51 Things Your Child Should Do Before Growing Up



I feel like I can write this list with authority now that I have almost grown kids. Most of these things my children have done, except for my oldest who still has not mastered the cartwheel.  It is something that makes me laugh every time he attempts it.

Here is a list of 51 things to get started:

1. Camp out in a tent

51 Things Your Child Should Do before Growing Up by Chris Jordan for

2. Wear a costume as clothing
3. Climb a tree
4. Catch fireflies
5. Fly a kite
6. Plant a garden and eat what grows
7. Go fishing
8. Take care of a pet

51 Things Your Child Should Do before Growing Up by Chris Jordan for

9. Build something out of a gigantic cardboard box
10. Ride on a ferris wheel
11. Roast food over a campfire
12. Have dessert for dinner
13. Build a snowman
14. Get a library card
15. Go on a hayride
16. Get lost in a corn maze
17. Pick the perfect horse on the carousel
18. Run through the sprinkler
19. Make a slingshot
20. Carve a jack o’lantern
21. Make mud pies
22. Run a lemonade stand
23. Play on a sports team
24. Swing on a rope swing
25. Build a sandcastle and stay at the beach until the tide washes it away
26. Roll down a big grassy hill
27. Build a gingerbread house
28. Hatch a monarch butterfly from a cocoon
29. Make homemade ice cream
30. Blow bubbles
31. Play kickball outside with neighbors
32. Go on a family car trip
33. Fly on an airplane
34. Paint a painting

51 Things Your Child Should Do before Growing Up by Chris Jordan for

35. Have a water balloon fight
36. Play miniature golf
37. Make a tie dye t-shirt
38. Eat lunch in a blanket fort
39. Play in the rain
40. Go to a county fair
41. Ride a horse
42. Identify the constellations in the night sky
43. Play jump rope
44. Learn to play a musical instrument
45. Put on a puppet show
46. Have a picnic
47. Learn to ice skate
48. Learn to juggle
49. Do a cartwheel
50. Catch tadpoles and watch them change
51. Rake and jump in a giant leaf pile

What would you add to this childhood bucket list? Have you done most of these things? Your child(ren)?

Photo source: Brand X Pictures/ Thinkstock

About the author

Chris Jordan
Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.

Yes, they are all hers.

No she's not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.

Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That's why her youngest is almost 6.

Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.

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11 Responses to “51 Things Your Child Should Do Before Growing Up”

  1. Danielle Dec 11 at 3:18 pm Reply Reply

    I did all but three of these things as a kid. And for quite a few of the ones I did, I have Girl Scouts to thank for providing those experiences, because I never would have had the opportunity otherwise.

    • Isabel Kallman
      Isabel Dec 11 at 3:44 pm Reply Reply

      It’s true. Organizations, like Girl Scouts, can really provide opportunities that may not be available for so many reasons like circumstance or parents not having time because they are working on weekends, etc.

  2. Hi, I'm Natalie. Dec 11 at 3:18 pm Reply Reply

    My 3 year old has done 29 of those, I’ve done 47. 

  3. MR Dec 11 at 6:12 pm Reply Reply

    I have done 49 of these. I never caught fireflies because we didn’t have them in my part of the country, but I did catch plenty of grasshoppers and dragonflies. And I never got lost in a corn maze. I’m not even sure where there would have been a corn maze near where I grew up.

    My 4 year old has done 30 so far. I was just telling my dh that I dislike couches these days. The cushions don’t come off like they used to. We don’t have much to make a fort with! I have been trying to come up with ideas for how she can do this this winter.

  4. Love this list!

  5. Liz Dec 12 at 9:17 am Reply Reply

    Shoot a bb gun or arrow, have a slumber party, walk through a creek, build a snow or tree fort, go to a baseball game…

  6. J Dec 12 at 3:01 pm Reply Reply

    I love these ideas! (and I love lists! this is great!)

    Read for hours — at night with a flashlight, in the yard, on a hammock…
    Play with a parachute
    Ask millions of questions (you get older and people don’t like it!)
    Swing on a barn swing (similar to rope swing)
    Ride bikes with your friends
    Learn to blow a bubble with chewing gum
    Go on the BIG slide at the waterpark
    Draw with chalk all over your driveway
    Have someone trace your body on a big piece of paper
    Write a story and “publish” it in your own little book

  7. Susan:) Dec 17 at 1:21 am Reply Reply

    I’ve done 44 of those, not all when I was a kid!

  8. Susan:) Dec 17 at 1:22 am Reply Reply

    Oh and Girl Scouts was also responsible for quite a few of those experiences!

  9. Whitney Jan 27 at 1:06 am Reply Reply

    Great list! I would separate the camping thing though. Camping out in the woods or by the lake is great, but a kid should also camp out in the backyard once or twice :) I think my parents lost a tent or two because of us! And, like a couple of others, Girl Scouts taught me a lot, although most of this I did with my family too.

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