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a summer bucket list

June 23, 2011

summer activities for kids

50 things to do in summer with (or without) kids

“Summer’s lease hath far too short a date.”

Preach it, Brother.  I mean, it’s Shakespeare, after all.  The man deserves a few “Amens” from the choir, since I guess he knew a thing or two about matching words with reality.

“Hey Mom.  This good day today.”

Preach it, Sister.  It’s Little Friend, after all.  The girl deserves the soft spot I harbor in my heart for her observations on life.

Ready for Summer Fun

But both the Bard and my delectable offspring have the right idea.  This is a Good Day.  And it’s far too short.  Just as my soul shakes off the final winter hibernation shroud and gives a hearty, spine-cracking stretch toward the sun, July pops up on the calendar.  And just like that, the Back to School ads begin.

I want to hide.

Hide somewhere in the neighborhood of June 20th and not budge for six months or six years, whichever comes second.

Summer’s lease is well underway, so I’ve got to be intentional with the time I’ve got left.  As long as the school bus remains parked in a garage for a few more months, I’ve got 50 things to make each and every remaining summer day a Good Day.


  • Create a DIY acid mirror (during naptime, of course, to keep little hands away from caustic chemicals!).
  • Design and execute a “big girl room” for a Little Friend who informs me daily she is now to be considered a “big girl.”  Just ordered these eye-candy pom-poms for her ceiling.
  • Commission a custom portrait of our beloved Thumkin (again, “big girl room” time).
  • Make some of these ridiculously simple yet stunning starfish and jute mason jars to line my deck for dinner-at-dusk.
  • Finally, finally, finally get on a consistent cleaning schedule.
  • Construct a reading tent.



  • Splash in a stream and see where the fun leads.
  • Swim in the deep, cool creeks of World’s End State Park.
  • Add Garden Art (like these wish flags) to our brand new green patch.  Little Friend personally kisses each worm we find.  Here’s hoping the love and wishes translate to bushels of tomatoes.
  • Build a sandbox.  Hammer.  Dump.  Enjoy.
  • Pick raspberries at Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm.  One for the bucket, two for the mouth.
  • Visit the splash fountain at PPG place.
  • Take a Breakfast Hike and munch on “Breakfast Cookies.
  • Catch fire flies for a night light and read Eric Carle’s The Very Lonely Firefly for a bedtime story.
  • Have a sunrise campfire coffee date with Big Friend.
  • Go on a color scavenger hunt.
  • Kayak the tidal marshes of the Edisto ACE Basin.


  • Williamsport, PA for Cousin Camp 2011 (stay tuned for posts on the Second Annual event).
  • Edisto Island for some Low Country Barbeque and lazy beach days.
  • Lansing, Michigan to pay a long overdue visit to a family friend.
  • New Milford, PA to pick God’s sweetest blueberries.
  • New York City to visit dear friends and check out a Last Royals show.

Read (for me)

Read (for Little Friend)


I’m indebted to the following Summer Planning Resources for the inspiration and guidance on how to dwell intentionally in the sun, sweat, and sweet days of summer.
summer beach day intentional living

105 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2011 8:47 am

    I love this. Thanks and the links are great too. Sweet photo of dad and daughter.

  2. June 23, 2011 9:58 am

    Your daughter is adorable. Love your list and the links too!

  3. June 23, 2011 8:50 pm

    Love the “intentionality” of your list. Definitely something I need to wrap my head around.

  4. June 23, 2011 9:39 pm

    I did a bucket list, too, but I think I need to add “visit bellesqueaks” onto mine, because you’re going to have a fabulous summer! I’ll be copying some of yours 🙂

  5. June 24, 2011 10:44 am

    Great list; no doubt you’ll accomplish them all. Lovely photos, too.

  6. June 24, 2011 10:48 am

    I’m so excited to keep you list handy this summer — I think we’ll be living parallel lives!

    Green spinach pancakes, huh? Love spinach. Love pancakes. Can’t be bad, right?


    • June 26, 2011 2:38 pm

      Spinach pancakes… I haven’t eaten spinach in a long time. Not too sure about that. 🙂

  7. June 24, 2011 10:52 am

    Sounds like you guys are going to have a great summer!

  8. June 24, 2011 10:58 am

    Way to go, Freshly Pressed!

  9. June 24, 2011 11:05 am

    Wow! That’s quite the bucket list! Now you’ve inspired me to make my own!

  10. June 24, 2011 11:22 am

    A Summer Bucket List–what a terrific idea! All too often, summer slips through our fingers like grains of sand and we’re plunked on the shores of autumn long before we are ready.

