.
Laze in a hammock
If you live in a hammock place, this is easy. Simply plop yourself into one and watch the clouds float by overhead. If you're in somewhere like Britain, this may be a harder trick to pull off. But keep exploring, keep looking. Or if all else fails, order a hammock from Amazon yourself.
Drink ginger tea
Or hibiscus tea. Or turmeric. Track down a different flavour and cheer yourself up on a cooler than hoped for summer's day. Or, if it's baking, try your hand at making iced tea instead.
Summer is made for cocktails and if you have little ones then add mocktails to your summer bucket list of ideas.
Make ice lollies
Fun to make, fun to eat, try lots of different colours and flavours and try different palettes like mint and elderflower for grown-up tastes.
Darts. The summer sport! Takes minutes to set up and keeps everyone involved in a leisurely, laid back manner.
Write a poem
Close your eyes and let your creativity run free! Not happening? Check out our writing and creative resources to help you find inspiration.
Summer Bucket List Ideas to Get You Moving
Play volleyball at the beach
Round up some friends or make some at the beach and get jumping.
Rounders or cricket in the park
Americans have baseball but Brits have rounders. Try either or a game of cricket anywhere you can find a stretch of grass.
Try mini golf
Less daunting than the real thing, mini golf means that friends and children can join in as well.
Learn how to surf
It only takes a single lesson to get most people standing on a board. Sign up and take the plunge.
Try paddle boarding
A more sedate sport than surfing, paddle boarding works your core and allows you to take in the scenery. As long as you avoid choppy water, this is a beginner friendly adventure.
Throw a frisbee around
Takes next to no preparation and can last for hours, the humble frisbee is a classic entry onto the summer bucket list of ideas.
Try yoga outdoors at sunrise
While it might take some effort to get up when it's dark, the reward is completely worth it. Stretch and flex, breathe and ease your way into the day with a sun salutation just as the sun does actually come up. It's blissful.
Learn some circus tricks
Perfect for taking your mind off any problems, learning circus tricks outside is a great summer bucket list idea. Try juggling, tightrope walking, unicycling and more. Sign up for lessons or else get your DIY on with a YouTube tutorial.
Watch Someone Else Play Sport
Ah, the classic summer sport of, well, watching sport. But if spending all day in front of the TV doesn't appeal (and it doesn't to me) then head to a real match or game outdoors and soak up the atmosphere. It doesn't have to be grand, although it can be. You can also just take a picnic and watch a local village play.
Kayaking is a great way to explore the coastline. Plus, if you're quiet, seals may swim up to you. It's not suitable for very young children, though, which you may need to bear in mind.
Travel Themed Ideas for Your Summer Bucket List
Travel may still not be back to normal this summer, so here's an adapted list if you can't leave your home region.
Travel by train somewhere new
It's different arriving by train than by car. You see a different side of places. If you can be flexible enough, just turn up at the station and choose where to go on impulse.
Play tourist in your nearest city
Download a walking map and itinerary for your nearest city and play tourist for the day. Don't hold back, go all out! Tourist food, tourist sights, tourist shows.
Visit a fun fair
There's nothing like some candy floss and a ferris wheel to awaken your inner or outer child. Take some small change and enjoy yourself this summer.
Watch the sun set
Find a scenic spot, take a picnic if you like, a blanket for sure and stay to watch the sun set somewhere. Bonus imaginary points if the sun sets over water.
Take a virtual tour of the Louvre
Paris may or may not be off limits this summer but you can still visit online. Check out how amid these other ideas for virtual tours and armchair travel over here.
Make an international breakfast
For some reason, most of us focus on dinner when we want to try something new. But what about breakfast?
Try a great big American brunch with fluffy pancakes and blueberries. Or try the Japanese version with rice and pickled vegetables. Enjoy the research as much as the meal. And if you're really looking for some fun, try creating a floating breakfast in a pool or paddling pool!
Go fruit picking
Food always tastes better when you've harvested it yourself. Many farms and cooperatives offer fruit picking sessions over the summer and it's a great summer bucket list idea for families and couples.
Take steps to learn a language
Now, let me save you from yourself. You can't learn a whole new language in a summer. But you can make a great start!
At one end of the spectrum, try language learning apps like DuoLingo or Rosetta Stone. Or watch interactive programmes in a different language with your children. At the other end, head abroad to a language school and immerse yourself entirely.
Summer is made for this. Quite simply.
Visit an historic site and find out more about it
Chances are you've overlooked an historic site near you. It's just human nature. Whether it's a statue you've walked past every day, a stately home or a blue plaque about an event you don't know anything about... this summer is the time to find out!
BONUS IDEAS FOR YOUR SUMMER BUCKET LIST
Paint with your feet
Ideal for toddlers, but big kids and grown ups can have fun with this as well. Roll out giant paper in the garden and dip feet in trays of paint. Go for the washable option to make the clean up easier. Or, just pain with water onto dry tarmac for the ultimate easy clean option.
Guaranteed to entertain any small child, you can increase the challenge with huge hoop bubbles for teens and adults. Street artists can create masterpieces this way. Can you?
Build a sandcastle
An old family favourite, building sandcastles is a traditional fun summer activity. Increase the challenge by creating moats, drainage systems, reservoirs and more.
Easy to organise, free to take part. All you need is a clear sky at night and a snuggly warm blanket. If at all possible, head away from the cities to see the brightest stars. Take a guide with you, like the National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night Sky to make the most of it.
Wade in deep, board a boat or sit on the edge of a riverbank. Maybe you'll catch something, maybe you won't, but it's the chance to stop and go slow, with your family or alone.
More Fun for Summer
Watch a thunderstorm
Just stand and watch and marvel at nature.
Climb a tree
Yes, this is one for grown ups, too, if you find the right tree!
Have a Water balloon Fight
How did I get to the ripe old age of, ahem, 21 without learning how to do this? A water balloon fight is a classic activity for summer, and if you're not sure how to do it, there's a handy water balloon tutorial over here.
Jump in puddles
If you're an adult, you can rephrase this as wading through a stream on an adventurous hike, but the concept is much the same...
Bury a time capsule
Gather together newspaper clippings, write a letter, cut off a lock of hair and put them into a waterproof box, like a leftover ice cream tub or tupperware container. Bury in your garden for someone to find in the future.
Run through sprinklers
It's another one of those classic things to do on summer days... Switch on the garden sprinkler and run back and forth, chasing children, or trying to stay dry.
Wash the car
Summer bucket lists may not be full of domestic chores, but you can have a lot of fun with this one. Bubble up with soap and young children or shoot a spoof Daisy Duke style video to have a laugh with your family.
Buy an ice cream
Not just any old ice cream. Find the most extravagant, gourmet ice cream cone in your area. And relish it! If gourmet ice cream isn't a thing where you live, then try an ice cream decorating game instead. Sugar rush included.
This is one of my favourite calming activities for summer when a rainy day rolls into town. Depending on your location and skill level, you can paint onto white ceramic you already own, head to a workshop or create the pottery from scratch.
Find a rockpool
The best bucket lists for summer include wading through rockpools looking for marine life! I used to spend hours doing this as a child and as an adult photographer, it's still good fun.
Want to enjoy this and take amazing photos? Here are some photography ideas for you!
Write a story
Don't know where to start? Check out our writing resources and toolkits and awaken your creative talent!
Summer Bucket List Ideas in Summary
So, there you are. 101 fun ideas for the perfect bucket list for summer this year.
Have anything else you'd like to suggest? Let's hear it! The more, the merrier!