Summer 2014 Bucket List

We live in such a cool city. There are SO many things to do. I finally had to just say enough and stop adding to this list. Personally, I have a whole new wave of excitement for experiencing my family in our home and our city this year. I’ve lived here my whole life, and so many of these things I didn’t even know about. And so many other ideas, as a mom, I’ve never even considered. So excited to share this list with you!

Last summer I did one of my favorite things I’ve done as a mom…I made a summer bucket list.

summer bucket list

It seems like such a small thing to be one of my favorite things as a mom. I am the worst at being too busy – constantly doing a billion things at once…and with my kids in tow. I fight hard to treasure and soak in the moments that matter. The swing set giggles. The sweetness of the giant tears strolling down their cheeks. The 8,449th time of viewing Frozen and the joy it still brings. Their profiles that literally take my breath away. The fascination of clouds and the shapes they bring. Dancing in the rain. I turn my head for a second, and I’ve missed it.

It’s passing. So quickly. Too quickly. Just like all those moms said it would.

Making a bucket list last summer helped us to notice each day. Our days weren’t about the To Do lists. We simply enjoyed our summer and really enjoyed one another. And even though it’s not even June, I’m itching to write up a new list on the family chalkboard.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it’s pretty thorough. {I’ve asked every mom I could contact for feedback, and so many of you have given feedback on the Houston Moms Blog Facebook Page too!}  So without further adieu, here it is…

Houston Moms Blog
Summer 2014 Bucket List

 Wet-n-Wild ::

  • Pool time {if you don’t have one, go to your neighborhood’s or crash a friend’s}
  • Beach trips {Galveston or Surfside are both so great and a short-ish drive away}
  • Collect sea shells
  • Write your name in the sand at the beach
  • Play in a splash pad {Check out Bre’s list of Houston Splash Pads}
  • Visit Noah’s Ark Pool at Quillian Center
  • Check out Blue Bell Aquatic Center in Brenham
  • Go to Schlitterbahn in Galveston
  • See the new renovations at Splash Town
  • Take swim lessons {Check out your neighborhood YMCAHouston Swim Club, or Glendy’s Water Babies}
  • Take a ride on the Galveston Bolivar Ferry
  • Visit the Waterwall Park
  • Dance in the rain {and do a rain dance if it hasn’t rained in a while!}
  • Have a water balloon and/or water gun fight
  • Go on a night swim {grab some glow sticks and throw them in the pool for added fun}
  • Play Twister…but add colored shaving cream to each dot {visual here}
  • Run through the sprinklers
  • Get a slip-n-slide {enjoy this with them – it will take you back!}
  • Swim in a creek
  • Go tubing on the river {like on the Guadalupe}
  • Skip rocks {on a lake or river}

Culture & Class ::

{For a comprehensive list of museums, click here. For a comprehensive list of theaters, click here.}

Good Eats & Cool Drinks ::

  • Grab a snoball {most recommended is Mam’s Snoballs in the Heights}
  • Make homemade ice cream {recipe here}
  • Take a trip to the Blue Bell Factory
  • Shop at a farmer’s market {list here}
  • Pick fruit {Try Blessington Farms or Matt’s Family Orchard}
  • Go on a lunch date with mom or dad {if one parent stays home}
  • Make popsicles {homemade recipes from Sarah and Jessica here}
  • Hit up Sonic Happy Hour {1/2 price drinks and 99 cent snacks from 2-4pm}
  • Let the kids plan and make dinner
  • Eat dinner on the patio
  • Have breakfast for dinner
  • Make homemade pizzas
  • Try to fry an egg on the side walk {with our summer temps – this shouldn’t be hard}
  • Host a lemonade stand
  • Make s’mores {in a fire pit, your fireplace, or even in your microwave!}
  • Eat at a Houston Food Truck or go to the Houston Food Park
  • Make banana splits
  • Do a progressive dinner {either at restaurants or team up with some other families and host each course at a different home}
  • Eat a watermelon
  • Bake something

Home Days & Nights ::

