[pullquote_left] by Michelle [/pullquote_left]Since my son started kindergarten last fall, this coming season marks our first “official” summer vacation which seems slightly intimidating, despite the fact that my kids have zero expectations for what we’ll be doing.

We don’t have any big vacation plans but I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to do with the kids over the summer and when Melody was looking for someone to create a summer activity list, I jumped at the chance to brainstorm some ideas and create a summer bucket list.

[note]The list below is available here to download so you can print it and cut out the items, throw them in a container and pick one out when you are looking for something to do (some items take more planning/time so you might want to separate them into two groups – one for weekends or day trips and one for any time or day of the week).  [/note]

[line]55 Things to Do with Your Kids This Summer
  1. Feed ducks.  Just not at John Collins Park.
  2. Catch a Whitecaps game
  3. Meet up with friends at Frog Hollow Park

  4. Beach day at Tunnel Park near Holland
  5. Play with bubbles in the backyard
  6. Go on a Progressive Playground Scavenger Hunt
  7. Go on a trail walk at Fallasburg Park
  8. Feed the goats at Schwallier’s Country Basket
  9. Ride the Grand Haven Trolley.
  10. Take the kids to the drive thru at Sonic for happy hour (1/2 off slushies and sodas, 2-4 p.m. daily)
  11. Go on a bike ride around Reed’s Lake and end up at Jersey Junction for ice cream.
  12. Surprise a friend by decorating their driveway with chalk while they aren’t home
  13. Make (and eat) homemade popsicles
  14. Visit the splash pad at Millennium Park
  15. Fly a kite
  16. Take a road trip to MSU and visit the Children’s Garden and get ice cream at the MSU Dairy Store
  17. Walk out on the pier at Grand Haven, wave at the boats going by
  18. Feed the giraffes at Binder Park Zoo.
  19. Set up and run through the sprinkler
  20. Take a family bike ride at a new location
  21. Climb the dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  22. Have a water balloon fight with another family
  23. Visit Ada Farmer’s Market to join in the kids activities and make dinner with fresh market produce
  24. Run through the fountain at Tassell Park in Cascade

  25. Make your own pinwheels
  26. Visit to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo
  27. Have a nighttime photo shoot with sparklers
  28. Go fishing at the Kroc Center’s catch and release pond (no membership or entry fee required)
  29. Have a shadow dance party in your driveway (wait until after dark, shine your headlights on the garage door, turn up your family’s favorite tunes and make your shadows dance on the garage door)
  30. Go berry picking at a local farm

  31. Visit Koetsier’s on Saturday (late May/early June) and do a free Kidz Club class
  32. Cut watermelons in half and let the kids go at them with spoons
  33. Find a local food truck and have lunch there (What the Truck is a fave and regular at the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market)
  34. Play at the Imagination Station Playground in Grand Haven.
  35. Go geocaching
  36. Pick your favorite park and perform a mini-service project by cleaning up any trash you see on the ground
  37. Go to John Ball Zoo
  38. Find a park you haven’t been to and visit it
  39. Spend the afternoon at Frederik Meijer Gardens exploring the children’s garden
  40. Do a kids road race or bike race from our Fun Runs and Races Guide
  41. Dinner at Yesterdog in Easttown
  42. Take a picnic to the Gerald R. Ford Airport viewing area
  43. Visit a West Michigan Fair or Festival
  44. Surprise friends by bringing them ice cream snacks – a do-it-yourself ice cream truck
  45. Get ice cream at a new-to-you location

  46. Plant flowers in outdoor containers and deliver them to friends
  47. Rent a paddle boat or canoe at Millennium Park
  48. Catch fireflies in a jar.
  49. Go out for donuts for breakfast
  50. Go horseback riding
  51. Make build-your-own grilled pizzas
  52. Paint the house/driveway with water
  53. Wash the family vehicles and don’t worry if everyone ends up soaked (adults included)
  54. Make your own ice cream in a baggie
  55. Camp out in the backyard (or in your living room)

What do you have on your summer bucket list?  Share with us in the comments or on Facebook!

We’d also love to see pictures of your summer – you can share pictures with us on any or all of the following:

  • Pinterest [pinterest.com/grkids]
  • Twitter [@grkids, twitter.com/grkids]
  • Facebook [facebook.com/grkids]

Hooray for summer!


By | 2017-05-12T14:46:36+00:00 May 17th, 2012|Categories: Guides- travel, Summer|Tags: |38 Comments

About the Author:

Michelle B
Michelle is full-time working mom with two boys who keep her on her toes when she's not in the office. Her third child is her personal blog, ememby.com, where she writes about life, pop culture and her love of food. Michelle came to Grand Rapids for college and aside from a brief stint in Chicago, has lived here ever since. She loves everything GR has to offer and feels blessed to be raising her kids here with her fish-out-of-water Australian-born husband.


