The Best Kids Bucket List for a Simple, 90s Inspired Summer

As a millennial, I can’t help but to appreciate my mostly screen-free childhood summers. They were filled with creative play, outdoor adventure, IRL friendship, and so many seemingly simple moments. These moments will be core memories of mine forever (like eating a turkey sandwich and Cool Ranch Doritos by my aunt’s pool).

Summers in the 90s were just so slow, carefree, magical, and special. They gave me time and space to get to know myself, appreciate nature, spend quality time with loved ones, and so much more. So, naturally, I can’t help but to want my kids to experience something similar.

That’s why I created this 90s inspired kids bucket list.

With 74 fun ideas, this 90s themed summer bucket list will transport you and your kids back to the good old days, where you road bike all day and chased fireflies all night.

This free printable summer bucket list is designed to escape the screens and scrolling! It’ll get your kids active, creative, and making memories. From outdoor adventures to arts and crafts, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy. 

Scroll down to learn more and to snag your free summer bucket list printable.


A graphic with some summer kids bucket list essentials including: reusable water balloons, capture the flag game, face paint, inflatable splash pad, large coloring page, play camping kit, flashlights for flashlight tag, birdhouse making kit, and sand castle molds.

QUICK SHOP

Scroll through to quickly see and shop some of our family favorite kids bucket list essentials mentioned in this post.

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1. Summer Vacation

Let’s just get the more expensive summer bucket list activity out of the way first, haha. 

Summer vacations make for great family traditions that every family member can benefit from. They give everyone the opportunity to spend time, relax, bond, share experiences, work together, and so much more. 

A memorable summer vacation can be as fancy as a resort trip or as simple as a camping trip. The point is to escape from everyday life and explore new places together, even if those places are only a few hours away from home.

That said, don’t let your finances keep you from planning a family getaway. There are so many budget-friendly vacation options these days!

2. Road Trip

This can be a bunch of small day trips to local attractions, or a vacation road trip.

Regardless, road trips are a great way to encourage conversation and create togetherness. 

Rather than handing the kids tech to distract them during the drive, try playing some games. Here are a few ideas I always loved as a kid:

  • “I Spy”: A classic game where one person chooses an object they see and says “I spy with my little eye, something that is…” and gives a clue about its color or shape. Others take turns guessing the object until someone gets it right.
  • License Plate Game: The goal is to spot license plates from different states or countries. Players keep track of the plates they see and try to collect as many unique ones as possible.
  • 20 Questions: One person thinks of an object, and others take turns asking yes-or-no questions to guess what it is within 20 questions or fewer.
  • “Would You Rather?”: Take turns asking each other hypothetical questions with two options. For example, “Would you rather have super strength or the ability to fly?”
  • “The Alphabet Game”: Starting with the letter ‘A,’ players look for words on signs or license plates that begin with each consecutive letter of the alphabet. The first person to complete the alphabet wins.

3. Water Park

This is a great activity for those hot summer days when you want to get out of the house. Don’t forget to bring a bright Igloo cooler packed with sandwiches and snacks, lol.

4. Theme Park

Where I live in Ohio, we’re lucky to have a variety of theme parks within an hour drive – from a kiddie theme park for young children to the iconic Cedar Point which is great for adults and kids of all ages.

However, I recognize this isn’t true for everyone. That said, maybe consider creating a family vacation around a theme park that your family can enjoy. Maybe even one you enjoyed visiting during your own childhood.

5. Roast Marshmallows

Better yet, make s’mores! But before you do, check out this blog post for some fun and interest ideas: 25+ S’mores Recipes You Have to Try.

6. Local Library 

Local libraries always have special activities all year round, and the summer months are no exception. Check out the online activity schedule for your local library (and other libraries in your area), and put those you’re interested on your calendar now so you don’t forget about them. 

7. Summer Camp

From summer sports camps to Vacation Bible School, summer camps give kids the opportunity to meet new people, try new things, socialize, and enhance their knowledge and skill sets.

Sometimes it can be hard to know what’s happening in your area, especially if your kids are not in school yet. So don’t hesitate to ask neighbors, ask friends and family on social media, or talk to coworkers with kids to see what they’ve heard about and/or participated in.

8. Treasure Hunt

A treasure hunt is a fun backyard activity that can be enjoyed by one or several kids. You can adjust the difficulty level and complexity of the clues based on the age and abilities of the kids participating. They’re a great way to encourage teamwork, problem-solving, and exploration while having loads of fun!

