Inside: Use this summer kindness bucket list to fight summer boredom and to help kids speak and act with more kindness this summer.
We’re on countdown mode to the end of school.
Summer is always a welcome reprieve after the long school year (and the craziness of May), the early morning rush to get to school on time, studying for tests and quizzes and completing homework, and the need to pack school lunches.
June through August, we trade in our lunchboxes for picnics and our rushed mornings for lazy pajama mornings and our homework for making ice cream.
It’s hard to not love summer.
Until your kids come to you five minutes after the screens turn off and announce they are “bbbooooorrrreeeedddd.”
I’m all for a healthy dose of boredom; some of the coolest art projects, building projects, and “games” come from my kids’ boredom.
But, one of the hardest parts of summer for as a mom of three is finding a balance between entertaining them, scheduling their whole day with camps and playdates and Camp Mom, and letting them be bored.
After a decade of “bored summers” home with my kids, I learned to have a few activities and plans and ideas for them when the boredom starts to make them stir crazy, makes me crazy, or when they start to turn on each other and the sibling bickering sneaks in.
So each day, we do a little summer learning every day to prevent the summer slide, we try to do something fun to make the summer feel special, and I’ve stocked my house with these old school summer treats and toys so they can head outside and have a summer like my sister and I had in the 80s.
But since we’re also raising our kids to be kind kids, we now have a way to encourage them to spread kindness to those around them each summer with our Summer Kindness Bucketlist. And as an added bonus, it staves off some boredom, even if it’s for a few minutes.
Why We Need to Focus on Kindness in the Summertime
Some kids know how to be kind. It seems to be innate, and part of their very soul.
But most kids, my kids included, need to be taught how to be kind. Luckily, kindness is a skill we can teach.
In our family, being kind is so essential, kindness is one of our only two family rules.
And speaking and acting with kindness is especially enforced during the summer because with everyone home and in each other’s space and all the extra boredom, siblings can easily turn on each other and bicker, annoy, and fight more than usual.
Which then ends the summer days in frustration and tears rather than catching fireflies together and having bbqs and toasting s’mores.
Since I vote for more s’mores and less sibling rivalry and bickering, I help my kids focus on giving to others and building up our family identity and traditions, and being kind during the summer months.
Related: Reduce sibling rivalry with this Sibling Ice Cream Challenge, perfect for the summer
We make old-school crafts and give them to friends like these Shrinky Dink Friendship Keychains.
We make these Compliment Suns and drop them off to friends and neighbors or surprise a family member with them.
And we use this Summer Kindness Bucketlist to work together to help others.
How to Use the Summer Kindness Bucketlist:
1. Print and download the Summer Kindness Bucketlist printable (download it below).
2. You can print it in color or in black and white to save on ink.
3. If you’re a parent, you can print one for each of your children or if they’re younger, complete it as a family.
If you’re an educator, print one off for each of your students and challenge them to do each activity before they return to school in the summer. They can come show it to you on the first day of school for a sticker or an extra hug or a trip to your toy chest.
5. Throughout the summer when your kids are bored, challenge them to do one thing off the Summer Bucketlist checklist.
6. They can check off each bucket as they complete the kindness activity or color in the bucket when they finish it.
7. Use these kindness activities to motivate them as a “ticket” for more screentime or to head to a picnic or to have a s’more night.
And while we don’t want kids to get into the habit of needing a reward for showing kindness, most kids need a little motivation…especially during the heat of the summer when the couch and the TV call their names.
And at the end of the summer, if completing this Summer Kindness Bucketlist kept them off of screens just a little bit longer, and encouraged them to show kindness to their siblings, friends, and neighbors just a little bit more, and kept them from being so “boooorrrreeeeddddd,” then it will have been a good summer.
Which is as good as a s’more.