Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
In todayís fast paced and overscheduled world, families have to make a conscious effort to create and spend quality time together. While it may take some commitment to work in moments of family time, the benefits far outweigh the expenditure of energy. Here are some easy-to-carry-out thoughts for family fun time.
Meet another family at a nearby park. Bring a ball, and play a game of soccer. Snacks or a picnic lunch will help make the afternoon a success!
Go for a hike or a walk in a nearby State park, botanical garden, or around your neighborhood. While you may face reluctance getting everyone out the door, once you get moving Ė everyone will have a good time! Conversation flows easy when you are out walking with family.
Scour your local papers or the library for free family activities. They are usually published on a monthly basis, so you can plan ahead and select something the whole family will enjoy. From family story times to local art festivals Ė there are many free options going on all the time.
Make game playing a family habit. Perhaps itís Saturday afternoon, and you all gather together before heading on to your plans for the evening. Family members can take turns picking the game, and everyone can enjoy each otherís company while playing.
Work on a household project together. There are always ways to involve younger children in household projects. If itís time to plant the family garden, arm everyone with tools and head outside together. It may take some creativity or additional patience, but working together as a family is rewarding as well.
Cook together. Again, young children can be involved in cooking if you give them the proper tools and age-appropriate tasks. Let your youngest set the table and donít be concerned with how the place settings look. Stirring and mixing are also tasks that younger children enjoy. Give them a bowl of flour and water to mix Ė even if it doesnít end up in the final recipe. Allow your older children to pick the recipe and gather the ingredients. A meal that is made together is enjoyed together!
Read a book together. Classics, like Winnie the Pooh, are enjoyed by all ages. Take turns reading the chapters out loud. Let younger children draw pictures while they listen to the story. Everyone will have a good time listening to and talking about the much-loved book.
Every Saturday night in our house is movie night. Our four children take turns picking the movie, and we often eat pizza or popcorn while we are watching. It is a weekly event that everyone looks forward to.
Complete a family art project. Watch for a sale in the local art store and purchase a big canvas. There are so many ways you can use a canvas to create a family art project. Someone can draw a design and everyone can fill in the color. You can all put your handprints on the canvas. A meaningful family quote can be written on the canvas, and then everyone can add his or her own touch to it. Once the canvas is finished, find a spot on a wall of your house to hang it so your family can continue to enjoy the experience.
Family fun time is meaningful, enjoyable, and essential! Throughout the years, children and teens benefit from spending time together as a family. Moms, it is up to us to create the tradition of spending time together within our own family.