  1. Katharine Mean June 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    My kids are not anymore in that age, but I will take your advise for my grandkids. Thanks

  2. Beth Redburn May 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    We are going to do science experiments I found on pinterest! lots of fun things to do outside with baking soda, vinegar and food coloring!

  3. […] Summer Bucket List […]

  4. […] 55 Things To Do This Summer […]

  5. JARA June 20, 2012 at 3:23 am - Reply

    You may want to remove #1. Went to John Collins Park today and they have a sign that says do not feed the ducks.

  6. Kay Gale via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    Ada Christian was out last Friday with half a day

  7. Cheryl B. June 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Melody – Do you know of any children’s fitness classes in the area? 🙂

    • Melody V
      Melody V June 9, 2012 at 1:47 am - Reply

      What age are you looking for? There is a kids Tai Chi class near Woodland Mall on Monday and Wednesday nights, ages 7+, I believe.

  8. June 27th!

  9. Michelle Lambert Jespersen via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Half day today. We’re celebrating with a trip to the zoo!

  10. Chris Jennifer via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 2:37 am - Reply

    June 21! My boys told me today they would be two weeks smarter than the kids who got out today.

  11. Angela Glandorf Hale via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 2:01 am - Reply

    Tomorrow is our last day!

  12. Susan Merrill via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 1:54 am - Reply

    Last day for my kids. Last day for me is Monday.

  13. Danialle Benham via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 12:57 am - Reply

    June 14

  14. Jennifer Goodwin Post via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 12:56 am - Reply

    Tomorrow-only a half day!

  15. Jennie Betley Hodges via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 12:55 am - Reply

    Technically tomorrow 1/2 day is the end, but I gave my son the option of not going tomorrow and he took it. So today was the last day of first grade.

  16. Donna West via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 12:26 am - Reply

    Tomorrow! 🙂

  17. Camille Zoet Deboer via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 12:17 am - Reply

    June 21.

  18. Stephanie Pearson via Facebook June 8, 2012 at 12:15 am - Reply

    next Tuesday June 12th is our last day…

  19. Suzi June 1, 2012 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Don’t forget feeding the birds at Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park in Alto!

  20. Candice June 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    Here’s a new exciting place in our area…. Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park in Alto!! http://www.boulderridgewap.com/

  21. […] 55 Things to do this Summer […]

  22. Jennie May 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this list. We’re featuring one letter every week during summer and doing and eating things that start with that letter. I found some location listings on your list that I was not aware of so thanks for the education. I’m excited to check out these “new to us” places.

  23. Rebekah Spoelhof via Facebook May 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    There are signs that say don’t feed the ducks, but everybody does it anyway…

  24. grkids.com via Facebook May 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    You can also feed the birds in the pond at John Ball Park – we have fed them at EGR and hadn’t seen any signs, but that might be something new.

  25. Kristine Wickstrom Garn via Facebook May 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Also with libraries – our library offers weekly summer programs (the John Ball Zoo presentation is VERY popular), as well as monthly movie days/nights – free popcorn too! Our local branch is Saranac.

  26. Brooke May 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I might have to add a few of these things to my list. We are calling our Our Summer Challenge and you can follow us here: http://oursummerchallenge.blogspot.com/ Ours is 100 items long but I was a little short, so thank you!

  27. Keli May 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    There’s a problem with the first one. There is a sign at the park that tells people to not feed any of the animals for several environmental/ecological reasons. Perhaps a petting zoo is the best place to feed the animals 🙂

  28. Susannah Tuuri via Facebook May 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    As an alternative, there’s a great place designated for feeding the ducks in Lowell, on the Flat River next to the library. 🙂

    • Candice June 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      We do this all the time. Just follow the signs for the designated area to feed them. This is to keep the ducks and swans away from public gathering areas… keep the poop under control (no one wants to sit in it during a showboat concert. lol)

  29. Susannah Tuuri via Facebook May 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I’m thinking you’re not supposed to feed the birds in EGR… ??

  30. Kristen Krueger-Corrado via Facebook May 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    It starts June 11 at the Grand Rapids Public Library. There are free weekly events throughout the summer, and if kids meet their reading goal, they win cool prizes, including a t-shirt. More info: http://www.grpl.org/summerreading/

  31. grkids.com via Facebook May 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Kristen Krueger-Corrado- that is a great idea! When does the summer reading program start?

  32. Kristen Krueger-Corrado via Facebook May 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Here’s one to add: sign up for the Summer Reading Program at your local library. Use your library card to check out books and a Park and Read pass which gives you a one-day free admission to any Michigan State Park, and enjoy a relaxing day reading in nature.

    • micah m June 18, 2013 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      how do I check out a park and read pass. Do I just go ask for it?

  33. Beverly Six via Facebook May 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Love it! Thanks!

Leave A Comment