Bucket List For Parents


Several times over the last 18 years of being a Mom, moreso in the last 8 years being a blogger, I’ve tried these “Lists Of Things To Do” type parenting challenges. I never complete them. Whether it’s the goals over Spring Break or the goals over the summer…I never actually check everything off the list.

Last weekend I cooked breakfast for E and his friends at midnight, after Prom. I tweeted that I was excited because it had been on my parental bucket list. Then…I thought, Hey! That’s a list I could actually complete! Give me 18 years and I can conquer any list. So, I put together my Parenting Bucket List – things I hope to do with each of my kids before they graduate from high school. Things that don’t take a lot of money or time. 18 years to do them. I can do that, right?

Parental Bucket List

  • Go to the park and play on the playground equipment with your child. Might I suggest swinging “spider style” where you put them on your lap facing you and their legs go behind you. It’s a tight squeeze but you can get going REALLY HIGH that way.
  • Get your face painted alongside your child. Hold out for a high-end face painter, though. The high school kids volunteering at your fair are good, but you want to make sure you look AWESOME if you’re only going to do it once.
  • Stand in line to get your picture made with some goofy character. Santa is an easy choice, but characters at theme parks create pictures you can keep hung up year-round.
  • Roller skating. Bonus points if you’re really bad at it. Every kid enjoys watching their parent fall on their ass.
  • Ice skating. Bonus points if you’re really bad at it. Every kid enjoys watching their parent fall on their ass.
  • Bowling. (I think I bowled with E once a million years ago, I need to do it again before he leaves for college.)
  • Miniature Golf. (Another thing I did with E a million years ago and hope to do again with the whole family this summer.)
  • Do a Drive-In movie. We did one in Tennessee a few years ago and the kids thought it was the coolest thing in the world.
  • Go to a midnight movie of your child’s choice. Bonus points if you stay awake through the whole thing.
  • Go to a fan event of some extreme magnitude. Maybe it’s a game of your child’s favorite professional sporting team. Maybe it’s a convention for their favorite comic book. Maybe it’s a traveling production of their favorite musical. Maybe it’s a big-arena concert. It needs to be something that your kid might cry about getting to attend – they’ll be that excited. Bonus points if you dress the part.
  • Host a meal for a dance. Or at least help host. The kids will enjoy saving the money and you’ll enjoy being a part of their special night. Use the fancy dishes.
  • Go hiking. Pro Tip: Let your kids determine the pace. They have more fun that way. Also, bring a backpack to collect the 14 thousand treasures they’ll find alone the way. I’d suggest camping too, except that’s a pricey set of gear for one outing.
  • Cook breakfast after prom. It gives the kids a safe place to hang out after the big dance and no one can say “No” to bacon.

Having done Prom Breakfast I’m pretty complete with E, but I have several to do with the others before they leave home. Can you think of anything else I should add? Anything that would be on your list?

  • 8 thoughts on “Bucket List For Parents”

    1. Let them choose the destination for an overnight trip. When I was young I got to choose a trip to Keocuk, IA (sp??) that was well known for having a lot of local geodes.

      It solidly supported the idea that my interests were worth the time and energy to explore.

    2. I always loved taking random road trips with my mom. Either by just randomly pointing to a place on a map and heading there or just driving until I told her to turn. It was always fun to not be bound by a timeframe and getting to stop wherever looked interesting, even if it was a weird looking gas station or creepy abandoned cemetery. It was a great way to talk about whatever and it would always give me a chance to have her tell me stories about what she was like at my age.

    3. We used to “campout” in the living room and cook hot dogs on a stick in the fire place.
      Pi LOVES when we have a fire outside, so we can cook hot dogs and s’mores.
      We go camping too, but I think she likes the spontaneity of the firepit.

      The playgroud equipment is a M-U-S-T!!!!

    4. What a great list! I feel as though you all did a good job with your family summer bucket list last year didn’t you? I think sometimes these lists don’t need to all be done, but that it is nice to have ideas all in one place of fun things you can do all together! I am having my first baby this fall, so maybe if I get my “before high school grad” list started now I can get it done in 18 years too 😉

    5. I love this post, and especially the skating and ice skating I guess my kids going to have lot of fun-I have never tried this tow things but always wanted to, thanks for the inspiration.

    6. LOVE this idea. I feel like my Pinterest board has become a bucket list of sorts, but I never make much progress. Argh!

      On my bucket list would be: Take my kids to Europe. Hopefully it wouldn’t turn out as painful as it did for Clark Griswold.

    7. For my kid, who loves any excuse to get muddy/wet/messy, I would add playing in puddles/rain/mud with him. He has a blast splashing around on his own, but I bet it would completely surprise and thrill him if I actually joined in with him. Maybe this summer, when it’s nice and warm…

    8. Random girlie trips with my Mum were always spesh – whether it was just to the local sewing store or the stationery shop because she needed stuff for work etc it meant we got some time to hang out and chat and catch up with each other before the crazy ensued again.

      Mum and Dad taught me so many things – my grandad even taught me to tile properly!

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