Summer bucket list

Did you just Google “Summer Bucket List” too? The possibilities are endless! And if you hadn’t typed in those exact words but are now, get ready to yield thousands of results. *Spoiler* the lists are all pretty much the same.  That’s actually really great news. All those lists give us reassurance to know what’s fun, what’s not, and what activities are a must-do. 

I have a few favorites on my family’s bucket list this year, like going to a drive-in movie theater and hitting up the local water park. We’ve already done a few too. Last night we roasted marshmallows over the fire table’s open flame and all I could picture was Denise the Menace starting his marshmallow on fire, then launching it towards Mr.Wilson to put it out. I love that scene, but at the same time can’t help but feel so bad for Mr.Wilson. 

Luckily, that didn’t happen to me. 

But a big must-do on my summer bucket list is camping in a tent. And I’m not talking about setting it up in the backyard. Although, I plan to do that to “practice” with the kids… mainly to gauge how they handle it for the sake of my sanity. No, I’m talking about taking the entire family to one of those really rustic campsites in the woods so we can start our day device-free, and end it that way too. 

If you didn’t break into a sweat or think I’m crazy for wanting to take my family tenting, I commend you. You must have tented with kids before and if so, can we chat? The Pinterest lists are so overwhelming. 

The real driving force behind my desire to go tenting is this… rustic camping probably means little to no cell service and no device time to distract me, my husband, or the kids. Not having access to power forces me to be fully present and in the moment for a number of consecutive days.

Wondering what that’s like? Me too! Growing up during the technological revolution has left me wondering “can I relive my glory days of being a kid without a cell phone, internet, or electronics weighing me down?”. 

I remember life before the internet became a thing, before parental control software kicked me off AOL messenger at 9 pm. I remember life before smartphones made their debut, and before I started taking my phone literally everywhere. 

It was a simpler time. Yes, using my screen time app does help keep me and the kids from staring at a screen. Yes, managing my screen time is getting easier. But sometimes you need to remove yourself from using devices by physically leaving them behind. So if you’ve been kicking around ideas for your family’s bucket list, I want to challenge you. 

Pick an adventure that puts you in a position to be device-free for days. Bring a digital camera or put your phone on airplane mode so you can document your memories without getting distracted with emails or social media. 

Leave the tablets behind in your smart charging station. Indulge in the family time a “summer bucket list” offers because those are the memories kids enjoy most. I know I do. 

So, if you haven’t burnt a marshmallow over an open flame, now is your time. If catching fireflies was fun back in the day, you bet it will still feel fun now. And please, capture it, but don’t document right away. 

Maybe we should change the name from “summer bucket list” to “disconnect from your device challenge” and see how long we can go without the world at our fingertips (within reason of course. We don’t need your loved ones launching a search party). 

The device-free movement is a really big deal, and I love how we are all taking it seriously. 

Megan’s personal “disconnect from my device” challenge:

Take a walk in the woods  

Have a scavenger hunt

Go on a bike ride

Go horseback riding 

Catch fireflies

Roast marshmallows over a fire*

Fly a kite

Put on a homemade puppet play

Run through the sprinkler

Visit a wildlife sanctuary 

Have a picnic 

Go to an outdoor movie 

Visit the beach 

Go to a farmer’s market 

Make homemade pizzas 

Watch a sunset

Play in a kiddie pool

*Hot Tip: swap the chocolate for tasty jam, a Reese’s peanut butter cup or toffee. S’mores just got fancy.

Megan Cahak is a contributing TechDen writer, mom of two, firefighter wife, and is the owner of a copywriting company specializing in supporting small business growth online and in real life. Behind her big business dreams is a woman on a mission to make others laugh and nod their head in solidarity when talking kids & technology, free-range parenting (that’s a thing), and the ‘good ole days’ of growing up in the late 90s, early 2000s. Unrelated, Megan also drinks an entire pot of coffee a day and show no signs of slowing down.