Summer is upon us, and that usually means more time spent together as a family when the kids are out of school. Even homeschool moms take a few breaks in the summer. Boredom is inevitable, though, unless you’ve got a family summer bucket list!
What’s that? You don’t have one?
That’s okay. With this ultimate list, you might not need another one!
Table of contents
Family Summer Bucket List
This time of year is a great time to hone your family’s survival skills. Print this list off and see how many things your family can check off this summer. Have fun with it and get your family involved!
- Identify and forage for wild edibles in your yard. (Have any edible weeds in your backyard?)
- Garden with your kids, but be sure to grow at least one new-to-your-family plant.
- Cook a meal over a fire.
- Give your food storage a once over for expiration dates and damage. Restock to desired supply levels.
- Have children cook a meal by themselves in the house, with supervision.
- Have children cook a meal by themselves on the grill. Supervise!
- Have children cook a meal by themselves over the fire with plenty of adult supervision.
- Make and eat your own MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) from food storage (Freeze-dried food is great for this.)
- Use your personal water filters at a local park.
- Visit several local farmer’s markets to find local food sources.
- When you start to get low on groceries, wait an extra day before shopping and eat from what is on hand.
- Start a compost bin.
- Put in a rain barrel.
- Dehydrate a fruit, a vegetable, an herb, and some meat.
- Preserve a fruit or vegetable using a water bath canner.
- Preserve a vegetable or meat using a pressure canner.
- Visit a local u-pick farm.
- Have a day with zero food waste.
- Grind wheat and make your own bread from it. (Extra points if you cook it over a fire.)
- Rotate your water storage.
- Only cook with cast iron for a week. See the dutch oven survival kit for ideas.
- Learn to sprout seeds
- If you live in the right location, do a Tornado drill
- Plan and execute an emergency Fire drill (Check the batteries in smoke and CO detectors.)
- Do an Evacuation drill (change it up with 1-hour, 30-minute and 15-minute notice evacuation drills.) This handbook provides all you need to know about getting ready for evacuations.
- Use power at home for a full day and night.
- Only use generator power for 6 hours.
- “There’s no toilet paper!” (Cloth wipes, anyone?)
- No running water for a full day and night. (Do not skip bathing or washing dishes!)
- Minimize water down the drain for a day – reuse dish/bath/pool water in the garden or for plants
- Do a Robbery/home invasion drill (Include several with the intruder coming in different doors/windows.)
- Spend a day unplugged from electronic devices to see how your family does with no internet connection.
Put your supplies to work
- Update your emergency binder. (Ask kids what important papers or pictures they might want to put in the binder.)
- Create a customized emergency kit for activities you engage in.
- Check clothing and shoe sizes in vehicles, bug-out-bags, and tornado/storm shelter.
- Review your home library.
- Add money to your cash stash by holding a yard sale.
- Buy a tarp if you don’t have one, and then brainstorm all the ways that a tarp could be useful in an emergency.
- Rotate any gas/diesel you have stored and refill right away.
- Check expiration dates on any bleach/sanitation supplies and restock.
- Reorganize garden tools.
Learn or improve skills
- Go camping. (Can your family live together for long in one tent? Reorganize the gear when you get home.)
- Go hiking. (Figure out what weight each family member can comfortably carry in a backpack.)
- Go fishing. (Try finding your own bait rather than buying any.)
- Go biking. (Do your children know how to patch a bike tire?)
- Have children start a fire from scratch.
- Wash clothes by hand.
- Go geocaching.
- Have the kids use a paper map to get from point A to point B. (If you’re ambitious, create your own family Amazing Race.)
- Build something functional from scratch with wood, a handsaw, nails, and a hammer.
- Make your own bug spray.
- Make your own sunscreen.
- Make homemade laundry soap.
- Hone shooting skills at the range (Make sure to keep ammo stocked up.)
- Sew something simple without using a sewing machine. (Learn a new stitch if you already know how to sew.)
- Buy a new piece of cast iron and learn how to season it.
- Find 10 local birds and learn about them.
- Select 10 local insects or small animals and draw some of your favorites.
- Identify at least 10 different trees that grow in your area.
- Sharpen tools and knives.
- Earn certifications in first aid and CPR. (Discuss defibrillators and epi-pens, too.)
- Have everyone try out a fire extinguisher.
- Try starting a fire without a lighter or match.
- Learn to tie 5 different knots.
- Plan evacuation routes on a map and then actually drive those routes to become familiar with them.
Practice skills in different scenarios
- Spend a day living out of your car. (Take notes on what you wish you had.)
- Walk home from work. Bonus points if you can ably carry your emergency kit/bug out bag.
- Show the kids how to walk home from school safely.
- Do some summer school. (If you don’t homeschool, consider it a practice run if you should ever need to.)
- Play the “What If …” game.
- Discuss social media safety rules.
Fun and educational activities for your family summer bucket list
- Go scavenging for supplies at garage sales (Among other things, look for reference books, camping gear, cast iron.)
- Play board games, so you know the rules before you lose power and those games become a major form of entertainment.
- Learn new card games. (Is there a deck of cards in your vehicle or bug-out-bag?)
- Work on a family history tree and talk about family medical history.
- Learn to play chess.
- Do craft time using supplies from the recycle bin.
- Read classic literature.
- Make paracord bracelets.
- See how many ways you can use a kiddie pool.
- Find a local history or reenactment group and attend one of their events. (Get tips from the actors on how life was lived before electricity.)
- Visit a local history museum or county historical society to see how people grew food by hand in your area.
- Practice memorization with children — stories, emergency addresses, and numbers, directions, songs.
- Relax and go on a day trip or vacation. Discuss how you would handle some emergency situations en route and at your destination.
- Write letters. Can your children read and write in cursive? Can they address an envelope and put a stamp in the correct corner?
- Start learning a foreign language as a family. DuoLingo and Mango Languages are 2 free websites that teach foreign languages. Get their apps on your phones, too!
- Get to know your neighbors. Take them cookies or host a neighborhood cookout.
- Perform random acts of kindness.
After you check each item off your list, make sure to talk about what you learned as a family. Take notes on what worked, lessons learned, things to do better next time, and if there is anything to add to your survival supplies. Take pictures and create a photo book of the summer adventures as something you can look back on as a family.
Creating a summer bucket list could be the start of a new family tradition. Don’t forget to add your own items to the list.
Want even more ideas for your family summer bucket list?
- 32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know and Be Able to Do ASAP!
- 7 Summer Children’s Activities for Sowing Survivalist Seeds
- 9 Tips to Avoid the Summertime Prepping Slump
- Camp MAMA — Summer Camp Ideas for Moms
- Top Frugal & Practical Tips for Your Next Family Vacation
- Make This Summer a Family Camping Summer
- Summer Jobs for Teenagers: Responsibility & Dedication Building Blocks
- Summer PREP School: 48 Survival Skills for Kids to Learn This Summer
- Summertime Survival Skills for Young Girls
What would you add to your family summer bucket list?
Originally published March 27, 2019; updated and revised by Team Survival Mom.