    Incidentally, I live in Williamsport…what’s this Cousin Camp of which you speak? Could I perhaps masquerade as a long lost relative? ;-D

    Nice post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  11. June 24, 2011 11:38 am

    Your daughter is so precious. I love this post. As a teacher I am off for the summer and somewhat bored. You have inspired me to make a summer bucket list. Thank you!

  12. June 24, 2011 11:40 am

    Aye, the Summer is too short. I am already running out of weekends as they fill up with festivals, family events, sports and the end of summer (already!) NY State Fair. I promise I will find time to kick back and enjoy summer…for, at least, 20 minutes. 😉

    Good luck with your list!

  13. June 24, 2011 12:06 pm

    congrats on freshly pressed! i love the blog; and so look forward to summer with my family doing things we’ve never done before; or things we’ve done a million times that never get old!

  14. June 24, 2011 12:18 pm

    First, congratulations on Freshly Pressed! Secondly…I’ve always wanted to try Bubble Wrap Hop! Be sure to post how it goes.

    Visit my writing blog at

  15. jocellita permalink
    June 24, 2011 12:25 pm

    Thanks for the ideas!

  16. June 24, 2011 12:42 pm

    Wonderful list.
    Way to go! Especially in the direction of blueberries 🙂

  17. June 24, 2011 12:51 pm

    love this! you’ve inspired me to make my own list.

  18. June 24, 2011 1:11 pm

    Given your love of Shakespeare I propose you find time to take in a summer theatre production of Shakespeare in the Park if you can find such an endeavor near you, or plan a trip to NH where we are blessed to have an opportunity to enjoy the theatrical works of the blessed bard.

  19. jordancristine permalink
    June 24, 2011 1:16 pm

    what a great summer list! 🙂 enjoy!

  20. marlynnxo permalink
    June 24, 2011 1:22 pm

    Hi, what a great looking wordpress page you have made! I was wondering how do you get those “Share this” line? I can’t find it and really would like to put it on our WordPress page too. Hope you can help me. Thanks in advance.

  21. June 24, 2011 1:25 pm

    Your little one is adorable. 🙂

  22. June 24, 2011 1:36 pm

    Cute post. 🙂

  23. June 24, 2011 1:37 pm

    you got freshly pressed! well deserved 🙂

  24. June 24, 2011 1:46 pm

    These sound like great plans. May I suggest The Moon Jumpers for little friend; it is a perfect summer book.

  25. Brooke permalink
    June 24, 2011 1:49 pm

    Enjoying your blog. Congratulations on freshly pressed!

  26. June 24, 2011 1:50 pm

    i love it! and i love those mason jars! so simple and beautiful. i think i will make a few for a friends baby shower coming up!
    i’ve got a list of my own going – it’s tough but feels so good to cross things out. good luck and enjoy the summer :]

  27. June 24, 2011 1:52 pm

    Great list! I try to create something like that each summer as well. Congrats on being freshly pressed too.

  28. June 24, 2011 1:55 pm

    Great idea. I need to make a similar list. It all goes too fast, hope you have a great rest of the summer.

  29. June 24, 2011 2:01 pm

    Really like your list. I did one recently too, in anticipation of my 50th birthday, which is, thankfully, a couple of years off. I am getting started though and post my weekly progress.

  30. June 24, 2011 2:09 pm

    thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    newest post “polish citiZEN”:

  31. June 24, 2011 2:10 pm

    What a wonderful summer 2011 bucket list! I have one of my own that I’m working on. I hope you have a fantastic summer 🙂

  32. Brooklynn permalink
    June 24, 2011 3:01 pm

    whats a summer bucket list and you should check out this really cool blog called oh and cittey is pronounced kittey

  33. June 24, 2011 3:34 pm

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Love your bucket list. 🙂

  34. June 24, 2011 3:50 pm

    Hi, great post, reminds me of my daughters blog. You two are a lot alike. If you get a minute you might want to check out her blog.


  35. June 24, 2011 3:52 pm

    I love bucket lists! So cute that you have some for you and the little one. 🙂 What a cutie! Don’t forget to ride the carousel.

  36. June 24, 2011 5:01 pm

    Love all the ideas of things to do in the summer!

  37. June 24, 2011 7:03 pm

    Yay! I love that your blog made the Freshly Pressed! I will have to tell Sean! I love how intentional you are being. Hope you guys have a great summer!

  38. June 24, 2011 7:13 pm

    Loved this. LOVE the summers with my kids too!

  39. June 24, 2011 7:17 pm

    Love the lists and the links. She is so cute and I love the picture of he walking in the water. I’m going to try some of these, the first will be Homemade Ricotta Cheese.

