the slow summer bucket list

the slow summer bucket list

I made a bold choice this year to keep my kids home for more of the summer than usual. It was partly motivated by the simple fact that my winter was unusually slow for business this year, and camps are so insanely expensive. However, during the dark days of winter, spending more time at home with the boys sounded absolutely delightful and so I started planning.

As the summer approached I felt a little more nervous about it. I have an almost 7 y/o and an almost 3 y/o which at times can feel like a major gap. My older boy thrives on structure; he likes schedules and routines. He dislikes June when things get more relaxed at school (move around the daily schedule for extra outside time? Madness!). The younger one is more of a free spirit, he lives in the moment to say the least.

As you might know I love to make seasonal bucket lists because I really think they help us savour the season and avoid the "I blinked and missed it" feeling at the end of summer. Mine is always focused on slow living. There's not a ton of exciting excursions on it, and a lot of it is free or low cost. We pick an activity every morning to cross off, so keeping the list simple helps to make the list do-able (and provide some routine for the kids who love it). This list was made with kids in mind, but most can still be enjoyed by adults enjoying a different style of slow summer.

make homemade ice cream

If you keep your eyes peeled you can usually nab an ice cream maker from Marketplace. They're often in like-new shape from people who bought one and only used it once. My top flavours to try this year are mango and blackberry. The kids want homemade tiger tail, which could be interesting...

go on a picnic

You can do it up with all the bells and whistles, or grab some snacks from the cupboard and a couple of towels. I bought a cute vintage picnic basket but any bag or backpack will do. Picnics are great to shake up the evening when the day has felt looooong and there are still hours to go until bedtime.

berry picking

Okay full disclosure: this one is not my favourite. It reminds me of feeling hot and cranky. But my kids love it and I've never been sad to have a bucket of fresh berries in my kitchen. There is NOTHING like a strawberry fresh from the vine. It really makes you realize how awful the ones we buy in the grocery store year-round are.

make lemonade

My son dreams of growing rich from a lemonade stand, but we live on a busy road that's unsuitable for such a venture so we'll see how that pans out. In any case, it's always lovely to make a batch of homemade lemonade on a summer day. I want to try some of the endless variations I've seen like lavender lemonade or mint & rosemary. And who knows, maybe a shot of vodka will find its way in there once the summer sun goes down...

write to a pen pal

A few of my best friends live on the opposite side of the country (WHY universe?) so we're striking up pen pals between the kids. It's pretty exciting to get a real actual letter these days, plus it might help prevent their handwriting from going totally down the tubes over the summer.

go fishing

We love going fishing up at the cottage, especially in the early evening when it's so peaceful out. Our lake was overfished in the 60s (fun fact: people fished with dynamite) so there aren't many fish, but it's not really about that. It's more about the peace and quiet and the excitement of getting an actual bite.

hike a new trail

Here I am living in the "Trail Capital of Canada" and yet we always do the same two. Summer is the perfect time to explore a new trail and burn off some steam. 

mud kitchen

We built a mud kitchen this summer and it gets used pretty much daily. It's right beside the sandbox so sand goes back and forth and we fill one of the "sinks" (stainless steel bowls) with water to get things mucky. Earlier this week we scooped extra soil from the garden to make proper mud which I have to say was definitely a more exciting sensory experience.

If you don't want to build or buy one, all you need is some dollar store bowls, wooden spoons, measuring cups etc., as well as some soil or sand and water. Just make sure they're metal or plastic, not glass!

surviving summer: more bucket list items

  • food truck lunch
  • fly a kite
  • hit up a new splash pad or park you haven't been to
  • make play dough
  • go bowling
  • board games on a rainy day
  • paper mache
  • sidewalk chalk
  • nature scavenger hunt
  • plant sunflowers
  • paint rocks
  • have a beach day
  • go to the farmer's market
  • make s'mores

bonus: "today's special" for the afternoon slump

I find that stretch in between naptime for the younger one and dinner can feel really long some days. I stumbled across a daily special idea on Pinterest that I absolutely love. Again, simple things that are easy to pull off, and they're vague and flexible enough to adapt for any kind of day. 

  • MOVIE MONDAY (make some popcorn and put a movie on together)
  • TASTY TUESDAY (make an appetizer, bake some cookies, try a new recipe)
  • WORKOUT WEDNESDAY (we like trail hikes and YouTube workouts)
  • THIRSTY THURSDAY (grab something cold and refreshing from a drive through, or make smoothies or iced drinks at home)
  • FREELANCE FRIDAY (get arty with a craft, some photography, or some kind of creative endeavour)
  • SERVICE SATURDAY (do something kind or helpful for someone else)
  • SPIRITUAL SUNDAY (do something for your heart and mind. For us some yoga or meditation fits the bill. That will likely turn into wrestling and cuddles, but that's good for the soul too!).
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