CombinedICans-SummerBucketList - c2

Life Skills and Summer Bucket Lists…a Winning Combo

So, I’m late. Summer has already commenced and with it–the summer bucket lists of all the elaborate and simple adventures your family is going to cram into the weeks before school starts again. Lucky for me, however, there’s still time (and possibly still room on your summer bucket lists) to post about a resource we made that I think you’re going to love us for. At least I hope you will.

So what is it?

Well, we’ve created a bunch of lists that are chuck full of age-appropriate life skills–affectionately termed our “I Can” lists.  Within each age-grouped list, there are three sub categories to help you further sort through the skills: “Help Around the House and Yard,” “Feed Myself and Take Care of My Body,” and “Do This Too” (for all those life skills that don’t fit neatly under the previous two headings).

If you read this previous post, you’ll remember that I do something others may not. I throw a life skill on my kids’ chore charts, then pay my kids for them while they learn and master their new-found skills. My upcoming book, Time Well Spent: Raising Confident, Independent, Financially Responsible Children (eerily similar to the name of our website–I know, I know, I’m so creative), details exactly how I go about doing this (including which life skill categories I don’t typically pay for). For now, however, let’s talk about adding a life skill or two to those summer bucket lists!

I’ll admit “learn to do my own laundry” just doesn’t carry the same exciting undertone as “backyard campout,” or “ice cream for dinner.” But you may be surprised by your child’s eagerness with which they agree to take you up on something as uneventful as life-skill-learning. You know as well as I do that kids love to be taken seriously–to be considered mature. Learning to tackle and conquer all kinds of skills that are at or just above their current abilities helps them feel more grown-up. They’ll walk taller, I promise.

There’s no wrong or right way to go about teaching your kids the skills they’ll need to navigate and succeed in their great big world. The truth is you’re probably going about unofficially teaching your kids many of these things already. Just for grins though I’ll share with you how we’ve gone about adding life skills to our bucket lists this summer to give you an idea. We have a family bucket list that is full of super fun things we hope to go and do this summer. It’s long, it’s fun, and truth be told, it’s way too ambitious–there’s no way we’re going to get it all done. Then, each of my four kids have a personal bucket list with a small handful of things they’d like to accomplish or learn to do this summer–some life skills. I simply showed them our “I Can” lists and let them pick a few. Here’s an sampling of what they went for:

CJ (ten years old): “learn how to light a fire” and “create an email account–learn to use it”

P-Man (six years old): “make a smoothie” and “make a sandwich”

Little Lady (four years old): “brush teeth by myself” and “make toast”

(I’d include my eight year old’s list–T-Dawg’s–but because the only thing on it is “play with my cousin,” it doesn’t really help prove the point of this post. So…yah.)

Bottom line is that although some of the things listed on our “I Can” lists aren’t necessarily appropriate for chore payment, they are all good candidates for a summer bucket list. So print them off, look them over, then utilize the lazy days of summer to teach them a skill or two that’ll help them make their way in this world with confidence.

Finally, If you’re skimming through this post, I’m begging you to read this paragraph slowly and carefully so you don’t miss this important message. Here it is: These lists are not meant to show you all the things you’re currently NOT doing with your children. Please, don’t open these up and think ,”Well, crap, I haven’t done most of these so I’m no good.” (Hopefully you caught my sarcasm there.) No, these lists were created to give you ideas of what you CAN do with your children. So as you read through them, think of each item on this list as an opportunity to spend meaningful time with your child, not as checklist item that need to be crossed off in order to feel a sense of accomplishment.

P.S. To download our “I Can” lists, go to our homepage and click “subscribe.” For those of you that’ve already subscribed to receive blog updates, simply click the link in the blog update email in your inbox. Enjoy!

  • Katie Paladino
    Posted at 05:31h, 14 July

    The ” I can” list sounds awesome! I clicked over to your homepage and subscribed and got the confirmation email but no blog update with the link to the lists! I’m very excited to check them out! Is their something else I need to do to see them?

    • Bennett
      Posted at 17:28h, 14 July

      You should have automatically received the download after subscribing. I’ll send you an email with the link, but I’d be curious to know if it is already in your downloads folder.

  • Katie Paladino
    Posted at 18:50h, 14 July

    Thank! I just received the email and was able to open the link! It’s such a great resource, thanks so much! Love your blog:)

  • Nancy
    Posted at 01:35h, 29 July

    This is amazing! You are amazing. I feel like you are speaking my language. I have four wonderful kids and life is crazy, fun filled, full of laughs and totally chaotic at times. I wouldn’t change it for anything. My kids are 12, 10, 8 and five. Girls are the bookends that hold the boys right in the middle of the pact. They love that. I am so anxious to read more and excited to see your “I can” lists. I registered but did not receive confirmation. Any chance you could help out with this? Thanks so muc. Can’t wait to learn more.

    • Bennett
      Posted at 05:53h, 29 July


      I just sent you an email with the link to the “I Can” life skills lists. When you subscribed, what button did you click on, do you remember? Your download should have begun as soon as you subscribed, and while that works for us in our tests, you’re the second person that has indicated that process did not work and I’d like to try and fix it if possible.


    • Jodie
      Posted at 20:52h, 08 August

      Thank you, Nancy! I hope you find them valuable. 🙂

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