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Families sometimes fall apart. Cain was jealous of his brother Abel, so he killed him. Liam and Noah Gallagher fight wherever they can – legally, physically and on twitter. Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine were sisters and actresses best known in the 1930s/1940s. They fought for the attention of their mother in childhood and when they grew older, they fought over film roles and men. It is said that they did not speak to each other for over 30 years.
Living under the same roof doesn’t necessarily make you a strong family. There are siblings who live in the same house and barely speak to each other. There are people who live together but can’t stand each other. There are people who would DO ANYTHING to avoid family reunions.
When families fall apart, the wounds caused are often hard to mend. But we know that building healthy relationships right from childhood is one of the most effective way of strengthening your family’s bonds. The good news is that relatively simple activities you share as a family can make the difference between whether your family stays close knit or falls apart.
In this post, we’ll talk about the benefits of spending time as a family. I’ll also share 101 simple family bonding activities your family can start doing today. Don’t forget to download the FREE 30-DAY CHALLENGE (scroll down) packed with simple 10-20 minute bonding activities your entire family will enjoy.
Why you need to spend time as a family
Did you know that research says that the most effective way to reduce your child’s problem behavior is to work on strengthening your parent-child relationship? The relationship you have with your child influences his behavior and that’s not all – children in families that spend time together have better social, academic and psychological outcomes. The available research has found that:
- The more kids participate in family bonding activities, the fewer behavioral issues they display
- Close knit families are better able to cope with life’s challenges
- Alcoholic parents are less likely to transmit their alcoholism to their children if the family shares simple activities such as dinner and holiday practices.
The benefits of family bonding for your family
There are many benefits of spending time as a family:
- Spending time together provides your kids with roots and strengthens their sense of identity. It also makes it easier for your kids to get along.
- Sharing activities as a family provides family members with fond memories that are likely to be remembered for years
- Promoting family bonding strengthens sibling relationships and keeps your entire family closer
- Sharing activities as a family makes it easier to deal with disputes and other conflict issues
- Making a conscious effort to improve family bonding will make all family members feel happier.
One of the things many parents regret most when their kids are grown is not having created sufficient positive memories. The good news is that there are countless ways to turn the moments spent with your kids into bonding moments that will be remembered for a lifetime. The stronger your family bond, the happier your entire family will be. Here are 101 ways to get started strengthening your family bond:
- Prepare meals together: Whether you simply want to make a salad or sandwich or you want to try something creative like home-made ravioli, cooking together is a great way to strengthen your family’s bonds. It is also an easy way to get your kids interested in food and in healthy eating habits.
2. Eat together: Even if you don’t cook together, eating together can help bond your family. One research study found that children in families which ate regular meals together were less likely to display behavioral problems or to get involved in drugs.
3. Plan the week’s menu together
4. Go on a picnic
5. Start a gratitude routine. A gratitude routine is a great activity that can help you improve your family’s bonds. Pick a specific moment and ask each family member to say one thing for which they are grateful.
6. Go fishing
7. Do a science project together
8. Organize a family movie night
9. Do family chores together: There are so many benefits associated with kids’ participation in family chores. Here are 70+ age-appropriate chore cards to encourage your kids to do chores.
10. Organize a game night
11. Do yoga
12. Start a read-aloud tradition
13. Read together. Reading together is an easy way to connect as a family. Each family member can read a chapter or you can come up with any other arrangement that suits your family more. Or you can all get together in the same room and everyone can read their own individual book for 10 to 15 minutes. Here are some great ideas of books your kids will enjoy.
14. Go to a garage sale. Be sure to check the rules of your local area to find out whether you can sell foodstuffs or handmade crafts.
15. Work out together
16. Organize a family day out
17. Play dress up
18. Attend a cultural event
19. Garden together
20. Volunteer. Volunteering as a family is a great idea that will allow your family to bond.
21. Go to the park together
22. Do a DIY project together
23. Learn something new together (cookery, pottery)
24. Organize a bingo night
25. Decorate your kid’s room together
26. Take a nature walk
27. Tell stories while driving or stuck in traffic
28. Host a party: Hosting a party for your immediate family members only can help promote family bonding. Remember to organize something each family member can participate in.
29. Go camping
31. Take a photo walk
32. Plan or go on a vacation
33. Share family stories: Sharing family stories can help keep your family close knit. Talk about grandparents, great-grandparents and your own memories of growing up.
34. Play a board game. Board games can help bond your family. Sequence Game, Richard Scarry’s Busytown, Eye Found It , Catan The Board Game, and Googly Eyes Showdown are all great games the entire family can enjoy.
