No matter how old our kids are they still want to have our time and attention. Shared experiences are a powerful way to bond together. For me, it brought out a sense of joy, laughter, and childlikeness when I let go of my adult responsibilities for a little while and joined my kids in activities on their level. It reminded me that life shouldn’t always be about getting things accomplished. Life should also be about discovery, adventure, and connection.
Quality time together doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, it just needs to be intentional and fun.
1. Go for a discovery walk.
Take a stroll around the neighborhood or local park to search for signs of life. Make a pact together that you won’t return home until you find 15 different living creatures.
2. Play on the playground equipment with them at the park.
It’s so much more fun for kids to play at the playground when you are playing too. You don’t have to do it every time you go to the park, just sometimes. I actually found it to be fun to go down the slide and climb all over the jungle gym with my kids. But my favorite was the swings. My kids talked about those times for days afterward.
3. Act out scenes from a favorite movie.
When I was a kid my family went to see a little-known movie called Against a Crooked Sky. My sisters and I loved that movie. For days afterward we reenacted scenes from that movie. Your kids will love doing that with you too.
4. Visit a museum.
When my kids were young we lived 250 miles from any city larger than 3000 people. I felt it was especially important for my kids to have a variety of experiences when we did leave our small town. Visiting museums and places of historical relevance were priorities I made. And my kids love learning about history to this day as adults.
5. Camp in the living room.
One summer my family decided to go to Death Valley for Spring Break to escape the cold and snow of our high desert hometown. Little did we know that spring in Death Valley is when the violent winds blow. We left after the first night but we weren’t ready to abandon our fun. So we set up all of our camping gear in our living room and roasted marshmallows in the wood stove. We had a blast!
6. Play make-believe.
All kids love make-believe. Let them choose the storyline and play along. Put on costumes and speak in silly voices.
7. Go star gazing.
Put a blanket in the backyard and look up at the stars together. Learn the constellations and find them in the night sky. If the city lights block them from view take a drive to the edge of town and find a good place to see them.
8. Read to them your favorite childhood book.
I read a chapter a night to my kids from The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B.White. I got to experience them hearing the story for the first time. And they got to share something special with me.
9. Do a project together.
Whether it’s a craft project, fixing an old bicycle, gardening, painting, or some other project, building it together will bond you and create something you can both take pride in.
10. Take turns making up stories.
Around the campfire, we had a tradition of making up stories. My youngest had two sisters who were five and six years older than her so she was more challenged in making it interesting. At her first try, she began with, “One night…..there was a wolf…..” I can’t remember the rest of the story but it became her introduction to all campfire stories to this day.
Tell us! What is your favorite way to spend time together with your family?