Quality Family Time and How You Can Make it Work
Today’s world is full of electronic gadgets and busy schedules. Many families find spending quality time a challenge, yet more than ever families are aware of the importance of making time to be together. Fortunately, there are many free and frugal ideas for family fun that everyone can enjoy.
Children of all ages love to be outdoors, and working parents often crave some fresh air and sunshine after a long week in the office. Getting outside together is a simple and free activity the whole family can enjoy. Seek out scenic hiking trails, nature walks and wildlife preserves. Pack up some snacks and water bottles and head off on an adventure together. For younger children, the great outdoors is a world of wonder. Pretend to be explorers in a new land, or a scientist studying insects. Make a game of finding ladybugs or grasshoppers. Try to identify the different birds you see. For older children, bring along binoculars for some bird watching and collect wildflowers or interesting leaves and rocks. Lay out a blanket in a pretty meadow and have a picnic together. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and fresh air.
Summer is a wonderful time when many cities offer free concerts in the park. Pack a picnic, bring blankets and chairs and head to the park for music and entertainment. Music often ranges from anything from Irish folk songs to classical to country and western. Children of all ages enjoy different music and people watching. Parents can relax and let little ones run and play. Make your picnic fun and extra special by packing a favorite dessert.
Weeknights are normally busy with homework and parents worn out after a long day. To make dinners an opportunity for real quality time, create special nights to look forward to. Taco Tuesdays can be an evening of Mexican food favorites that everyone looks forward to all day. Involve the whole family in dinner preparations. During the meal, aim for being “unplugged”. Turn off all cell phones, iPods, and other electronic gadgets and focus on each other. Ask each family member what the best part of their day was. Share funny stories. Have a night each week for a special dessert and enjoy it outside while the children play.
Game nights are another fun and free way to spend time together. There are many games that can be played by adults and children of all ages. Try out different games to discover what everyone enjoys, and aim to have fun together. A pizza and movie night is a wonderful way to end a hectic week. Children especially find these simple activities very special and exciting.
For the family who enjoys art and history, look into your local museums. Many city museums offer a free day once a month. Take advantage of this great opportunity and check out a museum with the whole family. Even very young children love museums that are full of bright pictures and interesting objects.
Local farms in your area very often have free tours and produce for sale. Summer is an especially active time for farmers markets. Take the children on a day trip to see where their eggs and milk come from, and take home a basket of farm fresh goodies. You-Pick-It farms allow you to go out and pick your own fruits and vegetables. This is an especially exciting activity for children. Picking fresh berries or fruit trees is fun and often gives children a better appreciation for eating these healthy treats.
There are many fun activities to do as a family. Whether you’re visiting an art museum or hiking a mountain, just focus on enjoying each others company and having fun.
JoEllen Krauss is a freelance writer for Providian Medical who specializes in refurbished OB/GYN ultrasounds. In her spare time she enjoys decorating the house and spending quality time with her family. In this guest post she shares how you can effectively manage this.