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25 Fabulously Fun Family Activities To Bring You Closer Together

25 Fabulously Fun Family Activities To Bring You Closer Together

It’s the height of summer, making it a brilliant time to come together as a family and enjoy long sunny days. But what should you do?

There are so many fun family activities available, we’ve compiled 25 of them to set you on your way.

1. Visit museums

Educational and entertaining, museum trips have a knack of sticking in your memory, creating many positive moments for your young ones. Have a scan through Google to find out what’s on offer, or make it a day trip further afield to

Take a look at this video to find out why visiting museums is a good choice:

2. Enjoy a hot air balloon trip

It’s summer. It’s warm. There are spectacular sunsets and beautiful sights to be seen. Why not book a hot air balloon journey and capture some special memories?

3. Cook!

Teach your kids some skills in the kitchen, or learn a few new tricks yourself. The main thing about cooking is it’s great fun, but also a chance to instill a few healthy tips into your family’s life.

Instead of going for the more traditional sugary snacks, why not try out homemade pizza using organic wholemeal flour? Throw some wheatgerm into the dough mix, mush and beat it into shape, and then you can stick it in the oven with any toppings you like: asparagus with mushrooms and sweetcorn is my favorite.

Yottam Ottolenghi’s incredible cauliflower cake is another unique recipe I can highly recommend. It’s something else and makes for a fun conversation whenever you bring it up with friends or family.

Or, to keep things simple, why not just make some popcorn?

There are plenty of other recipes to try out, of course. For ideas, the Green Kitchen app is pretty unmatchable. This one has all manner of healthy and ultra-tasty recipes – it comes at a small price, but for recipes like the immune boosting turmeric lassi it’s absolutely worth it.

Green Kitchen has also produced a healthy dessert app, so you can really add some oomph to your meals, whilst laying off excessive calories.

4. Have a picnic

Know a nice stretch of countryside or urban park? Rustle up a lunch brimming with brilliant food (you might have learnt a few of them from #3) and head out for a meal outdoors.

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Fine food, fun conversation and a rustic setting? Perfect.

5. Go treasure hunting

Join the world’s largest treasure hunt with Geocaching. It’s a global event where people hide caches and leave notes for you to go on a treasure hunt. You can search the website to find ones local to you.

Watch this video to know more about this:

6. Start a YouTube channel

It’s free to do and easy – start a YouTube channel. You can vlog about anything, or take on something a bit more ambitious – make a family film, or chronicle the antics of a a pet you have.

Don’t expect fame and fortune from it all, more a creative release and a diary of your lives.

7. Start a blog

Why not join the international blogging community with a family site? It’s free to start, thanks to services such as WordPress. You can also pay to upgrade your account if you’re enjoying it – a Personal Plan is $36 annually.

Why blog? If you’ve got the slightest hint of creativity, blogging can be incredibly rewarding. It’s also a great opportunity to digitally meet new people across the world, as well as document what your family has been up to.

Looking back a few years down the line makes for great memories.

8. Read

It’s well established how important reading is for kids. Through it, they can expand their vocabulary and learn more about the world.

But what to read? Harry Potter is a given, but why not have a family reading session with something new? I can recommend the illustrated edition of E.H. Gombrich’s classic A Little History of the World – packed full of amazing pictures.

Alternatively, there’s the Atlas Obscura book. It’s a treasure trove of information, fascinating facts, and can provide new ideas for your next holiday:

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9. Find out more about film

Other than watching films, you can enjoy their analysis. The BBC’s Kermode and Mayo Film Review Show is a perfect mix of humor, discussion, and reviews of the latest releases.

Affectionately known as the Church of Wittertainment, the podcast should become a big part of your life due to its global community. There’s even an app called Wittr that lets you pinpoint other Wittertainees (the name for listeners) around the world.

It’s simply great fun to listen to, as the show’s presenters bicker like an old married couple, but the many in-jokes will soon have you looking forward to Friday afternoons – it airs once a week at 2pm BST.

10. Do some chores (in a fun way)

ChoreMonster is a bit of an odd one, unless you’ve seen that bit in Mary Poppins when you’re tricked into thinking chores can be fun (for about 20 seconds).

This app changes everything, plus it gets your kids involved. It’s a great way to get them independent, enjoying themselves, and taking on new responsibilities around your home – download the app, get it running, and they’ll be positively thrilled to do the dishes from this day forward:

11. Take a road Trip

Roadtrippers and Waze are two apps to inspire a road trip. Where to go? After you’ve been through the Atlas Obscura book above, you’ll have several hundred new must-see destinations to notch up.

