One positive outcome of the pandemic and lockdown was that families spent unprecedented amounts of time with each other. Now we are returning to a new normal and seeing those relationships tested, it’s all too easy to return to old habits. We may find ourselves overbooking activities and spending countless hours on technology instead of finding fulfilling family bonding activities.
Are you craving closeness with your kids and spouse? Say “no” to a few opportunities or obligations and be intentional about time spent with just your family.
No matter your children’s ages, you’ll find something on this list of family bonding activities to spark their interest and have a blast reconnecting.
1. Grow Your Own Food
Nothing is more satisfying than eating a meal prepared from ingredients you grew yourself. Set up a few raised garden beds and let everyone in the family pick a fruit or vegetable to try. Young children can sow seeds and help with watering and weeding. Involve older kids in the research process to learn how to care for their plants, along with the typical gardening tasks.
Your first year might not produce much, but get your hands dirty and have fun with it. Everyone can enjoy the fruits — or vegetables — of their labors.
2. Go Swimming
It doesn’t matter if you hop in a creek, pond, lake or pool. Soak up some sun and splash around with the whole family.
Search for crayfish and minnows. Dive for rings. Have races or play a game of water polo. It doesn’t really matter what you choose to do or where you swim.
The relaxing powers of water ease tempers and bring loved ones together.
3. Watch a Meteor Shower
Let the kids stay up past their bedtime or set alarms to get up in the night to cozy under some blankets and stare up at the stars. People who live in rural areas should be fine to watch from their backyards. City dwellers will want to hop in the car and head further out to get a good look.
Meteor showers make for the best star gazing. Try to catch some of the upcoming meteor showers on this calendar, which are the most dramatic displays of the year.
4. Get Crafty
Would you rather stay inside? Plan an art project together. Pinterest has craft ideas for any ability level and area of interest. Get the family involved in the planning process, from selecting an activity to hunting down the supplies.
Throw on some old T-shirts or smocks and have fun keeping your hands busy and the conversation flowing.
5. Make Lego Masterpieces
Building Lego creations might fit the bill if paint, glue and glitter make you cringe.
Buy a premade set and work on constructing it as a family. Take turns adding each new step and display your finished project in a place everyone can see and enjoy. You could also use a box of assorted blocks and have everyone make up their own works of art.
6. Have a Dance Party
You can kick it up in your living room, footloose and fancy-free. Make a playlist with favorite tunes from each family member. When you notice everyone is in the same room but not really together, buried in TV or phones, crank up the music.
Make a rule that the whole family must get up and dance for at least one song when the special playlist comes on. After that, you can decide whether to keep going or not.
Video games like Just Dance are a great way to make family bonding activities like this a lot more interactive and fun!
7. Start a Family Game Night
Kids of all ages really do crave routine, even if they seem resistant. Put a regular family game night on the calendar and keep it like an appointment.
Have everyone leave their tech in another room so you can focus on each other and have fun. Take turns picking a game to play so the whole family gets a chance to do their favorite. Even video games can work as long as you play them together and encourage friendly chat and banter.
Pro tip — if you have a wide range of ages, pick games the youngest can play but older kids can still enjoy.
8. Visit a Zoo or Museum
Odds are you have very specific memories of going to a zoo or fascinating museum as a child. Relive those times with your kids.
Do a quick search to find great offerings within driving distance and let the whole family decide on their favorite. Write them down if you can’t decide on just one, and choose one for now and save the others for next time. It’s impossible to learn too many new things.
9. Volunteer Together
Another way to get out and about is to choose a volunteer project in your community. You’ll want to pick something the whole family can do, so check with local organizations to see if they allow young children to participate.
Helping others will boost everyone’s mood and bring you closer as a family.
10. Try Random Acts of Kindness
Practicing random acts of kindness is a baby step toward volunteering your time. Get your children involved in picking some nice things to do. You could pay it forward at a drive-thru or coffee shop.
See if your kids can think of fun ways to show kindness to others.
Related Content: How to Make Charitable Giving a Family Tradition
11. Plan a Road Trip
Road trips might possibly be the best on this list of family bonding activities. Spending umpteen hours in a car with nothing to entertain you but your creativity stretches people and can bring you closer together. Plan plenty of stops and activities along the way so nobody goes stir-crazy.
Head to Maine to visit scenic lighthouses, Texas to watch a rodeo or Arizona to gaze in wonder at the Grand Canyon. Wherever you go, make sure everyone gets to pick at least one thing to do.
Also, try to be open to last-minute stops if you see something exciting along the way.
12. Perform Science Experiments
Do you remember your joy the first time you saw a baking soda and vinegar volcano erupt? Try that experiment and many more with your kids. The time you spend getting supplies and setting up is a great family bonding activity, and you’ll get to watch the astonishment on their faces as they make core memories.
13. Read Aloud
Reading aloud to your kids is a great way to spend time together away from devices and benefit their development. Kids of all ages can get involved, from reading to little ones at bedtime to holding a book club with teens.
You can even listen to an audiobook when everyone is in the car together. Sharing a good story gives you something in common to chat about throughout the week.
If your kids are younger and you want to improve their financial literacy, check out these kids books about money.
14. Get Goofy With Charades
Who doesn’t love a classic game of charades? Kids of all ages can join in the fun, and you’re sure to be laughing within minutes.
