Happy 2014! This time of year is a perfect opportunity to set some goals for the New Year. A goal I think we can all get behind is: Have more FUN together! I’d love to share some ideas that inspire more play and encourage more quality time together! Let’s all enjoy creating life-long memories with shared experiences like playing games, creating artwork, reading together, discovering new activities and more. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle of “day-to-day” life; below are some of my favourite family activities and tips for finding the time to enjoy them.
Play a game after dinner! After dinner is the perfect time to squeeze in a quick game. It can be a board game, a guessing game like charades, a word guessing game, any game your family loves! If you find you don’t have enough time to complete a game, you can easily play a round or two at a time.
Play outside! Go tobogganing. Build a snowman. Whether it is clearing the driveway of snow, going skating at an outdoor rink, playing catch or going bike riding in warmer climes, getting active outside is the perfect way to stay healthy and have fun!
Make a 2014 scrapbook! Create this scrapbook a page at a time, throughout the year. This is where all those photos you take find a home. After a day at the zoo, playing outside, a school play etc, print a few of the photos and affix them to a page and add any tickets or other mementos from the day. By the end of the year you will have a wonderful keepsake!
Create a FUN “To-Do” board! Throughout the year, encourage the kids to cut out pictures from the newspaper or from magazines, or you can print them from images you find online together, and add them to a display board. This will be inspiration for all sorts of fun activities your family can try together this year.
Laugh together! Every Friday during dinner, everyone takes their turn to tell a joke or a story about the funniest thing that happened that week. This is guaranteed to get everyone at the table laughing and chatting. I love this idea, a great way to encourage everyone to interact and kick off the weekend with a smile after a week of school and work.
Cheer! Invite some friends and extended family to your child’s team game. This is one of my absolute favourite ideas. (It also combines two of my fave things: crafts and sports!) In preparation for the game everyone can get together to paint each other’s faces, make signs and pack up some snacks and refreshments. Bring along some noisemakers like bells or maracas and enjoy the fun and excitement of the game, and the “playoff” atmosphere you’ve created for the young athletes.
Read! Everyone in the family chooses their favourite book and trades with someone else in the family. This is an awesome way to encourage reading, connect with each other, and learn what the current favourite reads in your household are.
Read some more! Choose a movie for movie night that was inspired by a book. Read the book together as a family before watching the film. If it is a novel, like The Hobbit for example, you can read a chapter every night before bed, or listen to the audio book together whenever everyone is in the car. For younger families, you can choose a storybook like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, or The Lorax.
Prepare a meal together as a family! Selecting a recipe and gathering the ingredients is the perfect way to start a family dialogue about nutrition and healthy eating choices. Cooking together is a fun way to spend time together while learning valuable life skills in the kitchen.
Make a list of 100 fun things to do! This is a great way to discover what new interests your little ones may be developing and also comes in handy when the choruses of “I’m bored” come around during days off. Let your imagination run free, from “try archery” to “make brownies” write down every idea your family has!
DIY games! Whether your family is watching a medal ceremony or any sport competition on TV, you can make your very own games at home and enjoy them with your family. Check out our Backyard Games Pinterest board for some inspiration! http://www.pinterest.com/mastermindtoys/backyard-games/
Put on a family talent show! Everyone prepares an “act” that is 1-5 minutes long. This can be a song, reading a poem, doing a cartwheel, juggling, anything at all. This is a fun activity to prepare ahead of time and perform for guests when your family is hosting a get-together!
Create a family music video together! Choose a fun song and create a music video for it. You can select family photos and create a slide show set to the tune or you can record scenes of the family lip-synching and dancing to the song. Matching outfits and prop instruments and microphones really add to the fun here! This can be a family project that you work on together for about 20 minutes each day until it is completed.
Make a family mural! Cover a wall in the playroom with easel paper, grab some art supplies, and create a large mural with the whole family adding their own personal touches. This is a great activity for an evening when everyone seems to be done their homework early and you’ve ordered pizza for dinner, when you’re done you’ll have a one-of-a-kind work of art!
Launch a rocket! Discovering science together creates unique family memories and encourages a love of learning. There are rocket kits available, and many other interesting science kits and toys that feature so many cool experiments. If you prefer the DIY route, browse this awesome Science Activities for Children Pinterest Board for some ideas! http://www.pinterest.com/educatewithtoys/science-activities-for-children/
Thanks so much for reading! I hope these ideas inspire families to make time to have some fun together! What are your goals for 2014? Share them with us in a comment below, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages, we LOVE reading your stories! We wish everyone a wonderful 2014!
- Auntie M