15 Things to Do to Make the Most Out of Summer

Summer stepped on stage this last week with its warm temps, sunny skies, and expectations of fun. Already, the pace of life has picked up in my world. We’ve been to 14 graduation celebrations and three weddings in the last three weeks!

Since  4-H camp is on the horizon, too, it got me to thinking about things I want to do this summer that could easily get overlooked in the frenzy of fun. Here’s my summer bucket list:

  1. Watch the sunrise. Yes, I know that means getting up at zero-thirty, but there is really no better way to start the day than to see what God paints for us. Grab some coffee and your Bible and start your day with Him and His handiwork. My father, who worked midnight to eight in the morning for years, used to say most of us missed the best part of the day because we slept through the sunrise.
  2. Catch or watch the fireflies. We have a lot of fireflies in our area and there is something magical about the little flickering creatures. They make me smile.
  3. Check out the newest exhibit at the zoo. I am blessed to live near Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, voted number one zoo in the world by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards (2014). They just built a $73 million African Grasslands exhibit. Along with that, elephants have returned to the zoo after a long absence. I can’t wait to see the new additions at our zoo. What’s going on at your local zoo?
  4. Fly a kite. We have a nice little nylon kite collection. Usually, a couple of times a year, our family goes kite flying and our spirits soar along with the kites.
  5. Spend time in nature. Summer should be a time to reconnect with nature. Douse yourself in bug spray and venture into the wild. Take time to marvel at God’s creation. Not a hiker? Getting your hands in the dirt in your own garden will provide a nature fix, too.
  6. Watch fireworks. Summer wouldn’t be summer without watching an explosion of color against the dark summer sky. Fireworks are amazing!
  7. Sneak out in the middle of the night for pancakes. When our kids are at camp, my husband and I love to do this. It feels so decadent and its’ fun.
  8. Make homemade ice cream. Homemade ice cream tastes like summer. Try new flavors or go back to an old favorite. It doesn’t make a difference as you enjoy every spoonful.
  9. Visit a local farmer’s market. Not only are farmer’s markets fun, they offer the freshest produce for excellent prices and allow you to support your local economy.
  10. Surprise someone with an old fashioned picnic. Wouldn’t your spouse be surprised if you showed up at his work with a picnic basket and a blanket? How about a breakfast picnic with your kids? It just spells summer.
  11. Go stargazing. Usually, we have to go outside of the city to get a good look at the stars. There’s nothing like lying on a blanket and soaking up a night sky.
  12. Create some new summer traditions. When our kids were little, we had Park Day, where we spent the whole day going from city park to city park. Another family did family night once a week with each person in the family determining what low or no-cost activity the whole family would do together. For example, they had sleepovers in the family room. Since my family is older now and scattered this summer, I need to put on my creativity hat and come up with a new tradition.
  13. Be a tourist in your own area. Where can you go within a day’s drive? What could you discover? Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a museum or festival near your home.
  14. Find the best_____________. You fill in the blank with a favorite food. One year, our family decided to find the best pizza, so every time we went out to eat, we tried a different pizza place. You could do the same with bakeries, cupcakes, shakes, or hamburgers. Make a rating scale and set your other “scale” to the side.
  15. Read a book on a beach. Oh, you knew it would be on here somewhere, didn’t you? Honestly, this is one of my favorite things to do. Summer wouldn’t summer without it.

Well, that’s my summer bucket list. Do any of those sound fun to you? What’s on your list? Let’s share some ideas to make this the best summer ever.

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Lorna Seilstad

Lorna Seilstad brings history back to life using a generous dash of humor. She is the author of the Lake Manawa Summers Series and the Gregory Sisters Series. She and her husband have three children and call Iowa home. Find out more at www.lornaseilstad.com or connect with her on Facebook and on Twitter.

7 thoughts on “15 Things to Do to Make the Most Out of Summer”

  1. Love your bucket list, Lorna! And many of those are on mine as well. One thing we try to do every summer is catch a movie at a drive-in. There’s nothing like watching a movie under the stars. Another thing that’s been on our summer list for a long time, but we haven’t done is go tubing down a nearby river. There’s nothing more relaxing (as long as you wear plenty of sunscreen!) I went tubing all the time in my early twenties, but the kids have never been. Gotta fix that!

    1. Brenda, we get to go tubing most years at Kinney Kamp in August, but sadly, our drive-in theater closed a few years ago. So sad.

  2. Great list, Lorna! Like Brenda, many of these are on my list as well. I plan to get into my garden and make a new flower bed this summer, and although this one isn’t as nearly as fun, I intend to clean out the boxes that have been sitting in our basement since we moved in! Yeah, not the most fun, but on those really hot, humid days, working in my nice cool basement will feel pretty nice.

    1. Stephanie, basement cleaning is on my list, but my “to do” list. It will take a significant amount of time, too. I can assure you.

  3. Okay — I don’t have much of a bucket list because I’m limited in what I can do but one thing I am absolutely going to do is try frozen custard. I think that delicacy has been mostly an American thing and I hear people mooning over it come spring. Last year I discovered a frozen custard place in my city — and yes there is only one and it’s not so much a place as an ice cream (er frozen custard) truck. They make about four or five flavours, load the truck up and head out into the city. You have to follow them on facebook to find out where they end up. Usually at parks and summer festivals. So, it’s going to be a challenge but I am determined to finally taste this miracle summer treat and see what the fuss is all about. 🙂

    1. I love frozen custard, Kav. It’s so creamy. I haven’t found the perfect recipe for it, however, for my home machine. Hmmm, maybe I should put that on my list, too.

  4. All your suggestions sound wonderful to me, but I think I like the homemade ice cream the most. Just let me know when to take a little drive up there and I’ll join you.

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