Welcome to 31 Days of Family Fun!
This blog post is the beginning of a month long series. It’s part of a blog hop of sorts – many different bloggers are taking part, presenting a variety of topics in a 31 day series. To check out the other 715 (wow!) participants, go here: http://www.thenester.com/2011/09/31-days-participants.html Oh and while you’re here, if you like what you see, I’d love for you to become a follower/subscriber of my blog!
I often hear people complaining that they can’t have fun with their kids because it’s just not in the budget. Or they just don’t have the time. Well, I’m a single mom and our budget was often very tight. I was a busy elementary school teacher with a daughter in a school for the arts, so there were many time constraints what with extra curricular activities, volunteer and community work. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to spend a lot (or any!) money or a lot of time to have fun as a family. That’s why I chose this topic as my focus for this series. My daughter and I created a lot of great memories together, sharing in wonderful family traditions and activities, and I’d love to share these with all of you.
I think it’s important, when considering family fun, to consider these FIVE key points:
1. Build fun into every day.
Sure, a trip to Disney World is going to be jam-packed with fun but realistically, we can’t visit there every day. What we can do is to bring some fun into our daily activities. Walk home from school or soccer practice instead of driving and take the long way so you can feed the ducks in the park as you go. Just pack a little baggie of stale bread or crackers and take five minutes to giggle at the ducks as they waddle by.
Open up a bottle of bubbles at bath time and have fun blowing bubbles while getting clean. The bonus is that the bubbles are also contained in an area that’s easily cleaned up too! Homemade bubble recipe Or play with soap crayons during the bath – write messages to each other, play Hangman or tic-tac-toe, or draw pictures together. Homemade soap crayons
Create a special bedtime routine – along with storytime, maybe you’ll have a special song that you sing together. I used to take well known songs and add my daughter’s name to them – she would grin and giggle with delight. Or we’d make up stories together – often starting a story one night and then continuing them for weeks.
Take the drudgery out of chores – give your child their own list for the grocery store (with pictures if they can’t yet read). Our grocery stores often have kid sized carts as well. Giving my daughter her own little list to shop for as well as a cart kept her focused and made it more like a treasure hunt than work. And, I would try to make at least one of the things on the list something that was a special treat for her (strawberries or watermelon or something like that – it doesn’t have to be unhealthy!).
Think about a typical day for your family. Where is there a spot that you could interject a little fun? Don’t make it too complicated – do something that is kind of double duty already (you have to sit there and supervise a little one’s bath anyway – you might as well play games or read to them or something at the same time right?) or just a quickie – like a funny word or phrase that you say every day when you drop them off at school or greeting them with a knock knock joke every time they come home from school or a silly handshake/high five kind of thing that you can do whenever they finish their homework. Believe me, a little bit of fun goes a long way!
2. Break the “rules” sometimes.
Serve dessert before dinner once in a while. Sleep in sleeping bags on the living room floor (we used to love doing this on Christmas Eve under the lights of the Christmas tree). Let them try on your special jewelry or clothes or shoes.
Make a weekend full moon tradition – every time a full moon hits on a weekend in the summer, take them out for ice cream; in the winter, take them out for hot chocolate….in their pajamas even!
Make a “Fifth Friday” tradition – any time there are 5 Fridays in a month, on the fifth one, let them stay up late to watch a favourite movie or to continue playing a family game.
3. Do something spontaneous.
Ok so maybe it’s something YOU planned ahead of time but don’t tell the kids about it. Surprise them and make them think it was just a spur of the moment idea. Trust me. They’ll think you’re the coolest parent ever.
You could even, I know this is a shocking idea, REALLY do something spontaneous – follow your kids’ lead. If they’re tugging on your shirt trying to get your attention because they want you to play cars with them, ask yourself, why not? And then, if possible, do it!
Flickr, Holger Zscheyge
4. Get to know your kids better and let them get to know you. When playing with your kids, take direction from them on how they like to play – really listen to them with your full and focused attention.
