Plan for Summer Fun!

It is June! I am not exactly sure where this year has gone. June is the month my baby turns one. It seems like I was just experiencing labor pains, and now suddenly he is turning one. Sigh! What they say is true (whoever ‘they’ are): “The days are long, but the years are short.”

In France, where I grew up, it was common for people to take a month-long vacation. Usually this happened in August when it seemed like the entire country shut down. Not quite, but almost!  I actually went in a cathedral once in the town where I grew up (Bordeaux, if you are interested), and there was a sign at the confession booth saying, “Closed for the month, come back for confessions in September.” True story.

Now that I am an adult living in a work-hungry country, I really think they are on to something. Well, not the confession part. What I would not do for an entire month off.

Summer means long days for the kids off of school. But for most adults it means mostly normal work schedules. Beyond a week, maybe two, of true vacation, we have to figure out how to fit in the summer fun around busy schedules.

I cannot tell you how many times I have said I wanted to do something during the summer months, only to find that fall is on me and I failed to do it. Usually it was just poor planning, rather than lack of time. Not anymore!

A couple of years ago I started making bucket lists for different seasons so that I would remember to take advantage of small moments. This is not the big stuff. I am assuming that if you planned a trip to Disney you would not forget to go. (If you do, pass the tickets on to me next time, okay?)

This list is to remind me to do the simple things that childhood memories are made of. I want my children’s childhood to be replete with such memories. It does not just happen. I need to plan.

The list is a combination of planning and spontaneity. Planned because I do actually have a list. Spontaneous because these are not on the calendar weeks ahead of time. Usually, when we have a day, afternoon, or evening free, we drum up something fun to do. We have a whole list of ideas, so we don’t constantly do the same old thing.

Photo Credit

20 Ideas for Summer Fun (To get you started!)

  1. Make smores
  2. Take the kids on a surprise ice cream outing in their pajamas.
  3. Go to a splash park.
  4. Find and visit a new-to-you park in your area.
  5. Visit a local attraction.
  6. Make ice cream floats.
  7. Catch lightening bugs in a jar.
  8. Go on a family bike ride.
  9. Camp out in the back yard.
  10. Go on a picnic.
  11. Have some water fun: sprinkler, water games, etc.
  12. Go to the zoo.
  13. Start a read-aloud.
  14. Go on a nature walk.
  15. Feed the ducks.
  16. Go to a baseball game.
  17. Make homemade popsicles.
  18. Make homemade ice cream sundaes. Be generous with the toppings!
  19. Go to your local farmer’s market.
  20. Grill out with friends. (Go ahead and name them, or you might not do it)

Whatever you do, do not end the summer with, “Oh, we were going to do that and forgot!” Plan, and then let the fun happen spontaneously. If you have older kids, include them in the brainstorm. You may be surprised at the fun things they come up with!

Say ‘yes’ more than you say ‘no’ and you will be sure to have a summer rich with family memories.

What fun ideas do you plan to do with your family this summer? Share them in the comments!


  1. Oh, I loved this. We love doing fun stuff like this with the kids. On our list this summer: 1. Hit Mayflower Beach.
    2) Drive to Portsmouth, NH for a day of shopping,
    3) Take the ferry into Boston again (kids loved this)
    4) Baseball game
    5) painting plen air near waterfront
    6) spend looong days at grandma’s pool with the cousins
    7) make ice cream

    • Johanna says:

      Would love to jump in the van with you to head to Mayflower Beach! You all are so great at making memories with your kids!

  2. Wow, one years old already!!!! That saying is so true!!! It’s fun to see the kids grow up and learn to be more independent but I sure miss them needing me for every little thing too!!!
    Great post once again! It so easy to get caught up in life that you forget to do the little things. My hubby and I were just talking this morning about some summer activities that we needed to really start planning if they were going to happen! Thanks for some great ideas!

    • Johanna says:

      I know…it is so sad when they don’t need me. I hope you all have a great summer! I know what you mean…time gets away from me if I don’t plan!

  3. I just started doing that, too. We went strawberry picking for the first time this year, because I finally got it on the list! I also have a planetarium showing and a kid’s workshop (at Lowe’s or Home Depot) on our list for this summer.

  4. These are fun ideas!

    I just found your blog via your comment on Simple Mom, and I l-o-v-e it! I must admit I spent my naptime break skimming your entire archive! There are so few simplicity/time management blogs that are also theologically grounded like yours. Your tips have been so encouraging to me, especially your emphasis on hospitality. I’m convicted and inspired. Thank you from your newest subscriber. :-)

  5. I’m just going to borrow your list! It’s a doable list, for sure, which makes it so great. Tiny Twig is posting something similar today. My boring answer is over there. :)

    • Johanna says:

      I didn’t think it was boring at all! Simple things are some of the best memories in my book! :)

  6. We actually do pretty well with several items on your list. One thing that has gotten away from us the last couple of years is camping – even just a tent in the yard for the older 2 kids. This will be the year :) The highlight of summer (at least for me) is a yearly week at the beach with my husband’s family. Happy Birthday month to your little one :)

  7. I’m still stuck on the month long vacation bit. And trying not to be jealous.

  8. Loved reading your list and it gave me some inspiration for making one for my kids (had several things in mind but haven’t actually written them down…)!

    We did #2 on your list during our Spring Break and the kids LOVED it–would definitely do it again this summer; sweet memories for sure! =)

  9. Rebecca says:

    Great idea, we don’t have children but between work and life it is easy to get wrapped up in the stuff of life. My husband was overseas all last year so we are making up for him being gone. We are well on our way to making up for missed ice cream runs but should probably move on to hikes or something a little more healthy.

    One of my favorite summer activities is blueberry picking. I think it is so much better then strawberry picking. The bushes are higher so less bending and less work when you get home with all your berries. June is blueberrry picking time in Louisville so I am hopeful to stock up again.

    • Johanna says:

      Rebecca, if you have had to live apart from your husband all year, I think you deserve a lot of ice cream runs! But outdoor activities are fun and more healthy, I guess. :)
      We love blueberries, but I don’t usually think about picking them! Thanks for the idea!

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  1. […] realize I need to maximize my time in order to have plenty of time for the fun stuff. We have our bucket list and already in the last couple of weeks we have been to the pool, the zoo, a splash park, and have […]

  2. […] Last year was our first year to make a fall bucket list. It proved to be a great way for us to remember to do specific family things throughout the season. I always have good intentions, but often the season gets away with me and I’ve only done a few of the things I wanted to. It’s the same reason I have to plan for summer fun. […]

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