Success in life must not be determined by the degrees obtained, institutions attended, awards won, career achievements, or wealth acquired. Real success in life should only be determined by who we become, the attributes we obtain, the kindness we show, the goodness we radiate, and the unselfish service we give. Likewise, our success in family life, marriage, parenthood, and the eventual outcome of our children should be determined by this same standard.
And while it is a sad reality that our current day media, literature, advertisements, education system, businesses, and entertainment industry certainly do not preach that same message, the ironic reality is that deep within the heart of man – throughout every age of human existence – people everywhere know that the principle described above is true! Not only is the family the most important institution to the development and progression and morality of our society, it is family relationships that are the most important to each of our individual lives.
And yet, how often do each of us fail to demonstrate our knowledge of this principle through our actions. We each can and must improve the way we speak to, act towards, and make time for the most important relationships in our lives – family! Below are listed only 40 of the hundreds of fun and meaningful activity ideas for families; however, more important than the actual activity, the goal is simply to make time for family – and often! Never forget that when all is said and done, our wealth acquired, career successes, talents developed, awards won, or recognition received – none of these successes can justify failing your family in the process. The great difficulty and reward of life is to resolve to make time for family, and participate in activities with them that build, strengthen, develop trust, create memories, cause laughter, and provide wholesome and memorable experiences that strengthen your family. Does it take effort? Of course! Is it worth it? Absolutely! May the list below be but a start to many ideas, traditions, and activities that will help your family:
1. Go on Daddy-Daughter or Daddy-Son Dates (also for Mom’s). Take each child out individually for ice cream, a walk, a movie, a game, a drive – just to spend time together, laugh, and talk!
2. Have a movie night as a family, go to a local play or performance, attend a sporting event, go out to eat together, etc.
3. Go to a local nursing home and read stories, visit with, sing and talk to, and just help the patients.
4. Make a meal or some goodies for neighbors or friends who are elderly, sick, need a friend, or could use some help.
5. On a random school night, simply take the kids and family down for ice cream together.
6. Prepare a family emergency plan: what to do in the event of a fire, burglary, power-outage, tornado/hurricane, or where the kids should go if nobody is home, etc.
7. Go camping, hiking, or fishing together.
8. Leave little notes around the house for kids (or for mom and dad) to say I love you, or thank you for _______!
9. Visit the local historical spots in your town/area.
10. Talk with each of your children often! Simply talk to them, listen to them, teach them, laugh with them, and help them. Talk about drugs, sex and chastity, school/education, peer pressure, friends, family, doing what is right, set goals, etc.
11. Visit the local library, check out and read books, and encourage reading and education (then go for ice cream or milkshakes after).
12. Go on a family picnic – at a park, by the river, up the canyon, in the backyard, or out in the country.
13. Have a family slumber party (inside or outside). But – parents must join in!
14. Plan a family financing / budgeting night. Learn about check books, credit cards, bank accounts, budgeting, credit and debt, how to save and invest, interest (good and bad), etc.
15. Visit your local museum, art exhibit, or zoo, etc.
16. Volunteer at the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
17. Go eat lunch with your child at school every once in a while; or better yet, check them out of school and take them out to eat (I think the child will prefer the later 🙂
18. Help with and volunteer at next years Special Olympics, or go to the local developmental service center and volunteer.
19. Go on a family walk, run, or bike ride together.
20. Have an etiquette night. Set the table for a formal dinner, have a few courses, learn how to use what utensil, where to put your napkin, how to ask for things politely, what to wear and how to sit, etc.
21. Take a night and learn about proper nutrition, eating proportions, exercise, and health practices.
22. Together, go: miniature golfing, go cart racing, paint-balling, horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing, etc.
23. Buy a disposable camera for everyone and go and take pictures – learn about photography and perhaps go up the mountains, out into the country, in the city, etc. and just take pictures.
24. Have a barbecue in the backyard – invite neighbors, friends, and family over (have the kids invite their friends too).
25. Go to the local recreation center as a family and play basketball, racquetball, or tennis. Go swimming, running, walking, lift weights, or exercise together.
26. Watch past family videos, or get out the old family photo albums and look at them together.
27. As a family, go to a local road or park and do a clean-up project. Pick up trash around the park, pond, river, road, etc.
28. Go bird watching, plant finding, insect finding, animal watching, or nature watching (sunset), etc.
29. Go for a drive – get out of the city (or go to the city) and just go for a drive together.
30. Cook together – have everyone learn how to and help cook a meal.
31. Make a habit of hiding special notes inside of the bag of a family member when they have to go out of town, when they go to school, or have an athletic or musical event, etc. Leave encouraging notes under each other’s pillows on bad days.
32. Take a class with, learn, or teach your children how to: draw or paint, take pictures, sing or dance, learn a language, practice a sport, or learn a musical instrument.
33. Support and show up for each family member who is participating in athletic events, performances, recitals, award or recognitions, etc.
34. Have at least one meal together daily. Have a Q&A session during dinner’s every once in a while where kids can just feel comfortable to talk to and ask their parents any question or talk about anything on their mind. Just talk, listen, teach, love, and laugh.
35. Build a fort – get a cardboard box, some scissors, a marker, a few chairs and blankets – and build a fort.
36. Spend a day as a whole family cleaning the house together.
37. Set up a telescope and look for stars or planets.
38. Attend community events, church services, or local performances.
39. Play Games – invite friends over, or just play games as a family. Play board games, card games, or any other family or group games.
40. Be creative and make up or think of your own activities that you and your family would enjoy. More importantly, just make time, and spend time together as a family!
To the happiness and success of your family!