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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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Alex Morris

Creative Writer, Copywriter, & Journalist for Business, Culture, Lifestyle, & Work

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Published on August 15, 2019

15 Tips for an Overwhelmed Working Mom to Feel Better

15 Tips for an Overwhelmed Working Mom to Feel Better

As an overwhelmed working mom, you get a lot of intelligent ideas from magazines, friends and the internet about how to manage work, children, and a household.

Unfortunately, you may still feel exhausted and insufficient at work and home despite the advice to organize, cook efficiently and pamper yourself .

How great would it be to wake up tomorrow knowing that you can begin to feel better without all of those overwhelmed feelings?

The sensation of feeling overwhelmed when you wear a lot of hats: mom, professional, household manager, partner, friend, etc. has its roots in reality. You are absolutely doing a lot of important jobs. But here’s the thing:

If feeling overwhelmed has become your knee-jerk or chronic reaction, this emotion is now literally a part of you that needs your attention so that you can move forward more confidently.

If helping yourself sounds too difficult, never fear. These tips come straight from therapy and neuroscience to hack into your nervous system. You will learn deeper ways to calm down and feel more confident about yourself, your life and your choices.

1. Breathe and Notice What Your Body Feels like Inside and Out

By using body-centered therapy techniques, you can better understand your overwhelmed feelings and offer accurate and practical help.

As you’ll learn, when you feel stressed out, your thinking brain is not your best resource. In fact, simply thinking about and bolstering your efforts to “get rid” of overwhelmed feelings might actually make them worse.

The first step to help when you feel overwhelmed is to simply slow down and breathe. This does not mean that you should suddenly take in huge gulps of air or breathe rapidly. That will send you into panic!

Breathe normally and naturally. Make your breath comfortably slow, extending the exhale. Count 5 to 10 breaths.

2. Get a Little Curious

Ask yourself: How do I know I’m overwhelmed? Close your eyes or soften your gaze if you are able. Imagine shifting your awareness from your outside world and sending it into your body along with your breath.

You might notice the signals right away. For example: My chest is tight, my heart is beating rapidly and there’s a sense of frustrated energy in my legs and arms. Or you might just hear some words like: I’m freaking out, failing or cannot do it!

If it’s possible, get a little curious about this sensation. Consider that while it may be a big feeling, you probably have other parts of you that feel differently.

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3. Offer Some Loving Care to Stressed-Out Parts of You

Richard Schwartz, developer of Internal Family Systems Therapy defines our personalities as made up of sub-parts that interact within us. This explains why a “part” of you can feel one way and yet, you have another part that feels differently.[1]

Gently acknowledging the part of you that feels overwhelmed and offering it some support and compassion (as you would a frightened child) can soothe your body and mind. “I’ve got you,” is a great mantra to breathe in when you’re overwhelmed.

4. Get Smart About Your Wise Nervous System

You may have heard of the “gut” brain or “body” brain. The science of Polyvagal Theory shows that the entire nervous system impacts how you think and feel – not just your thinking mind.

In fact, did you know that your wise nervous system generally picks up information from your environment before your brain can interpret it?[2]

When you feel overwhelmed, just one tiny cue of “danger” felt in your nervous system is often the unconscious trigger that tips you from busy but competent to feeling freaked out and exhausted.

This cue could be as simple as a song on the radio that feels overly-stimulating, a child’s bad mood (even if it has nothing to do with you) or your spouse forgetting an unimportant errand.

5. Remind Yourself That a Feeling Can Just Be a Feeling

When you’re feeling agitated, your physical body is naturally on high alert. Any information or stimulation you receive at these times will feel overwhelming.

This is not your fault, but it is helpful to understand that usually, when you feel like you’re not good enough, it is not objectively true. Your mind may just be creating a reason for the signals of danger coming from your body.

Allow your body to feel without making a negative judgement about yourself or your life. This technique will help you break the cycle of feeling overwhelmed, then creating negative thought about the feeling resulting in overwhelming yourself even more.

6. Learn Your Most Common Unconscious Responses to Stress

Why is this important? When you feel stressed, you probably respond unconsciously in the same ways throughout your life.

For some, too much stress will quickly create a numb, hopeless sensation. For others, the thought that life is just “too much” leads to bouts of panic or anger. Still, others might freeze completely, feeling highly anxious but not able to do much at all.

From a biological perspective, all of these experiences are pretty normal. When you recognize that your body’s reactions are not faulty or foolish, it’s much easier to reassure yourself and move forward confidently.

7. Exercise the Part of Your Nervous System That Provides Wellbeing and Social Connection

Did you know that you can actually tone your ventral vagal nerve, the nerve responsible for feelings of safety and social connection?[3]

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As often as you are able, allow yourself to linger on your favorite memories that invoke feelings of wellbeing, connection to loved ones, times of beauty in nature or your favorite memories of pets or places. Use all of your sense to really feel the experience in your body.

By doing this, you’re activating and toning your ventral vagus nerve as you might tone your muscles. Make a kind of “body bookmark” of these purely content sensations to which you can return when stressed.

This practice may feel silly, like an indulgence or even a fantasy. But it is supported by science and is important for you to create a strong and healthy response to stressors.

8. Give Baby Parts a Break

No part of you is trying to hurt you. But parts of us do feel extreme feelings and carry burdens from our past.

