Looking for ways to bond with your family, while keeping the kids healthy and active? Turn off the electronics and start the fun with this list of easy, inexpensive, and fun family activities that you can enjoy at home.
Make Forts out of cardboard boxes
Your local furniture store is a great place to get large cardboard boxes that you can transform into life-sized playhouses and cars. If you can’t find any big boxes, why not make a mini-city out of shoe boxes and cereal boxes? You can spend hours decorating and furnishing the houses you make. Perfect for Barbie!
Play Mad Libs
Reinforce parts of speech with this hilarious classic game of fill-in-the-blanks. The genuis of Mad Libs is that you don’t really know what story you are filling in…until the reveal at the end. The results are always odd, and often hilarious. Mad Libs is a great educational game for home, but you can also play it on car journeys. Mad Libs can be bought at any major bookstore, or on Amazon.com.
Go on a Neighborhood Color Walk
For a fun and healthy home-adventure, take your kids on a color walk around the neighborhood! Get the children to choose which color you are starting with, and as you walk, let them “collect” things of that color by shouting out the object’s name (kind of like ‘I spy’). Anyone can change the color at any time. Here is one account of a Mom who “let the rainbow guide her feet”!
Slime is one of the best ways to keep children of any age happy for hours on end. You can mix one box of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and some food coloring for a tricky, sticky mess that transforms from a solid to liquid when squeezed. Or, for a more elaborate (but less messy) recipe, gather together the following ingredients, and click here to access an easy slime recipe video. Your kids will thank you!
- 1 teaspoon borax
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 4 oz. bottle of white glue
- 8 drops food coloring
Coloring books are a thing of the past. These days families are printing coloring pages right from the internet! Try sites like Activity Village, or Funprintablesforkids.com for fun, original coloring pages that kids will love!
Decorate a Cake
Buy or make a simple cake and delight your children by announcing that they can decorate it themselves, using small bowls of smarties, sprinkles- and even some of their own small toys, such as LEGO. Don’t get too worried about the presentation. This family activity is supposed to be fun!
Host a Stuffy Birthday Party
Since you have a cake ready, why not designate one of your son or daughter’s stuffed toys as the birthday boy, or birthday girl? Keep your children busy making decorations and a birthday card for stuffy, then invite all the other stuffies to come to the table for the “Happy Birthday” song and some cake. Don’t forget to take a photo!
Play a Board Game
Board games teach valuable skills such as teamwork, decision-making, sharing and problem-solving. Keep your board games in the same area as your children’s toys, so that they become a natural activity choice. Which games are best? Our vote is for Memory, Scrabble and Monopoly.
Relax at Family Movie night
Choose a family fun movie, make some popcorn…and relax! Watching a movie as a family activity means lots of bonding and cuddles- and your home cinema experience will be a fraction of the cost of going to the cinema. For a totally stress-free evening, why not order a pizza so Mom and Dad don’t have to cook? Many families make movie night into a fun weekly routine.
A family classic, this game uses hand gestures to help children guess a popular movie, book, person or saying. If your skills are a little rusty, click here for a clear list of the rules and conventions of charades.
Make a Lemonade Stand
Kids love to sell lemonade. Use a folding card table, or a large cardboard box for a stand. Make a simple sign out of cardboard to advertise the price (we suggest 25 cents per cup), mix up some concentrated lemonade (or if you’re ambitious, go ahead and make the real stuff!), and finally, send the kids outside to serve their customers. Don’t forget to take lots of photos of this fun family activity!
Grow a Container Garden
It’s easy to grow a container garden. Even if you live in an apartment, there is room on a windowsill for a small potted plant or herb. The easiest and most rewarding plants for a patio or indoor garden are culinary herbs or leafy salads: great for cooking and garnishing! For good success from seed, try parsley, chives, rosemary and arugula.
The benefits of yoga are many, but have you considered how your family’s life could be improved by reduced stress, better sleep and a more peaceful environment? And, besides all that, yoga with children is simply fun! Access free yoga videos like this one, and make a mini-yoga session part of your fun family day!
These fun geometric shapes should be a part of every family’s playroom shelf. A complete set of tangrams consists of seven isosceles triangles, one square and one parallelogram: shapes that can be combined to form interesting pictures and shapes. Tangram templates can be found on the internet. Have some focused family fun while reinforcing math skills and lateral thinking!
Play Heads, Bodies, Tails
Sometimes called “The Exquisite Corpse” this old-fashioned parlor game requires two or more people, a piece of paper and at least one pencil. In Heads, Bodies and Tails the first player draws a hat (and maybe the sky?), and then folds the paper over to reveal only the brim. The next player, without looking at the first picture, draws a head, leaving only the neck. Player 3 (or the first player again) draws the body, leaving the waist. The next person draws the legs, and then finally someone draws the shoes. There are many variations on this game. All are creative and hilarious.