Must-Do Activities for Your Summer Bucket List

Celebrate summer with this warm-weather checklist. Everything on the list can be done while spending time with friends and family.

Grab your beach towel, plan a barbecue, and get ready to spend some quality time with your friends and family. This is the summer you were dreaming about during those cold winter months.

Plan an outdoor adventure (like camping in the backyard or seeing a drive-in movie), and squeeze in some extra time together by enlisting everyone in the creation of a delicious summer treat, or picking fresh fruits and vegetables. Technically, summer begins on June 21, but any sunny day is a good time to print out our summer checklist and get started on these warm weather must-dos.

Smoothie Pops
Carson Downing

1. Make Ice Pops

There's nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than a delicious frozen treat. And luckily, they're easy enough to make at home. Help the kids freeze their scrumptious smoothie pops.

2. See a Drive-In Movie

Drive-in movie theaters are seeing a resurgence. Find one near you, pack the car full of popcorn and snacks, and enjoy a family outing. If there's no drive-in near you, consider setting up an outdoor movie screen in your backyard.

3. Watch Fireworks

There's nothing more traditional than watching a fireworks show on the Fourth of July. There have been fireworks on every Fourth of July since 1777—the year after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Throw a viewing party with a barbecue and refreshing cool desserts.

flowers, sunglasses and wallet in beige tote bag
Brie Passano

4. Learn to Sew

Some days it's just too hot to venture outside, so summer is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby. You can easily teach yourself how to sew by working your way through our sewing guide for beginners, then trying out one of our easy sewing projects. Order a beginner's sewing kit and you'll be stitching up your tote bag in no time.

5. Read a Book

You might not be catching up on your reading on a tropic isle, but summer is the perfect time to pick up a good beach read, and there are plenty of good books by female authors perfect for your reading list.

6. Go on a Hike

After winter's chill, we could all use a breath of fresh air. Studies show that taking a 20-minute walk or hike in nature can significantly lower stress levels—so grab your favorite pair of sneakers and find the nearest walking trail.

fourth of july hot dogs july 2019 cover image
Carson Downing

7. Grill Out

Gather the family for an intimate backyard barbecue. If you don't already have an outdoor grill, summer is the perfect time to invest in one. Throw some bratwursts on and fire up delicious grilled corn on the cob that everyone will enjoy. For dessert, make a batch of classic homemade ice cream.

8. Help a Charity

If you're looking for ways to give back this summer, consider giving to a local charity. Traditionally, donations for food pantries and shelters peak around the holiday season, which means the summer slow-down is a great time to help out. These organizations are likely aiding an overwhelming number of people in need, so if you're able to donate time or money, reach out and ask how you can help.

9. Plant Vegetables

Nothing tastes better in the summer than tomatoes fresh from the vine, and they're fairly easy to grow yourself. You'll want to plant warm-season vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers) in early summer, depending on your hardiness zone. When everything's ripe, turn your veggies into a delicious summer salsa.

10. Set Up a Pool

So you don't have a pool? No worries. These inflatable pools will last all summer, and they'll look great in your backyard. Throw a grown-up pool party for your friends, or set up a makeshift outdoor waterpark for the kids. Either way, don't forget the sunscreen.

11. Volunteer

There are dozens of ways you can volunteer from home (you don't even have to get off the couch) or sign up to help others in your neighborhood, like this volunteer program that coordinates grocery deliveries for seniors.

12. Have a Picnic

A picnic in the park is one of the more delightful ways to enjoy a meal with friends this summer. Grab a blanket or two and pack your basket full of treats.

tie dye hanging outside
Allison Cottrill

13. Make Tie-Dye Shirts

Tie-dyeing is making a comeback. Whether you're looking for a summer craft for the kids, or want to dye a trendy sweatshirt for yourself, learning how to tie-dye is fun and easy.

14. Visit the Beach

If you live near a beach, grab the sunscreen and a lounge chair and spend an afternoon relaxing in the sunshine. It's a great way to celebrate summer.

15. Go Camping

Did you forget to reserve a camping spot in a national park? Round up the family and host a fun campout in your backyard. Gather around the firepit (or the grill) to roast marshmallows, and set up tents so you can sleep under the stars. This adventure may not involve an exciting road trip or a cross-country flight, but the family memories will be just as sweet.

16. Make S’mores

Even if your family isn't the type to set up tents in the backyard, everyone will enjoy making (and consuming) super-easy s'mores. You know the drill: Roast a few marshmallows and sandwich them between chocolate and graham crackers for a sweet, gooey dessert. After you've made them a few times, up your s'mores game with these delicious recipes.

17. Go Strawberry Picking

Find out if there's a berry farm near you, and get ready for your kids to fill their baskets. When you get home, you'll be able to cook up these delicious fast and fresh strawberry recipes.

18. Build a Firepit

Plan on a relaxing evening around the fire. And if you don't have an outdoor fire feature, now's the time. It's remarkably easy to build a firepit—seriously, you can get it done in an afternoon—so you'll be able to spend summer nights enjoying the fire's lovely flickering light and warmth.

ice cream in scoops
Andy Lyons

19. Make Ice Cream

It's not summer without a sweet frozen treat, and what better time to mix up a bucket of homemade ice cream? Start with our sweet cream ice cream base and add different ingredients to make your own delicious flavors. Enjoy a dish of strawberry and cream cheese ice cream, or serve cones of our delicious peach ice cream, which tastes just like summer.

20. Bake a Cake

We're planning to enjoy some time at home this summer—so when better to make a delicious cake for the whole family to enjoy? Decorate a festive Fourth of July cake or celebrate a summer birthday with one of our classic cake recipes.

21. Go on a Bike Ride

Gather friends or family for a bike ride on a local path or bike trail. If you've never learned how to do it, now's the perfect time to start riding. Don't forget your sunblock, water, and a trail snack.

corn on the cob with a butter brush and bowls of salt and pepper
Karla Conrad

22. Eat Corn on the Cob

Whether you make it on the grill, in the oven, or in a pot on the stove, corn on the cob is a classic treat we'll be making all summer. You can even prepare it in the air fryer. No matter how you make it, flavor yours with one of our tasty corn-on-the-cob recipes.

23. Send Snail Mail

Summer is packed with road trips and weekend getaways to see friends and family. But you can't always see everyone. For those you won't get a chance to visit this year, brighten a day with a handwritten card or letter, and show them you're thinking of them.

24. Make Lemonade

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And luckily, a pitcher of freshly-squeezed lemonade is one of our favorite summer staples. Whether you enjoy it poolside or on the couch with a good book, this delicious summer treat will brighten your day.

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