Whether its bonding over a board game (Scrabble is my favorite!) at home or going on a spontaneous road trip with your kids, spending time doing fun family activities can be one of life’s greatest joys.
Creating a family bucket list, using these ideas as a guide, gives families a chance to get excited about adventures that are big and small while creating great memories that last a lifetime.
1. ✧ Have a Family Game Night Marathon
Stay in for the evening, get cozy in your jammies and have a game night marathon. There are different games for all ages, but Bingo is a favorite for almost everyone in the family (this bingo set comes with everything you need!). You can make it even more fun by adding prizes for the winner, like store like gift cards, candies or extra TV time for the kids.
2. ✦ Bake Cookies
Baking cookies with kids can get a little messy, but who doesn’t like a home filled with smiling faces and the smells of fresh-baked cookies? It doesn’t matter whether it’s snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin or simple chocolate chips, spend an entire day just baking. The one who does the most work gets to lick the spoon!
For some delicious cookie ideas see the Epicurious’ 113 Favorite Cookie Recipes (and send me a dozen of the spiced molasses cookies!). Don’t forget the cookie sheets! The Rachael Ray Yum-o! Nonstick Pans are amazing, or at least get yourself some silicone baking mats that make the process so much easier!
3. ✦ Go Camping
There’s nothing quite like surrounding ourselves with nature (and eating s’mores!). From setting up the camp to fishing in a lake to telling stories around the fire, it all will be a great bonding experience. It can even become a yearly family tradition!
If you need a family tent, the CORE Instant tent fits up to 9 people and has a room divider. Also, don’t forget anything with this packing checklist.
4. ✦ Have a Lemonade Stand
Setting up a Lemonade stand is one of the simplest ways of teaching your child good communication skills, while also building a work ethic and igniting an entrepreneurial spirit inside them.
With creating the booth and making signage, it also helps bring out their creative. Plus, they will always know how to turn lemons into lemonade!
Here are 10 tips for a successful lemonade stand.
5. ✦ Make Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
This family-friendly activity goes hand-in-hand with your lemonade stand. So, instead of using a standard lemonade mix, make some fresh squeezed juice of your own. Squeezing your own lemonade allows you to add a bit of your own flair into the mix. Go wild and let the inner mixologist come out and play! Here are 4 easy homemade lemonade recipes to get you started.
6. ✦ Go Bowling
Bowling is a fun thing to do for almost every age. Even for the younger children, lane bumpers can be put up to prevent them from getting discouraged with too many gutter balls! For the competitive family try splitting up into teams and have a full blown tournament. No matter who wins, there’s guaranteed to be a lot of giggles.
7. ✦ Go Ice Skating
Ice skating is an excellent way to incorporate both fun and fitness into your activities with the kids. Frozen ponds, lakes or rivers can provide you with some of the most scenic ice skating rinks around the world. If you can’t find a lake or such, indoor ice skating rinks are popping up everywhere! Glide along, hand-in-hand and score bonus bucket list points for anyone in the family who can learn to ice skate backwards. Don’t forget to follow it up with a cup of hot cocoa.
8. ✦ Overcome a Fear
Life is too short to hold yourself (or your children) back from experiencing new things just because of an irrational fear or anxiety. One of the best ways to get over your fear is to have your loved ones by your side to encourage and support you while you are facing it head on. So, hike up that mountain peak, go on that roller coaster or swim through the ocean.
If you need a little push read my 8 tips to facing your fears in this article about overcoming anxiety to live your dream.
9. ✦ Visit a Farm
From riding on large tractors to picking vegetables while cute animals run all around you, farm life if the good life! Some farms even have interactive tours where you get to do things like feed the goats, milk a cow or even collect eggs from the hens.
10. ✦ Have a Picnic
You will have to break out that dusty old picnic basket for this family activity. It is quite simple to put together a picnic. Just getting some refreshments and heading to a local park, mountain or canyon will do the trick. Need a basket? Check out this cute extra large picnic basket.
For some of the best picnic ideas check out these 37 ways to have the most delightful picnic ever.
11. ✦ Take a Factory Tour
A factory tour is not only a unique addition to your family bucket list, it can also be very educational. The tour can be at a food factory or book or even a car company—whatever you can find close by or whilst traveling. One of my favorites was the Jelly Belly Factory where we got some delicious samples at the end!