You can find many versions of this game with endless possibilities of things to act out, or you can create your own. If you don’t mind having one getting an inexpensive charades board game can make the process a lot easier.
15. Go Camping
You can go as big or small with this idea as you want — just don’t skimp on the fun. Pitch a tent in the backyard or head farther out to a campground. Staying at home is nice for little kids, especially since you can use your own bathroom.
Teenagers may appreciate the ability to get away from the confines of home and do a little exploring on a camping trip.
Wherever you end up, turn on the flashlights, tell stories, and enjoy just being together in the peace and quiet of nature.
16. Complete a Puzzle
Doing a puzzle is the perfect rainy day family bonding activity. You can get ones of any size and difficulty to match your kids’ needs. Toddlers can work on wooden puzzles and young children can do cardboard versions with 100 or fewer pieces.
As your kids grow, they’ll need more complicated options to hold their attention. Try a puzzle with a unique shape or with 2,000 or more pieces for an extra challenge. You won’t likely be able to finish these in one day, so lay it out somewhere it can stay for a week or so.
17. Host a Movie Night
Let the kids take turns picking a new movie or old favorite to enjoy as a family. You can make these nights a once-in-a-while event or frequent tradition. Either way, have fun with it.
Pop some popcorn and put out a few treats. Get in cozy pajamas and grab a blanket.
Want to really kick things up a notch? You can make your own outdoor movie theater with a screen, projector and speaker.
18. Play Lawn Games
You can find lawn games for any skill level and amount of people. Cornhole, bocce and badminton are all great starter options to try.
However, kicking around a ball or playing tag can be just as fun if you aren’t interested in buying specialized equipment. Or for those travel soccer kids in your life, how about a casual game with Mom and Dad instead?
The main goal is to get out some energy and interact with each other. A little heckling is perfectly acceptable as long as everyone keeps it friendly.
Related Content: Gifts for Soccer Dads: 17 Ideas for a Soccer Family
19. Have a Water Fight
Surprise the kids with an all-out water battle while outside on a hot day. Prepare buckets of water balloons and a few water guns.
You could even fill large tubs and plop in supersized sponges for everyone to cool down. Get in your bathing suits and go to town.
20. Let It Go With Karaoke
Most karaoke takes place in a bar, which is not the ideal location to take your family. However, you can find plenty of at-home options for relatively cheap.
If having words on a screen isn’t important to you, purchase a Bluetooth microphone that syncs to your phone, so you can sing along to whatever songs you want.
Another option is to search YouTube for videos with lyrics.
21. Beachcomb for Treasure
Do you live within driving distance of a beach? Spend an afternoon combing through the sand for shells, sea glass, and any other fun bits and bobs. Amp up your search by renting or bringing your own metal detector.
Your kids will love coming home with a pocket full of their hard-earned treasures.
22. Go Mini-Golfing
A round of putt-putt isn’t a significant time commitment but can be a massive amount of fun. Alter the rules slightly to accommodate small children and try to find a location with kid-sized clubs.
If you have older kids, offer a treat like ice cream if they can beat the parents’ lowest score — then take them either way.
23. Build a Fort
Pillow and blanket forts can be an epic amount of fun. Your kids will love when you help create them, and you can have hours of enjoyment playing inside once you finish. Gather all the blankets and pillows in your house to make a giant fort in your living room. Use chairs and whatever else you can find.
You can even find specialized sets online to help you.
24. Make Time for Holiday Traditions
The best part about any holiday is the traditions that come along with it. Make time for your family’s traditions every year.
If you don’t have any yet, consider starting some new ones. A quick search can help get you started. Most everyone’s favorite is driving around looking at Christmas lights.
25. Have a Photo Shoot
Photo shoots are a perfect opportunity for some family fun. You don’t have to schedule a session with a professional photographer where the kids have to dress up and pose.
Let everyone have a turn at the camera calling the shots. You’ll end up with some fantastic pictures and memories.
26. Play Would You Rather
“Would you rather” is a great game to play as a family. You can really get to know someone on a deeper level with these questions. You’d be surprised by how much you can learn with “silly” questions like, would you rather have wings or fins?
While it might feel “silly”, it's important to get creative and a little goofy when you're considering new family bonding activities!
27. Have a Cooking Contest
Does your family love cooking shows? Channel your inner Gordon Ramsey — without the swearing — and host a family cook-off. You can pair little kids with an adult for safety and have teens work independently.
Try creating a meal together if your family can’t handle the friendly competition. Let everyone choose one course they’d like to be in charge of and have the others assist.
28. Attend a Local Festival
You can find fun local festivals and fairs nearly everywhere. Search online or in your newspaper for offerings. You can find locally made crafts and delicious food, and sometimes you can even catch a fun performance.
29. Have a Garage Sale
Holding a garage sale will bring you closer as a family and clear extra space in your home. Have your kids go through all their possessions and set aside some things to get rid of.
To encourage them, offer to let them have the profits or agree to put all the money made toward something fun for the family, like a pingpong table or a cool day trip.
Final Thoughts on Family Bonding Activities
If you want to strengthen your bond with your family, it’s important to make time for family bonding activities you can all do together. No matter how old your kids are, everyone can benefit from some family fun.
Whether you choose to go on a road trip, try a new craft or play games, you’re sure to enjoy your time together as you make lasting memories.
What do you think of this list of family bonding activities? Are there ideas we should add?
Please let us know in the comments below.