10 ways to bring your family together
Bring your brood back together with these 10 ideas that are fun for the whole family.
We all spend too much time running between work, school, kids’ activities and appointments – sometimes at the expense of doing things together as a family.
Although divide and conquer is the mantra of the modern day parent, it’s also important to make time to spend with your family as a whole.
Whether it’s staying home, going out or making household chores more appealing, we’ve got a list of 10 inspired ideas to help keep kids, teens and adults entertained and engaged without breaking the budget.
Research shows families who play together stay together. Host a family game night with rewards and prizes for Most Valuable Player, Most Improved or Best Team Player. Weather (and daylight) permitting, take it outside for a family ping-pong tournament or set up a net in the backyard for volleyball and badminton. If indoor activities are more your thing, play a game of Uno, Pictionary, charades. If your kids love gaming – Xbox or PlayStation – try playing with them on their consoles. Kids of all ages love it when adults show an interest in what matters to them – even if that means learning about the complexities of Minecraft or Clash of Clans.
Theme your dinners
Although eating together as a family every night is ideal, in today’s world with everyone’s various commitments it isn’t always realistic. Instead, choose one night a week when everyone is home and make it special occasion. Choose a theme and get everyone involved in menu planning, decorating and cooking. Try Italian pizzeria (who doesn’t love homemade pizza?), Mexican fiesta (where tacos and fajitas reign supreme) or Japanese sushi train (with green tea ice cream for dessert).
Pick a project
Learning through shared experience is a great way to build and strengthen bonds of love and friendship, so try tackling a family project together. This might be creating a mosaic for the back fence, building and maintaining a vegie patch, researching your family tree or doing a 1000 piece puzzle. Divvy up the tasks and responsibilities of your chosen project and give each member of the family a specific role, so everyone has a chance to shine.
Make fitness fun
Being active together is a great way to spend time with your family. Not only will you be creating those feel-good endorphins, but you’re helping your kids develop healthy habits that last a lifetime. Choose an activity that suits all ages. If your kids are under ten, you might look for a family yoga class or plan a bike ride. If your kids are older, you could try rock climbing or plan a hike on a National Park trail. Some Lendlease communities even have dedicated exercise tracks and bike paths. Visit the Communities pages to check them out.
Give back to your community and spend time together by volunteering for a cause you believe in. Talk to your local public school and see what kind of help they need – sometimes they need people to assist with weeding or watering the school grounds on weekends. Or visit your community centre to see what up-coming events are planned. You could get involved with clean-up days, working bees or planning for a community event. If you live in a Lendlease community visit our Communities pages or check in with your local municipal council for more information.
Take a class
It’s never too late (or too early) to learn something new and taking a class is a great way to ensure you dedicate time to your new hobby and family. The kind of class you take will depend on the age of your kids, but teens especially enjoy spending time with their parents in a new environment where everyone is learning. Check out your local community centre, library or art galleries and see what’s on offer. You could find classes on pottery, print making, drawing, writing, cooking, gardening, zumba or painting, just to name a few. Trying a one-off class might be more cost-effective and will mean that everyone in the family can choose a class that appeals to them.
That’s my team
Saturday and Sunday kids’ sports are seasonal staples for most Aussie families – so take the opportunity to support each other, as a family and go along and cheer from the sidelines. If your kids’ sporting schedules clash, make the time to get together after the game. Over lunch or a snack each child can talk about their game and what happened – highlights and low lights are all worth a mention. Make the focus on encouragement and effort rather than winning or losing.
Create a family bucket list
Give your kids the opportunity to help plan outings and trips by creating a family bucket list. Make sure you’re clear about any limitations or restrictions that may apply – if you can’t afford to go to Disneyland, it’s a good idea to point that out from the get-go! Then sit down together and work out what you want to do. If funds are needed, every little bit helps so put out a coin jar for spare change to encourage the whole family to contribute. Write your bucket list down and display it in a prominent location, like on the fridge, to help keep your family goals front of mind. Some items on the list might be visiting the zoo, camping under the stars or seeing a movie in Gold class!
Have a wifi free day
We all spend so much time online, it’s a good idea to schedule some time at home without social media. Shut down the wifi, play some music and enjoy each other’s company. You can read books, bake a cake, weed the garden or clean out the kid’s wardrobes. Top it off by watching a family movie you’ll all enjoy. If a whole day is too long to forgo the wifi, start with just a few hours and see how you go. Whatever you do, just take time to be together in the same room and enjoy each other’s conversation.
Embrace the outdoors
Keep Vitamin D levels up, boredom down and family time front of mind by embracing the great outdoors. It’s not only good for your health and happiness to get some sunshine everyday, it’s a fantastic way to schedule in some sure-fire family fun without breaking the bank. Head to the beach, have a picnic, fly a kite and remember: family really is the greatest gift of all.