Every child's mind is a storehouse of memories. Carving out some time each day to have fun as a family will increase the chances that those memories are good ones. All you need is a can-do attitude. Use these ideas to jump-start some family fun at your house.
Add (good) drama to your life
- Have a family awards night. Give personalized awards for silly categories such as Fastest Dish Washer, Best Animal Imitator and Quickest to Answer Phone.
- Play charades and act out the titles of books or films your children know.
Get in touch with your inner artist
- Create toothpick architecture: Roll modeling clay into tiny beads, about one-quarter inch in diameter. Use the beads as corner joints for holding toothpicks in place. Build anything you like (houses, space stations, etc.) and then take a picture of your creation.
- Make original screensavers for your computer from the piles of artwork your child brings home and doesn't want to part with. Work together scanning each masterpiece into your computer and pick a different work of art each week to be your screensaver.
- Make music with bottles. Line up an assortment of empty bottles in various sizes and shapes, add water and blow gently across the top. By adding or pouring out water, you can change the pitch. See if family members can name that tune!
- Draw funny faces on the bottom of each other's feet with washable markers.
Make finding fun
- Go on a scavenger hunt at a zoo or local museum. Make a list of animals or exhibits and reward yourselves when you identify all items on the list.
- Turn an ordinary neighborhood walk into an alphabet hunt. In alphabetical order, try to spot things that start with the letter you're looking for.
- Hide a young child's stuffed animals around the house. Turn off all the lights and use a flashlight to go on a safari to "capture" the animals.
Make your own fun
- Have sock wars. Clear a room of breakable items, then make "ammunition" by rolling socks into balls. Divide into two teams; decide on boundary lines and start throwing. Play the theme music from Star Wars to enhance battle fun.
- Make up a family trivia game. Questions could include: Where did Mom and Dad go on their first date? What was your child's first word? When is your pet's birthday? What is each family member's favorite food or movie?
- Create crazy putty: In a bowl, combine one-half cup white glue and one-quarter cup liquid starch. Stir until blended, then knead a couple of minutes with your hands until smooth. Stretch it like taffy, roll into bouncy balls or press putty on the Sunday comics and see what happens.
Have fun with food
- Use toothpicks to roast miniature marshmallows over candlelight.
- Invent a new flavor of ice cream. Begin with a plain flavor and add fruit, nuts, crumbled candy bars, crushed cookies or peanut butter. Give your creation a crazy name.
- Keep a picnic basket and cooler easily accessible for impromptu outings.
Enjoy the great outdoors
- Camp out in your backyard. Lie on blankets and watch for shooting stars. Listen for nocturnal animals.
- Get up early one Saturday, watch the sun rise and cook breakfast at a park.
- Buy a tree-identification book, or check out one at the library. Go on an outing and identify the trees in your area.
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