Keeping the kids entertained is a key part of being a parent. You probably spend more hours than you’d like wondering what to do that’s different enough to hold their attention and yet won’t cost the earth. As a parent, too, you want to spend time with your children doing things that you don’t usually do and making memories. So, with that in mind, we’ve created a list of the top 10 family activities that you can do in order to make those memories and keep the kids happy at the same time.
1. Take a Train RideSome families will be lucky enough to live near a model railway or even a steam railway. These are fantastic treats for children who don’t often get to experience them. However, even if you don’t live near a railway attraction, why not simply pack up the kids and take them on a train ride into the country and back? You can even combine it with the next idea.
2. Plan a PicnicYes, we know – kids might not be enamoured by the idea of going on a picnic, especially when they could be at home playing on their iPads or similar. So, make sure you involve them in the process. Get them helping to make sandwiches or bake cakes to take with you. Ask what toys they’d like to take with them and make it a real family day out.
3. Go On a Bike RideIf your children have reached the age where they can ride their bikes independently, that’s great. If not, bike riding doesn’t have to be out of the equation. At country parks and venues across the country, you can hire bike trailers or sidecars which allow parents to do the peddling while the children sit back and enjoy the view. It’s good exercise if nothing else! Check out some of the best places for a bike ride in the UK.
4. Write Your Family TreeOn rainy days, you might despair of finding something you can do as a family that doesn’t revolve around the television, but what about getting your child interested in their own heritage? Clear the table and sit down as a family with boxes of old photographs and a large piece of paper. If your child’s old enough to write, let them create the family tree and help them develop a sense of where they came from. Plus, they’ll always laugh at the names of their great grandparents – it’s almost guaranteed!
5. Practice StargazingThis one is ideal for those dark nights in autumn and winter where the skies darken early and the kids can’t play outside. Get in the car on a clear night and drive to a place where the light pollution is minimal. Take with you a basic guide to constellations if you’re unfamiliar with them (you can easily find one on the internet) and help your children join the dots. Give yourself a head start and find out more about stargazing and the night sky.
6. Plant Some SeedsChildren adore watching something grow, especially when it’s something they’ve had a hand in creating. So, why not harness this and plant some seeds together as a family? You can keep them watered over the months then transfer them elsewhere when necessary. You’d be surprised how many times the kids will check on them to see how they’re doing.
7. Have a Family Water FightSome parents might recoil from horror at this, but hear us out! It’s a fact that children like getting messy and having fun outdoors. Instead of being the parent who always tells them to stop, why not go outside with them and get into a water battle? You might need a few towels afterwards, but showing your fun side builds plenty of bonds.
8. Go Skating TogetherThis one can be adapted for the time of year. In summer, you can go roller-skating and, in winter, that can turn into ice-skating. Whatever time of year you pick, a big part of this one is making sure that you all skate together. Don’t be one of those parents stood on the sidelines cheering on your children as they manage to stay upright. Instead, slip your skates on and wobble around there with them. It’s sure to bring you closer together.
9. Have a Family Game NightWhether you’re a board game family or the kind who like to battle it out on the Xbox, harness that fun streak and play games together. Too often, children play on their own and it feels as though it’s an activity remote from the rest of the family. If parents get involved too, it suddenly becomes a family occasion. Make it a regular thing – especially when they start beating you! If you need some inspiration, take a look at this list of 20 fun family games for younger children.
10. Read Together
Fostering a love of reading will be something that helps your children throughout their life, but it’s not always easy. Some kids struggle to read, especially when they’re expected to read alone. So, start with a book that you don’t know the plot of and read it together. This is the perfect quiet activity for a rainy day or for that sick day when you want your child to be entertained but they’re too ill to do anything else. You’ll not only be helping them learn to love reading, you might also find a good story to entertain you too!
The Skratkz 101 Things To Do With The Family Scratch Poster is an excellent way of finding new things to do with the family. Every time you complete a family activity, you scratch it from the poster and the whole thing becomes more colourful as you go along. The ideas range from free and simple through to challenging, so what are you waiting for?