Creating a summer bucket list

Every summer day in the life of a Chicago parent is precious. The kids get about 70 days off in the sun, then it’s back to snow shoveling dibs, sub-zero school cancellations, and shivering in endless lines for a pretzel at the Christkindlmarket.

We get a max of 1,260 days of summer with the kids before they’re off to college, only 700 before they’re tweens. A summer to-do list is definitely in order

.My wife and I have long kept lists to make sure we attend every street fest, taste of this or that, cross-town baseball dust up, and Lollawhathaveyou that we can. At 7 years old, our daughter Viva should begin to have a hand in choosing our summertime adventures—she is certainly old enough to let us know when we’ve chosen an activity she doesn’t enjoy—so I asked her what she’d like to do before her seventh summer is pushing up autumn leaves. 

Here was our exchange:

“The beach, Dad. Let’s go to the beach… a lot.”

Great. Done.

“Oh, and pools. Let’s go to pools.”


“And water slides.”

We can do that. 

“Where else can I wear my mermaid tail?”

Pretty much just water places.

“OK… oh, and let’s go to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida.”


“They have a dolphin named Winter with a robotic tail.”

Umm… we have dolphins right here in Chicago if you don’t mind that they aren’t cyborgs.

“Dad! This dolphin is special!”

Well, it’s too hot in Florida in the summer. Can we wait?


Anything else we can do this summer?

“Did I say about my mermaid tail?”

You did. Anything else at all?

“Ummm… what are those big ice cream cones that are like… rainbows.”

Rainbow Cones?

“Yep! Let’s get those.”

So… we’re going to dress like mermaids and eat ice cream?

“Perfect! Yay, summer!”

So, I guess our list is complete… Although if I eat all that ice cream I’m not going to fit into my mermaid tail.

Viva Summer Goals. Viva Viva. Viva Daddy.

This article originally appeared in the June 2019 of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.

- Advertisement -


- Advertisement -