Fun for Families

Family Activities Recipes

I’m on the quest for family activities recipes. Here are some trusted sources: books, websites and organizations. If you have more ideas for me, I would be delighted to share them and add them to my list. Just email me at Thank you!

Here are two books which are loaded with ideas:

“940 Saturdays” has an insert in the back of a small booklet listing dozens of activities with age-appropriate recommendations and costs.

And one of my trusted resources is the Search Institute – “What Kids Need to Succeed,” is researched with methods to develop the 40 Assets…20 Internal Assets and 20 External Assets.

See my website page on parenting resources:

Gurian Institute

As you find it difficult to constantly structure your children’s days and weeks and even, perhaps, months of time at home, you might be able to let go of your own anxiety that they are not learning well if you keep them focused on four elements of brain success:

1. many hours per day of reading time (reading whatever they like to read is good for the brain);
2. pursuit of brain-healthy personal interests (an hour or two a day practicing their musical instruments, for instance);
3. outdoor learning that involves building things, walking, running, even playing alone (a lot of success later in life comes from childhood play, problem-solving, unstructured time, and moving around in nature); and
4. silent time (in many ways, we cannot know who we are when we are immersed in noise and haste, but we can when we are silent ).

Of the four elements, let me tease out the area of number two, “personal interests.” Gray matter areas in the brain that will later lead to success in life more easily develop the more that we do a particular thing. Practice makes perfect. As your kids have more time on their hands, they can develop these gray matter, focused, interest-bearing areas of the brain somewhat more, which can mean they will become good at doing certain things, things that will hopefully lead them to success down the road. If you help them stay focused on these areas of the brain via personal interests and focused, in depth activities in those interest areas, you may hear them say to you you, ten or fifteen years from now, some variation of: “Remember when we were housebound from COVID-19 and I built that new tree house…well, I think that’s one reason I’m an engineer.”

940 Saturdays

940 Saturdays: Family Activities & a Keepsake Journal Diary – September 2, 2014
By Harley A. Rotbart, MD
There are 940 Saturdays between a child’s birth and the day he or she turns 18.

That may sound like a lot when there are adventures to plan and hours to fill. But as your child learns to walk, ride a bicycle, and drive, the years pass quickly. This beautiful package includes both a removable booklet with a thousand ideas for family activities that you and your child will love at every age, and a keepsake journal for preserving what you saw and did, thought and felt, so you can savor these memories in the years to come.


What Kids Need to Succeed: Proven, Practical Ways to Raise Good Kids

(Revised & Updated 3rd Edition) Paperback – May 7, 2012
by Peter L. Benson Ph.D. (Author), Judy Galbraith M.A. (Author), Pamela Espeland (Author)

Researchers at Minneapolis-based Search Institute have identified 40 Developmental Assets that all kids need in their lives—good things like family support, a caring neighborhood, and resistance skills. Communities across the nation have embraced the book’s quick-read, commonsense suggestions for helping kids lead healthy, productive, positive lives and stay out of trouble. This revised and updated third edition draws on findings from a 2010 survey of about 90,000 kids (grades 6–12) from communities across the United States. The new data confirms the power of Developmental Assets in young people’s lives, reflecting updated levels of assets young people experience as well as the power that assets have to prevent high-risk behaviors and increase thriving behaviors.

A Sample Family Activities List from “All Pro Dad” and Ten Websites of Ideas

1. Family bike rides
2. Game night
3. Neighborhood walks
4. Sports training
5. Yard work
6. Laundry day
7. Volunteer in the community
8. Family movie night
9. Read a book together
10. Wash the cars
11. Family slumber party
12. Create a scrapbook
13. Set up a lemonade stand
14. Have a garage sale
15. Walk (if possible) to a local ice cream place
16. Attend church together
17. Go rollerblading
18. Create “busy bags” for the kids to play with on road trips
19. Create a home version of a popular game show
20. Walk the dog or the neighbor’s dog
21. Bake cookies
22. Make Christmas ornaments
23. Play flag football
24. Play Wii Fit or Xbox Kinect
25. Create homemade birthday or holiday cards
26. Take a dance class
27. Take a karate class
28. Search for constellations/stars
29. Go on a family picnic
30. Have a family barbecue
31. Create emergency plans (fire escape)
32. Create a first aid kit
33. Take an etiquette class
34. Create a family tree
35. Create a history timeline
36. Create and practice a family play
37. Test drive cars
38. Go visit open houses
39. Create a family recipe book
40. Learn a home repair
41. Start a collection (coins, rocks, beads, etc.)
42. Make a grocery list and shop
43. Create a family cookbook
44. Have a scavenger hunt
45. Have a Soul Train line
46. Work on a puzzle
47. Play miniature golf
48. Create a list of local “kids eat free” locations and days and eat at one
49. Create a family handshake
50. Create a family mission statement
51. Complete a science project
52. Label all the things in your house with a new language you want to learn
53. Have a bubble blowing contest
54. Have a water balloon fight
55. Have a push-up contest (dad has child on his back to level the playing field)
56. Watch a movie and critique it like professional critics
57. Take a local mission trip (visit homeless shelters and give meals)
58. Go bowling
59. Play laser tag
60. Have a home “professional” photo shoot (kids act as the “professionals”)
61. Write a family song or rap
62. Have a rap battle
63. Watch reruns of old shows that were popular when you were young
64. Go to a museum
65. Visit a local splash park
66. Go on a nature hike
67. Have a scavenger hunt
68. Visit the library
69. Go ice skating
70. Go to the barber shop together
71. Play hide-and-seek
72. Create a time capsule and bury it in the backyard
73. Create a family tree
74. Clip pictures of a dream home
75. Perform magic tricks
76. Collect and paint rocks
77. Visit a fire station
78. Go to a professional sports game
79. Collect leaves
80. Play foursquare
81. Have a Google hangout or Skype call to out of town family
82. Play capture the flag
83. Have a family dinner out
84. Start a garden
85. Cook a meal together
86. Play kick the can
87. Go shopping (non-grocery)
88. Take things to Goodwill
89. Have a formal dinner at home (complete with servers, menu, dressing up, etc.)
90. Play Uno
91. Have a karaoke night
92. Collect seashells
93. Go fishing
94. Hang pictures in the house
95. Paint a bedroom
96. Listen to old school music (make the kids sing and dance along)
97. Have a family house party (kids play family DJ)
98. Watch old/classic movies
99. Fly kites
100. Set up recycle bins and recycling system
101. Make snow angels

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