2022 Summer Bucket List: 25 ideas for things to do with kids in Northwest Arkansas!

25 things to do with the kids during Summer 2022

Sweet, sweet summertime is here, which means it’s time to get intentional about having fun with your family.

Consider making a “2022 Summer Bucket List” so it 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 this summer in Northwest Arkansas are below.}

What you’ll need:

  • Just buy or re-purpose 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! Make it your own.

Need some Summer Bucket List inspiration? Here are 25 ideas for fun things to do in NWA:

  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 family-friendly music events. There are so many great live music opportunities for families in Northwest Arkansas. There’s the free summer concert series at Gulley park on Thursday nights in Fayetteville. There are also free family concerts at Turnbow Park in downtown Springdale. Another fabulous option is at Crystal Bridges. Every Saturday night they’ll host the Forest Concert Series. The new Railyard Live venue also offers a concert series that’s continuing this summer.
  5. Hang out at one of Northwest Arkansas’ historic downtowns. First Friday on the Bentonville Square is always a good time. First Thursday is another great festival held every first Thursday night of the month on the Fayetteville Square. Downtown Rogers is also bustling with events and you’ll find fun in Downtown Springdale.
  6. Visit the new archery range. Try your hand at shooting some arrows at the new Quiver Archery Range in Bentonville. (Kids ages 8+)
  7. Make it through (a fun) Worst-Case Scenario. The  new Worst-Case Scenario Survival Experience at The Jones Center in Springdale is a fun & immersive physical challenge for the family. The STEM-based exhibit provides the essential instructions for what you need to know when facing unexpected—but possible—real-life scenarios with moments of family fun and excitement along the way. You can also swim and ice skate at The Jones Center. And don’t miss the center’s fun Runway bike park.
  8. Have a blast at summer camp. Check out our big list of NWA summer camps.
  9. Go bowling. Kids Bowl Free at Fast Lane Entertainment snags you two free games of bowling each day of summer. Sign up at www.kidsbowlfree.com/fast. 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 4:30-7:30 p.m. and you can visit the Amazeum for free (or pay-as-you-wish admission).
  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. They have a whole slate of summer activities for 2022.
  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 the 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. You can also check out 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. Watch some baseball. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals play ball at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale all summer. They have lots of fun activities for kids. And fireworks at several of the games!
  15. Tempt your taste buds at a local food truck. We have several food truck “courts” in Northwest Arkansas, spots where you can find multiple options for lunch, dinner or snack attacks. Shulertown is on Dickson Street in Fayetteville (and home to one of our favorite ice cream spots, Burton’s Creamery). There’s also the Yacht Club on College and the 514 Filling Station (behind Arsaga’s) in South Fayetteville (which has yummy funnel cakes!). In Springdale, there’s The Boardwalk.
  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 Center; 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! From June through August, the botanical garden will be open and free to the public from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesdays.
  19. Visit a local park. Our early childhood editor has written detailed reviews of local parks so you can choose the best one 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 lighting up the summer nights from Aug. 23-27, 2022.