  40. June 24, 2011 7:18 pm

    Love the lists and the links. She is so cute and I love the picture of her walking in the water. I’m going to try some of these, the first will be Homemade Ricotta Cheese.

  41. June 24, 2011 7:23 pm

    Toddler stilts? Hm, those sound like fun. The adults will be entertained by watching those being used.

  42. June 24, 2011 7:39 pm

    This word bucket list seems to be becoming popular. What exactly is a bucket list? What is the meaning of the word bucket in it? It makes me think of a bucket seat in a sports car. Couldn’t is just be “my list for summer” or does the word bucket make it mean something different?

  43. June 24, 2011 8:07 pm

    The firefly idea is probably the cutest, most adorable, and most memorable things I’ve ever heard. You’re going to have a great summer (I hope keep us posted on checking each of these off!). And thanks for all the great links!

  44. June 24, 2011 9:12 pm

    A Bucket list for the Summer??? Is some one passing on before the Fall??

    spread the humor:

  45. June 24, 2011 10:34 pm

    Love the idea of a summer bucket list. I just might have to make one too. Happy Summer! 🙂

  46. Syed Murtaza permalink
    June 25, 2011 12:44 am

    You have a cute baby girl. Have a nice Summer. Nice Photos…

  47. June 25, 2011 2:51 am

    That’s a great to keep everyone busy this Summer. It’s helps to be creative and innovative. With the high price of everything, these are awesome tips for a fun family activities without hurting the pocket. congrats!

  48. June 25, 2011 3:02 am

    I love this, Though i can’t make it fully understand (my english learning still has long way to go.). Your picture got me a feeling of happiness. And i know this is good for it appears on FP, good for you~ 🙂

  49. June 25, 2011 4:25 am

    🙂 I definitely have a summer bucket list as well! but mostly just living day by day trying to make the most out of the short time left! horray summer solstice

  50. In Western Europe The Grass is Juicy permalink
    June 25, 2011 4:51 am

    hey this made my day better. I should make a summer bucket list too. That would help a lot.

  51. June 25, 2011 7:52 am

    Wow, what a fabulous list. Have fun!

  52. June 25, 2011 8:15 am

    What a great post, I’m sure many of your readers were as inspired as me after reading this. Me and my boyfriend set straight to work on trying to make a reading den in our little city apartment!

  53. June 25, 2011 8:58 am

    Wow, sounds like you’ll have a busy and FUN summer. 🙂

  54. June 25, 2011 9:50 am

    Bubblewrap Hopscotch totally made my day. This is the greatest thing ever.

  55. June 25, 2011 10:33 am

    What a fine writer you are! I miss planning things to do in the summer with my kids. I miss being a mom to young children. Aw, heck! I just miss my kids, no matter what age they are, so you are right to treasure your summers with your little one. Frame that picture of Dad and Daughter!

  56. June 25, 2011 11:15 am

    I have a young child, my son Ezra who is at home with me for the summer. He will be 6 years old July 2nd. We have a lot of fun stuff planned. He has a big birthday party at the beach coming up at our local resevoire. The Sunday after that our neighbor’s invited him over for a tea party to celebrate his birthday. We have a beach pass and a public pool pass and a young family who likes to go swimming with us every year. We have bicycles and his dad likes to swim with him. He just won the fishing derby this year (3rd place) and he got a trophy and a new fishing pole.

  57. June 25, 2011 1:28 pm

    Quite a to-do list- and it all sounds great! You’ll have to post again and let us know how much of it you got done. 🙂

  58. June 25, 2011 2:42 pm

    I guess that it does not really seem like a “bucket list” to me though, because I am doing it as a form of moving forward, not as an end to all.

  59. June 25, 2011 3:56 pm

    That’s a great list!! I especially like that you’ve made some time to read and cook and do lots of fun little things 🙂 I’ve got a ton of things on my goals list too, but I’ve given myself way longer to do it than you. I hope you can get it all done! That would be such an awesomely productive summer 🙂

  60. June 25, 2011 4:30 pm

    Aw! This is so cute! I love how it includes EVERYTHING! This got me thinking…I should make my own list! Summers always seem to pass by way too fast…and it is my last high school summer! Sad though how Vancouver’s summer seems to be a bit late =S

  61. June 25, 2011 4:34 pm

    Very well written post. I don’t have any children just yet, but I have a entire batch of nieces and nephews, (seven total) whom I will be entertaining this summer. Funny thing, I also created a summer bucket list of my very own. I will be reading more of your blog.

  62. June 25, 2011 5:09 pm

    Incredible list with something for everyone….congrats on your Pressing!

  63. June 25, 2011 5:18 pm

    Great list. Love the writing. I look forward to reading more.

