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The best part of being a parent is the way regular everyday activities suddenly become adventures when you bring a child along. I’ve remarked many times about how the world completely opened up to me in a different way once I had my daughter Ayva. Now that she’s a little older, we’re more intentional in our adventure seeking, and every day we cross fun activities that we’ve completed off of our family bucket list.

A bucket list is a to-do list of experiences you want to have. It could be places you want to visit, things you want to do, or people you want to see. The most important part of creating a family bucket list is that every member of the family is involved and represented. Ayva had just turned 3 years old when we created our first bucket list together, and even then she had an opinion of what she wanted to do. Let me just say we went to a lot of playgrounds and ate a lot of ice cream that summer! It was okay, though, because we were spending quality time together and having fun.

If you’re interested in creating a family bucket list, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Away You Go

It’s pretty standard to see exotic travel on a bucket list, but a family list might look a little different. Just because you aren’t headed on a romantic vacation doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of fun to be had by traveling with your family. Here are a few “away you go” items that you might want to add to your bucket list:

-Take a trip to the beach. Extra points if you go during the off season!

-Go camping overnight in a local park.

-Travel to the closest big city and explore the sites…at night!

-Find a farm that will allow you to experience farm life (picking apples, etc.).

Family Fun

A family bucket list is fun to have because hanging out with your family is fun! Activities like the following take your family time and kick it up a notch:

-Rent dance competition games and spend the day dancing.

– Make ALL your Christmas gifts together.

– Record a funny family video to post on YouTube

– Turn the music on and have family karaoke night.

– Go caroling in your neighborhood…even when it’s not the holidays!

 Add An Element of Surprise

Create a separate family surprise bucket list with your husband for your children and bust it out when they least expect it. This is how memories are made!

-Wake your children  up super early and go eat pancakes in your jammies

– Plan a BIG trip and don’t tell the kids until you get to the airport

-Buy an animal. Even a hermit crab or goldfish will be a big surprise!

-Makeover your child’s bedroom while they’re at school.


The activities on your bucket list can be long-term goals. Working towards big goals can help your family grow closer, and the planning can actually be fun, too!

-Go window shopping for new houses…and then save for one.

-Be adventurous with older children. Go scuba diving or ride jet skis together.

-Spend the summer driving across the country.

The thing about a family bucket list is that there are no rules! Whether you’re planning big, extravagant activities, or things that you can do in a day, as long as you’re spending quality time together, it’s all good!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brandi Jeter-Riley lives in Northern California with her daughter and husband (both of whom she shamelessly posts pictures all over the internet!). She is the co-founder of the Pushing Lovely writing group, and blogs at Tweet her @BrandiJeter

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