2021 Summer Bucket List: 25+ ideas for things to do with kids in Northwest Arkansas!

25 things to do with the kids during Summer 2021

Sweet, sweet summertime is here, which means it’s time to get intentional about doing things together as a family.

If you haven’t done it yet, you might want to consider making a “2021 Summer Bucket List” so the whole summer doesn’t pass you by without making some memories. We’ve shared this idea with you for several years because we hate that feeling of, “What did we even do together this summer?”

At our house, we use an actual bucket for all our summer fun ideas. If you’d like to make one, too, here’s how we do it. {Ideas for what to do in NWA this summer are below.}

What you’ll need:

  • Just buy or find a bucket (or any container of your choice!) and some large, wooden clothes pins. Using a Sharpie, write various activities you want to do over the summer on the clothes pins and then clip them around the bucket.
  • After you do an activity, just toss that clothes pin into the bucket.
  • Be sure to add a few clothes pins for yourself, mama. Or just make your own bucket 🙂
  • Decorate your bucket with a bow, stickers, puffy paint or markers!

Here are 25+ ideas for fun things to do in NWA as Summer Bucket List inspiration:

  1. Go retro at the drive-in. Catch at movie at the area’s only drive-in movie theatre on Highway 112 in Fayetteville.
  2. Go skating. There are some fun roller skating options in NWA, including Starlight Skatium in Fayetteville and Great Day Skate Place in Bentonville. You can also ice skate in the summer at the Jones Center.
  3. Go swimming. See our big list of swim spots and splash pads in Northwest Arkansas.  
  4. Rock out at free music events. The free summer concert at a Gulley park on Thursday nights is back! There are also free family concerts at Turnbow Park in downtown Springdale and music at the Neighborhood Concert Series and the new Osage Park in Bentonville. Live music is also back in Crystal Bridges’ North Forest. Every Saturday night in June and July, they’ll host the Forest Concert Series.
  5. Hang out downtown. First Friday on the Bentonville Square is always a good time. First Thursday will be back in downtown Fayetteville on August 5.
  6. Eat a cool treat. Yum Yo’s at the NWA Mall in Fayetteville and Pinnacle Promenade Mall in Rogers has a new owner and she’s all about the fun summer treats.
  7. Go fishing. Check out fishing poles at the Fayetteville Public Library and catch some fun together.
  8. Have a blast at summer camp. Check out our big list of NWA summer camps.
  9. Go bowling. Kid’s bowl free at Fast Lane Entertainment (and they also have Tuesday teen nights). You can also try to bowl a spare at Ozark Lanes in Fayetteville, Rogers Bowling Center or Springdale Bowling Center,
  10. Jump the day away. When it’s super hot out, head inside to jump inside at Defy trampoline park in Rogers or Altitude Trampoline Park in Fayetteville.
  11. Be amazed. The Amazeum children’s museum has loads of fun activities planned for the summer. On Wednesdays, they have Priceless Nights from 6-8 p.m. and you can visit the Amazeum for free (or a small donation if you can give).
  12. Get creative. Go make art — or see it — at Crystal Bridges. You can also walk the trails for some fun art surprises along the way.
  13. Visit a museum. We mentioned the Amazeum Children’s Museum and Crystal Bridges, but there’s also the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville and Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. The Walmart Museum in Bentonville (which has some fun, old-fashioned candy and toys available for purchase) also has the Spark Cafe next door for your ice cream fix. There’s also the Rogers Historical Museum, the Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville, the Lowell Historical Museum, the Arkansas Air and Military Museum and Headquarters House Museum.
  14. Get crafty. Make liquid sidewalk chalk and create a masterpiece on the driveway.
  15. Make your own bunting for your kiddo’s birthday or for a summer party.
  16. Visit a local farmer’s market. Visit your local Farmer’s Market for fresh food, flowers and events. Here are the links to each:Fayetteville Farmer’s Market, Springdale Farmer’s Market at The Jones CenterDowntown Rogers Farmer’s Market (W. Poplar St.)Rogers Farmer’s Market (Dixieland Road)

    Downtown Bentonville Farmer’s Market

    Siloam Springs Farmer’s Market

  17. Sign up for the summer reading program at a local library. There are so many great libraries in Northwest Arkansas, including Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale  and Bentonville. They all have special events in the summer, story times and, of course, lots of books and movies to check out.
  18. Enjoy nature. Visit the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks on free Terrific Tuesday Nights
  19. Visit a local park. Our early childhood editor has written detailed reviews of local parks so you can choose which ones are best for your family’s needs.
  20. Check out the baby and toddler guide. If you have babies or toddlers, click here to see a special ‘things to do in NWA’ guide just for them.
  21. Cook up some fun. Here’s a loooong list of recipes we’ve curated since nwaMotherlode started in 2008!
  22. Get away for the day. Visit the Tulsa Zoo or another getaway close to Northwest Arkansas.
  23. Go straight to the calendar. You can always find something fun in our monthly Calendar of Events.
  24. Eat out for free or cheap. Here’s the nwaMotherlode ‘Where Kids Eat Free‘ list.
  25. Go to the fair. The Washington County Fair will be on Aug. 24-28, 2021.

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