  64. grizelbello permalink
    June 25, 2011 5:40 pm

    I enjoyed your post so much! My friend is a young mother and a stay at home mom and I am going to show her your blog you have lots of great tips and ideas.

  65. June 25, 2011 6:22 pm

    From Shakespeare to Knuffle Bunny, you have enough to keep you busy!

  66. June 25, 2011 6:27 pm

    so creative! I think I’ll make a list of my own… Thanks for sharing 🙂

  67. June 25, 2011 9:16 pm

    beautiful and inspiring ::)

  68. June 25, 2011 9:35 pm

    Great idea! I have an Experience list on my blog and love the idea of the short term! Have fun with it.

  69. June 25, 2011 10:42 pm

    I came to your blog via google serach.I like your blog.I look forward to read more..Thanx..

  70. ilyahauptman permalink
    June 25, 2011 10:52 pm

    Enjoyed your posts a lot. Made me remember my mum. I haeve to make one, too.
    And, you have such a wonderful family 😀 I’m sure little Miss “Thumkin” Hendrickson will grow up beautifully.

  71. ilyahauptman permalink
    June 25, 2011 10:52 pm

    Enjoyed your posts a lot. Made me remember my mum. I have to make one, too.
    And, you have such a wonderful family 😀 I’m sure little Miss “Thumkin” Hendrickson will grow up beautifully.

  72. Greg permalink
    June 26, 2011 5:35 am

    I love the pictures. Especially the one of father and daughter.

  73. June 26, 2011 7:16 am

    Great stuff by the way… Do you have twitter?

  74. Irfan Handi permalink
    June 26, 2011 7:29 am

    Greetings . . .
    I love It!!!

  75. Hospitality Writers permalink
    June 26, 2011 7:37 am

    Great idea this list!

  76. June 26, 2011 8:56 am

    Love bucket lists, I gots one, well, actually many.

  77. June 26, 2011 10:02 am

    Lansing…huh? Wave at MSU for me if you drive down Grand River. 50 rings sweet right now. My list includes posting my 50th soon.

  78. June 26, 2011 2:41 pm

    Great list! I love making lists… I don’t have a summer list, though. I just laze around during Summer. Go to the lake. Swim. Read. Write.

  79. June 26, 2011 3:30 pm

    Summer bucket list, I love it!!! Great Idea.

  80. June 26, 2011 5:12 pm

    This is really awesome! Thanks for all the links and ideas. This gives me a lot of things to do with and for my sister during the summer.

  81. June 26, 2011 6:27 pm

    I love the pictures.And, you have such a wonderful family.Incredible list with something for everyone

  82. June 26, 2011 9:34 pm

    Bravo, Congrats on FP, you did great detail 🙂

  83. albeindc permalink
    June 26, 2011 10:14 pm

    great list! lots of these are quintessential summer and bring back childhood memories

  84. driftwoods permalink
    June 27, 2011 1:38 am

    What a great way to share links and inspiration. Sounds like a fun, and incredibly busy summer. If you get even half of these things done, I’ll be impressed.

  85. June 27, 2011 3:02 am

    Thanks for all the links and ideas.

  86. June 27, 2011 3:31 am

    very nice

  87. June 27, 2011 4:19 am

    thanks for such innovative ideas

  88. June 27, 2011 8:23 am

    Wow some of that cooking sounded just great!

  89. June 27, 2011 8:37 am

    Wow!!! so cool. Great post! Thank you for sharing!

  90. June 27, 2011 8:57 am

    Ok, so a bucket list is really just like a to-do-list. I have had a never ending to-do-list for a couple of years now and it has really kept me going.

  91. Heather B permalink
    June 27, 2011 9:15 am

    Love this so much! Will have to try a few of these!!

  92. June 27, 2011 11:40 am

    Dear Beth,

    Congratulations for being freshly pressed! Thanks for this unique blend of activities for the mind, soul and heart. It is probably a good idea to make a list. Otherwise the weeks will be over sooner than expected.

    For me the summer is the ocean, strawberries, the smell of fresh grass and running around barefeet,



  93. June 28, 2011 5:24 am

    Great bucket list! I hope you don’t mind if I’ll just steal some of your ideas. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  94. August 22, 2011 11:40 am

    nice pictures!!

  95. April 22, 2012 1:02 pm

    What a treasure trove of goodies are found here! Wow, wow, wow! You have found a new follower!


  1. a summer bucket list (via Belle Squeaks) « OceanDawn
  2. Not a Bucket List « Habitual Learner
  3. 50 things to do in summer with (or without) kids | Calgary's Kids Deal Club
  4. the simple things « Belle Squeaks
  5. The Remains of Summer | Planet Mom
  6. the Real deal « Belle Squeaks

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