We almost didn’t do it. We almost didn’t make our children go with us to a museum recently…but I’m so glad we did!
Our local art museum was hosting an exhibit of some amazing paintings—Monets, Renoirs, Singer Sargeants—and it was “pay-as-you-will” night. I knew I wanted my children to see these world-class paintings, so I enthusiastically laid out the outing before them.
“Hey guys, we’re going to go downtown to the park and grab a bite to eat. And then we’re going to pop into the museum for an art exhibit.”
It didn’t go over too well. It was a Friday evening and the kids were tired from school and ready to chill out with a movie and pizza.
“Mom! That will be boring! Those are the kind of paintings only 100-year-olds have in their houses!” Extremely fortunate hundred-year-olds, I wanted to say.
My husband drew me aside. “You know, maybe we should just let them skip it and you and I can go,” he said.
But we forged ahead, and it worked out great. The children actually enjoyed the experience. We moved through the exhibit at a child’s pace—quickly. And we finished it off with gelato in the museum café and an hour outside playing in the park. Sometimes, you just gotta’ force talk your kids into what’s good for them. Here are 4 family activity ideas you should make your kids do.
1. Cultural Adventure.
The key here is to make your cultural outing an adventure. So if you’re taking your children to a museum, make the gift shop sound like the most exciting place on earth. If it’s a night at the symphony, take them for ice cream before, and promise them even more ice cream afterward.
2. Neighborhood Outreach.
We have some great elderly neighbors. They love my children, and they love it when we bring them little treats. So, every once in a while, I tell the kids we’re going to deliver goodies as a family.
“Mom, can’t you take the stuff?” Nope. We all walk over. I let them knock on the door and present the treats. Afterward, we do something else together — like walk to the coffee shop or go for a bike ride.
3. Electronics-Free Road Trip.
This family activity idea might be less appealing to you than to your children! But the next time you hop in the car for a road trip, forgo the electronics—for at least part of the time. To prepare for this activity, pack some old school car games (here are 10 road trip games to get you started), and make it a family time by having Dad play too. Shoot for just half an hour.
Think your kids could make it even longer without their electronics? Here’s how to have a NOEL Day (No Electronics Day).
4. Game Zone.
My kids really do like to play board games (here are some board game ideas by age); but, when I bring up the idea, they moan and groan. Once we get going, we all have fun. So plan a game night where everyone gets to choose their favorite games. Play an abbreviated version of each. Have some food favorites and make your finale a video game competition. Keep the mood light with some riddles.
The point of all of these ideas isn’t to make our kids miserable, it’s to engage them and to expose them to situations and ideas that are good for them. So even if they say, “No way!” Press on! And as a bonus, here are 20 Ideas for a Family Fun Night.
What family activities do you make your kids do?