At the end of a long day or a trying work week, the thought of planning meaningful family time can be daunting. It is tempting to sit back and flip through the channels or let another electronic device entertain the kids. Family time doesn’t have to take a lot of energy to plan or carry out. Once you’ve decided to invest in quality family time, the rest is easy. Here are some great activities that your kids will love!
1. Host an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. Make a list of things your children can find in your back yard. If they are too young to read, pictures work just as well. Send them out to collect sticks, feathers, flowers, and rocks. Based on their ages and abilities, you can make this easy or quite difficult. When they have collected everything on the list, it’s their turn to create a scavenger hunt for the adults in your family.
2. Tea Time and Poetry. Even older kids will love a tea party if you make a yummy treat, light candles, and pull out some poetry. Take turns reading from your favorite books of verse, snacking, and drinking tea. This is perfect for a rainy or cold afternoon.
3. Family Art Night. After dinner, pull out the markers, crayons, paper, clay, or painting supplies and display them in the middle of the table. Everybody creates together. Younger kids may just want to doodle, but you can set up a still-life for older kids, or try your hand at a specific type of project.
4. Visit Somewhere New. Every town has secret gems that we overlook repeatedly. It could be a museum, shop, or park. Take time to really explore your town and discover places you’ve never been to. You may meet new people or learn something you never knew.
5. Learn a New Skill. Have your kids always wanted to learn to mountain bike, or make baskets, or grow their own food? What about you? Make a list of things you want to learn and take turns picking something to try together.
6. Photography Walk. Give everyone a camera and head outside for a walk. Tell kids that the focus will be on architecture, nature, or city-life. Stick together if your kids are little, and walk through your neighborhood taking photos. Create a slide show for all to see when you get home.
7. Game Night. Let kids take turns picking out a board game and play it together while listening to your favorite music.
8. Family Diners, Drives and Dives. Make an adventure out of eating! Challenge each other to find the most interesting food on the menu and order it. The kids will have a funny story to tell for years to come about the time you had jellyfish at the Chinese restaurant. Find the best places to eat in Chicago, Denver, Richmond or some other downtown district. The most adventures are in the city!
Once you begin the journey of adventuring, creating, and playing together, nobody will miss the movies and video games. Save them for rare occasions and enjoy making memories with your kids.