2017 Summer Bucket List

You guys. It’s here. The weather fought it hard. I applaud the effort. I fought it with silent begging and not-so silent 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 grew up in the Midwest where you spent the summer crossing books off the library’s summer reading list and putting things “on the tab” at the swimming pool with your friends. Not so much here in NYC. 😒 Once the summer heat hits most of us want OUT. The majority of my kids’ friends go to their summer house. Or spend 7 weeks at sleepaway camp and THEN go to their summer house. There are very few friends actually here in the city and no WAY are my kids going anywhere unattended and what’s a tab? So stopping just short of channeling OUR childhoods by feeding them Donettes for breakfast and having them wash it down with a pitcher of Tang, my husband and I decided it was time for day camp. Outside the city. 😱

So for 4 weeks our kids will get on a bus that’ll take them north of the city to grass and ropes courses and daily swimming. The other 9 weeks – just let that sink in: even after 4 weeks of camp THEY STILL HAVE NINE WEEKS OF SUMMER – are a combination of visiting my family in Kansas and our own family vacation on Cape Cod. In between those trips we break out the Summer Bucket List!


I came up with the Summer Bucket List idea when my oldest was 4 years old and my youngest 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. CITY. The museums, exhibits, concerts, story hours, craft times, play spaces. There is so much stuff for kids in the city! 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 for our Summer Bucket List. First, we make it TOGETHER. They’re older now so 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 each child. 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 usually go in the morning when it’s cooler with the understanding that reading will be done in the afternoon. And third, there is NO PRESSURE to complete the bucket list. Like none. We have PLENTY of down time spent sleeping in or lounging in front of the TV or catching up on the latest slime videos on YouTube. Ahem…


Here’s how we break it down: SEE, MAKE and DO. For whatever reason the kids 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 and what exhibits might be interesting for all of us. The MAKE and DO categories are a compilation of Pinterest pins and activities the kids 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. I can totally get behind that.

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!


2017 Summer Bucket List | rock + paper + skillet


No one operates in a vacuum – especially with the creation of Pinterest. What 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.



So follow along on Instagram as we make our way through our 2017 Summer Bucket List. We’ve already been to the Cloisters AND had a picnic in Central Park! 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!









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