Bad As A Mother

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Summer Bucket List

Don’t freak out. This is not some overachieving list of impossible things to do with your children this summer. I am Type-A, but I am not a masochist. The issue that I have with so many summer bucket lists is the notion that you have to do exciting and entertaining activities with your children all day every day. I’m all for making the most of the warm weather and sunshine, but not at the expense of my sanity (check out my summer survival guide here). There are so many easy and inexpensive ways to enjoy the summer. If you’re feeling the anxiety creeping up on you when you start to hear the phrase bucket list, check out a few of my favorites guaranteed not to make you lose your mind.

I Scream for Ice Cream:

Although I really try to be mostly dairy free, ice cream is one of my favorite things! One of the things I put on my bucket list is to do an ice-cream tasting. If there’s an ice cream shop on vacation or near one of our excursions, we are definitely going to try it out. When money is particularly tight, we do sundaes or cones at home which are always a big hit. If you are truly sticking to dairy free, buy yourself a Yonanas machine. It’s easy to freeze some fruit and make some amazing “ice cream” to share. You can even add some almond or cashew milk for some extra creaminess. I use mine for a healthy and non-dairy treat.

The Great Outdoors:

I’m from Queens, so don’t get any crazy ideas about me going camping or anything. What I do love is a good outdoor concert or performance. When the weather is nice, it’s so lovely to pack a picnic lunch or snack, grab a blanket and head out to your favorite park or beach. Lots of towns offer movies and concerts for families so definitely check out what’s on tap in your area for the summer. We have gone to both daytime and evening performances and the kids really love being outside and dancing with friends. Don’t forget the bug spray if you are heading into evening performances.


Summer Reading:

If you’re dreading those summer reading packets go here for some survival tips. If you have a little one who isn’t yet in school, the summer reading initiatives at the local libraries are pretty fantastic. Visiting your local library is a great way to get indoors on a rainy day or to cool off on an especially hot one. Most libraries have mini prizes or fun games that really get kids engaged in picking out new books and reading. You can track your progress with one of their simple charts and if you let your child add some stickers, it’s even better!


There is nothing like a good carnival! In the Northeast, there are carnivals practically every other weekend, so it’s easy to find at least one that fits your schedule. I love the idea of not spending a fortune on an amusement park or traveling hours and hours to get to one. If you have smaller children, go for the carnivals that have only a few rides. Most carnivals have plenty of space to run around and enjoy the sunshine.

Park or Beach Exploration:

If you always find yourself heading to the same parks and beaches, it might be time to branch out. Kids are always excited for some new scenery and you may just be able to buy yourself a few extra minutes before the next snack request (check out my beach essentials post here). Last summer we went to a different beach nearby which happened to have a water taxi. The journey itself was all of ten minutes but the kids loved it. If you have an attraction nearby, see if there is a way to get there by ferry or train. Sometimes traveling there is half the fun!

Whatever you do this summer, be sure to include the events that interest you the most. If you’re dragging your child to “must-do” events that you don’t even care about, the excursion will become more like a chore. Kids love when their parents are excited about something so it is a great opportunity for you share your love for carnivals, reading, or even camping (bugs eeek) with your child.

Have some other ideas? I would love to hear what is on your summer bucket list!

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