9. Dance Party

Better yet, a 90s dance party! Just look up some 90s Kidz Bop music on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, etc. Then JAMMM.

Some of my favorites have always been Connect Four, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Guess Who. Pretty Pretty Princess and Twister are great, too.

11. Eat Homemade Ice Cream

I’m sure there’s a great spot in your hometown to grab a scoop, but you can take it a step further by making your own. This is where modern tech has it’s perks – I hear the Ninja Creami is incredible for making homemade ice cream!

12. Pick Fresh Produce

Picking local produce gives kids the opportunity to learn about different fruits, vegetables, how they grow, and how they’re harvested. It connects them to nature, and it gives them a healthy snack to enjoy.

13. Nature Scavenger Hunt

This is something you can quickly throw together in your own backyard! Come up with a list of items that exist in the great outdoors – specific types of flowers, pinecones, leaves, acorns, etc. Then have the kiddos go find them! They can do this activity independently or as a group.

14. Take a Train Ride

Train rides are probably not as fun for older kids, but little kids definitely love them! This can be as simple as riding the little train at your local shopping mall or local park. If you have an amusement park nearby, they probably have a train you could ride there, too – so you can kill two birds with one stone!

15. Summer Reading Program

Many organizations offer summer reading programs, including local libraries, schools, and bookstores. Pizza Hut still has their BOOK IT program, too. Now if that’s not a 1990’s throwback, IDK what is!

16. Water Balloon Fight

This is the best way to beat the summer heat without leaving the house. Instead of OG water balloons, though, I recommend reusable water balloons (like these sponge water balloons). They’ll keep little rubber pieces out of your yard and our waterways. 

17. Local Farmers Market

Local farmers markets are always a great time! You get to see and shop a variety of local produce, meat, and handmade items. It’s a great opportunity to learn, but also support small businesses. 

18. Splash on a Splash Pad

Or run through sprinklers like back in the good old days! Running through water is always a great idea on a warm day.

PS: You don’t even have to leave the house to visit a splash pad these days – you can buy a splash pad like this one to connect to your hose and enjoy spending time at home.

19. Tie-Dye Shirts

There are tons of ways to tie-dye shirts, but one of the easiest things to do is snag a Tie-Dye Kit off Amazon. That should come with not just the dye, but the instructions for a successful tie-dye project.

20. Backyard Camping

This was always one of my favorite outdoor activities as a kid! I highly recommend treating this like a night at the campground – grill dinner, make s’mores, and tell stories around a campfire. It’s seriously so much fun, and it’ll be a core memory for the kids for sure.

If your kids are little and you don’t want to sleep outside, a kids camping set for pretend play is perfect.

21. Have a Picnic

This is one of those fun summer bucket list ideas you can do on a whim! No plan for lunch or dinner? Throw some sandwiches, snacks, and drinks into a bag and go eat at the park or beach. You can even just snag pizza along the way if you don’t have what you need to throw a meal together.

22. Catch Fireflies

If you don’t catch fireflies to make a firefly lantern, is it even a 90s summer activity? Just be sure to release them before checking this off your kids bucket list.

23. Play in the Rain

As long as it’s not thundering and/or lightning, playing in the rain can be so fun and refreshing. Plus, it’ll get the kids active and out of the house…even if the weather is less than ideal.

24. Have a Park Date with Friends

This can be planned or spontaneous, but what I’ve learned is that the latter usually works better. Planning to head to the park with you kiddo(s) anyways? Shoot some friends a text and let them know. Usually someone’s available to meet up, and it makes for a fun little date for all!

25. Go to the Drive-In Movie Theater

I realize drive-in movie theaters are few and far between, but if you happen to have one near take advantage!!! Load the entire family in the car, grab some snacks at the dollar store, and catch a movie under the stars while you can. 

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PS: Click here to shop the pre-made activity kit shown above! We are so obsessed because they take zero planning and don’t leave a bunch of clutter behind. They have options for up to 6 years of age, too.

26. Play Hide and Seek

Of course this is a an activity you can do with just your family, but if you really want to make it fun get all the neighbor kids involved! Nothing says summer fun like a huge game of hide and seek.

27. Watch Fireworks

You don’t have to wait for the Fourth of July to catch a show and check this off your kids bucket list!