35. Walk the dogs together
36. Listen to music together
37. Bake together
38. Start a morning routine
39. Start an evening routine
40. Go to the library
41. Go to the movies
42. Visit your town/nearby town
43. Go to a local event. Check out free or affordable local events your entire family is likely to enjoy within your area. Going to events together can help improve family bonding.
44. Plan your next vacation together
45. Hold family meetings: Family meetings are an effective way to get the family together. They are also a great way to teach your kids about family negotiation.
46. Make up stories
47. Start an after-school routine
48. Sing karaoke
49. Go on a one-on-one date with each of your kids
50. Go for a family drive
51. Make the kids cook. Why not change things for a day and make the kids prepare the family meal? Here are a few books to help get your kids inspired in the kitchen: Little Green Kitchen, Fantastic Eats! (& how to cook them) , Cooking Step by Step, 20 Recipes Kids Should Know
52. International night: International night is a fun way to get your family to hang out together. Choose a country to celebrate and let each family member find out something about that country to present during the international night. You can even get adventurous and add a menu with food stuffs common in that country
53. Draw/color together: Coloring activities are relaxing for kids and adults alike. Grab a giant coloring book and enjoy coloring together as a family.
54. Make origami together: Armed with good Origami Paper, there‘s no reason why you can’t use the thousands of available origami crafts to bond your family.
55. Go bowling
56. Organize a family trivia session
57. Organize a culinary experience at home
58. Adopt a one meal theme for each day of the week: Why not choose a special meal theme for each day of the week – Monday can be pizza night, Tuesday pasta night… and so on. I found this great idea in the book simplicity parenting.
59. Look at family photos
60. Go on a bike ride
61. Write a song or a poem
62. Make smoothies
63. Make handmade cards
64. Organize a family brunch
65. Learn magic tricks
66. Find new places on a globe: For example, you can find the capital cities of ten countries, or find the names of ten countries in Africa
67. Do a recycled art project
68. Solve riddles
69. Have a scavenger hunt
70. Tell jokes
71. Hold a talent show. Let each family member put together an act to present in front of everyone: singing, playing a music interest, reciting a poem, etc.
72. Make ice-cream: Almost everyone loves ice-cream. Why not experiment different types of ice-cream by trying out new flavors or purchasing a tub of ice-cream and letting family members choose what toppings to add (chocolate, smarties, sprinkles, etc).
73. Go to the beach
74. Visit a museum
75. Organize a slumber party
76. Write a story together
77. Play a video game together
78. Paint rocks
79. Have a pizza night
80. Put on music and dance
81. Have a family dinner out
82. Play with LEGO
83. Play charades. Charades is a classic and it’s a great idea to improve family bonding. It’s also pretty simple to set up.
84. Organize family Olympics
85. Decorate cakes/cookies
86. Organize an indoor picnic
87. Organize an outdoor picnic
88. Go swimming
89. Watch a series/TV program together
90. Create a family bucket list. A bucket list is a great way for families to connect. It’s a great way to decide on all your dream adventures, hold conversations, and to make long lasting memories for your family
91. Organize a movie marathon
92. Organize a cooking competition: Why not organize a cooking competition complete with a theme and judges? This can provide family members with an opportunity to get creative.
93. Organize a manicure night
94. Make a film
95. Organize a barbeque night
96. Go on a hike
97. Do a family photoshoot
98. Make a YouTube channel
99. Play hide and seek at night: Playing hide and seek in the garden at night is a fun idea to strengthen your family bond and one that your entire family is likely to remember for years to come.
100. Organize an English tea party for the family
101. Invent a board game
How to promote family bonding
So now you have a few ideas of activities you can share as a family. But to spend quality family time together, you have to adopt a conscious strategy to hang out. Here are a few tips to help:
- Keep things simple: Don’t be over ambitious. Choose family activities you won’t regret starting.
- Instead of trying to do activities on a daily basis, it might be easier to adopt weekly (every Saturday night), monthly (every first weekend of the month) or even yearly (every birthday, Christmas, first day of the year) schedules.
- If something doesn’t seem to be working out or if interest wanes, try something else to bond your family.
Pick at least two ideas you can try out within the month to strengthen your family bond.
To help you get started, download your FREE PRINTABLE 30-DAY CHALLENGE filled with activities you can share as a family. The good news is that most of the activities in this challenge are quick and easy to do. You can either follow the predetermined schedule or have your kids choose a family bonding activity at random and cross it off once it’s done.
How does your family hang out? Please let us know in the comments section below!