Inside: To connect with your family more, create a Family Bucket List and start a list of things you want to do, try and explore together as a family. Use this free printable and ideas to get started!
My husband’s company often moves its employees and their families around the country for job opportunities.
One family moved to California for a year, and in order to make the most of it, they ate at In-n-Out and went to the beach every weekend.
And when it was our turn to move across the country, we made sure to make the most of our time too, while making sure that we connect with each other in more meaningful ways.
So we became tourists in our hometown and made lists of things we wanted to do, try, and visit before we moved again.
We embraced adventure. We tried things we would never have experienced if we didn’t intentionally want to spend time together.
And now that we’ve moved back to the hometown we grew up in, nothing has changed.
We’re going to be tourists again with our kids so they discover what is so great about living in our town and our larger city.
To figure out what we want to do with each other, we created a Family Bucket List.
The Importance of Creating a Family Bucket List:
First, what is a Family Bucket List?
The term became famous from the movie, The Bucket List, and it’s a bit morbid for kids: it’s things you want to do or try before you “kick the bucket.”
So we describe it as a list of things you want to do or try before you forget to.
The concept is fantastic because we want to instill in our kids a love of adventure and a desire to be lifelong learners.
We can’t make that happen sitting on our couch and staying in a five-mile radius of our home.
And we’re tired of having whole weekends pass us by and then wondering, what did we do for two days?
We want our kids to try new things. Eat new foods. Explore new places.
And we want to do it with them.
So as an added bonus to creating memories and sharing experiences with our kids, we’re also spending quality time together as a family.
And spending time together doing meaningful, fun activities allows us to connect on a deeper level with each other, which helps us build a strong family identity.
Ready to start your family’s Bucket List?
How to Brainstorm Items for Your Family Bucket List:
1. Use a guidebook of your city.
What would a tourist do if they came to visit your city?
If a friend from out of the country came, where would you take them?
Check out a local guidebook or purchase one so you can circle things that look intriguing.
Here are some of our absolute favorite guidebooks for each city we’ve lived in:
The Kids Guide to Series: (they have most major cities)
DK Top 10 Travel Guides: (they have major cities and all states)
Kids LOVE Series: (They have most states and 1-75 route):
2. Scour local magazines and newspapers
Local papers and magazines always have a calendar section of fun things to do on the weekends like festivals, fairs, outdoor concerts, and museum exhibits.
The local Facebook page is also a great place to discover new things to explore near you.
3.Plan a family meeting
Sit together during dinner and start a discussion about places you and your kids want to visit.
Ask them probing questions:
- Is there something you’ve always wanted to do?
- Is there something you want to learn?
- Is there somewhere you want to go?
Ideas for Your Family Bucket List:
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for your family’s list, try some of these ideas to get you going.
1.Factories with tours
Factories are super fun to visit because kids and adults love to see the behind the scenes of foods and items they love.
We’ve visited the Jelly Belly Factory in Wisconsin, the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Factory in Vermont and the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory in Cape Cod, Mass.
2. Destination Restaurants
My kids are dying to visit Medieval Times where they watch jousting while they eat dinner. Dinner with a show or a gimmick makes meals memorable.
There are also 50’s diners with jukeboxes, Japanese teppan grills where they cook in front of you, and fondue restaurants where you cook your own food.
3. Take the Train or Subway somewhere fun
When we lived in the suburbs close to Boston, we would take the commuter rail in and visit the city library or a new park.
We’ve also taken a train to a local Kid’s Museum for the day.
Kids almost always ride free on public transport.
4. Visit Somewhere Historical
If you live close enough, explore historical buildings and landmarks in your area.
Look for missions, adobes, plantations, covered bridges, Native American sites, or American landmarks from the Revolution or Civil War.
One of our favorite things to do was walk the Freedom Trail in Boston.
5. Fairs and Festivals
I’m a sucker for fairs and festivals. I love country fairs, county fairs, and state fairs.
We’ve visited the Renaissance Fair, the Lemon Festival and are looking forward to the Strawberry Festival.
6. Sporting Events
Visit your local team and cheer them on.
If the professional team’s tickets are too expensive, get tickets to a women’s team, a minor league team, or a professional team practice during Spring Training. Those games tend to be more fun and kid-friendly.
7. Get Outside
Taking in the fresh air and connecting outdoors is a great way to spend family time.
Visit a u-pick farm, go to the beach, river, or lake. Climb a sand dune, canoe, or kayak.
Or keep it super local and take neighborhood walks, bike rides, or have a campout in your backyard.
8. Visit Museums
Visit your local zoo, aquarium, planetarium, kid museum, art museum, or Presidential library.
Look for special days when they have scavenger hunts, special exhibits, and kid-friendly sections.
It might be cheaper or at the very least cost-effective, to purchase a yearly pass to come back over and over again.
9. Tourist destinations
Be a tourist and visit things that only tourists do.
We live in Los Angeles now, so for us, that’s the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, and the Santa Monica Pier.
When we lived in Boston, we rode a Duck Boat, visited Plymouth Rock, and threw “tea” overboard at the Boston Harbor Tea Party Museum.
When we lived in Chicago, we visited the Wisconsin Dells water parks, took an architecture boat tour on the Chicago River, and rode the Ferris Wheel on the Navy Pier.
Volunteering is a great way for families to spend time together.
It can be tricky to find local charities that allow kids to help, but the research will be well worth it. Click here for ideas.
11. Regional/Seasonal Activities
Depending on where you live, the seasons will offer up some incredible opportunities to explore.
We have gone maple syrup tapping, apple picking, tubing, skiing, digging for crabs, and have watched movies under the stars.
12. Share Something From Your Childhood
I love connecting with my kids by sharing something special from my childhood with them.
It can be anything special you and your family did when you were young, but for my husband and I, we love to share the magic of drive-in movies with our kids.
There’s nothing better than being slightly uncomfortable and barely able to hear the movie, but being outside to watch a movie on the hood of your car.
13. Get Creative
See a random local place advertised or reported on in the local news? Go visit!
That’s how we found an alpaca farm where we fed and helped take care of them and a horse farm where my daughter rode for the first time.
It doesn’t matter what you pick. As long as it’s interesting to you all. You’ll get the memories and the experiences.
But the magic really comes when you spend time together and connect with your family more.
Ready to get your Family Bucket List Free Printable? Get it here:
What’s on your family’s Bucket List? Tell me below!