12. ✧ Create an Herb Garden
Gardening can be a lot of fun and growing your own herbs is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle and teach the same to your kids. They will definitely have a blast digging in the soil and planting seeds, growing seedlings and watering them. You don’t need a lot of space and the vessel can be anything from a wooden crate to a mason jar to an old tire.
For an easy option, just buy an herb starter kit. Nature Blossom’s Sow & Grow makes it simple by giving you everything you need to grow five organic favorites: Basil, Thyme, Parsley, Sage, Cilantro. Or get creative with these top 30 low-budget garden pots & containers
13. ✦ Have an Arts & Craft Day
Clear off the kitchen table and spend the day getting crafty. Arts & Crafts can range from simple seashell bracelets to intricate dreamcatchers to even homemade slime. Make of plan to take your creations and put them to use, wether it be using it, wearing it or putting it on display in the home.
Need some crafty ideas? Try one of these 50 easy crafts for kids or these 30 cool crafts that can be used for gifts.
14. ✧ Research your Family Tree
Learning about family tree with your kids is a great way to make them aware of their roots and even spark an interest for genealogy! Although it is typically a hobby for adults, there are many constructive and creative ways to get the children involved (like have them make this cute handprint and footprint tree).
15. ✦ Make S’mores
If you haven’t had these yet, drop everything you are doing and go make some—s’mores are absolutely divine. As the perfect campfire treat, making S’mores is something that the whole family can get into and thoroughly enjoy.
Allow me to elaborate: The best kind of S’more, the ones I like most, go a little something like this – You take a fire-roasted marshmallow, sandwich that with a layer of your favorite chocolate and then cover it all up with two pieces of graham cracker.
This recipe should help to get you started on the right foot. And if the traditional style doesn’t do it for you pick a unique one from the 12 Creative S’mores ideas.
16. ✧ Learn a New Language
You can learn a new skill at any age, so why not learn a new language? It can be a fun and interactive experience for the whole family. Perhaps you can learn the language of a dream destination where you hope to go on a family vacation someday? Dream big!
Rosetta Stone and Duolingo are two great programs to get you started.
17. ✦ Go to a Museum
I’m the first person to admit that I am not a typical museum lover, but throughout my travels it has become very clear that not all museums are created equal. They really don’t have to be boring! You can choose to visit a historical or art museum, but my favorite type, and a favorite for children, are the interactive museums with plenty of family activities. These immersive museums encourage kids and adults to play while learning.
18. ✦ Swim in the Ocean
Swimming is not only fun, but it gets your kids outdoors and moving. So, plan a beach trip to swim amongst the waves. It’s a bonus that you can knock a few other items of this “Family Things to Do” list while you are there, like make a sandcastle and go on a picnic.
19. ✦ Create a Family Scrapbook
Creating a scrapbook is a great way to be able to look back and reminisce about all the adventures and good times you had as a family. You can preserve all your experiences in the form of pictures, ticket stubs, pressed flowers or just about anything else. And if you get the entire family in on this beautiful project, it will be something you cherish for a lifetime. PS: Here are some cute layout ideas!
Just an idea, but how about creating an entire memory book dedicated to this family bucket list?
20. ✦ Build a Fort in the Living Room
Gather all your pillows and blankets to make an unforgettable fort in your living room. You can have snack boxes and binge watch your family’s latest obsession over food and laughs. Aren’t sure how to create one? Here are 8 steps to building an awesome indoor fort.
21. ✦ Go for a Hike
Hiking can be a great way to get the whole family outside to enjoy nature, whether it be at your local park or a high mountain peak. If the kids need a little extra motivation you can even make a game out of it—check out these 7 hiking games for kids. Make sure to pack a backpack of the essentials, snacks and cameras to capture all the beautiful memories you make along the way.
22. ✦ Go Fishing
Fishing trips with my dad are one of the best memories from my childhood. It is an activity that gives you undisturbed time to just be there in each other’s company, and catching a fish along the way is just a bonus!
A fishing pole is also a great gift! This rod and reel kit has everything your child will need.