Alternatively, you could tour through your local community – become an expert of your hometown. There’s something fascinating to do no matter where you are.

Need to be suitably inspired? Take a look at 16 of the Best Road Trips in the World.

12. Get artistic

Some paper, pens, pencil, coloring crayons, or some paint – creativity can’t hold you back. Express yourself as a family, but there’s a bit more to it as well – as you can watch in the TED video below, it helps us to analyze the world to a greater extent. That’s ideal for young, flourishing minds.

13. Try a writing game

Collaborative writing games can be highly entertaining. A favorite for me is exquisite corpse (maybe give it a friendlier name for your kids!) – it’s regularly hilarious.

Despite the macabre title, it’s suitable for all ages. You’ll need a piece of paper. From there, write a sentence, cover up what you’ve written, but provide a word for the next person. They then complete their sentence – continue until you think you’re done.

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I was taught this at primary school back in the early 1990s. The results are often surreal, absurd and remarkably silly – if you like that type of thing, you’ve got hours of laughs here.

You can play the game with drawings, too. It was popular amongst Surrealist painters like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali in the 20th century – why not keep the game alive for a new generation?

14. Get a SNES Classic Mini

Nintendo’s games are fantastic fun for all ages. Its current games console, the Switch, boasts some unbelievably engaging titles. These include Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, Mario Tennis, Snipperclips, and Overcooked – perfect entertainment for all the family.

If you don’t want to pay for a brand new games console, however, you could pick up a NES Classic Mini or SNES Classic Mini – these are only in production until the end of 2018 and it can be quite difficult to get your hands on one.

At $70, it’s a steal for the cute, dinky SNES, which features amazing classics such as Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, and Yoshi’s Island.

15. Do some volunteer work

Have a scan through your local community for places where you can volunteer. Popular choices include animal sanctuaries – there’s likely a cat shelter nearby, so why not help re-home some adorable felines during your downtime?

The bonus to this is it will teach your children about empathy and doing good deeds for others, which is an incredible personality trait to have.

16. Play a board game

It’s easy to forget these exist in this day and age. But they’re out there! Really, you can’t go wrong with the likes of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, chess, Cluedo, Battleships, and many more.

They’re a great alternative to video games, if those aren’t your thing, but you can still download the likes of Monopoly to a device of your choice. You can then cast the game to your TV – great fun:

17. Have a proper family dinner

It’s tempting to slob out in front of Netflix these days, particularly after a long day at work. But, at the very least, you could make time at weekends for a round-table feast – it’s a fine way to catch up with everyone, have a discussion, and enjoy some quality time together.

18. Build a veg garden

Gardening can be incredibly rewarding, but also takes discipline, a meticulous approach and teamwork.

These are all great skills for any young one to learn, so head out into your garden (or start a veg patch inside your home) to see what you can grow. The results can be inspiring.

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19. Make a time capsule

These are endlessly fascinating – capture your moment in time, then catch up with it a number of years later (or not at all, leaving it for future generations to find).

You need an airtight box, but other than that feel free to add in whatever modern day knickknacks you feel best summarise life in 2018.

20. Learn how to juggle

Asides from being great fun, fantastic exercise (mentally and physically), juggling can become a joint family hobby.

Take it slowly to begin with to master the rudiments, but from there you can double-up into a juggling act in no time. Research shows juggling can also improve your brain power – again, fantastic news for kids.

Check out this video and learn some basic juggling skills:

21. Create a scrapbook

Get yourself a large scrapbook, some coloring pens, crayons and pencils, then record something as often as possible.

You could stick in newspapers or magazine clippings, draw silly pictures, write poems, haikus, or just your thoughts during that moment in time.

22. Take on an epic jigsaw puzzle

Find the most ridiculously over-complicated jigsaw you can – turn it into a project!

You can keep a record of it as you progress through the year (take pictures etc.), whilst working on it as a family, or alone. There’s a certain serenity to completing a jigsaw puzzle piece by piece. Plus, it’s highly rewarding at the end.

23. Knit together

Science says knitting makes you warmer and happier mentally.

Learn the basics of knitting (this includes the men of the family, as there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be involved) and have a monthly knit-off.

Whoever creates the best piece of knitwear, after a family vote, can win something of your choice – perhaps a night away from cleaning the dishes.