For example, if you are feeling overworked in the present, it may activate parts of your personality that felt similarly earlier in life. Deep anger, fear, resentment or sadness provide a signal to you that something from your past could benefit from your attention.

I know this may sound strange, but the next time you feel very overwhelmed, take a breath and notice if you feel like a child trying to do an adult’s job. If so, spend a moment calmly and compassionately reminding all of your inner child parts that you are indeed grown, capable and doing something appropriate.

9. Address Critical Messages You Give Yourself

What do you hear yourself saying to yourself when you feel overwhelmed? You may notice parts of you that sound critical or even cruel.

Statements like “I’ll never catch up,” “Why do I try,” or “I can’t do anything right,” are very common to hear when you’re under stress. Believe it or not, these inner messages are likely misguided protective parts of your personality.

These parts are normal and try to help you by “whipping you into shape” so you won’t fail, alerting you about scared feelings inside, or avoiding shock or disappointment by anticipating how others might criticize you.

If it’s possible, acknowledge these parts as protective. Maybe express a bit of gratitude. Notice how the critical voices inside you, even though they likely mean well, cause exhaustion and even more stress.

When you acknowledge these messages inside, letting them know they are part of you and you see their positive intention, the critical messages calm.

10. Take Small Moments to Express Gratitude

Everyone is talking about gratitude, I know. But there are good reasons for this trend.

More and more studies about gratitude show valid connections between gratitude and lowered stress and mental health. A 2018 multi-university research study concluded that gratitude not only has direct effects on quality of life, but also has indirect effects through perceived stress and mental health.[4]

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There are many reasons that gratitude impacts our nervous systems in positive ways, but the best way to discover this impact is to simply try it yourself.

Take a minute each day to write down one to three things for which you feel grateful. These can be large or small, important or trivial, but they must be true. Make this a habit and watch your stress-relief grow.

Or you can try some of these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

11. Play with Time

In Gay Hendrick’s 2010 book The Big Leap, he talks about the concept of Einstein time vs. Newtonian time.

Newtonian time is the clock time we all watch all day. Einstein time is more about what you make with your moments, realizing that your perception can slow or speed time up.

For example, if you are spending time with someone you love and doing something you enjoy, time moves very quickly. Conversely, if you are doing a miserable job in uncomfortable weather, each second can feel like an eternity.

The next time you feel stressed for time, take a slow breath and remind yourself that you make time. Time belongs to you. Then, enjoy the pace and do what you need to do. With practice, this little tool will become valuable for overcoming the mental pressure of time.

12. Don’t Be Tricked by Perfection

When you’re in the thick of raising children and working, sometimes nervous energy presents as perfectionism. In an effort to feel in control, you may make arbitrary but unreasonable goals for yourself that feel like they are necessary or true.

Make a quick inventory of every job you are expecting of yourself and your family. Now question it all. What is really important and what is just preferable? What jobs can be left to someone else’s discretion, done well-enough by the children or dropped completely?

Keep any jobs that give you joy and do them joyfully. Let go of jobs that feel like standards or expectations with little or no payoff. Save them for retirement if you like.

13. Give Yourself Credit for Quality Time with Your Kids

Think of the time you spend relaxing with and enjoying your children as a $100,000 per hour job. Very small amounts are still incredibly valuable.

Showing your children that they are important is just as likely to happen in a ten-minute game of catch as in a whole day at the water park. A shared snack time, a book before bed, a half hour away from your phone to allow loving eye contact with your babes adds up to a lifetime of security and wonderful memories.

Imagine your child someday saying, “Mom worked hard, but she always had time to hug me, to hear about my day, and to offer me guidance. I always knew that I mattered to her.”

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14. Meditate for One Minute a Day

Yes, you may do more. But if you can’t afford any more than one minute, go ahead and sit comfortably, breathe and be in your body for this time. It’s such a simple but powerful exercise and the kids can do it too.

While you meditate, notice your loving heart. What does it need from you today — patience, compassion, creativity, caring, play? Remember to show up for yourself and you will show up for your work and your family as well.

15. Guard and Celebrate Sleep

From tinies to teens, there are many unavoidable reasons that kids interrupt your sleep.

Here’s the thing: Unexpected sleeplessness due to childhood growth or illness is normal and not easy to control. If you are feeling overwhelmed, though, sleep is crucial.

There are two things you can do to improve your mindset toward sleep so that you set yourself up for confidence rather than collapse.

One, prioritize and protect your sleep time. If you tend to wait until the kids go to sleep to complete work or finally relax, that’s okay. But don’t let these activities cut into your sleep time.

Given the choice between another load of laundry, Words With Friends, binge watching Game of Thrones or eight hours of sleep, consistently choose sleep.

Two, appreciate and express gratitude for any sleep you get. Sometimes, it’s impossible to get seven or eight hours of sleep. However, allow yourself to enjoy any time when you are laying in a comfy space allowing your body to rest and repair.

When you wake up saying “I didn’t get enough sleep last night,” you put your mind on alert that there is something lacking. This thinking alone can trigger feelings of overwhelm.

Set your nervous system up for success by appreciating any amount of rest.

Final Thoughts

Life as a working mom is not an easy one. Overwhelmed feelings are natural and normal but, they can take over and cause chronic stress and dissatisfaction.

Allow yourself just a few moments a day to reorganize your thoughts and feelings using the steps above. You’ll soon discover your calm and capable self.

Take a lesson from your growing children: small changes create big results now and in the future.

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Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

Reference

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