What I Want to Do With My Summer Vacation: 398 Fun Things To Do This Summer

Today is my favorite day of the year: The first day of summer vacation!

When I was a kid I remember how exciting it was to get to the last day of school.  Summer vacation stretched out before me forever, it seemed. I could not imagine the end of summer from the beginning of it.

398 fun things to do this summer

Download your own Welcome To Summer resources and printables pack now!


I have a very different perspective on summer as an adult. Namely, that it is over way too soon, long before I get to do everything I want to do. I tend to cram way too many things into the warm months, and then I’m frazzled and disappointed by those first cool days in September.

Last year, as an antidote to that feeling, I made a short list of things I wanted to make sure I did over the summer months. I called it my Summer Do List. They were mostly small things, and all of them local. It was really helpful to have some kind of focus, but also a reminder to keep things small. When we had a little time on the weekend I’d look at the list and pick a fun activity that was the right size. When we got stir crazy mid-week, I’d refer to the list and get us out of the house for an adventure. We actually did everything except the blackberry picking, and I never made jam because we didn’t pick enough berries to make it worthwhile. We just ate them. By the end of the summer, I felt satisfied and relaxed, not frazzled and disappointed.

I just looked over my 2013 Summer Do List, scrawled into my journal on the first warm day in May, and I see it is even simpler than last year.  More than half of the list are things to make: “Make jam, make a fairy garden, make spray sidewalk chalk.” Looking over my list I see that I’m envisioning a slow, mellow season, and I like that.

I encourage you to make your own family Summer Do List.  If your kids are old enough, get their input.  You might be surprised at what they really want to do this summer! You might also be surprised at what doesn’t make the list and that you can let go of. No one really wants to travel? Then don’t!

If you need some inspiration, here are some great ideas:

The Antidote to the Bucket List

Over on The Happiest Home, my friend Sarah shared her summer manifesto, a great method if the idea of list-making your summer feels too constricting.

Summer Vacation Fun Lists

This colorful printable is from last year but it is timeless. This would be a good one to print out and hang up as inspiration. Use these ideas as a base for your own list or just use it as a reference when you need a summer activity idea in short order.

Slow Summer Ideas

If you are really wanting to reclaim the long slow days of summer, this printable from Awesomely Awake is focused on slow and playful activities. This is my kind of list!

Also, check out this post (by the same author) on The Rhythm of the Home on how to create a slow summer rhythm.

Free and Cheap Ideas

If the idea of outings, amusement parks, and vacations has you feeling panicky about your budget, this is the list for you. 101 more ideas for things to do with kids that are free or almost free. There are easily forgotten but wonderfully fun ideas like playing in the sprinkler and going cloud watching.

How to Make Your List

My summer list is just jotted down in my journal, which is with me most of the time, but here are some other ideas for tracking and displaying your summer plan:

If you are still feeling overwhelmed by the idea the coming season, check out this workbook, also from Awesomely Awake. It is designed to help you hone in on what a perfect summer looks like for your individual family.

Want more ideas? Check out the Welcome To Summer resources and printables pack, on sale now. It includes calendars, planners, lists of recipes, ideas and life hacks for mom, because you deserve a vacation, too.

Need even more ideas? Other posts in my summer series cover ideas for outdoor play and some (easy!) ways to record summer memories.

If the summer season is feeling overwhelming, read through some of my self-care reminders for you, because I know getting through the day when the kids are out of school can be crazymaking.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

9 Responses to What I Want to Do With My Summer Vacation: 398 Fun Things To Do This Summer

  1. Sharon Harding July 1, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    This is a wonderful list of resources and ideas. Here’s link that may provides some inspiration for those fairy gardens http://thedailydish.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/the-fairy-houses-of-mackworth-island/ I’m hoping you will post pictures of yours
    Sharon Harding recently posted…Simple Moments of ConnectionMy Profile

    • Doña July 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      Sharon, what an awesome place! I added a link to it in my Fairy Garden board on Pinterest and discovered a friend of mine lives just 15 minutes from there. I definitely will post pictures when I get ours together. Soon!

  2. Christine June 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Thank you for the inspiration! Reading your post from last year I realise you must live somewhere in the same area as me, we did Roaring Camp a few weeks ago and loved it :).

    • Doña July 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      How funny! We are in Santa Cruz. Where are you?

  3. KendraKay June 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    My ultimate summer goal is to slow down. That means saying no to a lot of things, which is really hard, but less so when I realize I’m saying yes to free time and lazy afternoons reading, to the kids or by myself. 🙂
    KendraKay recently posted…Disney Trip BudgetMy Profile

    • Doña June 26, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

      I love that – saying yes to free time and lazy afternoons!


  1. Our Summer Manifesto - Nurtured Mama - June 18, 2014

    […] year I made a list of things I wanted to do over the summer months and it was so incredibly helpful to have a guide to refer to. It also help me know when to say no […]

  2. 5 Easy Ways to Save Summer Memories | Nurtured Mama - January 2, 2014

    […] recommended this summer manifesto printable fromAli Edwards at the beginning of the summer. If you didn’t use it that way, you can still use the template to record the highlights of […]

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes

Move from being a people pleaser to having strong boundaries.


Do you want to become a recovering people-pleaser?

Subscribe to the Nurtured Mama community for support and tools to move from serial people-pleasing to recovering people-pleaser. Plus pick up the free guide to saying "No" and start setting better boundaries right away.

Spam is not nurturing. Your email will never be shared.