Summer. The longer days, the warmer weather, the more relaxed pace, and a well-deserved break from work or school. No wonder it’s a favourite time of year for many of us.
Is it just me, or does it sometimes feel like summer takes forever to get here, and then the next thing you know it’s passed in a blink of an eye?
And you are left wondering…what did I do…how did I spend my time?
Did I make the most of summer?
Yes? So what’s the answer? How can you feel like you have made the most of your summer?
Design your summer with a summer bucket list
Gretchen Rubins talks about the benefits of designing your summer in episode 224 and episode 325 of one of my favourite podcasts Happier with Gretchen Rubin.
Designing your summer is nothing more than thinking about what you’d like to do or achieve over the summer, and making plans to accomplish it. Gretchen discusses how with a little bit of planning or forethought you can create the summer vibe you want.
One way to do this is to create a summer bucket list.
A summer bucket list is essentially a written list of your plans for the summer. It will help you be more mindful and intentional about how you spend your time.
Writing down your plans down is key. You’ll be much more likely to take action on your summer plans and achieve them when you write them down.
Another great thing about writing down plans is that planning and anticipating something fun will make you feel happier. Having something to look forward to helps you feel positive about the future.
Not only will a written bucket list help you design your summer and give you something to look forward to, but it will also give you a way to look back, relive good memories and reflect on what you’ve done. All of which are great happiness boosters.
Tips for creating your summer bucket list
Don’t compare or compete
It can be helpful to get ideas from other people’s summer bucket lists, but remember your bucket list as individual as you and your family.
While it’s fun to look at other bucket lists for ideas or inspiration – don’t fall into the trap of comparing or competing to have the highest number, or the most fun, adventurous or exotic activities.
You don’t have to do 100 things or even 10 things. There doesn’t need to be a set number to achieve at all. It can simply be just a list of pick-and-mix ideas that’d you’d like to try.
Don’t treat it as a to-do list
The aim shouldn’t be to get a whole lot of things ticked off before the end of the summer.
This shouldn’t be another to-do list that makes you feel anxious about getting everything done. The last thing you want a bucket list to do is to make you feel pressured or overwhelmed.
Be intentional about it. Remember, the point of your bucket list is to help you to spend your time in a purposeful way and to do things that make you feel good.
Research Local Events
Find out what’s happening locally – whether in your town, city, state or province.
Are there any local fairs, carnivals, concerts, performances, or festivals planned for over the summer?
What does your local library or museum have planned for the summer? Are there any reading challenges or special exhibitions coming up?
Include a mix of different kinds of activities
When you’re creating your summer bucket list try to include a mix of different types of activities.
For example, think about activities for when the weather keeps you indoors. Perhaps it’s stormy, or raining (happens a lot here in Scotland!) or perhaps it gets too hot to spend too long outdoors.
Other types of activities to think about include:
- Favourite activities – those things you like to do every summer
- New activities – something you’ve never done before but would love to try
- Creative ideas
- Activities for the daytime
- Nighttime activities
- Activities involving the whole family
- Solo activities – remember to include things just for you
- Free/low-cost activities
Of course, things may fall into more than one category!
Camping is a good example. Maybe camping is something you’ve always wanted to try (or it could be a favourite activity for every summer), it’s outdoors, and if you already have camping gear (or can borrow it from someone else) it can be low-cost.
Summer bucket list ideas
1. Watch a movie
Start a list to keep track of movies you want to watch, old and new. Are there any new releases coming out over the summer you can’t wait to see?
2. Visit your local library
As well as browsing the book stacks, find out if your local library is holding any storytimes, book groups, craft activities or other events over the summer.
3. Read a book
Keep a running list of books you want to read so when you finish one, you’ll have ideas for what to read next.
4. Explore a museum or art gallery
Are there any museums or galleries in your local town you haven’t visited yet? Or do you have some favourites you like to go back to?
5. Play a board game
Dig out your favourite board games, or ask friends to bring over their favourite board games and hold a tornament.
6. Complete a jigsaw
Depending upon the size you could aim to complete a jigsaw in a day or over the course of a few days, or a week.
7. Learn a new card game
Or teach your favourite card game to your friends or family.
8. Make a summery recipe
How about homemade ice cream or popsicles, lemonade, elderflower cordial. Or a summer cocktail perhaps?
9. Compile a summer playlist
Put together a list of your favourite summer songs, old and new.
10. Start a craft project
Paint or tie-dye a t-shirt, try some origami, design jewellery, or make puppets.
11. Go bowling
Great fun for all ages, I’m always surprised how much I enjoy bowling!
12. Go for a walk or a hike
Explore a path or trail in your neighbourhood, or plan an expedition further afield.
13. Attend an outdoor concert or production
14. Go on a camping trip
Or camp in your backyard.
15. Laze in a hammock
While away some time reading a book while swinging in your hammock, have a nap, or just do nothing.
16. Have a picnic
Pack up some tasty treats and a blanket and find somewhere scenic to enjoy them.
17. Grow something in a pot, or in your garden
How about some herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, or wildflowers?
18. Go on a bike ride
19. Have a scavenger hunt
20. Go berry picking
Then bake something delicious with the berries. Perhaps make some jam or preserves.
21. Host a BBQ/cookout
22. Make a bonfire
Whether you are away camping or have a fire pit for your backyard, remember the marshmallows and make some s’mores too.
Grab a blanket, lay on the ground and gaze up at the sky. Which constellations you can spot?
24. Do some yoga outside
25. Visit a farmers market
Try tasting a new fruit or vegetable you discover at the market. Get inspired to create some tasty summer meals with fresh, local ingredients.
26. Create some sidewalk art
Grab some chalk or watercolour paint and get creative.
27. Visit a state or national park
It could be for a picnic, a walk, a hike, camping or all four!
28. Dip your feet in cool water
Whether it’s in a paddling pool, at the beach, in a river, a pond, a stream, a lake (or a loch) nothing says summer like dipping your bare feet into refreshing cool water.
29. Visit a zoo, safari park or aquarium
Look for shapes and pictures in the clouds, and also try to identify them. Do you know your cirrus from your cumulonimbus?
So there you have it – 30 ideas for a summer bucket list.
Which ideas appeal to you? Any old favourites? Any new places you’d love to explore or activities you want to try?
How will you design your summer this year?
Thank you for this article. It’s exactly what I was looking for. You’ve giving great ideas to get started in my quest to “Design my Summer”!
You’re very welcome! 😁