It’s incredible for me to realize that my little boy is now a teenager. Time with him seems to be slipping away ever so quickly, yet quietly. It makes me realize that I need to do more to foster family bonding. There may come a day when he no longer wants to spend time with mom and dad. Yet, I feel that the more we cultivate a companionable relationship the more I believe those days will be few in number.
I started thinking about how I can nurture such family bonding without it appearing that I’m forcing time. I believe the best way to bond with a child, anyone really, is to honestly desire to want to be in their presence. This is true of the wife to husband relationship as well as the parent to child relationship.
One of my fondest memories of my dad is my family around the dining table playing Hearts, Liverpool Rum, Tripoli, Crazy Eights or one of many other games. Sometimes it was just my immediate family of mom, dad, my two sisters and brother and myself. Other times, it was my cousins, aunts and uncle. Still other times, there were family friends gathered in that tiny little dining room. Those are memories I now cherish as a precious jewel.
Keeping this in mind I’ve set about to gather ideas for family bonding time that doesn’t seem forced.
Family Bonding Ideas that the Whole Family will Love
1. Play Video Games
Yes, I know you are thinking, less screen time. Here’s the deal. You need for your teens to see that you are interested in them. Well, they are interested in video games! See the connection? When you choose to do something that is of interest to them, as opposed to requiring them to do something of interest to you, you show them that you care.
2. Play with LEGO Bricks as a Family
Teens DO still love LEGO Bricks. That being said it might be time to up your LEGO building experience. LEGO Architecture, LEGO Themes, and LEGO Robotics are ideal for teens. You can also consider joining a Future LEGO League or LEGO League and supporting your child in their team efforts.
Goofy, silly, and fun. Those are the words that come to mind when I think of bowling. Grab a 10 lb ball and roll it at 10 pins and before you know it you’ll all be laughing and rooting for each other to score! It’s so much fun.
4. Board Games
It might seem old-fashioned to you given how much technology exists in today’s world. But, the reality is that when you play board or card games, you build lifelong memories for your kids. Think about it, do you remember playing games with your parents or friends? Most likely you do. I think it’s because game play usually comes with laughter and it’s over that laughter that hearts bond and memories are made.
5. Ice Cream for Dinner
This is a tradition that we started for Father’s Day. After evening worship we would skip dinner and head to the local ice cream shop and fill up on ice cream with toppings. It’s since become a tradition that we do several times a year. Don’t worry about the calories, or the health factor! It’s a family bonding time moment that your kids will always remember. Who knows it might just be one that gets carried on from generation to generation.
6. Roller Skating
This fun activity on wheels is just the thing to get the blood flowing and keep the muscles warmed up in the cold winter months. It’s often too cold to go out for a walk as a family. But strap on some roller skates, or blades at the local rink and you’ll soon find the exercise is invigorating. Plus, you’ll laugh a time or two as you get your rolling legs back under you. It’s wholesome fun that the whole family can enjoy — if you dare.
If you’ve already discovered GeoCaching then you already know about the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of finding a bit of treasure all around you; if, you know where to look. That’s what this fun treasure hunting activity is all about. It’s a collaborative effort from participants all around the globe.
Tiny treasures, which are really just trinkets like you’d find in a gumball machine or something special to each player, are hidden in unexpected locations all around the globe. Using an Geocaching app on a smart phone or device searches are given gps coordinates to discover the hidden treasure.
There is usually a small journal to sign as evidence of your arrival. Often you’ll discover some trinkets in the container as well. You leave your trinket, and take a trinket that you find appealing. Don’t worry taking and leaving trinkets isn’t required to participate, just your signature if you want, but it’s sure to be more fun if you leave a little treasure for the next guy, and your kids will love finding and getting bits of things as well.
It’s truly amazing looking at the world from this perspective because you’ll discover these little bits of fun all around you, right under your nose. They’ve been there for a long time, and you never even knew it. Wherever you go, on vacation, to a family friends hometown, or in your own community, you’ll find fun little unexpected treasures.
Now, go forth and dig!
8. Zip Lining
Watching as one of your children overcomes their hesitation to get strapped into a harness and go flying over a ravine is amazing! At least that’s what it felt like for me! Maybe your son is brave and ready to take flight from the get-go while you and your husband are more hesitant. Either way, it’s a super fun time full of screams, thrills, laughter and most of all, excitement.
9. Take them Out to a Ball Game
Whether its a winter time football game of your favorite NFL team, or a spring baseball game, or just a basketball game in the gym at the local high school sitting together as a family and root, root, rooting for the home team creates a family bonding experience like no other.
10. Create your own Family Holiday
Who says you only have to do holidays at a certain appointed time of the year? Start your own family holiday traditions. We like to celebrate in the middle of winter, January to be exact. You can celebrate whenever and however you want. Decide which foods will be your traditional holiday meal, what activities you’ll do at each celebration, and what your family goals are in celebrating such a holiday. If you want, give it your own personal name.
Remember, Festivus for the Rest of Us? My friend Amy celebrates all kinds of holidays with her family, here’s her list of STEM holidays to enjoy. And, my friend Tiffany looks for Everyday Celebrations to enjoy with her kids.
So think about what’s important to your own family and choose to turn the ordinary into something extraordinarily exclusive to your own family.
Family Bonding Time Lists to Read
For even more family bonding time fun, I’ve pulled together these additional ideas for you from some more of my homeschool blogging friends.
There is no better day than today to start your own family bonding time traditions. Whether it’s gathering around the family table for card games or taking a family walk together, remember that conversation is always to foundation of bonding. You’ll want to engage your children in conversation, laugh over silly things, and grow closer together in heart and spirit.
What are your favorite ways to spend family time? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section below.
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