How do you build stronger family relationships? There is no better solution than copious amounts of time together. In that spirit, we want to share some ideas of how you can start the building process in exciting and fulfilling ways. As an extra bonus, we’ve made an effort to make all the activities low or no cost. So, go ahead! Feel free to put big smiles on the faces of your beautiful children this weekend!
Festivals are awesome. You can find at least one of them on any given weekend. There are art festivals, flap-jack festivals, BBQ competitions and small town carnivals. The possibilities are virtually endless. Admission is almost always free, but be prepared and aware that there are a host of vendors offering their wares. Make festivals a family ritual!
2. Hunting With the Cam
Family photos can be treasured for generations. But you can do more with all that photographic and video equipment you spent so much money on. Take the family out on a photo hunt this weekend! Seek out unique sights, beautiful examples of nature and wildlife to photograph. Too often we live our lives in small boxes and forget to open our eyes to everything going on around us. This exercise develops “vision” in your child, and the world is desperate for visionaries.
3. Family Debate
This is a unique idea with many benefits. Debating is one of the oldest “sports” known to man. Choose family matters that cause friction in your home life, such as how much bathroom time should each family member be allowed? Come up with two distinct answers and then split up into teams to debate the merits of each. Remember to lay down some clearly defined ground rules before you begin. You can have Mom serve as the judge that decides which side wins the debate. When you get a little braver you can even try taking turns at being the judge. Families who can discuss issues and learn to come to resolutions are strong families.
4. Holiday Events
No matter the season, there’s always a holiday lurking around the corner. With just a little research, you’ll find that there are local events to celebrate whichever one is next. Just like the festivals, they are almost always free to attend. So get out there and celebrate our culture!
5. Classic Movies
This may have a little bit in initial investment if you don’t already have a collection. Family movie nights at home are always a great plan, but add a new twist to the fun. Timeless classics such as The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz never fail to amaze both young and old. How about Old Yeller or Chitty-Chitty, Bang-Bang? So many classics that your children will love. These movies will also give them a more well-rounded perspective outside of their current television comfort zone. Before you go out to purchase a new movie, scan your DVR to see what classics are airing that you could record for free.
6. Serve Your Fellow Man
When times are hard, we need to step up and reach out to help our neighbors and communities. One of the best lessons you can teach your child is to serve their fellow man. There are ample opportunities to volunteer and help in local homeless shelters, shoreline restoration, roadside trash collecting, children’s home visits or services provided to the sick and elderly. The needs are many and the volunteers are few. This truly is something remarkable to do this weekend.
7. Neighborhood Block Party
One really fun way to work on both family time and social relationships is to invite the neighbors on your street to a good old fashioned block party. No need for a lot of expense. Have the men drag their grills out into the street. Cook up the meat stored in the freezer and everyone brings a side dish. Before you know it a huge feast is breaking out and smiles abound. Moms are sitting in lawn chairs and dishing on everything under the sun. Dads are huddled around smoky grills and talking about the big game. Children are running through the yard playing and laughing. These moments build strong bonds between neighbors and provide lifelong memories for your kids.
8. Breakfast of Champions
Hold a surprise “breakfast of champions” this weekend. Get up extra early and make a hearty, delicious meal for your whole family. If cooking isn’t your thing, run out to the local breakfast spot and get take out. At each family member’s chair, leave a card waiting for them to open telling them the top ten things you love most about them. Tell them why they are a family champion! This event can’t miss because it fills the belly and the heart at the same time. We all need to hear good things from the people we love the most.
9. The Local Fresh Market
On Saturday mornings all across the country local fresh markets spring to life. Tents are erected. Music is played. Artists display their creations. Fresh fruit and vegetables glisten in the early morning sun. It’s a magical setting. Gather up the family this weekend and hit the local fresh market. Use a little of your grocery budget to buy the fresh, giant strawberries you found. The gorgeous, yellow squash will most likely be too hard to pass up. You’ll get more for your dollar and the produce is so much better. Your children will absolutely love exploring the market and being out in the fresh, morning air with Mom and Dad.
10. Family Competition
Sports and competitions teach us many things—teamwork, sportsmanship and cooperation—in their purest forms. Grab the football, the basketball, the baseball or the soccer ball. Mount the bikes and map out a race course. Maybe have a good, old fashioned foot race. Whatever sporting activity your family loves to do can be made a friendly family competition. Create rewards for both the winners and losers so all come out happy. Just get out there and create those special memories this weekend and have fun!