Here’s your ultimate bucket list to keep you and your family enjoying the warm weather and making lasting memories — without breaking the bank.
I feel like our school season is so busy — way busier than I’d like it to be, actually. Summer is when we slow down (or at least try to). It’s time to get in lots and lots of family time, make new memories, be silly together, stay up late and sleep in.
Whatever your summer looks like — whether you’re working, off for summer break (grateful for you teachers!), or a stay-at-home parent — I’m sure you’re looking for ways to keep those kiddos occupied.
I’m right there with you!
Here are some fun and frugal summer ideas when you’re stuck thinking of ways to keep everyone occupied and having fun.
Get Those Kiddos Outside
Did you know there are incredible benefits you and your kiddos can reap just by playing outside?
Here are some mind-blowing benefits of being outside:
- Getting a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun
- Activating your lymphatic system
- Building your gut microbiome and immune system
- Reducing anxiety and increasing happiness
- Promoting healthy sleeping habits
Fascinating right? If you want to learn more, click here to get all the details on why kids should play outside and get dirty to build a healthy immune system.
Now it’s time to dig into our ultimate bucket list — let’s do it!
Summer Bucket List: Fun & Frugal Ideas
Here are some awesome activities for you and your family to grow closer and have fun together this summer.
Camping was my favorite as a kid. I especially loved sitting outside around a campfire, watching the stars and roasting marshmallows before heading to my tent.
It was the best! And it’s these types of memories I’ll never forget, even as an adult.
So pack up your sleeping bags, tents and lanterns, and go camping!
If you’re not up for campgrounds or being far away from home, consider setting up in your backyard. I loved doing this when the kids were still young. You’re close to your house for bathroom breaks, and if you forget anything — it’s just a few steps away. Can’t beat that!
Make Bird Feeders
Kids of all ages love this easy craft, even if they’re teenagers. They may huff and puff a little, but eventually, they’ll have fun.
Grab some toilet paper rolls, poke holes to thread string through and smear peanut butter all over it. Finally, roll it in oatmeal or birdseed and hang it outside.
They’ll love watching all the beautiful birds that come over to enjoy this tasty treat!
Whether on a grill, over a fire or in the kitchen — cooking together is a fun way to make memories together this summer.
It’s no surprise that I LOVE TO COOK. My passion is using my elderberry syrup in everyday recipes, giving them a nice immune-boosting kick.
If you need a few ideas, give these a try:
- Elderberry Popsicles - 3 Ways
- Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies
- Chocolate Elderberry Truffles
- Homemade Granola Bars
It’s so nice to slow down and let your family be a part of creating something the entire family will love.
Grab this opportunity to get outside with zero distractions (like devices)! Fishing is a classic free summer activity that fosters communication and bonding as you work together to cast lines, bait hooks and reel in catches.
It's a chance to unplug, relax and connect with nature, enjoying the serene beauty of lakes, rivers or oceans.
So grab your fishing gear, pack a picnic and embark on a fishing day with your family this summer for a joyful and fulfilling experience.
Picture this: a warm summer night, a backyard filled with twinkling stars and the magical glow of fireflies illuminating the darkness. It's like having your own private light show right at your fingertips!
And let me tell you — there's something incredibly thrilling about chasing those little flickering creatures flying around. The joy on your kids' faces as they dart and giggle, trying to capture their very own firefly friend, is simply priceless. It's like a game of hide-and-seek but with glowing bugs!
And the best part? Firefly catching doesn't require any special skills. Just a jar, a sense of wonder and a sprinkle of patience.
Are you ready to grab your mason jars, gather your little explorers and get ready for a night filled with laughter, excitement and the magic of fireflies? Good, me too.
Light Sparklers and Watch Fireworks
Sparklers and fireworks don't have to happen only on July 4th — it’s a summer idea your family could enjoy all season long.
As the "oohs" and "aahs" fill the night air, you won’t help but smile as you witness pure delight on your kiddos' faces. And it’s as simple as grabbing some sparklers and pop-its — doesn’t get much easier than that!
Hiking is a great way to have a blast and create unforgettable memories together. Think about it — you get to explore the great outdoors, surrounded by nature's beauty.
No fancy equipment is needed, just comfy shoes and a sense of adventure. Plus, hiking is an excellent way to stay active and get those bodies moving.
While you're out there on the trails, you'll have plenty of time to chat, laugh and reconnect. It's like a mini-adventure that brings the whole family closer together.
Play in the Rain
As parents, we’re always reminding our kids about the rules. Wear a jacket — it’s cold outside. Don’t forget to brush your teeth. Did you remember to pack your lunch?
A ‘normal’ rainy day means wearing a raincoat and quickly getting out of the rain. This time, ditch the rules. Instead, go outside in the rain. Play! Splash in puddles, get muddy and be a rebel. Your kids will never forget these days.
Hot summer days are perfectly remedied by swimming! I mean, think about it, we want our family to get out of the house, off screens and enjoy the summer air. But the truth is, some days it’s just too hot to enjoy.
This is where swimming comes in. Save it for those scorching hot days. Go to your community pool, a water park, a local lake or even the beach. Pack a picnic to make it extra special!
This is the perfect summer idea for a cooler night! Gather around a crackling campfire as you toast marshmallows together for the ultimate summer dessert — smores!
You can’t go wrong with smores, ever. My favorite way to eat these bad boys is with a smear of peanut butter added to the ooey gooeyness!
In my opinion, sticky fingers and chocolate-smudged faces are proof of a perfect day.
Make Homemade Ice Cream
Oh, the joy of ice cream! It’s right up there with a good s’more. You can’t go wrong with either of these. There’s something about ice cream in the summer though, especially on those balmy hot summer days.
But want to know what's even more fun than eating ice cream together? Making ice cream together!
In fact, try my Elderberry Ice Cream recipe. It’s crazy easy, and you’re skipping out on any added sugar whatsoever. Made with frozen bananas, milk of your choice and elderberry syrup — your family will love this summertime treat.
- 3 bananas, cut into chunks and frozen
- ½ cup elderberry syrup
- 1 cup of milk (of your choice)
- Place frozen bananas and elderberry syrup in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
- Slowly drizzle milk and continue blending until you get the consistency of ice cream.
Don’t Feel Stressed
Remember, this list of summer ideas doesn’t mean it has to turn into a checklist. Don’t let the mom guilt set in if you don’t get to all these. That’s not what this is intended for.
Don’t stress! Do your best, and if you’re too tired or not up to it some days, that’s totally ok. It’s good for kids to entertain themselves too. So if that’s the case and you need some you time, go ahead and grab a book and send the kids outside. It’s good for them — I promise!
Here are a few other things I do every day to help me stress less:
- Take a daily immune-boosting dose of Elderberry Syrup (we take it all year round)
- Try to eat as much local summer produce as possible
- Carve out me time — this looks like gardening, reading and maybe even some naps
Here’s to a summer filled with fun, laughter, happier kids and less stress!
What are summer ideas you enjoy doing with your kids? Tell us in the comments.
💜 🌿 Not on our emailing list? Subscribe here and grab my FREE RECIPE EBOOK, it’s loaded with easy and immune-boosting recipes your entire family will love.