Going into summertime, it’s a good idea to make a loose schedule for yourself and the kids. Look at the calendar and mark down all the major events you must go to, and you’ll see where you have openings for fun trips and activities. Then, make a summer bucket list of ideas for kids to do! Making a summer bucket list is a fun and easy tradition to start the summer. These free and low-cost summer bucket list for kids will get you started!
Updates in red for 2018!
Summer Bucket List for Kids & Families
Most of these ideas for a summer bucket list for kids can be done anywhere in the U.S. For my local readers, I have Connecticut-area links! All the ideas here are free or low cost (sometimes making use of library passes, etc).
- $ indicates the activity may cost a small fee (generally under $5/person).
- * indicates you can probably search for a free/library pass.
Outdoor Activities for your Summer Bucket List for Kids
- Have a backyard campout
- Play at the beach! Here’s some Connecticut favorites – all the parking should be free this year!
- Build a sand castle – In your sandbox or at the beach! Bring these favorite items for the beach and pool!
- Fly a kite – Hammonassett State Park is great for this, and Riverfront Park in Glastonbury as well!
- Keep a nature journal! Look for butterflies, ladybugs, and birds!
- Hike a trail – we love the rails-to-trails easy walking trail in Bolton at Steele’s Crossing Road and Airline State Park in East Hampton. Download the AllTrails app on your phone to see what’s local!
- Free-$ Visit a farmer’s market – Visit the Hartford Regional Farmer’s Market on Saturdays
- Have fun at a cool playground
- Cool off at a splash pad – Wolcott Park is clean, and with a playground adjacent. Read a detailed review at Out and About Mom.
- Ride bikes – our Tricycoo and the Cocoon by Joovy always got lots of action in the summer! Now the boys are riding their own bikes! We like the paved path at Great River Park in East Hartford.
- Watch fireworks!! (Click here to see fireworks in Connecticut 2018!)
- Make s’mores – Use a backyard firepit to have a safe fire at home!
- Go on a picnic
- Visit the zoo*
- Swim at your local pool – many towns sell non-resident passes.
- Go cloud watching – Elizabeth Park is lovely.
- Make gigantic bubbles
- Watch trains – the Connecticut Trolley Museum is exciting! Or the Danbury Railway Museum!
- Attend an outdoor concert – Great River Park in East Hartford has free Summer Pops concerts July 21 and August 25 from 7-9 pm
- Find a waterfall – dozens of hidden waterfalls in Connecticut just a short hike away!
- Visit a farm – Try Fish Family Farm in Bolton or Hurst Family Farm in Andover.
- Watch a baseball game – Hartford’s minor league team – the Yard Goats! And the New Britain Bees play in the former Rock Cats stadium.
- $ Go mini-golfing
- $ Run a race – The Summer Grand Prix Cross Country is a fun 5-night series at Wickham Park. Kids can do the 1 mile, adults the 2.6 cross country race.
- $ Ride a carousel – Visit The Carousel in Bushnell Park – JUNE Saturdays & Sundays 11-5 – Rides are $1
- $ Ride a real pony – look for a local farm that offers pony rides for a small fee.
- $ Pick strawberries – we love these berry patches in eastern Connecticut:
- $ Pick blueberries – see above!
Indoor Activities for your Summer Bucket List
These ideas are perfect for rainy days!
- Visit the library – check out the awesome playroom at the Noah Webster Library in West Hartford
- Visit a museum – FREE Second Saturdays For Families at Wadsworth Atheneum lets the kids enjoy art connected to crafts and docent-led tours!
- Join a library summer book challenge! One year we set a goal to read 100 books, but certainly pick your own number and go for it. Most library’s have programs with fun goodie bags and prizes!
- Go to a kid’s museum*
- Go to the aquarium* – Maritime Aquarium of Norwalk has seal feedings, sharks, and IMAX movies, plus a sting ray petting tank and more! Mystic Aquarium has marsh trails, penguins, and a cute little shopping village next door, plus an awesome habitats exhibit!
- Have a play date in the car – Fold the seats down, lay out some blankets. Then watch a movie on a portable DVD player and have a snack!
- Do science experiments in the kitchen!
- Prepare and can homemade jams – you know, after you pick berries? 🙂
- $ Eat ice cream –
- $ Go out to breakfast – our favorite spot is First & Last Bakery, and we’ve also checked out Center Perk and Cosmic Omelet, both with lots to offer! Ken’s Corner in Glastonbury is yummy!
- Play a board game – here’s some favorites in our house:
- These games boost brain power and are perfect for single players
- Traditional puzzles are fun to do together
- Learn a new craft
- Create an indoor obstacle course
- Listen to Classical Music and draw – your kids will be hooked on these narrated classical music CDs!
- Enjoy a Rainy Day! It happens in the summer! Here’s 25 rainy day ideas!
What’s on your Summer Bucket List? If you’re in Connecticut, what do you recommend?