Build a Summer Bucket List for Kids with outdoor, at-home & educational activities

Complete your technicolor summer look with a tie dye activity

Jump into the warm summer months with our idea guide for fun in the sun, at-home memories, education, crafts, and more to create your own complete Summer Bucket List.

Since the never-ending Spring Break has come to a close and school is wrapping up for the year, you may find yourself wondering how to transition from one season to the next. Since the stay at home order has been extended through Saturday, June 10, 2020, many are wondering when the summer fun will actually begin.

Don’t delay the excitement and fun if you aren’t prepared yet to take the family out in public. We have compiled a list of things to do to kick off Summer while still being mindful of the Stay Home, Work Safe order placed across Harris County and the State of Texas.

How to Make a Summer Bucket List

There is no right or wrong way to create your list. No matter how you keep track of it, it’s sure to spark joy in your household.

  • Write it out in bright colors on poster board.
  • Type it on the computer and hit print.
  • Set up a digital checklist with an app like Trello or in your notes on your phone.

Summer Bucket List Ideas

Make your list a mix of education, service projects, fun, competition, crafts, and whatever will bring a smile to your favorite kiddos’ faces.


  • Garden Growing – A garden can grow anywhere from a small indoor space to a large raised garden in the yard. Find a spot that works best for you and start planting. Bonus points if it’s a fairy garden. Browse gardening kits and tools designed with kids in mind.
  • Backyard Obstacle Course – Host your own version of the Summer Olympics with games for kids of all ages. You can use items you already have, make a quick trip to the dollar store for some inexpensive items, or browse for complete obstacle kits online.
  • Hula Hoop Contest – Stage your own completion to see who will last the longest spinning away with the classic sport, and burn up some excess energy in the process. Browse hula hoop options for kids and adults.
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt – Use a free printable and put on your walking shoes to take a family field trip to see nature like you haven’t seen it before.
  • Pack a picnic – Go old school and pack a picnic for the park or even your own backyard, perhaps even the kids can do it themselves.
  • Stargazing – Lay under the stars and marvel at the sky to see if you can find the most famous constellations. Check out stargazing apps to help you learn even more.
  • Build a Sandcastle – If you’re able, head to the beach, find a quiet and uncrowded area where social distancing isn’t at risk, and build a sandcastle in the warm sand. If you can’t get to the beach, build one with kinetic sand. Browse for sand castle-building kits online.
  • Dance in the rain – Make the most of a rainy day by taking your dance party outside to stomp in puddles, feel the raindrops, and laugh away the gloomy day.
  • Water Balloon Fight – Fill them up by hand or use the new self filling balloons to have an epic fight with family and friends.

Family Fun

  • Family Sleepover – Set up the fort or grab some pillows, pop the popcorn, turn on the movie and wait for the laughs to start rolling.
  • Nerf Gun War – Load your pockets with “ammo”, find your hiding spot, and let the war begin on the count of three. For some extra fun, set a note out telling the kids to gear up and come find you. Bonus for you: loser does the dishes. Browse online for Nerf guns and paraphernalia.
  • Mommy Makeover – Nothing says “I trust you” more to the kids than handing over your makeup bag and letting them give you a makeover for the day. Be sure to have some make-up wipes on hand for the aftermath.
  • Lemonade Stand – Start the kids on their first entrepreneurial enterprise with a lemonade stand, with social distancing in place. They will beam with pride as they earn money for something they have been saving for, or better yet, donate it to a charitable cause.
  • Tie Dye – Jump on quarantine’s biggest trend and create a summer look to keep you bright and smiling in the months ahead.
  • Fireworks – Make it a priority to see the colorful bursts in the sky either over July 4th weekend or from the safety of your own driveway (where permitted).
  • Drive-In Movie – Pack the car and load up with your favorite movie watching goodies to check out family movies at a local drive in like The Showboat Drive-In in Hockley, Rooftop Cinema Club Drive-In at Sawyer Yards, and other pop-up options. Click here to check for upcoming drive-in movie dates.
  • Service Project – Grow closer as a family when you take the community’s needs to heart, especially during trying times like right now. There are a lot of easy ways for kids to help give back by running their own food drive, making signs for frontline and essential workers, decorating bags for Lunches of Love, and more with social distancing still in play.
  • Baking or Dessert Ideas – Find an easy kid-friendly recipe, like no-bake cookies, and let them help you make a mess well worth it in the kitchen. If baking isn’t your thing, there is ice cream-in-a-bag, strawberry shortcake, or banana splits.

Educational Interests

  • Avoid the Summer Reading Slide – Check with your school district for their Summer reading plan or your local library for online resources to keep their minds sharp over the break.
  • Reading Challenge – Keep track of reading in a fun way by checking off boxes for reading new types of books, reading in a new spot, reading in a whisper, and several other ways to change up the daily routine.
  • Chalk Activities – Use the sun to trace their shadows, create a scene they can be part of, practice sight words, trace letters, and more with a list of chalk fun.
  • Summer Science – Try the age old Mentos in a soda bottle, or a variety of other ways to blow their minds with educational yet fun summer science experiments.
  • Summer Writing Prompts – Let them create their own story or write about their favorite pastime time to keep their writing skills on point.

Find More Things to Do in Houston All Year Long

You can find more fun in our interactive event calendar and 365 Weekend Guides.

Be sure to subscribe to our free Weekend Guide email to receive a round-up of great things to do this weekend in Houston in your inbox every Thursday.

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Shea Kummer is a mom to 3 active boys living in Katy. She has a business degree from Texas Christian University and a background in social media management. When she's not cheering on her boys, she can be found looking for the best ways to make lasting family memories.