“I’m bored”, “Can we go outside?” and “Are we there yet?” are some of the most common phrases that parents will hear from their kids. This is especially annoying when uttered on a predictably regular basis when you’re going for a long drive, when the kids are stuck inside the house because of a snowstorm, or if there simply isn’t much to do during a lazy day.
So what should poor, harangued parents do? It’s all about thinking of activities that both you and your kids will enjoy. Not only will such activities keep you from getting a barrage of questions, but they can also serve as a form of bonding for parents and kids.
The Importance of Playing with Your Child
Before listing down the top ten activities that parents can do with their kids, let us first take a look at the importance of playtime.
Children typically complain that all their parents do is say no, especially when they ask permission to do fun activities. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong in saying no when the situation asks for it, there should be that balance between disciplining and having fun with your kids.
Childhood is that stage in their lives when kids should have plenty of fun memories to cherish when they grow into adults, and parents play a huge part in creating these wonderful moments.
If you’re a parent, what is the importance of playing with your child and how can you make such moments more memorable for him or her?
Since parents spend a lot of time correcting kids for their behavior, playing with them lets them know that you are a friend instead of an enemy. Playtime also means that good behavior is rewarded, and that the love is always there.
Those who are raising their first child may not really be sure about how to become a light hearted parent who’s prepared to spend plenty of playful moments with their kids, so here are a few tips. First, be observant or directly ask your child about the activities he or she enjoys.
If you know that your daughter loves softball, learn about the sport and spend some time coaching her or simply being with her during practice or games.It would help a lot if you will loosen up and allow the inner child in you to come out time during playtime. This is especially true if you have toddlers.
Being playful with your kids; hugging them a lot; talking and listening to them; and offering encouragement are some of the ways that you can become a more light-hearted parent even outside of those family bonding activities.
Top 10 Activities for Kids and Parents
Now, what are the top ten family bonding activities for kids and their parents? Take a look:
1. Board Games
Perfect for: When kids are stuck inside the house during rains or snowstorms
Instead of letting each kid play with their laptops, tablet computers or mobile phones, bring out all the board games that you have and make a night out of it. If you all cannot go out because you got snowed in or it’s raining, make some hot chocolate, popcorn or other munchies and play board games.
Some of the most popular are Risk, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Othello, scrabble, backgammon, checkers or chess.
2. Camping Olympics
Perfect for: Camping trips
If you’re in a camping trip or your annual summer family bonding activity, organize a fun camping Olympics day. Events like long jump can be done on the beach along with swimming competitions.
You can also play tug of war, relay and other outdoor-friendly games. Keep the tone light hearted and make sure that there is something for everyone to participate in. Create prizes and harmless consequences for the winning and losing teams.
3. Crafts Making
Perfect for: Any day
Even during school breaks, you should make it a point to gather the kids around and mimic a classroom environment. This is especially true for kids who are just about to go to school. Playing with their siblings and cousins will help develop their social skills.
As a family, you can do the same thing and turn crafts making into a bonding activity. Put together kits which have glue, a pair of scissors, markers, pens, color pencil, sketch pads and draw pictures or make collages.
If you love snapping pictures from your Instax camera, you can create an album or scrapbook out of that. You can even incorporate drawings, pictures or glue in pine cones, shells or small leaves into your craft project.
Perfect for: Camping trips, warm days during school break
If you’re going camping or if you know of a place where there are family-friendly biking trails, cycling makes for the perfect family bonding activity. You don’t even have to go out of the city – there should be designated bike lanes near where you live where you and the kids can cycle and enjoy the outdoors.
5. Cloud Watching
Perfect for: Camping trips, summer outings
If you’re going on a picnic, camping trip, swimming, canoeing or similar activities done during clear, sunny days, cloud watching makes for the perfect family bonding activity. Spread out a blanket in a shady spot and stare up at the sky.
Make a game out of coming up with objects from cloud formations. Your little energetic kids might even sneak in a nap during or after your cloud watching activity.
6. Family Relay
Perfect for: Summer
Don’t hesitate to sign up for family relays, super sprint triathlons or similar family competitions in your area. Most of these events cover minimal distances, like 200-meter swim, a 5-kilometer bike ride or a 2- or 3-kilometer run.
Family relays and similar activities will bring out the competitor in your kids, just make sure that you are all properly warmed up for it. Leading to the event, you can even turn practice into a family bonding activity.
Perfect for: Summer, spring or fall season
When you tell your kids that you are all going for a walk or a hike as a family, you might get that I’d-rather-stay-in-bed look, but don’t budge. Not only is walking or hiking the perfect family bonding activity, but it will help with the kids’ and your health as well.
Look for walking or hiking trails near your area where you can commune with nature. Summer will get those sweats out, spring or fall brings in lovely colors which will make your family outing even more of a visual treat.
8. Puzzle Exercises
Perfect for: Any day
Suitable as a family bonding activity for any day, puzzle exercises are fun and helps exercise the minds of your kids. Puzzles help exercise the problem-solving muscles in your kids’ brains.
You can download puzzles off the Internet or purchase one of those booklets which have lots of fun puzzles that they can solve.
You can also create it yourself by cutting out the pieces onto a piece of cardboard after printing a puzzle. You can also turn this into a competition by having the first one to solve the puzzle earn a prize.
You can even take a cue from apps that you can download on tablet computers – just make sure that everyone gets to participate instead of having each kid absorbed in his or her own screen.
9. Scavenger Hunt
Perfect for: Easter, lazy days inside the house
Easter egg hunt during Easter Sunday, scavenger hunt during birthday or Halloween parties – this is an activity that the whole family will enjoy. Kids will especially love the scavenger hunting activities that you will organize for them.
Gather the kids around and have them collect items like pine cones, leaves, colorful rocks – along with tools like compasses, maps or watches. Turn it into a friendly competition by dividing the kids into two teams, and you have a fun game that everyone will have a blast with.
Perfect for: Pre-sleeping ritual
Finally, storytelling is an excellent pre-sleeping ritual that you can do with your kids. Make it a point to have the mom, dad or both tuck in the little ones and tell them a nice story before they go to sleep.
It’s activities like these that will tug at the heartstrings of your little ones once they grow up, and it will be the same thing that they will do for their own kids once they start having families of their own.
When looking for family bonding activities, make sure that they are things that the entire family will enjoy. Even if siblings come from the same set of genes, they do have different personalities, talents and interests. It is when you’re doing activities like these that your bond as a family will get tighter. You can also have plenty of fun in the process, the memories of which you will all take with you as you go about your future journeys in life.