When my daughter was in first grade, we decided to mark the end of school by watching Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer. The movie got terrible reviews but we were enjoying the book series, and it seemed like a fun way to kick off summer. The movie was indeed awful but my kids loved it! Judy and her friends have a summer of simple fun planned. Then, one by one her, friends admit they have big plans including fancy camps and travel. To follow through on the fun they had planned they decide to have a contest to see who can get the most “thrill points” in their respective locations.
The next day, my kids decided we should make our own Not So Bummer Summer list, and write down what would make our summer amazing. I suggested the big stuff like a week at a beach house or go to a Cubs game, things that mean summer to me. They suggested the little stuff; walk to get ice cream, have a picnic at the park, and make a fort and invite friends over to play in it. It wasn’t the vacations and expensive events that made it summer to them. It was the simple pleasures.
They had so much fun coming up with ways to earn thrill points. As a parent, it taught me to listen to what made summer special to my kids. It didn’t need to be complicated or break the bank. Thus began our now annual tradition of waking up the day after school gets out, watching what has become a family cult classic and making our list.
The kids may have gotten older, but the list hasn’t gotten much more complicated. My sweet tooth son includes getting four scoops at Stacatto Gelato because he usually only gets two. And we earn thrill points by doing it with Sharpie mustaches. Last year, my Harry Potter-obsessed daughter included “drink Butterbeer and speak with British accents until it’s gone.”
The activities don’t matter, it just matters that it’s ours. There are bucket lists all over the internet, but making our own is special. When summer drags on, we check the list and grab one of our ideas. At the end of summer, I put the list into a flat Rubbermaid. The one where I keep the prized art projects which will never find their way into a scrapbook. In the years to come, we can see a snapshot of our summers and compare which garnered the greatest “thrills!”
Why don’t you start a new tradition of creating your own family’s Not So Bummer Summer List? If you need some ideas, check out these PMB-approved summer bucket list posts in the Ultimate Family Guide to Summer!