  • If one or both parents work, surprise the kids with a middle of the week day off and do a family day {and while you are off, concur some items on your bucket list!}
  • Sleep in
  • Have a lazy PJ day
  • Make treats for the neighbors
  • Enjoy a backyard picnic {try a breakfast one when it is still cool outside}
  • Construct an indoor sheet fort
  • Paint with water on the sidewalk or fence
  • Check out the national day calendar and plan to participate {June, July, and August calendars}
  • Blow bubbles
  • Finger paint
  • Play hopscotch
  • Make a board game or create an interactive game
  • Gather some neighborhood kids and plan a parade {keep this low key, you aren’t Macy’s}
  • Write a book and illustrate it
  • Write a play and act it out {don’t forget to record it!}
  • Make paper airplanes
  • Do manis and pedis {try to do it like the salon would}
  • Write notes to your neighbors in chalk on their driveways {unless you think they’d hate it}
  • Make a family measurement wall or buy a decal {like these} or measuring stick {like these}
  • Write letters to friends and family and teach your kids about the postal system
  • Write President Obama {you’ll get a signed letter back}
  • Write your favorite Disney characters {you’ll get a postcard back}
  • Make musical instruments out of things in your home
  • Make homemade play-dough {recipe here}
  • Play hide-n-seek
  • Make puppets {from paper bags} and masks {from paper plates}
  • Donate! Give each kid a trash bag, have them fill it up, then go together to donate
  • Have a tea party {go all out – breakout your china, dress up, use real tea, etc.}
  • Plan a scavenger hunt
  • Make paper airplanes
  • Carve your name in a tree
  • Catch tadpoles or bugs and make a habitat for them
  • Go on a family bike/scooter/tricycle/jogging stroller ride
  • Have a garage sale {delegate as much of this as possible to the kids to teach business skills}
  • Sew something – let the kids pick what to sew {keep options simple}, then take them to the store and have them pick out the materials
  • Build something – again, let kids pick what to build, then take them to the store and have them pick out the materials
  • Learn a magic/illusion trick
  • Teach your kid other cultures with Flat Stanley
  • Have fun with shaving cream – spray it on an outdoor table and draw…or cover your playset in it and slip and slide!
  • Finish a puzzle
  • Do a fun science project

Out on the Town ::

Get Moving ::

  • Go bowling {check out Kids Bowl Free}
  • Play miniature golf
  • Visit an indoor playground {like Stomping Grounds or Wonderwild}
  • Take a class at My Gym {Katy or the Woodlands} or The Little Gym {locations all over}
  • Jump on a trampoline or go to an indoor trampoline park {like Sky Zone or Sky High Sports}
  • Hula hoop
  • Have a family dance party {Pandora has some nice stations for this!}
  • Make an obstacle course

The Great Outdoors ::

  • Visit Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary {nature walks, bird watching, ponds, and more!}
  • See all the animals at the Houston Zoo
  • Drive out to the Oil Ranch in Hockley
  • Go camping at Brazos Bend State Park...or just spend the day
  • Go fishing
  • Camp out in the backyard {set up a tent, grill hotdogs, make s’mores in a fire pit, etc.}
  • Star gaze
  • Grab a couple bags of sand to make a sand pit and build sand castles {when you are done, you can use the sand to fill in any holes in your yard – don’t worry, grass grows right through sand very easily!}
  • Find a new playground
  • Fly a kite and show your kid the scene from Mary Poppins “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”
  • Go camping {try your own search, but this list may help too}
  • Visit a real farm {like P-6 Farms with lots to do!}
  • Two words – Crocodile Encounter
  • Head over to Moody Gardens in Galveston
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Get your hands dirty and experience the joy of watching something grow! Just because it’s hot, doesn’t mean you can’t still plant some things. Check out Buchanan’s Plants and GardenLine with Randy Lemmon for summer gardening tips

Other ::

  • Set individuals goals and check in on them weekly {example: 4 year old might want to learn to write name, 7 year old might want to learn to ride a bike, 15 year old might want to get driver’s permit, 17 year old might want to apply to 5 colleges, etc.}
  • Have media free days {put your phones, iPads, TVs, etc. away for the entire day}, and on the days that aren’t media free, set clear boundaries with the devices {for kids AND parents}
  • Make a family and/or individual dream board, and add to it all summer {take a cork board or a poster board and add words or pictures of who you want to be or do to it}
  • Teach gratitude to your family – at the end of each day, have each person in your family write down what they were grateful for that day. At the end of summer, read through all the things you each shared. You’ll have 92 items per person by the end of the summer!
  • Plan a family service project. Think of things your family loves and enjoys, and use those natural gifts and passions to help others. Idea – serve a meal at a soup kitchen, mow a neighbor’s lawn, wash someone’s car, hand out cold water bottles to others, pay for someone behind you in line {tollroad, restaurant, drive-thru, etc.}, or find a non-profit your family believes in and ask them how you can serve as a family.
  • Learn something new
  • Send the kids off for a night or week with grandparents or friends…and take time for YOU!
  • Host a Book Party :: pick a book, read it, dress up like the characters, and make some fun crafts related to it

