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  • Rebecca P. Cohen

End of Summer Bucket List

Whether the kids have started school or not, it's that time of the year...and I'm freaking out a little bit. It's time to get ready for back to school and I am not ready. I want to savor the long days, the time outside, and wait - what was it that I wanted to do again?

Here's my end-of-Summer bucket list; I hope it will help you to to savor every moment (and even savor moments outside after school starts):

1. Find a Pick-Your-Own farm. Where I live, August is peach season. When I lived in Virginia and was writing 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids, peaches were followed by raspberries at the end of August. Wherever you live, you'll find a worthwhile (and delicious!) field trip in a pick-your-own experience.

2. Play outside a little longer. Make picnic dinners at the park a regular park of your routine. Better yet, with each picnic find a new park to enjoy and you'll have a list of go-to places after school starts to add to your picnic dinner routine.

3. Revisit your favorites. Ask each family member what the best part of Summer has been so far; keep a running list on the counter as you think of activities. Whatever you loved that much, if it is still accessible, do it again! Ask yourself also if those are things you can do September onward to bring back that feeling of Summer.

4. Plant for the butterflies. Native to North America, milkweed is relatively easy to find and plant in the U.S. this time of year (if you live elsewhere, ask your local nursery which native plants are host plants for butterflies). If you are lucky, the milkweed plants (my favorite is orange asclepias tuberosa) may have monarch butterfly eggs all over them like ours did. The kids watched twelve caterpillars grow from teeny tiny to huge. Watching them build their chrysalises into September and hatch into monarch butterflies was awesome!

5. Get curious, over and over again. We are all constantly on the go, and asking simple questions of one another is sometimes the easiest way to learn about each other and how you and those closest to you like to spend time outside. Need some help? My portable Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards are great to keep by the door, in your bag, and in the car for 50 open-ended questions. Curiosity Cards are coming out soon as an app - I'll let you know when it is available!

About Rebecca P. Cohen Rebecca P. Cohen believes time outside transforms our lives for the better. Rebecca is author of the early reader series PJ's Backyard Adventures and the year-round resource 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids (Sourcebooks). She is also host of the video series, Get Out of the House, which shows fun ideas for time outside in every season. For Rebecca's inspiring blog and free downloads, visit

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