23. ✦ Play Mini-golf
Mini golf is so entertaining because you could be hitting your fluorescent ball into the mouth of a clown or through a squiggly tunnel. It also promotes a healthy competitiveness that can teach sportsmanship. If you are extra creative you can build your own course with this easy how-to.
24. ✦ Play Cards
A simple deck of cards can lead up to hours of entertainment. Teach the young ones to play your favorite childhood game (here are 5 classic card games) or learn something new together by checking out these top 25 card games for families. Throw in some homemade goodies and a crackling fireplace and you’ve got one heck of an evening going.
25. ✦ Build a Model Airplane
Building model airplanes takes a lot of time, effort and dedication. That is why it is an excellent activity to add to your family bucket list. You get to spend valuable time with your kids, teach them patience and get something truly amazing as its end product. It may even look good on that mantelpiece.
26. ✧ Make a Family Music Video
Yes, it can turn out embarrassing (for many years to come), but so what? You can recreate an old number that your family enjoys or create something completely new. Your kids may be mortified when they see it as adults, but that is part of the fun.
27. ✧ Create a Masterpiece with Sidewalk Chalk
With sidewalk chalk the size of your masterpiece is only limited by your imagination! Whether everyone works on the same piece or individual ones, it’s a fun way to spend a sunny afternoon.
You can easily buy some washable sidewalk chalk, or make your own with these easy DIY instructions.
28. ✦ Play Charades
Charades is a classic game that is suitable for all ages. It’s simple to play, all you need to do is act out words, phrases or movie titles that are written on slips of paper. If you don’t know how to play, then this how-to has detailed instructions. If you need some easy topic ideas (or picture cards for those children who don’t read yet), these charade cards will help.
29. ✧ Learn a Magic Trick
Bring on the abracadabra! Everyone can appreciate the good old vanishing coin trick or pulling a flower bouquet out of your sleeve. You can even have each member of the family learn a different trick and then put on a show!
You should be able to find an illusion to attempt within these 13 easy magic tricks for kids, or simply by a magic set that includes 20 tricks to try.
30. ✧ Go Berry Picking (Make a Pie)
There’s an art to making the perfect homemade pie. It’s all about the freshness of the fruit, creating the perfect pie crust and making it with a touch of love. Getting your kids to the local fruit farm is a good way to show them where their food comes from (and so much funner than just picking a basket off the grocery store shelf!). Find the closest farm and start picking your favorite fruit for your next masterpiece. It doesn’t matter if it’s apples, lemons or peaches—pick whatever is sure to make your mouth water.
If you are rusty on your pie making skills, this book should help:
31. ✧ Be a Tourist in Your Own City
There is more to life than hanging out at the bowling alley and the mall. Take the time to visit more than just your usual family hangouts. Be a tourist in your own city, go someplace new and you may be surprised by just how wonderful that old town can be.
32. ✧ Make Tie-Dye T- Shirts
Do you have a bunch of white T’s you would like to breathe some life into? Why not make tie-die T-shirts? This is something that the entire family can get into and enjoy as you all try to outdo each other with your various brands of creativity. A tie-dye kit will make it much easier for you!
33. ✦ Go to a Dude Ranch
Dude ranch family vacations have been popular for years, and these no doubt why. Where else can you get the opportunity to experience the Old West as a real cowboy or cowgirl! Step back in time, unplug and indulge in fun-filled activities like hiking trails, fishing, hayrides and, of course, horseback ride.
Don’t know what you’d be in store for? Read about my Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation at Drowsy Water Ranch.
34. ✦ Sing Karaoke
When it comes to karaoke it doesn’t matter how good your voice is, it is all about having fun. Whether you feel tired and unmotivated or the kids are feeling bored, plug in the karaoke machine (check out this budget-friendly one) and sing away your troubles away.
35. ✦ Play Dress Up
Not only does playing dress up important for children because it helps them use their imagination and builds confidence, it is just a plain fun family thing to do. Let your kids pick a them, and make sure to join them is dressing up!
Not sold on adding this to your family bucket list? Check out these 10 benefits of dress-up play for children.
36. ✦ Decorate Cupcakes or Cookies
Let’s face it. It’s enjoyable to eat just the frosting. But try to refrain, and set up shop on the kitchen counter for some serious decorating. It doesn’t matter if it’s cupcakes or cookies, let everyone get wild with their creations.