There you go, 23 fun family activities you can try this weekend! You may want to make a schedule with your family about when to do each of these activities too!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Published on December 20, 2019

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Kate sits down to the dinner table and is eager to be a good girl and eat her dinner like her Mom and Dad want her to do. She is a sweet girl who wants the approval of her parents very much. It is not always easy though. During dinner, she stands up and starts to leave the table because she has to use the bathroom. Her Dad yells at her to sit back down. He tells her “we don’t just get up from the dinner table, we wait and ask to be excused after everyone is finished eating.” She begins to protest, wanting to explain that she needs to use the bathroom. Her father becomes more upset with her and yells at her that she is now talking back and she is not allowed to say another word at the dinner table until everyone is finished eating and then she can be excused.

Unfortunately for Kate, she can’t hold it, and she has a little accident because she is too fearful to say a word to her Dad. She doesn’t want to get yelled at anymore. She also knows that in her home, kids don’t have a say. What Mom and Dad say is like words carved into stone. They are strict beyond reason and they will not bend their rules. Therefore, Kate felt that she had no choice in the matter and when she could no longer hold it. There was nothing she could do about it.

Kate’s parents are an example of authoritarian parenting. They are strict, they are not emotionally engaged with their children, and they have very high expectations for their children. This type of parenting style leaves children feeling disconnected from their parents.

Kate wanted to communicate to her parents that she had to use the restroom, but she couldn’t even get her words out because her parents have such strict rules and demands of her. They did not care to hear what she had to say, because upholding their rules was more important to them. In their household, a child’s opinions and feelings do not matter.

This kind of strict parenting is not helpful for children. It can damage a child and leave them with low self-esteem, mental health issues, and doing poor academically among other problems cited by research in Parenting Science.[1]

What Does Authoritarian Parenting Look Like?

In the 1960’s, a researcher and theorist by the name of Baumrind established the well known theory of parenting styles. Those four parenting styles, which are well known today, are authoritarian, authoritative, passive, and neglectful. For proactive parents that are trying hard to be good parents, they will usually lean toward either authoritarian or authoritative.

Authoritarian parenting involves strict parenting and high expectations for children. This can sound reasonable and even like good parenting. However, the strict parenting is often characterized by lack of compassion toward the child, little to no flexibility in rules, and complete control sought over the child’s behavior.

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Parents who use this parenting style believe it is their job to control the will and behavior of their children. An article in Psychology Today explains how authoritarian parents operate:[2]

Authoritarian parents believe that children are, by nature, strong-willed and self-indulgent. They value obedience to higher authority as a virtue unto itself. Authoritarian parents see their primary job to be bending the will of the child to that of authority—the parent, the church, the teacher. Willfulness is seen to be the root of unhappiness, bad behavior, and sin. Thus, a loving parent is one who tries to break the will of the child.

For example, Jake has authoritarian parents. He wants to stay out past curfew on a school night because he has an opportunity to play in a jazz ensemble. He has been playing the saxophone for years and his ambition is to play in a college jazz ensemble.

With Jake still being in high school, his parents have a curfew. On school nights, it is 8:00 pm. This rule is instituted because his parents believe they need to ensure that Jake gets his school work done each night and that he needs to be well rested for school the next day. However, they don’t explain the why of their rules to him, they simply tell him that those are their rules. The jazz ensemble is practicing at 8:00 pm on a Thursday night and they have invited Jake to come play with them. It is a well known group and a huge opportunity for Jake.

Unfortunately, his parents say no. Their authoritarian parenting style is unwavering. He wants to discuss the opportunity and its importance, but his parents will not even entertain the conversation. They stop him mid-sentence and go over their rules again. There is no flexibility.

If Jake’s parents had been authoritative, they would have taken the time to hear out his case and would likely have granted him a later curfew for that one instance. They would see that, although they have a curfew, there are some instances when an opportunity is worth bending the rules. They would ask that he has his homework done before going to play with the group, and that he come home as soon as the practice was finished.

Authoritative parents have rules, but they are also flexible based on reasonable requests for exceptions. The authoritative parents are interested in how their children are thinking and feeling. Conversely, authoritarian parents are not likely to be interested in hearing their child’s thoughts and feelings, because they want to control the will of their child, not come to some middle ground.

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Here are some characteristics of authoritarian parenting:

  • They have strict rules that are unyielding and unwavering. This is often called “heavy handed parenting.”
  • They do not want input from the child about rules. They also feel that the child’s opinion does not matter, because they are the parent thus are the supreme authority over the child.
  • There are severe punishments when rules are broken.
  • There is an emotional disconnection between parent and child, because the parent is not interested in what the child thinks or feels. They are more interested in controlling the behavior of the child and having the child be compliant to their rules.
  • Children are expected to listen to their parents and follow the rules, there are no exceptions. A child that voices their objections will likely be punished for doing so.
  • The parents have high expectations, especially when it comes to compliance of their rules.
  • Parents expect that their child will be obedient and they do not need to explain the “why” of their rules and expectations. Compliance is expected out of sheer obedience, not because the child understands the reasons why the rules are set. Parents do not feel the need to explain why they set their rules.
  • There is a failure to have attached relationships between parent and child because of the overly dominant nature of authoritarian parents and their unwillingness to allow their children to have their own voice or free will.

