50 Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2023: Activities at Home

Ultimate Summer Bucket List

It’s summertime! Everything under the sun you need to know about family fun during these summer days in the Twin Cities. Help your whole family beat boredom and fill your long school break days exploring the best the Twin Cities has to offer. Our list of summer activities includes parks, swim spots, community entertainment and local festivals, and it can all be found in our ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES SUMMER EVENTS GUIDE.

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    Community Ideas

    At-Home Fun Summer Bucket List Activity Ideas

    1) Water Balloon Pinata

    DIY your own summer fun and put a twist on the classic pinata.

    water piñata - 50 Summer Bucket List Ideas

    2) Design a Fairy Garden

    I love fairy gardens. And this is the year for one. I have a space and I have the time. Now, I need to make it.  Doesn’t a fairy garden sound like a perfect summer activity this year?

    3) Play Croquet 

    This is one of those perfect outdoor games that can involve a spread of ages. We love to play with the grandparents!

    4) Build a birdhouse

    I have never built a birdhouse.  My kids have each built one, so this might need to be a “Kids Teach Mom” project.

    5) Design a DIY splashpad or Kid Car Wash

    One EPIC sprinkler in the backyard! Build it, turn the hose on, step back, and watch your creation come to life.

    Summer Bucket List: Kid Wash from Familylicious
    image courtesy of the idea room

    6) Make a homemade slip ‘n slide 

    The first step is find a slope in the yard. The momentum of running and flinging your body on the ground will definitely create a big splash. Once you have all the kinks worked out, invite the neighborhood.

    7) Create a butterfly and pollinator watching area 

    We went straight to the best source – the North American Butterfly Association – for the best advice.

    8) Blow bubbles

    Making your own solution will guarantee that you have the best bubbles. Our friends at Indy with Kids have come up with 11 Ways to Have Bubble Fun at Home.

    9) Lie on your back and stargaze 

    You could go one of two ways with this. If you make it an event, your kids will buy into the excitement. Bring out blankets/sleeping bags, pillows, and stuffed animals.  Or get them out of bed (not too long after they go, so they aren’t sleepy) and lead them out to a magical space in your backyard.  

    10) Churn some homemade ice cream

    Fun summer activities don’t have to be hard.  Homemade ice cream is as simple as cream, sugar, ice, and rock salt.  

    11) Build a low balance beam

    Try placing it through the middle of your garden. Challenge your kids to walk, hop, and dance across the beam without falling off.

    12) Play corn hole

    13) Get creative with crafts outdoors  

    Beads and yarn, seashells and sand, jars and paint. Use what you’ve got around the house or yard or from your vacation, and create a nature collage.

    14) Sign up for a library summer reading program

    Get your nose in a Summer Reading Program – Each of 8 metro-area library systems participate in a summer program and are busy all summer long with free programs for kids. Sign ups for summer reading typically begin close to June 1.

    15) Take a backyard camping trip

    Have a fun camping experience together by pitching a tent in your own backyard. Invite your kids‘ favorite stuffies or other toys to join you. Find some creative ways to spice it up a little at the link.

    16) Play hopscotch

    On your driveway or sidewalk – don’t forget the rainbow sidewalk chalk! While you’ve got the chalk out, decorate the pavement and leave messages for the neighbors.

    17) Host an outdoor movie night

    Find tips for creating your own backyard movie theater. Or keep it simple and pop some popcorn and project a favorite movie on the garage.

    18) Picnic in your yard

    We think almost all food tastes better out of doors. The kids will scarf down this chicken salad recipe. Add some cookies or ice cream and you will have a winner!

    19) Round up a kickball team 

    This should be somewhat self-explanatory. However, if you need a rule refresher, you can find them here.

    20) Plant a kid-friendly garden 

    We have a ton of great ideas and resources for you in helping your family plant a garden together.

    21) Declare a Challenge Day 

    Can you break the record for jumping jacks? How fast can you run down the driveway? How high can you (safely!) climb that tree? Who can find the best (safe) hiding spot?  Who can play backyard baseball the longest? Don’t forget the best challenges: how many books or chapter can you read today?  Who can be kind all day? Who can go the longest without needing Mom!

