Summer is almost here! And with that comes weekend barbecues, 4th of July celebrations, family reunions, vacations, and more. Wondering how to make the most of your family time this summer? Here are 11 fun family activities to draw you closer together and help you take the next step toward building a family legacy.
#1: Eat dinner together as a family.
Eating together is one of the best and most proven ways of drawing your family closer together. Conflicting schedules can make this difficult, especially if you have older children, but aim to eat together at least once or twice a week. Make dinner an event – involve your whole family in cooking, baking, and cleaning up afterward.
#2: Give technology-free week a try.
My parents did this when I was young, and even after it was over, I found myself watching far fewer movies and TV shows than I had before. Going without technology (TV, iPads, iPods, videos on your smartphone) can help you realize how many other fun ways there are to spend your time, and it eliminates the screen separating you from other family members.
#3: Go camping.
The Great Outdoors has a way of pulling people closer together, and camping trips often lead to the funniest and most long-lasting family stories. Not a fan of depriving yourself from running water? Try camping out in your backyard for the night. (This is also a great way to go camping with young children!)
#4: Read aloud.
Choose a book to read aloud with your family. As you go along, share the emotions and memories the story brings to mind. This can be a wonderful conversation-starter and may help you broach some of those important talks about the future with your family.
#5: Visit a berry patch or orchard.
Love the taste of fresh fruit? Check and see if there are any pick-it-yourself orchards or berry patches near you. I tried this with a group of friends last summer and had a blast! Our freshly picked strawberries were not only delicious but much cheaper than what I could have bought at a grocery store.
#6: Have a game night or movie night.
It’s an oldie but a goodie. Bring out your favorite childhood game, or learn a new one with your child. You may be surprised at how much fun you have! The same goes with movies. Think back to the classics of your childhood, and share them with your children. Or check out the new releases in the theater, and make your movie night into a family outing.
#7: Try geo-caching or create a scavenger hunt.
Scavenger hunts are always fun, and they don’t have to be hard to create, especially if you turn it into a photo scavenger hunt. Make a list of objects or places to find, and then take a family walk downtown, equipping each family member with a camera. Or try geo-caching, the newest techie way of going on a scavenger hunt. All you need is GPS and a willing sense of adventure.
#8: Interview the grandparents.
Start a conversation with your parents or grandparents, and encourage your children to ask questions too. This will help them form a sense of connection to the family as a whole and will help you start the journey of passing on stories to the next generation. You may want to have a video camera or digital voice recorder on-hand to capture the conversation permanently.
#9: Serve together.
Check out your local non-profits, ministries, churches, or other organizations for volunteer opportunities. You will not only get great quality time together, but you will open your children’s eyes to the wider world and launching them on a lifetime journey of compassion and putting others first.
#10: Develop a giving project.
Brainstorm some possible projects as a family, and then let your children help raise the money to give. They might want to hold a car wash, or set up a lemonade stand, or give up their allowance or birthday money. Involving them in this way will provide you with some amazing opportunities to start conversations about your family’s most important values.
#11: Start a new tradition.
This doesn’t have to be complicated, but feel free to be creative. Maybe your family watches black and white movies every Friday night, bakes cookies every Saturday morning, or takes a walk in the park every Sunday afternoon. Whatever your tradition is, base it on a common hobby or interest in your family. Make it your tradition, not someone else’s.
Whether you eat together, play games together, or serve together, the most important thing is that you do it together. That quality time you spend with your family is the most precious gift you can give your children. Togetherness is what makes building a family legacy possible.