Are you looking for ideas for family activities that will help you bond with your children or rejuvenate your connection with each other? In this busy world we live in, sometimes it seems that we barely have time to really slow down and spend quality time with our family. Distracted by our devices, rushing here and there, feeling overwhelmed by the sheer responsibilities of parenthood… wouldn’t it be nice to feel time slow down, relax, and make some awesome memories with the kids?
Here are 5 things that you can do together as a family that are simple, yet not too expensive, and that will bring you together in a way you might not expect:
1. Pack a Picnic
Old-fashioned? Yes. But that means it is a time-tested activity that every family should do periodically. Pick a warm, beautiful day when it is not too windy. Find a local park, or a quiet area away from the loud noises of the city. Perhaps you know of a nearby meadow, stream, or beach that would be the perfect backdrop for the experience. Don’t worry if there are no picnic tables provided. Bring a large old quilt to spread out on the ground to get comfy on.
When planning your picnic, keep it simple. You don’t want to stress about creating an elaborate meal. Pack some sandwiches, fruit, chips, salad, and cookies. Don’t forget to bring something cool and refreshing to drink.
After you eat, take the opportunity to let the kids play and explore the area. Take a frisbee to toss or kite to fly, visit in the shade, or lay on your backs and watch the clouds float by while looking for pictures in their shapes.
2. Tackle Tent-Camping
A little more elaborate than a picnic, this activity will take extra planning. Find the perfect spot whether it is at a campground, in the forest, or even in your own backyard. There is nothing quite like setting up a tent, making a campfire, and spending the night outside to bring your family close together.
Use this opportunity to tell stories to each other, roast marshmallows, take a walk and explore nature, look at the stars, and snuggle together if the night gets cold. Nothing is so great for resetting messed up sleep cycles or helping people bond than a few days of camping. It is a memory-making goldmine that your kids will remember forever.
3. Find a Fishing Hole
Most children can’t resist a lazy afternoon with nothing but a fishing pole and a tackle box. This is the perfect way to coax your kids out of the house, while giving them every reason to stay fairly quiet, yet attentive enough for good conversation.
There are so many places that you can sit by the water’s edge and throw in a fishing line, such as a local river, creek, pond, or on the dock at a lake. No need for a boat, unless you just happen to have one.
If you don’t already own some fishing gear and don’t want to buy any, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs, or just make your own pole with a nice long willow branch. Fishing line and hooks are cheap to buy. To find some bait, just turn over a shovelful of soil in your garden or at the edge of the swimming hole and look for some earthworms.
Please explain to your children that the main point of this activity, however, is to not worry about actually catching any fish… although that is always a nice bonus, as it will make your child’s eyes light up for sure! However, it is fun either way, and if they get bored, and the water is safe enough for a swim, that is always an alternative.
4. Browse a Botanical Garden
Many urban localities have beautiful parks that are planted with exotic and gorgeous plants that will wow your senses and delight your children’s eyes. Some charge an admission, but just as many are free to wander around in. Usually outfitted with beautiful walkways and paths that weave in and out among the foliage and flowers, these places are unique and fun to explore as a family. Signs are often posted, so encourage your children to try to pronounce the names of all the interesting species.
Keep an eye out for butterflies, buzzing bees, caterpillars, and other critters that call the botanical garden home. Find a bench to sit and rest now and then, and use these moments to close your eyes and ask your children to describe what they hear and smell.
5. Fit in a Float Trip
Suitable for families with older children, this activity is both exciting and relaxing all at once. Find a river that is known for a safe float ride, and rent or borrow some inner tubes, a canoe, or kayaks, if you don’t own any of these. Ask a friend to drop your family off upstream, and spend the day floating downriver. Make sure you know where your exit spot is, and either arrange to have your vehicle waiting for you, or have someone come and pick you up when you are finished.
This is a great way to talk, laugh, and explore nature together, without the distractions of any electronic devices. You are bound to come away with loads of happy memories of this fun adventure. Make sure to take sunscreen, snacks, water, a waterproof camera, and life jackets.
Well, there you have it! Five fabulous family activities that will help you spend quality time together. Don’t miss these opportunities while your kids are still young enough to store them away in their childhood memory bank! You will always be glad of the time you spent with your children.
Melanie is mom to five energetic kids, including a sweet little toddler. She enjoys homeschooling her children from a peaceful parenting perspective and traveling with her family whenever she can.