    Sever's Corn Maze, Shakopee
    “Mom, this is fun! Can you go to the top?”

    22) Make music with buckets and other items from the house 

    Make sure you play the music outside!

    23) Build an obstacle course in the backyard

    This obstacle course is about the coolest obstacle course I have seen in a backyard.

    24) Backyard Games Summer Marathon 

    Commit to playing a game or doing something outside every evening you are home. Start small and see what you can do by the end of the summer.  Work toward a prize like going to the State Fair or Como Town. 

    summer at home - fill a pool as part of your Summer Bucket List

    25) Host Backyard Olympics 

    Hold your own competitions in the yard. Get some ideas at the link.

    - 50 Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2020
    image courtesy of u-createcrafts

    26) Keep a Nature Journal

    Or do another science activity together. These are just two of the entries on our list of 60+ Fun Nature Play Ideas for Kids.

    Our huge summer community events list covers each corner of the Twin Cities Metro area – use it to find entertainment in the parks, swimming holes, splash pads, library events, bike trails and more.

    Parks & More Summer Bucket List Activity Ideas

    27) Climb around Interstate State Park 

    Minnesota side (Taylors Falls) or Wisconsin side, both are equally beautiful and geologically interesting.

    28) Got a whole day to spend in Taylors Falls?

    We highly recommend renting from Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental and getting out on the water. Your teens & tweens will be proud to have the stamina it takes to paddle the 7-mile one way trip from Taylors Falls to Osceola, Wisconsin. Younger kids can enjoy the gentle ride and will be thrilled to stop on the sandbar to swim.

    29) Go fishing in Snail Lake 

    This is one of the top Twin Cities fishing holes we recommend. The lake is located in Snail Lake Regional Park in Shoreview.

    30) Rent and paddle a canoe or a kayak at Silverwood Park

    Located in St Anthony. Take the time to wander the trails and seek out the public art.

    31) Explore Fort Snelling State Park

    This is where the mighty Mississippi and Minnesota rivers meet. GPS units, birding kits, and fishing poles are available for free during your visit to the park. Check out fishing poles at the park office and the GPS units and bird kits at the Visitor Center.

    32) Go wading in a creek 

    Minnehaha Creek rambles 22 miles from Lake Minnetonka to Minnehaha Falls and is a joy to splash, wade or paddle down.

    33) Visit one of these imaginative Twin Cities Nature Playgrounds

    Our top pick is the amazing Discovery Hollow Nature Play Area at Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake.

    Discovery Hollow - Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Park

    34) Summer mini golf is a classic choice

    Our favorite whimsical outdoor miniature golf course is Big Stone Mini Golf & Sculpture Garden in Minnetrista and it’s open for play.

    35) Challenge your kids

    Here’s something I guarantee your tween will love: knowing they can beat you at the Schaper Park Challenge Course! (At least mine could; perhaps you’re more in shape?) Located in Golden Valley.

    36) Take an exciting walk across the dam at Coon Rapids Dam Park Regional Park

    Start on either the Coon Rapids side of the park or the Brooklyn Park side (now known as Mississippi Gateway Regional Park).

    Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park

    37) Stroll around Como Lake

    One of our favorite lakes to visit. Better yet, bike it! We’ve included this route in our list of the best St Paul bike trails for families – and there’s so much more to explore at Como Park.

    38) Explore Hyland Lake Park Reserve 

    It’s home to one of the two largest playgrounds in Minnesota.

    39) Go birding at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden 

    Never been birding? Joy has everything you need to know.

    40) Hop on your bike

    Ride the trails along the Mississippi River – West River Parkway on the Minneapolis side or Mississippi River Blvd on the St Paul side both have dedicated bike lanes and many parks and overlooks to pull over and explore. Want more inspiration? Here’s a list of the top Minneapolis bike trails.

    50 Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2020

    41) Hunt for fossils 

    St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park is a good place to start searching or check out Joy’s fossil-hunting ideas here.

    42) Three Rivers Park beaches

    Open for the season early June. There are so many swimming options to be had in the Twin Cities! The following locations are included: Baker Park Reserve, Bryant Lake Regional ParkCarver Park Reserve (Lake Auburn Campground), Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park, Cleary Lake Regional Park, Fish Lake Regional Park, French Regional Park & Lake Rebecca Park Reserve.