Check with your local sports teams for information on their firework shows, as they often put them on during summer break. If there are special events being hosted near you (festivals, concerts, etc.), you should check to see if one is on their list of fun activities, too.

28. Finger Paint

The summer season offers the perfect opportunity to get your little kids outside to finger paint! You can finger paint and old box, or make a piece of finger paint artwork. There are so many fun ideas on Pinterest! 

29. Paint Rocks

You can break this kids bucket list idea into a two-part activity:

  1. Rock Hunting: Where you search for the perfect rocks to paint.
  2. Rock Painting: Where you turn the rocks you found into pieces of art!

We like to use paint sticks for this activity. They’re less messy as they don’t require a bunch of paint brushes and water. 

30. Make Seashell Art

You can break this into a two-part activity, too: seashell hunting, and seashell artwork making!

You can paint the seashells, glue them to a canvas, fill a vase with seashells, the ideas are seemingly endless. All that matters is that you get creative and have fun!

31. Have a Sleepover

Host the cousins or some friends for food, activities, and fun! During this time, prohibit the use of tablets and cell phones to force IRL interaction. 

32. Eat a Snow Cone

Personally, I’m not a fan, haha. BUT I included it on this list of summer bucket list activities because I know I’m pretty much alone in that opinion, haha. So go get your snow cones and ENJOY!

33. Visit Mom or Dad at Work

Don’t forget to make copies of your handprints on the photocopy machine! 

34. Play Flashlight Tag

Add this to the list of ideas of fun games to play with neighbors! You can get a bunch of small flashlights off of Amazon for super cheap, and you can keep them to use and enjoy for years to come. 

35. Play Capture the Flag

And if you want to play at night, check out this glow-in-the-dark Capture the Flag kit for 4-20 players!

36. Go to the Children’s Museum

If you have one nearby, of course! If not, maybe consider taking a day trip to one that’s close-ish.

37. Make Homemade Pizza

Making pizza is so much easier than you’d think, and it’s such a fun family activity! I love using King Arthur Pizza Flour when I think about it in advance (the dough has to rise for at least 12 hours). But Trader Joe’s makes a DELISH pizza dough that simply needs to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. If you grab that, be sure to grab TJ’s Hot Honey, too. Drizzle it on your pizza for an extra yummy treat! 

38. Visit a Zoo

The zoo is a summer kids bucket list staple. If you live close to a zoo, I highly recommend looking into their annual passes. They’re typically super affordable and can pay for themselves in just a couple of visits. 

39. Make a Chalk Obstacle Course

This kids bucket list item gets the entire family outside and creative! Plus, the end result is something all the neighbors can enjoy.

Be sure to include hop scotch, a balance beam, water, and lava!

40. Go Swimming

Bonus points if it’s in a wave pool!

41. Attend a Free Community Event

If you go to your events tab on Facebook, you can find a ton of free local events in your town or even the big city nearest you.

42. Wash a Car

Next time you have to wash the family cars, make it a family activity! The kids will love getting wet, they won’t even think about being put to work, haha. 

43. Make and Sail Paper Boats

If you’re not sure how to do this, look for a book at the local library before running to YouTube. Or just give it a try! Trial and error is part of the fun journey.

44. Make Bird Feeders

You can buy a fancy wooden bird house kit from the local craft shop or Amazon. But you could also just stick peanut butter to a toilet paper roll and roll that around in bird seed the way we used to.

45. Build a Sand Castle

All you need is some shovels and basic molds, like what this sandcastle mold kit comes with. Don’t forget to surround it with a fancy, water-filled moat! 

46. Make Fresh Lemonade

Or just use Countryside mix, lol. A little sugar once in a while doesn’t hurt. 😉

47. Have a 90s Movie Day

This is a perfect activity for a rainy day!

48. Ride Bike Through a Local Park

Local parks offer families the opportunity to breathe fresh air, connect with nature, and get moving! Plus, they offer free entertainment to enjoy and explore – bike trails included.

49. Plant Something

From flowers and herbs to fruits and vegetables, there are so many options depending on how much time you want to dedicate to this activity. 

This root viewer kit is pretty cool for the kiddos!

50. Play Mini Golf

Who doesn’t love a good game of putt putt? You can make this extra fun by allowing the winner to choose the next kids bucket list activity to tackle. 

