A common statement in my house on days off is “What do you want to do today?” When my family doesn’t have a clear plan for what the day is going to look like, there’s a stronger possibility that my children will argue and (purposely) annoy each other. I even find myself getting bored and grumpy after too much unstructured down time.
What I began doing that has worked well, most days is to plan out the day. I ask everyone to identify what he or she wants to do and what he or she has to do. I make a mental list and come up with the most effective way to do all the “have to’s” and incorporate as many “want to’s” as possible. This seems to have helped my children because they have a picture of what the day will look like. They also know that their needs and wants are important and will be addressed.
During school breaks, this process is more complicated because there’s so much more down time. We’re a TV and movie family but I don’t want to rely on this as entertainment and structure. We have shows that we all watch together but this isn’t an ideal way to bond for long periods of time. I have been researching ideas for fun family ideas and I have created my own list of what my family does.
Our Family Fun Activities
- Color – We will print pages off the Internet of specific themes or characters and will color as a family. Sometimes I will color one picture with each kiddo.
- Puzzles – Each family member picks a puzzle and we work on these 1 at a time until they’re done. I have younger kids so this process is pretty quick. We tend to just keep taking turns picking until we have had enough puzzle time.
- Nerf Wars – My boys have nerf guns so we’ll team up and have a war. It usually turns out that it’s me and my two boys against my husband. This can go on for hours and is a good workout.
- Hide and Seek – We love playing hide and seek, especially in the dark.
- Board games – Like puzzles, each member picks a board game and we play them all. My 9 year old makes his own board games so we’ll also play these.
- Pillow fights – This is like Nerf Wars. My family picks teams and we attack each other. Again, it’s usually me and the boys against my husband. And usually, this is a surprise attack on him.
- Read books- I have my boys read books on their own and we read together as a family. It’s hard for me to get them to read for long periods of time so I usually end up having them read independently for 20–30 minutes and then I’ll read with them for another 20–30 minutes
- Dance party – I love music and I love being silly. Spontaneously, I will turn on Pandora and will have everyone (except my husband) dancing. The 6-year-old and I could do this all day!
- Card games – We’re known to play some hard core Crazy 8’s, Old Maid, and Go Fish
- Wii Games – Again, each person will pick a game and we’ll create a system for everyone to play their game with the whole family.
- Scorpion hunting – This is a popular activity during warmer months and at night. We will head outside with the black lights and protect our territory. I’m usually screaming and pointing to the little creatures that need to be killed by the boys.
- Make up stories – My 6-year-old loves to make up his own stories. We’ll spend hours making up stories (this is also great for road trips).
- Would you rather – We make up our own “would you rather” questions and will play this at meals, while traveling, and down time.
- Documentary night – As a family, we’ll agree on an interesting topic and watch Netflix documentaries about this topic. The latest topic was Aliens!!
I hope that some of these ideas look fun to you. If you want more, or different ideas, check out these links to other sites with other ideas for family fun nights/activities.
I would encourage you to create your own list of family fun and start incorporating the activities into your weeks. The experiences I listed above haven’t only been a ton of fun but they’re memories that we’ll never forget. I have so many favorite memories of each of these activities, except for scorpion hunting, that one still scares me.
This post was written by Minon Maier – LMFT