    43) Explore Minnehaha Falls 

    Walk or bike through the park and make sure to descend to the creek get a thrilling view of the falls or go wading downstream! The park’s outdoor dining destination, Sea Salt Eatery, is open for online ordering and pickup if you’d like to eat a meal in the park.

    44) FREE Minneapolis wading pools

    Have opened up for the summer! Want to find out which parks have pools? See our Minneapolis wading pools master list.

    45) Organize an animal-loving field day nearby park 

    Gallop like a horse, run like a dog, slither like a snake, walk like a bear, crawl like a turtle. Need an idea for a park close to home? We’re starting a new series!

    46) Play a round of disc golf 

    Find our recommendations for the best family-friendly disc golf courses. Some of our favorites include courses at Highland Park (pictured – and FREE!), Kaposia Park (South St Paul), Bassett Creek Park (Crystal) & Central Park (Brooklyn Park).

    47) Grab a basket and pick-your-own fresh berries

    Delicious-ness will be had at one of these Twin Cities PYO Produce Farms. Pictured are little berry hunters harvesting at Blueberry Fields of Stillwater. Strawberry picking typically starts mid-June, raspberries follow in July, and blueberries are ripe by August.

    48) Discover Caponi Art Park 

    Take the self-guided sculpture trail and see if you can find the hidden labyrinth within this peaceful park.

    49) Twin Cities River Rats water ski shows

    Catch one ongoing Thursdays starting June 1 on West River Road south of Broadway Avenue, Minneapolis. Bring lawn chairs and a picnic supper to make an evening of it. 7pm, FREE.

    50) Check out the updated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

    It’s the outdoor (and free!) portion of the Walker Art Center.

    Looking for More Summer Fun?

    Get some new summer reads from FFTC’s online Bookshop.  We are affiliates of this program, so we earn a small commission on anything you purchase through our link. All of it is at no extra cost to you. And you are supporting local independent bookshops!

    Easy Picnic Recipe

    Cheap Summer Fun

    Summer Boredom Busters


    Disclaimer: We are Amazon associates which means we earn a commission if you purchase through our Amazon links. At no extra cost to you. Our commission is super tiny, so buy local if you can, but if you can’t we appreciate the pennies.

    8 thoughts on “50 Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2023: Activities at Home”

    1. This summer, I want to spend a day with my kids ay Valleyfair, riding roller coasters and waterpark rides. I don’t remember the last time I visited an Amusement Park.

    2. These look like Fun Summer Bucket List Ideas. I’m looking forward to making hot dogs on the grill, roasting marshmallows and making watermelon gazpacho! I love summer cooking.

      1. I like those ideas, Barbie. Do you have a favorite watermelon gazpacho recipe. My husband makes it with fresh mint.

      1. Ooh! A planner! I love this. How about some of these ideas:

        Visit All 101 Twin Cities Libraries!
        Visit a New Park Every Week!
        Go to a Saint Paul Saints Game!
        Try A Pizza Farm or Two
        Visit Grassman Ninja Park in Jordan and stop for a visit to Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store
        Spend a Day exploring Stillwater
        Take a weekend to drive down Highway 10 through Red Wing, Camp at Frontenac State Park and visit the Wabasha Eagle Center and LARK Toys.
        Camp another weekend at Interstate Park and visit all the fun things in the Taylor’s Falls Area
        Explore New Ulm – the Brewery, the Harkin Store, Flandrau State Park and the Wanda Gag House.

        Those are some of my favorite ideas. I’d love to hear some more community ideas.

      1. Hi Mum: We totally understand your health and safety concerns and we share them. That is why half of these ideas are things you can do at home and the other half are activities in parks where social distancing is possible. Of course, you need to use your own judgment and follow CDC guidelines, which, at the moment, ask us to find another park if the one we are visiting has too many people already visiting. We highly recommend that you check out our Parks Close-To-Home series this summer. We are trying to feature as many parks as possible to give everyone an opportunity to spread out but still get out. – FFTC.

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