Show your kids your silly side. Was there something goofy you used to do when you were a kid? Share it with them! Share your hobbies and interests with them – you might just find one you can share! But, remember, if they’re not interested in something you are, just move on to something else. Forced participation creates resentment, not fun.
5. It sounds trite, but remember that tomorrow is another day. Today was a wash-out in terms of fun? Don’t beat yourself up over it. We all have bad days and there’s no need to dwell on them. My daughter’s 23 now and those occasional bad days aren’t what she remembers. But the silly little “I love you more” game that we played every night at bedtime? Well, now she plays it with her boyfriend and one day I’m quite certain she’ll play it with her own kids. Those are the memories she holds onto.
Here is a list of the rest of the posts in the 31 Days of Family Fun Series”
Day Two: Seasonal Fun: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/31-days-of-family-fun-seasonal-fun/
Day Three: Tea Time: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/31-days-of-family-fun-tea-time/
Day Four: Share Your Past: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/31-days-of-family-fun-share-your-past/
Day Five: Family Dinner: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/31-days-of-family-fun-dinner-time/
Day Six: Fun with Food: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/31-days-of-family-fun-fun-with-food/
Day Seven: More Fun with Food: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/31-days-of-family-fun-more-fun-with-food/
Day Eight: Even More Fun with Food: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/31-days-of-family-fun-even-more-fun-with-food/
Day Nine: A Day of Rest: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/31-days-of-family-fun-a-day-of-rest/
Day Ten: Holiday Fun: Thanksgiving: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/31-days-of-family-fun-thanksgiving/
Day Eleven: Family Meetings: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/31-days-of-family-fun-family-meetings/
Day Twelve: Love Letters: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/31-days-of-family-fun-love-letters/
Day Thirteen: Get Well Box: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/31-days-of-family-fun-get-well-box/
Day Fourteen: Care Packages: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/31-days-of-family-fun-care-packages/
Day Fifteen: Family Museum: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/31-days-of-family-fun-family-museum/
Day Sixteen: Family Awards Night: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/31-days-of-family-fun-family-awards-night/
Day Seventeen: Unbirthday Parties: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/31-days-of-family-fun-a-very-merry-unbirthday/
Day Eighteen: Watch a Squirrel Day: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/31-days-of-family-fun-watch-a-squirrel-day/
Day Nineteen: Jars of Love: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/31-days-of-family-fun-jars-of-love/
Day Twenty: Red Letter Days: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/31-days-of-family-fun-red-letter-days/
Day Twenty One: Countdown to Fun: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/31-days-of-family-fun-countdown-to-fun/
Day Twenty Two: Rainy Days: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/31-days-of-family-fun-rainy-days/
Day Twenty Three: Birthday Traditions: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/31-days-of-family-fun-birthday-traditions/
Day Twenty Four: Helping Others as a Family http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/31-days-of-family-fun-helping-others-as-a-family/
Day Twenty Five: Halloween Fun: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/31-days-of-family-fun-halloween-fun/
Day Twenty Six: Craft Bin: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/31-days-of-family-fun-craft-bin/
Day Twenty Seven: Make Believe: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/31-days-of-family-fun-make-believe/
Day Twenty Eight: Make Some Magic: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/31-days-of-family-fun-make-some-magic/
Day Twenty Nine: Game Night: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/31-days-of-family-fun-game-night/
Day Thirty: Keep a Family Journal: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/31-days-of-family-fun-keep-a-family-journal/
Day Thirty One: The Conclusion: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/31-days-of-family-fun-the-conclusion/
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I love your idea for 31 Days of Family Fun, Cyn! I am an”older mom” that home schools my youngest son who has Down Syndrome. I am constantly feeling guilty because we don’t have more fun. And the sad thing is that he is SO easy to please! But sometimes between school work, therapy appointments, and LIFE, I just don’t make time for fun. Thanks for reminding me that fun can be built into our daily routines and that tomorrow is another day! I will definitely be following your 31 day series for more inspiration!
I love this theme!! Thank you for reminding me that the ‘little things’ in life can be full of fun and excitement!