The Summer Bucket List For Underachievers


About a month or so ago, they started popping up everywhere; Facebook, Buzzfeed, Pinterest, every lifestyle bloggers homepage- the nefarious ‘Summer Bucket List’.  And every single post was littered with smiling all American kid stock photos.

bored kids
We’re having so much fun this summer thanks to my mom sacrificing all her free time to get us this stuff that we’ll quickly destroy and forget about!

If you created one of these and we’re friends, I’m totally not talking about you. I’m talking about that other woman who spent three hours on PicMonkey crafting a printable with space to write 150 things her precious cherub(s) must do this summer lest any boredom or un-memorable events befall them. If you can’t make an entire scrapbook page about it, they sure as hell ain’t doing it!

summer fun list
#12 No. #92 What does that even mean? #17 Are you trying to kill me?

First off a bucket list by definition, if you can even find a real definition outside, is a list of things you hope to accomplish before you die. Therefore, bucket lists should be reserved for retirees and people facing terminal illness, not already overworked moms who could seriously care less about how their kids spend their summer so long as it does not drag too much mud, blood or sand into the house.

But somewhere along the line, we, as parents had to start filling up every second of our kids free time. Forget just the extra curriculars, now we need boredom busters! To combat the evil of electronic devices and too much screen time, I’m now expected to create games and activities to have on hand for those moments when my children might be bored. It used to be you could say “Go outside!” or “Read a book!” or even “Clean your room!” and still be considered a fit mother. Now, you’d better have some glitter slime or glow sticks in a pool up your sleeve!

boredom busters
Hey kids? Are you bored? Make yourself this snazzy Boredom Buster Jar. That’ll teach you to complain.

And so we get summer bucket lists. Endless lists of activities designed to fill the long dog days of summer. From trips to Grandma’s house to “walking through long grass and picking off ticks” no highlight goes undiscovered.

summer bucket list
I’ve got 99 problems this summer, cause at least I love s’mores.

For about an hour, I got caught up in the hooplah and created a list for our family. Seven things we’re going to do before this absurdity kills me.


1. Wait until the middle of June to think about summer activities, and then act surprised in front of the kids when everything is full.

2. Offer to take everyone out for ice cream, pack everyone in the van, and then remember that Teddy is severely lactose intolerant. Unload everyone and try to console them with ice pops chipped out of the bottom of the chest freezer. “I swear that’s not chicken broth! I’m quite certain it’s lemon ice!”

3. Finally dispose of the Christmas tree in a glorious bonfire. Tell the kids you invited the fire department on purpose.

4. Hold a playdate on what turns out to be the hottest day of the year so the kids can all pack into your house, heat it up beyond where the AC can handle it and then leave everything a sticky mess. “How is that even possible when I didn’t supply food????”

5. Reluctantly allow your kids to sleep out under the stars just so you can be woken up at 1 a.m. when a skunk sprays and stinks up all their camping gear.

6. Watch the kids laugh as they chase the barn cat, then listen with your face in your palms as they scream because he’s caught a chipmunk again….and it’s not dead!!!

7. Play animal hospital.


What’s on your agenda this summer? I’ve got about 20,347 spaces yet to fill on my bucket list printable! Don’t forget to link up below too! Be sure to share a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes! I look forward to reading your posts!
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  1. Haha, lists make me tired. I am not a list-maker and go through phases where I think my life is lacking because of it. Then I forget about that bit of guilt and keep on keeping on. I am just now starting to consider entering my 4 yo in a program and that’s about as far as we are right now. This thought will be further looked into once we get back from travels visiting family, but for now our summer is wide open just like our year (at home with a 4 and 2 yo – no preschool) and I am okay with that. Outdoors, reading, and figuring out boredom go a long way with my boys. Or at least I encourage it! Underachievers unite 😉

  2. Ice blocking is actually kind of fun. Grab a block of ice from the grocery store and an old towel then find your favorite hill (slightly dead grass is better) and sit on the towel on the ice and slide down the hill. A poor man’s summer sledding. 🙂

    1. I’ve never seen ice blocks sold in stores in the states where I’ve lived (which is dumb, because they keep your food cold while camping the whole weekend, without melting in the first 10 minutes like ice cubes.) But you can make your own ice block if you have a big Tupperware container and some space in your freezer.

  3. You had me at “underachiever.” Here’s my list of stuff I really must do this summer:
    7. Reluctantly get up and do something I have to do.

  4. Let’s see, this summer… I think I’ll get the bathrooms clean. That’s because my standard response when a kid says they’re bored is: “Great! Go clean a bathroom!”

  5. Love. This. I find that if I ignore my kids’ pleas for entertainment long enough, they start playing and entertaining themselves. Bucket list accomplished!

  6. Hee Hee! I do admit that I DID make a summer bucket list, but I also shamefully admit that it didn’t involve my kids in any way! And as long as I am admitting, I have done your #1. Your #3 is a great idea – hmmm. It could also double as a field trip to the Fire House. I am all for consolidating activities.

  7. My brother once took his son to the “beach” – then did not let him play cause he didn’t want sand in his car. There is the beach – time to go back home!!!

  8. Thank you for reality check Kelly! This tired working mom is going to close the tab on my phone for the Toddler summer bucket list, its overly ambitious and never going to happen! Instead I’m repeating after my cousin, “Its not my job to entertain you!” And we have a big Rubbermaid bucket in the backyard that is doubling as our summer pool and the toddler is happy 🙂

  9. I couldn’t agree more. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! Your list is much more my speed. #3 in particular hits close to home. No fire department yet, but concerned neighbors, yes!

  10. Oh my goodness, this is so funny. Thank you, thank you, thank you for keeping it real 🙂

  11. Hey, that last one has “wash a car” as an activity. That one is actually useful. Then again, it also has “catch a lightening bug.” Why you would need a bug to do your lightening is beyond me; that’s what bleach is for. #grammarhammer

  12. PLEASE tell me there is photographic evidence of at least a few of the bucket list items… particularly the x-mas tree one!

    1. Its Winter here in South Africa, but never cold enough to stay indoors for more than a day or two; I just scream, “its OUTSIDE time,” every now and then…basically every time they’re inside.
      On a serious note; what have we done as a society to make our kids feel like they have to be entertained all the time?
      Ahh the simple life of the Saints!

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