If your creative juices aren’t flowing, these crazy cute cupcake recipes will help. So will these cookie decorating hacks for children.
37. ✦ Do a Science Experiment
One of my favorite school projects where when they assigned us to complete a science experiment. It’s quite an epic moment to see that lava flowing out of the volcano! Of course it doesn’t have to be the typical volcano, you can also choose something creative from these 14 best science experiments to try at home.
38. ✦ Put on a Family Talent Show
A talent show is a great way to get your extended family together. You can get the young children and teens to sing and dance while the moms show off their old baton twirling talents and dad can perform a magic trick. Don’t know what to do? Check out these 11 talent show ideas.
39. ✦ Visit a National Park
There are actually several things that you can tick off your family bucket list simultaneously in a national park (bonus!). There is something for everyone, from camping to fishing, or just taking a hike through beautiful landscapes. Find a park nearby and plan a little nature getaway.
40. ✦ Go to a Carnival
Face painting, spinning teacups and caramel apples—who doesn’t love a good carnival? There is something for everyone so the whole family can enjoy. You can also play some games and see who is the first to win a prize.
41. ✦ Have a Movie Night
Fun family things to do don’t have to be expensive, you could have a great time just picking out a movie and spending the night at home. Maybe even combine it with making some homemade pizza! You can even make a little side challenge to watch Timeout’s 50 best kids’ movies to watch as a family.
42. ✦ Make Homemade Pizzas
Children can be picky little eaters, but almost all of them love pizza! From kneading the dough to adding your favorite toppings and sprinkling hearty amounts of cheese, everyone in the family can have fun making their own personal pie.
Get started with this easy pizza dough recipe and these 10 Kid-Friendly Pizza Recipes.
43. ✦ Go to a Drive-in Movie
If you are looking for a unique and cheap night out, how about going to a drive-in movie? They may be more difficult to find these days, but they are a whole lot of fun when you do. Look at the Drive-In Movie Website to locate the nearest one.
44. ✦ Sleep Under the Stars
You don’t have to go far to sleep under the stars, you could do it right in your backyard. On a warm evening, get out the sleeping bags and set up camp steps away from home.
45. ✧ Have Breakfast for Dinner
It may sound like a pretty simple thing to do, but it is actually sending out a message to your kids that life doesn’t have to always follow the rules and a fixed routine. Who says you can’t have eggs and sausages, and pancakes topped with strawberries and maple syrup at night?
46. ✧ Go 24 Hours without Internet, Radio or Television
Now, I know, this is a tall order. We use the internet for everything nowadays. But think about it. When was the last time you went for two hours without your phone? Try going 24 hours without internet, radio or TV. Go camping, read a book together or use the time to complete some of the ideas on this family bucket list.
47. ✦ Have a Water Balloon Fight
While we all love to feel the sun in our faces, sometimes the heat of summer can get a little too…toasty! On those days, very few things even come close to feeling as good as having a cold shower, but the next best thing is to have a water balloon fight.
Fill up dozens of these latex fun makers and target your favorite family member, while trying to stay the driest of the bunch. If winning the fight is just as important as having fun, research techniques on How to Survive a Water Balloon Fight.
48. ✦ Go to a Play
Going to the theater is a great way to spend an evening. Whether it’s a local play or a large professional production, the whole household can find something everyone would enjoy. If nothing else, there will probably be popcorn and nachos.
49. ✦ Visit an Aquarium
Who isn’t mesmerized by ginormous tanks filled with larger-than-life swimming fish? An aquarium is also very educational, plus there are certain exhibits that allow hands-on experiences with sea creatures.
50. ✦ Go Roller Skating
Roller skating may be an easier thing to do than ice skating—four wheels is simpler than one blade! Typically during skate session they will also play games and have disco lights.
51. ✧ Complete a Ropes Course
Climbing high in the trees, ziplining or walking a tightrope to different platforms are some of the challenges you might face on a ropes course. These sort of courses are used for team building for good reason, they can be difficult and will need the support of the whole group in order for everyone to finish.
52. ✦ Visit a Historical Site
History doesn’t have to be boring, especially when you take it out of the classroom and into real life. Find a local historical site and teach your children the cultural significance and heritage of our ancestors.