51. Go Fishing

Just make sure you have the proper gear and permissions (like licensing). 

52. Go to a Baseball Game

Baseball games are always fun adventures, and most baseball parks have attractions that can even engage little kids. 

PS: I’ve found that Walmart has super affordable MLB gear, especially for kids!

53. Make a Mud Pie Dessert

I guess they call it a “dirt dessert” these days, but I’m talking about the dessert that includes layers of Oreos and pudding and is topped with gummy worms. Here’s a well-rated dirt dessert recipe if you’re not sure what I’m talking about. 

54. Fly a Kite

This kite is really well rated and under $20! It comes in several colors/prints, too.

55. Play Catch

Catch is great for hand-eye coordination, but it also provides and opportunity for family conversation. It’s a simple kids bucket list task, but one you can do anytime and pretty much anywhere.

56. Go to a Fair or Carnival

I know, I know, the rides can be sketch, haha. But fairs and carnivals offer other fun, too – games, petting zoos, seasonal treats (like delicious lemonade), and more.

57. Roller Skate

Yes, roller skating rinks still exist and are still a ton of fun! But skating around your neighborhood is a great option, too. Just don’t forget all of the protective gear!

58. Visit a Science Museum

This makes for a fun, educational summer field trip. There’s so much to learn, but it won’t even feel like learning! 

59. Volunteer

Volunteering teaches kids so many valuable life lessons – empathy, teamwork, and the importance of sharing their time and talents to name a few. It also helps them to learn new skills and feel purposeful. 

60. See a Live Show

You can support a local theater or music group going to their play or concert at the end of the season! Check your local music venues/arenas for their summer entertainment options, too. 

61. Take a Boat Ride

​If you don’t know someone with a boat, check and see what your local boat rental options are. They’re becoming more and more common! 

If that isn’t an option, look for canoe or kayak rentals. They’re just as fun, relaxing, and memorable. 

62. Eat Dinner Outside

Every day that you possibly can, but *at least* once. Dinner just hits different al fresco, and kids (at least the ones in my family) find it to be so fun and special.

63. Make Popsicles

Better yet, make FREEZE POPS. It’s a fun and easy activity, and there are great recipes on Pinterest. You can use these molds so they look like the OG freeze pops from the 90s.

64. Get Face Painted

​They usually have face painting options at the zoo, amusement park, and even farmers market! Or you could DIY it with a kids face painting kit

65. Make Cookies to Share

​Making cookies is fun, but making cookies to share is even better! I love this sugar cookie recipe for delicious and easy cut out sugar cookies. This royal icing recipe is absolute perfection, too!

66. Make an Obstacle Course

This can be done with stuff around the house, like pillows, hula hoops, tape, etc. And it can be tailored to the age of your kid(s).

67. Play with Glow Sticks

You can make jewelry, have a dance party, or even play glow stick tag if you don’t have flashlights for flashlight tag.

This glow stick kit is super fun, with headbands and glasses included!

68. Build a Time Capsule

This is a kids bucket list must-do! Time capsules are fun to put together, but they’re even more fun to dig up and go through years later. 

69. Go to an Arcade

Arcades have gotten a bit more fancy since the 90s, but they’re still fun for enjoying togetherness and friendly competition.

70. Build a Fort

​You can do this outside and inside, depending on the weather. Use chairs, blankets, sticks, whatever you can get your hands on to create a little shelter everyone can play in.

71. Color a Picture

Etsy has so many fun coloring pages you can download and print at home! This huge “Hello Summer” coloring page from Amazon is super fun, too!

72. Have a Squirt Gun Fight

Bonus points if you have OG super soakers you can use! 

73. Plan a Lunch Meet Up

It’s always special to meet up for a meal with grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. It’s little moments around the table like that where core memories are made.

74. Make Fruit Kabobs

There are so many fun ways to do this on Pinterest – from Fourth of July themed fruit Kabobs to rainbow fruit Kabobs and more.

If you’re just making these to enjoy at home, don’t forget to use reusable kabob sticks.


I hope this 90s inspired kids bucket list helps you and your family have fun, spend quality time, and create core memories! 

If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe so I can send that free printable summer bucket list to your inbox.

If you have any questions, please comment below and let me know. I check my comments often and am always happy to help.

Before you go, here’s another post I think you might like: The Ultimate Sunday Reset Routine for Busy Moms.

Xo,