Summer Bucket List For Any Weather!

Summer is a time of adventure, exploration, and making lasting memories with your children. With the days longer and the weather warmer, it’s the perfect season to engage in fun-filled activities that cater to every age group and adapt to different weather conditions. In Southern Minnesota, we have all sorts of amazing things to see and do–including coming down to the Children’s Museum to take part in some of OUR summer fun! Check out the events calendar.

To help you create the ultimate summer bucket list, we have divided the activities based on both weather and age, ensuring that your family can make the most of this wonderful season. Get ready for an exciting summer filled with laughter, learning, and bonding!

Water play activity in the H2GO Outdoor Water Gallery at the Childrens Museum of Southern Minnesota Mankato

Bucket List for Sunny Days:

Water Fun Extravaganza:
Age Group: Toddlers to Teens
Benefits: Promotes physical activity, sensory development, and cooling off during hot days.

  • Set up a backyard sprinkler, 
  • Use sponges as reusable water balloons (cheaper and better for the earth!)
  • plan a day at the water park, or 
  • enjoy a trip to the beach. 
Tips: Don’t forget sunscreen, water toys, and plenty of hydration for everyone.


Outdoor Explorations:
Age Group: Preschoolers to Teens
Benefits: Encourages curiosity, love for nature, and physical exercise.

  • Plan a family hike, 
  • Check out the local waterfalls,
  • go camping, or 
  • visit a local park. 
Tips: Engage kids with nature scavenger hunts, bird-watching, or star-gazing activities.


DIY Garden Project – Garden Inspiration
Age Group: Preschoolers to Teens
Benefits: Teaches responsibility, patience, and appreciation for nature.

  • Create a small garden space, 
  • plant flowers, herbs, or vegetables together. 
  • Create a pollinator garden for butterflies and bees.
  • Let children take turns watering and caring for the plants. 
Tips: Encourage them to keep a journal to document their plant’s growth. Not able to garden? Join us at the Museum, or check out Minnesota’s variety of pick-your-own produce opportunities! 


Painting is a good messy play activity for kids to do indoors

Bucket List for Rainy Days:

Indoor Fort Building:
Age Group: Toddlers to Teens
Benefits: Stimulates creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills.

  • Gather blankets, pillows, and furniture to create cozy indoor forts. 
  • Use flashlights, books, and board games to make it an exciting hideaway.
  • Have snacks or a meal in the fort.
  • Have a sleepover in the fort!
Tips: Bed sheets are easier to drape and secure than blankets. Clear the space of breakable items. Let the creation stay up for a few days.


Family Movie Marathon:
Age Group: Preschoolers to Teens
Benefits: Encourages quality time, sparks conversation, and cultivates storytelling appreciation.

  • Pick a theme or movie series and snuggle up on the couch.
  • Make it an event with popcorn and snacks. 
  • Encourage discussion about the movies’ messages.
  • Take turns acting out scenes.
Tips: Common Sense Media is a great resource for determining the age appropriateness of movies if you don’t have time to prescreen them. 


Arts and Crafts Bonanza:
Age Group: Preschoolers to Teens
Benefits: Enhances fine motor skills, creativity, and self-expression.

  • Set up a dedicated craft area with a variety of supplies. 
  • Engage in painting, drawing, sculpting, or origami projects. 
  • Make crayon melts with old crayons that came home from school at the end of the year.
  • Make suncatchers by letting kids use window markers.
Tips: Display the artwork around the house to boost children’s confidence.


History Field Trips:
Age Group: Preschoolers to Teens
Benefits: Cultural appreciation, learning about identity, and encourages curiosity and conversation.

  • Visit a museum of history, like the Blue Earth County Historical Society or drive to the Cities for lots of options.
  • Visit a Native American Heritage site
  • Take online field trips to the Smithsonian and others by exploring their websites. 
Tips: Get books from the library to read in the car on the way or for further study after. 


Kitchen Science Activity

Bucket List – Any Weather:

Science Experiments:
Age Group: School-aged Kids to Teens
Benefits: Promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and scientific curiosity.

  • Conduct simple experiments like volcano eruptions, slime-making, or growing crystals. 
  • Set up multi-day or week experiments to track all summer long.
  • Have tools and a “station” or “lab” for children to explore on their own.
Tips: Explore educational websites or YouTube channels for inspiration.


Family Game Night:
Age Group: Preschoolers to Teens
Benefits: Enhances social skills, teamwork, and friendly competition.

  • Gather a variety of board games, card games, or puzzles. 
  • Make up a game together as a family.
  • Play giant sized games in the yard. 
  • Play elementary-school games outside with the whole family. 
Tips: Rotate game selection and let each family member choose their favorite.


Culinary Adventures:
Age Group: School-aged Kids to Teens
Benefits: Encourages creativity, math skills, and cultural appreciation.

  • Plan a cooking or baking session. 
  • Let kids choose a recipe, shop for ingredients, and assist in preparing a delicious meal or dessert. 
  • Make a list of specialty shops or restaurants to try each week over the summer.
  • Combine activities and walk or bike to these locations when possible! 
Tips: Emphasize kitchen safety and enjoy the fruits of your labor together.


Summer is a season full of opportunities for family bonding and exploration. By tailoring your bucket list activities to the weather conditions and age groups, you can ensure that every day brings excitement and joy for everyone. Whether it’s a sunny day filled with water fun or a rainy day cozying up indoors, these activities provide numerous benefits and create lasting memories. Get creative with a visual checklist and mark things off as you do them. Set goals as a family, so everyone gets to do something they choose. So grab your calendars, involve your children in the planning process, and get ready for an amazing summer adventure together!

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