Family Fun Times
We love having fun as a family so much and feel that is like a cement that binds us together that we look for ways to make ordinary days into memorable occasions as well.
Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Family cookouts – We love to strike up the grill and cook and eat outdoors. All the grown kids make a dish and we play badminton, croquet, and give wagon rides and bike rides to the grandkids. I love to watch everyone enjoying each other and all the “Cousins” having a great time. It’s fun to watch our adult kids enjoying their nieces and nephews too! That’s what you have to look forward if you invest now while your kids are young in delighting in them!!
- Family field trips – We tried a few “field trips” with others, but gave up on that in exchange for going as a family to historical sites, museums, etc. We found that way, Dad can give a great tour and everyone learns and benefits. If you go as a huge group, the parents talk with the parents and the kids are making racket and derive very little benefit from the experience.
- Snow days – Rick has a few horses and a one horse open sleigh. It is lots of fun during those rare snowstorms to take the kids to the farm where we keep the horses and hook her up and glide over the snow! We have a sloped side yard which makes a great sledding hill. The kids usually rig up a ramp from saw horses and plywood and create a wonderful sled run!! Rick, being a drywall contractor, we have lots of drywall mud buckets around. I remember the year the kids thought of making an igloo by packing snow inside the buckets and turning them upside down and dumping the packed snow out. What fun!!
- First fire of winter and fires thereafter – We love a fire. We make an occasion the first fire of the fall. Dad makes hot chocolate and we pop popcorn over fireplace in one of those old fashioned popcorn poppers with the long handle.
- Tri-weekly library nights – We started this several years ago. We take the kids out for supper at Golden Corral which is a treat in itself. It’s all you can eat and lots of variety and then head for the library for the evening. I help the kids find the books they are interested in and then we head for home. The books are due in 3 weeks, so on the off weeks Kelley or Kasey prepares a special treat for the evening and we have a cozy “reading night” where everyone reads their chosen books including Mom and Dad.
- Family Bible quizzes – we used to have these every Friday night when the kids were younger. Dad would ask the kids Bible questions and they would get treats for answering- small candy bars or raisins, etc. It was fun for all, and also served to encourage the kids to listen carefully to the Bible being read at family devotion time each night.
- Family nights – Every Friday night we the whole family comes over to our house. Everyone brings a dish. Sometimes we do Italian, Mexican, roast, or chicken, etc and the grown kids bring the side dishes and dessert. It is a time to enjoy the company of one another. We often just talk, play with the grandkids or sometimes even sing.
- Special nights – In order to spend special time with each one of our kids on a regular basis, we would take them one at a time out for supper to a restaurant of their choice (within reason). We spend the evening talking about topics they choose. We found that often the ones who are at home, often become quite talkative when they know they have your full attention. The kids would plan for long time in advance, choosing the restaurant etc.
- “Happy hour” at Sonic – In our town, Sonic, a fast food restaurant offers all their drinks at half price during the hours from 2-4 pm. If I have one of the kids out doing errands with me, we sometimes will stop for a drink. I try to take different kids shopping with me to spend some quality time with them individually as well as teaching them important shopping skills.
- Invite godly people into our home – We started this practice of inviting folks to our home so our kids could serve them and also learn from their wisdom.
- Annual Christmas bonfire – this has become a yearly tradition. We invite lots of friends, have someone share about Christmas, sing carols around the bonfire and have lots of Christmas goodies to eat, of course
- Inviting people into our home – We try to make our home open to others, “adopted kids”, kids going to college who are away from their families, elderly people in our church, etc.
- Autumn leaves day with Em – One day in the fall, Emmy and I took a day just to ride to the mountains, stop and take scenery pictures. It was a fun day I will always remember and hope to repeat in the future.
- Picnics at Peaks – We live near Peaks of Otter in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We make special days having picnics or hikes during the spring and summer and fall.
- Strawberry picking and making pies, jam
- Rehearsal dinner traditions -We started the tradition of sharing embarrassing things the bride or groom had done as a kid (within reason). It makes for a very fun occasion.
- Mundane weekly shopping trips – I take one of the kids with me, and try to make it special for them
- Lunches out with girls – I will try to listen for hints if one of my girls has had a bad day or just taking the time to touch base with them and see what’s on their mind. We’ll go out to lunch and just enjoy each others company.
These are all things that communicate that you enjoy being with your kids. Create some family fun times of your own!