Creating quality family time can be difficult with the hustle and bustle of life. Even once you find the time, it’s sometimes hard to pick activities that fit your family dynamic. Fortunately, there are many fun and inexpensive activities that offer high engagement for families that span all ages and dynamics. Check out a few below:
Cooking offers the tastiest way to enjoy shared time. Even family units who don’t consider themselves to be home chefs can turn simple recipes into fun times. For those who’d rather not get their hands too dirty, ditch the stove, and try using fresh ingredients to make fruit-filled popsicles or flavorful smoothies. If your family is more comfortable in the kitchen, you may want to step it up and try cooking a dinner composed of one entrée, or side dish, from each family member. When all else fails, there’s no shame in turning to box recipes, like brownie or cake mixes, then jazzing them up with personalized toppings.
Volunteering is a rewarding opportunity that fosters family time, teachable moments, and community-building. Animal shelters often need helpers to exercise the dogs, clean up or help during adoption events. Some shelters only allow volunteers over the age of 16, so make sure to call your preferred location to check the requirements if you have younger children. You could also plan a day at a nursing home or the soup kitchen. Nursing homes allow volunteers to get to know their residents through conversation, games, and shared meals. Soup kitchens are an amazing way to work together as a team to feed people in need. No matter what type of charity work you choose, serving as a family, will be a memorable outing.
A picnic outdoors provides a relaxing way to spend a few hours with your loved ones. Grab a basket or cooler, fill it with fruit, snacks, and sandwiches, and head out to a local park or beach. For entertainment, most board games and sports equipment can be easily packed in a duffel bag and brought along. Picnics also pair well with kite flying, duck feeding, and water balloon fights. If your state has extreme heat during the day (and an umbrella for shade won’t cut it) plan a breakfast or evening picnic to beat the heat.
Talent is something we ALL have! What better way to show off, than a talent show? It’s no secret that family members make the best audience members, so find a space for an impromptu stage and let the show begin! If someone is stumped about what to perform, magic tricks, silly jokes, and dance routines are popular acts to present. If none of those are helpful, think of hidden talents like extreme flexibility, impersonations, or even whistling a tune. For your youngest family members, presenting newly acquired knowledge is always a win. Let kids sing their ABCs, count as high as they can, or demonstrate how to tie their shoes. (Don’t forget to give them a standing ovation after they do.)
Camp in the Backyard (Or Have a Sleepover in the Living Room)
Packing up and driving to an isolated campsite takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and isn’t always workable for young children. However, camping in your own backyard (or living room) is. Traditional camp-out activities can still be achieved at home through domestic alternatives. Both marshmallows and hotdogs can be broiled in the oven to mimic conventional roasting techniques. For indoor camping, nylon tents can be substituted with living room pillow forts. Indoor forts also create the perfect space for shadow puppets. If you’re spending the night in your backyard, take a peek at the nighttime sky, as it may be just dark enough to catch a few stars. Camp songs, ghost stories, and sleeping bags all work in either setting.
There are tons of entertaining, easy-to-plan family adventures to dive into. Start by trying your hand at any of the suggestions above, and you’ll have a photo album full of happy memories before you even know it.