Tips for Parents

A summer bucket list for college students and families

By Diane Schwemm

Will your student live at home this summer?

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High School Parent | College Parent

Along with the adjustments (see “Summer with your college student — Part 1” for tips on easing re-entry) there are opportunities to have fun and grow closer. College parents share their best fun and easy bucket list ideas to help you make the most of a short, sweet season.

1. Welcome your student home with clean sheets and new hangers in the closet.

College summer bucket list 1: freshen up your student's room

2. “The past few summer breaks I’ve drawn up a big family calendar,” says Amy, mother of three students in high school and college. “As soon as we know what we’re doing, we all put our schedules on it. This makes it easier to see what days are ‘free’ so we can plan bucket list outings.”

summer bucket list fun for college students, calendar photo

3. Make a point of going to that bucket list place you’ve had your eye on for years but never seem to find the time.

summer bucket list fun for students and families, go fishing!

4. Plant window boxes or a vegetable garden. At summer’s end, transplant herbs to indoor pots, including one for your student to take back to campus if she’ll be doing her own cooking.

summer bucket list college student fun, take a trip

5. Make dinner together now and then. Let your student pick his favorite home-cooked meals — you can teach him how to cook them and start compiling a recipe file for after graduation.

summer bucket list fun with college students, cook together

6. Every summer bucket list for families with college students should include a drive-in movie!

see a drive-in movie with your college student this summer - bucket list

7. Take on a new bucket list challenge together. “After she started college, my daughter Katie and I started running a half marathon every summer,” says Kathleen of Boston. “Training runs mean we spend time together even when we’re both busy with other things. She just graduated but I hope we’ll keep up the tradition for years to come!”

summer bucket list - run a marathon with your college student

8. Bucket lists should be yummy. Over the course of the summer, sample and assign a grade to every (yes, every) flavor at a local independent ice cream shop. “Coconut Almond Joy won with an A-,” says college dad Brien after completing the “report card” with son Quinn.

easy summer bucket list fun with students - eat lots of ice cream

9. Fit in a family trip, even if it’s just for a few days.

travel for summer bucket list fun with college students

10. Take a family photo so you have one for a holiday card at the end of the year.

summer bucket list includes taking a family photo with your college student

11. Volunteer together. “For years, our whole family has ushered at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival,” says Eliot of Boulder, Colorado. “We hand out programs and tear tickets, then watch the plays for free.”

easy summer bucket list fun with students can involve volunteering

12. Return to a few of the simple traditions — hikes, bike rides, a meal at a favorite local restaurant — that rekindle family connections and create new shared memories.

outdoor activities are easy summer bucket list fun for families with college students

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.

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