What every kid should try to experience before they turn 18
Bucket List for Kids: Things to Experience in Childhood
There are so many fun things to do with your kids, here are some your child should experience before growing up.
We want to give our kids the world. Yet those wonder years only last so long – and can only contain so much.
Every day, each experience, no matter how magical or mundane, fills it up a bit more. Like sand in a beach pail.
Here are some suggestions on what you should help your child fill their "bucket" with:
1. Soak up the night sky away from the city lights.
2. Get dirty! Splashing in puddles, making mud pies and rolling around in the grass gives kids a fun, carefree feeling.
3. Correspond with a pen pal from another country. (Handwritten letters a plus.)
4. Learn yoga and meditation. Such great tools to help calm the mind and help them deal with stress!
5. Get exposure to all sorts of music. The Beatles, Neil Young, Elton John, Prince, Chaka Khan, Baby Mozart and Bach. It is a great way to connect to people.
6. Drink rain.
7. Go to overnight camp when they are old enough. They’ll meet kids from other areas, make friendships that could last a lifetime – and taste life away from home.
8. Care for a pet – especially feeding it. It teaches kids how to be in charge, responsible, caring, considerate, creates respect and loyalty, and helps them focus.
9. Learn to swim (without water wings).
10. Go to a wild life park to experience wild animals in their natural habitat.
11. Learn how to sew a button or do small mending.
12. Run amuck playing classic schoolyard games – hopscotch, Red Rover, tag, hide-and-seek, Mother May I?, Red-Light Green-Light, etc.
13. Get involved in charitable giving/volunteering – in a hands-on way. It really helps them identify what “giving” means and develop appreciation for all they have.
14. Visit some other country – or at least be immersed in some other culture. I visited Japan at age 16 as an exchange student, and it changed my life.
15. See a live play or show. At least once.
16. Make videos. The girls and I have made a bunch, and they remember each one fondly. We did one with my entire family (grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins), and that one will be very special as everyone gets older.
17. See a classic movie, like Gone with the Wind.
18. Visit a science centre. Who knows – it may inspire them to be a doctor, engineer, astronaut, chemist or one of many other STEM careers.
19. Get a taste of art appreciation, creation and history. It gives a wide breadth of insight into humanity (religion, happiness, sadness, anger, joy, love, hate, politics, etc).
20. Learn about their family history or heritage.
21. Know how to let go of things they no longer need in life: outgrown clothes, an old toy or old habits that no longer serve them well.
22. Play. Play daily and as fully, unfettered and as freely as one possibly can.
23. Learn how to give and receive constructive criticism.
24. Go to a live music concert by the time they’re 10.
25. Indulge in unstructured, no-TV time where they have the chance to use their unique imaginations and create fantasy worlds and fun games by themselves.
26. Go camping. Not in a campground with hundreds of people, campers with TVs and hot showers, somewhere quieter and safe where they can 'hear' nature.
27. Jump into a lake.
28. Explore a cave.
29. Go to a drive-in theatre. Preferably one with the original sound speakers
30. Plant something and tend to it, watching it grow.
31. Shake hands with a favourite celebrity, if you can find one. It’s a thrill – yet kids learn they’re just people, too.
32. Experience unconditional love.
33. Build a tree fort.
34. Learn how to be responsible on social media, from guarding their private info to being respectful to themselves and others.
35. Learn to cook or bake something they love to eat. The kitchen is the heart of the home – and, besides nourishment, provides important lessons.
36. Wear a costume when it’s not Halloween.
37. Work hard to earn enough money to buy something they love
38. Do something crazy or “risky” with their appearance, whether it’s letting them get whatever haircut they pick – or scribbling on their shoes.
39. Play an instrument.
40. Experience wonder – whether it’s believing in fairies, watching a beautiful sunrise or discovering new creatures in their backyard. Something that they can stand there, wide-eyed, and simply say, “Wow!”
41. Learn how to read a mechanical clock – with minute and hour hands. Don’t rely on digital clocks being at your disposal.
42. Go to work with mom or dad – a real day at work – so they develop a sense of what it means. Visit a college campus for the same reason.
43. Get knocked around a wave pool.
44. Take a train trip.
45. Visit a farm to milk a cow or goat, see food being pulled from the ground – or, if possible, witness an animal giving birth.
46. Create something original out of Legos.
47. Learn to listen – really listen – to others.
48. Have a picnic lunch out in nature.
49. Take a bike “tour,” whether around your neighbourhood, along a shoreline or through a city.
50. Go ice skating.
51. Have a treasure hunt with, and for, your kids.
52. Climb a tree.
53. Do a culture trip of their city to experience an appreciation of the history of their city and the cultural diversity of their community.
54. Dig through an estate sale, garage sale or antique or salvage shop. You never know what you can find, repurpose – or barter over. Relic Hunting.
55. Travel, travel, travel.
56. Learn how to tie a necktie. It’s imperative for boys and can come in handy for girls, too, when they grow up.
57. Create art in a large, open area with all white walls (or big sheets of paper tacked up) with paint in all colours imaginable. Go to town!
58. Go to an amusement park. Definitely ride a roller coaster.
59. Beat on a drum set till their heart’s content. Without mom telling you it’s too loud!
60. Take ballroom – or some type of “couples” – dance lessons. Super handy for formal events of all shapes and sizes.
61. Craft anything (noodle art, button jewellery, newspaper hat, clothespin critters) without critique.
62. Eat dessert as a main meal – just once
63. Make – and lose – a friend.
64. Write a story, poem or song.
65. Go to an old-school roller skating rink, if you can find one.
66. Build a fire. Preferably with bramble and matches (with parental assistance and guidance)
67. Experience a power outage in the evening...I know this will be a tough one – complete with candlelit board games and flashlights. On a clear night learn about the stars.
68. Have a “moment” on stage, wherein the prep work of rehearsal, team building, memorisation and other elements of creativity come to fruition in that fearful moment of performance in front of your peers and others.
69. Go on a boat trip. Bring bait-and-tackle and fish – or latch gear onto the back for a water-skiing/tubing ride, girls are invited too.
70. Experience one unplugged weekend. Take away all the cell phones, video games and the television. Spend time with your kids walking along the beach or through the woods, looking for birds, gazing at the stars. Once your kids get over the initial withdrawal, they will discover a whole new world.
71. Make homemade lemonade.
72. Learn that manners are more than “please” and “thank you,” but the way you treat people.
73 Have a spontaneous dance party at home. Those make for great family memories and plenty of laughs.
74. Bask in quiet time. It allows them to get centered and better hear their inner voice with clarity.
75. Take a road trip with car games like “I Spy” or finding the letters of the alphabet along the way by way of billboards, license plates, road side restaurant signs, etc. – and sing-alongs. The whole experience of packing for the trip and looking at a map for major landmarks is a fun way to travel.
76. Learn to give a sincere compliment when it strikes you and how to receive one with grace and humility.
77. Want something but not get it.
78. Fail. It’s through failing that you know what success means – and that there are things that are more important than some of these dreams we have or goals we set. It’s humbling.
79. Grasp basic geography. Know the names and locations of major countries and continents.
80. Learn to accept when someone doesn’t like you. Focus on those who do, instead.
81. Learn how to be part of a team, whether it is sports or another activity.
82. Blow something up in a science experiment. With parental guidance and assistance.
83. Take photos. Your point of view and reference as a child is so different from an adult.
Article by metroparent.com and others