Strengthening your family bond doesn’t have to be difficult. There are fun activities that can create many happy memories, help you get to know each other better, and let you experience the world in new ways.
To help you along, we’ve produced a list of 25 fun things to do with family members so you can easily find out a little bit more about each other.
1. Get Some Board Games
Traditional, sure, and maybe even a little out of place in an era of smartphones and games consoles. But board games such as Monopoly, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit offer a different type of socialising.
Get yourself a few and set a game night so you can set some happy memories.
2. Have a Picnic
Heading out into the fresh air to enjoy a picnic is something of a lost art. Although the occasional wasp might be an issue, there’s still the sense of serenity and a chance to catch up over some homemade foodstuffs.
3. Get a Family Pet
You may already have a cat or a dog, but how about adding a new member to your family?
Pets make for a great talking point and you can get a lot of happiness from simply watching animals can be a special experience.
4. Read Together
Reading is essential for personal development. It provides mental stimulation, stress relief, memory improvement, and vocabulary improvement.
It’s also fantastic for bonding – reading a story to your kids each evening is a popular family pastime that can create many positive memories.
Here’re 30 unforgettable kids books you can consider.
5. Take Up Crafts
We have you covered for these as well, with 30 awesome DIY projects you can try at home.
Crafts are a brilliant way to express creativity. But as you have to work as a team, it’s a great chance for families to enjoy making something together.
6. Take Up Your Children’s Hobbies
Whether they play video games or read book series you would normally avoid at all costs, being aware of your children’s hobbies can have many benefits.
From conversation points to understanding what sort of culture your child likes, you can then direct them to other things.
Plus, it makes buying them birthday and Christmas presents a touch easier if you know their hobbies.
7. Set a Movie Night
Most people love films (I’ve only ever met one person who doesn’t). The magic of cinema can unite people in unexpected ways.
So set yourself a movie night, get some popcorn ready, and take a tour through the classics (or latest releases). It’s kind of the reason why Netflix was invented.
Check your local community and offer to chip in where possible. There may be a cat shelter in need of staff, a local park looking for helpers, or a race track looking for marshals.
You never know what it could involve, but it’ll off endearing new experiences all the same.
9. Bake Food
Baking is fantastic fun and highly rewarding. As a family activity, it’s a character building, entertaining, and skilful practice.
Try out some new recipes and work together as a team – get your baking perfected and then head on to a new recipe. Here are 40 mind-blowing baking hacks to help you along.
10. Build a Blanket Fort
Perhaps try this one with your movie or reading night. But building a blanket fort is great fun – no matter how daft it seems. Calming, cosy, and quiet, you’ve got a great chance to chat or enjoy some culture together as a family.
Plus, it’ll show your kids adults aren’t ultra-serious sticks in the mud at all times.
Here’s how to build a blanket fort:
11. Go For a Walk
It could be a walk around your local community or a trip to the countryside.
Either way, walking has many health benefits – weight loss, better cardiovascular and pulmonary (that’s heart and lung) fitness, meditative purposes, you get to see some sights; and all the while providing you with the ideal chance to chat with your family members (and walk the pet dog, if you have one).
12. Pick a New Holiday Destination
Liven up your holiday routine with a trip to somewhere new. It can be tempting to fall into a generic pattern of choosing the places you’re familiar with.
But shaking up your next trip abroad with a new destination can revitalize your routine and provide your family with an exciting new environment to explore.
13. Visit Your Grandparents
Having a lazy weekend? Visit your grandparents. It’s a chance for your kids to learn about their lives and heritage.
Surely this ranks as one of the leading things to do with the family – a chance to bond across multiple generations!
14. Have a Dinner Party
Get your family friends around for a dinner party. Socializing is a great way for your kids to make new friends, which can lead to new social opportunities in the future.
Whilst it’s great getting to see your kids flourish, you can also be an active part in their developing personal life.
15. Get Artistic
Bring out your family’s creative side. Buy some plain white paper, some coloring pencils, and challenge each other to create something spectacular.
You can provide feedback, support, tips, and could start a blog documenting your efforts to connect with the wider world.
16. Teach Others Your Skills
What are you good at? Can you juggle? Are you still proud of that Super Mario Kart track record, but your SNES is in the attic? Are you a brilliant knitter looking to pass on your skill set?
Well, there’s nothing stopping you from (at least trying) to get your family interested.
Having a shared passion is a great way to spend some fun, quality, productive time together.
17. Learn Something New Together
Of course, you can also learn a new skill entirely. Thinking of the future, you may want to learn the basics of web coding. Or you could start blogging on a platform like WordPress, take up photography, or learn a new sport together.
There are also sites like Udemy where you can learn a huge variety of topics at your own pace. Whilst great for family bonding, it can also set your kids up with some essential new skills.
18. Go Camping
Kids more used to their gadgets may need some convincing, but a camping trip is essential.
It’s almost a rites of passage for any family – a trip into the wilderness to set up camp, cook around a fire, and enjoy some rural sights. It’s relaxing, fun, and a great chance for your kids to get away from a blue screen for a while.
19. Try glamping
If camping seems too primitive, try glamping. It’s glamorous camping. You can have all of your creature comforts around, but enjoy the great outdoors simultaneously.
Some glamping hotspots offer tempting venues, so have a scour around online to find the right match for you.
20. Keep a scrapbook
Store your family memories in one of these! You can buy some beautiful scrapbooks online that are just waiting for you to fill them with memories.
You could update it one a week as a family, but looking back and reminiscing is also a memorable bonding activity.
Take a look at this example:
21. Build a garden
Gardening is relaxing, rewarding, and teaches your kids about the natural world.
Sow the land, work hard to create a living garden, and keep tabs of your progress in a diary (or, again, a blog).
You can add to the experience by maintaining (even building!) birdhouses. Attracting some local wildlife to watch is educational and also great fun.
22. Play I Spy
There’s something weirdly compelling about this game. From my experiences as a kid, it was always brilliant for long car journeys. Staring down at my Game Boy wasn’t always desirable.
Simply think of something you can see, then your family can gradually work their way towards working out what it is. Again, fantastic for long car journeys.
23. Perfect Some Healthy Snacks
Moving on from #9 (baking) above, it’s not always the healthiest food to eat. Why not learn a few nutritious snack recipes as well? Popcorn is a great example.
Here are 15 of them you should always have at home (make it 16 now that you know to remember the popcorn option).
24. Create a Time Capsule
Put together a time capsule to hide away for the future. You can throw together some memorable items from your life now (perhaps not your iPhone, though) and put them in an airtight capsule.
You can then plan to revisit it in a decade and see what memories it can throw up for you. Opening it can throw up some powerful emotions.
Memories pay a big part in family life, so this can be something to cherish further ahead in time.
25. Dress Up
Last of all… why not? Pick a theme for the weekend and spend your day waltzing around as a dashing pirate, vicious Viking, go for Victorian era wigs, or as a celebrity of your choice.
There’s no real purpose to this other than to have a few giggles, although you could add some pictures to your scrapbook for safekeeping.
At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.
Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.
One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.
When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.
So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.
Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day
This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.
Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.
When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.
Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity
One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.
Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.
An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.
When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.
Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day
Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.
We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.
By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.
Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment
While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.
I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.
You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.
Con #1: We Move a Lot Less
When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.
Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.
Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.
Con #2: Less Human Interaction
One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.
Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.
This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.
While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.
Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment
Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.
This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.
For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.
Con #4: Unique Distractions
Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.
For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.
To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.
Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.
We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.