53. ✦ Do a Random Act of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are some of the most fulfilling things you could ever do and giving without expecting anything back is a valuable lesson to teach every child.
54. ✦ Try a New Food
Has your family ever tried sushi or Thai food? Maybe your kids have never had something as simple as beets. Think of all the things you have yet to taste (for some fun ideas go to an Asian market!), then go out and try something new. You never know, you may all stumble upon some delectable delicacies that you may never have heard of had you not been adventurous with your food.
Don’t know what to try first? Check out The Food List Challenge’s 100 Foods to Try Before You Die. If you don’t think your children will stray from their beloved chicken fingers, then read the 5 science-backed ways to get your picky eater to try new foods.
55. ✧ Make a Collage of all Your Dreams & Goals
Break out old magazines, a pair of scissors and some glue to make a collage of all the family things you want to do in the future. It can be related to anything from vacations you want to take to foods to cook together or new activities to try.
No matter what activities you pick you pick for your family bucket list, the main thing to take away from it is the value and importance of family bonding—creating memories that will last a lifetime.
56. ✧ Go on a Scavenger or Treasure Hunt
These two hunts involve a list of things that take you on a search to have each item on the lineup found. The difference between the two is that a treasure hunt involves clues in trying to find them. Either way, it is entertaining going from place to place to find stuff. There’s endless themes for a scavenger hunt, but here are 8 good ones.
57. ✦ Take a Road Trip
Pick a spot on the map, pack up the car and just drive. It doesn’t even have to be a long trip, it could just be for a day or two. Make sure you have plenty of entertainment along the way! These car games for kids should keep them busy, or invest in a Backseat Bingo pack.
58. ✦ Fly a Kite
Flying a kite is a relaxing way to spend a sunny day that has a bit of wind kick to it. If you haven’t previously had any luck getting your kite in the air, wikiHow can tell you how to fly a kite in 8 steps (and this rainbow kite is a hot seller!)
59. ✦ Run (or Walk) a 5k
Participating is a 5k is a great way to teach your children that it’s not always about winning, but about doing your best just to complete the goal. It’s even better if the race has a fun theme, like a mud run (check Active’s 5k Race Finder for ideas). It’d be even more of a bonus if running the 5k was to support a local organization.
If you need help with getting motivated, read how to train, run & finish your first 5k race.
60. ✦ Make Ice Cream
Instead of going to the grocery store to buy your favorite ice cream flavor, set up shop and make some at home. If ice cream seems too complicated, try making fun flavored popsicles, like Blueberry Vanilla Yogurt. Yum!
This is the ice cream maker and popsicle molds that I use for my sweet treats.
61. ✦ Make a Sand Castle
Make your way to the beach and create a masterpiece made of sand. The best part is that once you are there it doesn’t take many more tools than a bucket and shovel. If your family are more perfectionists than not, then you may want to read how to build the perfect sandcastle before you begin.
62. ✦ Complete a Jigsaw Puzzle
Most of us haven’t done this since we were children. You don’t find too many opportunities where you can concentrate on one thing, so be present and let everything else in your mind go. That alone will be worth every minute.
63. ✦ Make an Origami Animal
Origami is a big part of the Japanese culture and it truly is fascinating how little tiny pieces of paper can be crafted into beautiful pieces of artwork. The crane is one of the most popular shapes and you can fairly easily learn how to make one. There are countless videos and instructions online and below are two that worked for me.
It’s perfectly okay to use a simple piece of white paper, but you can also buy traditional Colorful Japanese Origami Washi Paper online.
64. ✦ Volunteer
Like the old adage says, it’s better to give than to receive. Just determine what is close to your households heart and then make a decision to make a difference today. It could be walking dogs at the shelter, cleaning up litter at the park or spending an afternoon feeding families at the soup kitchen.
Don’t know where to start? Visit VolunteerMatch who has opportunities in many major cities or check the United Way website.
65. ✦ Go Somewhere You Have Never Been
Accomplishing this bucket list goal doesn’t mean that you have to travel to the ultimate dream location, just go somewhere you and your family have never been. It could be something as simple as visiting a new park in your city or taking a day trip to a nearby town that you have been meaning to explore.
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