Just as date night is important for your marriage and one on one time with your children is important for your parenting relationship, regular family time is important too! Spending time together as a family builds memories and strengthens relationships. In addition to making date night a priority, I try to make family time a priority as well.
The weekends are easiest for us to set aside a substantial amount of time to spend together. Joe only has to work every few Saturdays and when he does work, he's home early enough that we can do something before dinner and bedtime. These are a few of the fun things that I have planned for our family so far this year. I guess you could consider it our family date night bucket list.
Go to the park A LOT - Bensen is at a fun age, where he loves to run around and play outside. I'm a kid at heart and love playgrounds. I have a list of playgrounds in our area that I think look like fun and I'm hoping to make playing at the park followed by a picnic before we come home for naps on Saturdays a regular activity this spring and fall.
Float boats in the creek - There's a creek that runs through the park near mine and Joe's parent's house. One area of the creek is easy to walk along and I would love to spend a day creating boats out of milk jugs and floating them down the creek as a family.
Movies in the park - I love movies in the park because they're free, a great family activity and you get to enjoy the perfect summer nights. There's a park near us that shows movies one night a month in the summer and I'm really hoping to go this year. Bensen is a creature of habit with a very early bedtime, so we'll see how this goes. If all else fails, it's a free activity and we're close to home so we can leave at any point.
Get family pictures taken - Our family pictures are anything but posed lately, and if they are a captured posed, we were in that pose for about two seconds. The candid ones are usually my favorite though. Our kids grow and change so quickly that I'd love to get pictures taken at least twice this year.
Jump in leaf piles - Bensen thinks that anything on the grass that is not grass is a "mess". Snow and leaves particularly. He loves to help clean them up and I'm really hoping that he'll love to build a big pile and jump in it too.
Watch airplanes take off - I'm not sure if this is really something that you're allowed to do anymore. When I was a kid though, we'd drive out near the airport and spend an hour watching airplanes land and take off. We loved it and I'm pretty sure Bensen would love it too.
Go sledding - Next winter, when Emmy is big enough to enjoy it, I want to find a good but small sledding hill and spend an hour or so riding down the hill and climbing our way back up again. Then we can come home and enjoy some hot chocolate afterward.
Build a snowman - It's been hard to get out and do a lot in the snow this winter because of Emmy. When we have gone out, Bensen hasn't quite known what to do with the snow. I'm hoping that next winter, he'll want to have fun and we can teach him how to build a snowman.
Make snow ice cream - I've seen people do this, adding a few ingredients to fresh snow and eating it for a treat. I think it seems like something fun and unique to do.
Decorate sugar cookies - It's something that I've been wanting to do for a long time, and it hasn't happened yet. My family always did this around Christmas time, but I think I'll pick a random time of year and decorate sugar cookies just because.
Pajamas, pizza and popcorn - This is a tradition that I want to start, but Bensen hasn't gotten to a stage where he wants to watch more than five minutes of a show. I would love to have this be a once a month thing. On a Friday night, we'd all put on our pajamas, and watch a movie while we eat pizza and popcorn together.
Whatever your stage in life, find a way to spend time together as a family regularly. I know that I never appreciated that time growing up, but now I look forward to Sunday nights when we get together with both of our families, especially the weekends when all of my siblings are home for dinner. If you have younger kids who don't have many extracurricular commitments, you may be able to do something together every single night after dinner. If your kids are older, it may only be once a week that you're all able to be home together, and that day of the week may shift depending on what is going on. After your kids are moved out and have families of their own, make it a habit to get everyone together at least once a month, if not more often. You will never regret the time that you spend together.
What are some of the fun activities that you do together as a family?