Authoritarian parents are driven by a belief that they need to control their children. This means controlling their children’s behavior to an extreme. They are inflexible and don’t take into account the child’s desires, emotions, or well-being as being as important to enforcing rules to get the desired outcome. Authoritative parents on the other hand, seek to guide and direct their children instead of control. There is a distinction.

The Problems of Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting has many negative consequences to children. Children who are raised in homes with extreme authoritarian parenting are more likely to become dependent on drugs and alcohol, have lower academic performance, and increased mental health issues according to Parenting for Brain.[3] Children who are raised with authoritarian parents are also more likely to have lower self esteem, inability to make decisive choices, and have social skills that are lacking.

When a child is raised to be taught day in and day out that their voice does not matter, then that child will likely be ingrained with that belief. They will not value their own opinions because they have been taught that what they think does not matter and is of no value. This leads to poor self-esteem and low self-worth.

If a child doesn’t believe that their thoughts matter, then what they think about themselves overall is going to be affected. They will not think highly of themselves or believe that what they think, say, or do is of value. This will contribute to low self-esteem long term.

Social skills will suffer because a child who comes from an authoritarian home will be trained to believe that nobody wants to hear their opinion and that relationships are based on compliance.

For example, Judy is raised in an authoritarian home. She is now 18 years old and has her first boyfriend. Anytime that he asks something of her, even if she internally disagrees, she feels that she is supposed to comply and do what he says in order for him to like her and continue wanting to be with her.

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He wants to have sex. She does not feel that she is ready, but she will not voice this to her boyfriend because she doesn’t think that her opinion will matter or that he will want to listen to what she is feeling. She goes along with sex in their relationship to be compliant. She doesn’t want to be punished by disagreeing with not having sex. He says that they are ready for that next step in the relationship and she fears that the consequence of saying no would be that he ends the relationship.

Therefore, she doesn’t even voice her thoughts or feelings on the situation because she doesn’t think they have value or will be heard anyway.

She has been taught by her parents that her opinions and feelings don’t matter. She has learned from the past 18 years with her parents that what matters most is that she is compliant. She gets along with her parents best when she is doing exactly what they want her to do. This is why she feels the need to do the same with her boyfriend.

Going along with his decisions, being compliant, and not voicing her feelings will keep the relationship going and avoid conflict or punishment. The ultimate punishment in her mind would be that he ends the relationship.

With her opinions never being valued by those who she has loved the most (her parents), she has learned that she should not voice her opinion if she wants to keep the other person in the relationship happy. In her mind, because of how she has been raised, compliance overrides all else, and her opinion is meaningless.

However, her boyfriend is not her parents. He is understanding and would want to know how she feels. He wants a long term relationship with her and he loves her so much. His true desire is for her to be happy. He would never want her to have sex if she wasn’t feeling the same way that he was feeling. He would gladly wait and would want to hear what she thinks and feels about taking their relationship to the next level.

Authoritarian parenting methods can inflict great harm on a child. The child becomes emotionally damaged because they grow up believing that their opinions, thoughts, and feelings do not matter. Instead they are taught that compliance and being obedient supersedes all else.

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The Solution

The solution is to move from authoritarian parenting methods to authoritative parenting practices.

Authoritative parenting has been deemed as the best parenting method by researchers, according to Psychology Today. Parents who use authoritative parenting methods have rules for their children, but they are not looking for blind compliance. They recognize that having a relationship with their child is of great importance and therefore valuing the child’s voice, opinions, and thoughts is important.

Authoritative parents seek to guide and direct their children, but they do not seek to control the will of their child.

Parenting Coach Plan explains the foundation of authoritative parenting as the following:[4]

Authoritative parenting can be described as a style of parenting that combines firm limits and clear boundaries with fair and consistent discipline. Authoritative parents are also nurturing, highly-involved, and willing to speak openly with their child regarding expectations and the consequences for failing to meet those expectations. Rules are enforced and fair consequences are put in place for when those rules are broken.

Children raised in authoritative homes follow the rules because they understand the “why” of the rules. They are also bonded to their parents because they are able to talk to their parents openly. This bond helps nurture a positive home environment and a two-way relationship that can last a lifetime.

To learn more about how to be an authoritative parent and how to discipline a child using this parenting method, check out my article:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

Reference

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