How to have fun with your family?
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Having fun as a family does not require a lot of cash. Finding ways to enjoy time together doing the most ordinary things can often be quite rewarding. On these fun days, look for ways to help your children relax and enjoy a bit of solitude while taking a mental break, to avoid overload.
Schedule a comfy day
If the weather forecast looks like rain, schedule a comfy day. Hang out in your pajamas all day. Set up the pop-up tent in the living room and read books about life on the prairie, or study up on your horoscope so you know what to watch out for during the rest of the week.
During your comfy day, consider handing out journals to your older children. Encourage them to list three things they were thankful for that day. If you enjoy studying astrology, encourage them to study the phases of the moon and track their intentions in their journals. The new moon is a great time to write down your goals so you can look for opportunities as the moon reaches its fullest point.
Book a free weekend
Look around for free things to do on the weekend. Maybe you have a local museum that has a free day. Start planning your ‘freekend’ early in the week so you are ready by Friday morning.
Schedule a trip to the library, and pack a picnic to enjoy on the way there. If you have a camping stove, take that to the park and cook hot dogs or make grilled cheese sandwiches outdoors under the trees. Book short chunks of time for family activities, but make sure you also get some downtime for everyone to be alone and relax a bit.
If budget is a concern, make sure you also have a goal for your freekend dollars. For example, if you want to visit a county fair in August, look for ways to enjoy freekends in June and July so you have cash in August for fun at the fair.
Cooking can be fairly simple and even your littlest children can participate. Make parfaits for a weekend brunch instead of cooking pancakes or eggs. Get out your colorful bowls and layer
- vanilla yogurt
- sliced strawberries
- sliced bananas
- whipped cream
Create an assembly line with your children to create these lovely dishes, then sit down and enjoy a cool breakfast treat before heading out into the heat.
Have an art day
In the cool of the morning, put your little ones to work on the sidewalk with that big bucket of chalk. You might write out a greeting for your neighbors and have your smallest children color in the words, or you can simply encourage them to sketch out butterflies and birds.
As the temperatures rise, head indoors and create a studio space. Encourage your children to build on their drawing skills. This can be done by learning to trace line drawings, or by simply creating grids on paper with a ruler. The ability to draw will serve them all their lives, and working with a straight edge and pencil can help build their eye-hand coordination.
For families that are not able to have a pet, volunteering at an animal shelter is a good stopgap. If your kids cannot leave the puppies and kitties behind, look for community clean-up days or other ways to help out locally. This could be as simple as helping a neighbor clean up their lawn if they cannot manage the work.
You can also use the volunteer spirit as a way to encourage your children to donate. Go through your clothing and books to create a donation box. Let your children know what you are giving away and why. If you drive by thrift stores or family shelters on your errands, point out these places as ways to help out.
Sharing your values and finding ways to work and play together is an excellent use of your free time as a family. Once you build a repertoire of fun activities, try to get your children thinking about these goals during the week so you can share ideas and make your plans. Be sure to book some downtime for the more introverted members of your clan.