You guys. It’s here. The weather fought it hard. I applaud the effort. I fought it with silent begging and pleading with the school calendar gods. But my wishes fell on deaf ears. The school year has ended. Summer 2017 has officially begun. And once again the old adage rings true: Failing to plan is planning to fail. Enter our 2017 Summer Bucket List!
I didn’t intend to be like this, all checklists and reading logs and shit. I’ve seen all the “Giving my Kids a 1970s Summer” and “Hands-Off Parenting” posts and to be frank, I AM SO IN. I want my kids to have a life outside of mine. I want them to roam their neighborhood, picking up kids as they go. I want them to make up games, stop into what’s-his-name’s house for a popsicle break, and chit chat under a shady tree that they may or may not scrape up their legs to the high heavens trying to climb. I want them to walk home from the pool in wet bathing suits with soaking towels hanging across their shoulder, exhausted from endless diving board jumps and full from an afternoon spent “putting it on the tab.”
But here’s the rub. NYC is conducive to NONE of this for my kids. Like not one part. Except for maybe the tree climbing. Of which I would need to be present for because hell if they’re walking to Central Park OR Riverside by themselves any time soon! We also live in a part of the country where many families head to a summer home the day school’s out and stay until the day after Labor Day. Many MANY kids go to “sleepaway camp” a week after school ends, for 7 weeks. SEVEN WEEKS. Then August is for family time either at said summer house or on a trip. If the kids aren’t going to sleepaway then they’re signed up for day camp. And THIS is why that whole “roaming the neighborhood with friends” thing is impossible!
So stopping just short of eating Donette powdered donuts for breakfast and washing them down with a pitcher of Tang, we regroup. This is the first year our girls are going to a day camp. For 4 weeks they’ll get on a bus that’ll take them north of the city to grass and ropes courses and daily swimming. The other 9 weeks (Let that sink in. Even after 4 weeks of camp THEY STILL HAVE NINE WEEKS OF SUMMER) are a combination of visiting family in Kansas and family vacation time on Cape Cod. Hey – remember what I outlined above? NO ONE IS HERE TO PLAY WITH. For any of us! However, the girls have several weeks of hang time in the city and that’s when we break out the Summer Bucket List.
I started the Summer Bucket List idea when LB, my oldest, was 4 years old. Which means her sister Little R was 2 and still napping pretty regularly. I did this mostly to give us some semblance of structure in our days (oh nap time, how I miss thee). But I also did it so that if they couldn’t be wild banshees running through sprinklers in our backyard, then I could give them what having a backyard couldn’t: New York freakin’ City. The museums, exhibits, concerts, story hour, craft time, play spaces – all these things created specifically FOR kids. Mix in a little spontaneity with a subway or taxi ride and a little mess in the sandpit? That’s summer for a New York City kid.
A few rules of the Summer Bucket List. First, we make it TOGETHER. It works best if everyone’s invested. I also check in on occasion to see what they really want to do and make sure we do a little for LB and a little for Little R. Second, simple daily chores and reading are part of the deal. Those get done in the morning so that we can have the afternoon for fun. If we’re going to do a travel activity from the list then we’ll go in the morning with the understanding that reading will be done in the afternoon. And third, there is NO PRESSURE to complete it. Like NONE. It’s summer for chrissakes!
To streamline your list-making I’ll share what we do. We break our bucket list into SEE, MAKE and DO activities. For whatever reason the girls and I find it easier to categorize things this way. Some of the items in our list, particularly the entire SEE category, are specific to NYC. But I encourage you to check your local listings for events and shows. For nearly all of our SEE activities I went on individual museum websites to see what they had going on. The MAKE and DO categories are a compilation of Pinterest pins and activities the girls have expressed interest in at one point or another. It’s always fun to see what comes up year over year. Like we ALWAYS hold a lemonade stand in August, with the proceeds going to a charity of their choice. And we ALWAYS make some sort of frozen treat. This year it looks like Creamsicle Frozen Popsicles. YES.
So without further ado, here’s our 2017 Summer Bucket List. Hope you can glean some ideas to add a little memory-making to your summer!
No one operates in a vacuum – especially with the creation of Pinterest. What in the hell did we do before Pinterest?! Below is a link to my //Summahtime pin board. I’ve referred to many of these pins over the years for inspiration and craft ideas.
Follow along on Instagram and Facebook as we make our way through our Summer Bucket List. We’ve already been to the Cloisters AND had a picnic in Central Park! I’m at rockpaperskillet on both IG and FB 😉 For any crafty things I’ll either link to the original source or write it out myself over on Insta. Ok, gotta run. Just heard the dryer ding with clean clothes ready to pack for our trip to Kansas on Monday. Family, acreage, and sunsets on the deck with wine. It’s like the ONLY Monday I’ve ever been excited for. Unless the first day of school falls on a Monday this year…
Happy summer everyone!