It’s inevitable. All those activities and plans you had for keeping the family busy this summer ran out just a couple of weeks in. Now you have bored children tugging on you, loud sighing across the board, and even the adults may begin giving you the side eye when the idleness starts to wear on everyone’s nerves. But even if your list wasn’t as long as it needed to be, there’s plenty of fun activities available to keep your family healthy and active this year.
Fun Activities to Keep the Family Healthy and Active
Sometimes, the biggest problem is getting everyone together at once. So, try to plan activities that can be done with just one or two teens, or those that can be done with an older child and a younger child together. After all, the main goal is to build bonds, create memories, and keep your family healthy and happy. Also, it’s not wrong to concede that children who get in a good days play will certainly also get a good night’s sleep!
- Free time – Play is the ‘work’ of children. So while structured family activities are always great, don’t forget to give them plenty of actual free time to exercise their own favorite activities. Take your future family time cues from what those children do enjoy when left up to their own devices. Your teen loves drawing and creating chalk art in her free time? Make sure you get the whole family to an art museum or display in your town.
- Creative Arts – And while we’re in the artist department, an activity that the entire family can get on is creating your own family play, theater with singing and dancing included, and more! Task those artist kids with helping create the stage or the puppet show box. Have a joker in the house? Get them onstage for a quick stand up routine. Have a budding writer? Let them come up with the script. Everyone has a part to play and they’ll enjoy playing it as a team.
- Gardening Fun – Gardening can be a real bonding experience for any family. It can also be very hard work. However, the good news about gardening is that children of all ages can be given relatively easy tasks that will make the whole gardening task actually a good bit easier for everyone involved. The wee ones can learn to pull the easy weeds. Give the five to nine year olds the job of pulling up the bigger, thicker weeds or plants that must go from your gardening spot. Preteens make great seed planters and waterers. The teens and up can do the digging and your larger, stronger teens can help you carry fresh soil or fertilizer to your garden area or boxes. All ages, with assistance for the littlest ones, can water the garden every night.
- Safe Night Fun – Time to water the garden but the half hour or so probably isn’t going to wear them out and get them ready for bed? A couple fun and safe night activities after the garden is done is fire fly chasing or counting. The little ones will love that activity. You can even use a bug cage, very inexpensive at the local pet store, so that they can gather them up and maybe see who caught the most. Another super fun activity, especially for the teens, is a game of flashlight tag. The game is played basically like hide and seek, except for you’ll need that flashlight to find anyone in the dark. It’s extra safe because there will be no running or chasing in the dark, simply shining the light on another person, in this game, is considered the ‘tag’.
- Smoothie Creation – Not only is making smoothies a fun idea that most kids will enjoy. It can also double as a day time snack, or will pair nicely with a small breakfast of yogurt or and granola, or eggs and toast. Wow them by showing them how great a smoothie can taste, even when you toss in those awful green veggies such as spinach. They’ll be shocked that they can’t even taste it blended with almond milk and strawberries.
- Fort Building – I want to say that the little kids will absolutely love the fort building, and they will. But I think if most of us are completely honest, we’ll all admit to loving forts, at least a little bit. I know I do. Grab boxes or couch cushions, whatever you have and start building that fort. Don’t skimp on the blankets and absolutely do not hesitate to have lunch or a tea party while you’re in there. The purpose of a fort is the fantasy. Help your kids stretch those imaginations by pretending that fort IS the castle in the clouds they’ve always dreamed of.
- Camera Treasure hunt – With most people having a phone with a camera in their pocket these days, a camera treasure hunt could be a super fun idea for all ages. Of course, the littlest of you will need to be accompanied by an adult or teen with their own camera, but the end result will be the same. Draw up a list you can print out, or even just text your list to one another and go. The treasure hunt for an Oak tree, a squirrel, a neighborhood cat, a mailbox with the number 3 on it, anything you can think of that is within the range of how far you want your family exploring, get it on the list, first one back to home base with a completed list is the winner. Now you just have to think up prizes.
- Cooking Together – If you have your family garden, this part will be a little less expensive, but no less on the family bond building. Let each person be responsible for one of your dinner’s courses and assist where you can, but let them do the job. Just fair warning, the littler they are, the sweeter they are going to want their course, so make sure you’re nearby when the sugar goes in. Teens can do more elaborate work in the kitchen. Cooking, baking, roasting for example. And many quite enjoy it. Make sure to instruct, but not hover. And above all, enjoy the time you get to spend together eating it.
- Walk a Dog – Have a shelter local to you? Get the whole family involved in taking a shelter dog for a walk. Even the youngest can hold onto the leash of older mini dogs. Not only will this add dogs to your family’s fun, but it will be doing a huge service for animals who have to live in small cages most of the rest of their time. Older children may even be able to walk two at once. The best part about this experience is that you’ll be giving back to your community as a family and that helps to teach your children that there are always others who could use a hand.
Family Free and Fun Time
There are many options on what you can do as a family together. A quick conversation with other parents may help open a whole new world of ideas for your family. Get involved in PTA with your children’s school and you may be surprised to learn about major community or school events that go on year round. Just keep an open mind, use your creativity and forward thinking, and you’ll be able to get in a pattern enjoying great family fun, with good conversation and family bonding time.