As our little gift to you, please feel free to use this bucket list all summer long to ensure that you and your little ones make memories that will last the entire 2014-2015 school year!  And we have made it super easy for you by creating this handy free printable.  Feel free to hover over the image to file it away on Pinterest for easy reference, or use the link below to download and print.

Summer Bucket ListClick here for PDF download

Some final tips as you put your family’s Bucket List together ::

  • Let your kids join in on adding to the list! Ask them what they want to do this summer.
  • It’s OKAY if this list doesn’t get finished. The point is that we connect with our families and have some fun!
  • Add to it as the summer goes on! You’ll think of great ideas as you go.
  • Display it in a way that works for your family – on a chalkboard, on popsicle sticks in a jar, on a poster board, etc. Pinterest should have lots of ideas for this.
  • Make a Scrapbook to record your summer fun…
  • …or for us less crafty people, make up a hashtag to keep a virtual album of your family fun {example :: #kiser2014summer}!

What else? Please share other ideas you have on Facebook or Twitter {use hashtag #HMBSummer} or in the comments here.

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Becky grew up in Houston, leaving only for college and an internship, but the humidity called her back! And it's a good thing - because shortly after moving home, she met her husband Chris, St. Louis Cardinals fanatic and {wife proclaimed} genius. She stays home with their two (soon-to-be three) girls: Karis, a girly girl and tenacious toddler, and Moriah, smiliest baby alive & Texas Women’s Hospital 10,000th baby in 2012. When she's not in the middle of a tea party, play dates, or potty training, she writes devotions with Sacred Holidays, teaches at prisons and women's ministry events and is a certified MBTI Life Coach {with Orbiting Normal}. She loves hot Houston summers, coffee creamer, dance parties with her family, nail polish, iced tea, reading {although it’s a lot of picture books these days}, and their church family {Bayou City Fellowship}! She would love to connect with you on her personal blog {} or through Twitter {@beckykiser}, Pinterest {@beckyjkiser}, and Facebook.


  1. -Make a dirt pile to dig in (Dirt is dirt cheap at the garden center!). Buy some old spoons at Goodwill and dig to China!
    -Glue wooden clothespins to the fence for an easel (use wood glue).
    -Give your kids a couple of dollars and have a blast at the dollar store
    -Go on a breakfast picnic in your pjs (parents in pjs, too). Make a quick donut shop stop and head to a park while it’s still cool.
    -Scavenger hunts are great! Just make a list of what to find and head out! These hunts are not limited to nature walks. For example, make a list of attributes to find while people-watching at the mall: A mom pushing a stroller, a person in a striped t-shirt, someone wearing glasses, a toddler in pig tails, etc.
    -Hit up “The Chocolate Bar!” One of MY personal fave treats!

  2. May I suggest if you live in the Clear Lake area, the best place for snoballs is SnoBall Hut! They offer over 200 flavors of shaved ice, 25 flavors of gourmet popcorn, a giant chalkboard and a game shelf as well!

  3. Eat dessert for dinner! Our family started (and continue) this tradition while we were on vacation. When traveling, there is usually one day or more where our eating schedule gets shifted. We have a big lunch later in the day. Then, a couple of hours later, we “eat dessert for dinner.” Our oldest of three is 14, and all of our girls still insist on this summer tradition.

  4. Cinemark also does $1 movies! Happy Playland is another great indoor play place.
    Great list of summer activities, thank you!

  5. So fun!! Thanks so much for taking the time to do what all of us busy moms want to do. Can’t wait to share it with my kids. And I almost cried when I read, “I turn my head for a second, and I’ve missed it.” I feel like that so often. Thank you!!!

  6. We don’t have kids but we are new to the city so this sounds fun and we’ll get to know the city better and do fun stuff at the same time. Great list thanks!!

  7. I’m curious- i’ve been searching for creeks in the area that the kids can play in. Do you have a list or a favorite?


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