Fall is the perfect time to get outside and get yourselves moving. Involving your kids in things that they do with their bodies, not just with their minds, is really important for a generation so overloaded with information. Surely, they will be able to run mental circles around you in any discussion about technology and they can handle any social media gig, but you probably don't want them to call you to figure out how to use a screwdriver when they're thirty-five.
Whether it's outside or inside, the most important part about family time is that you are all interacting together and getting some real face time in, not just the kind on an iPhone. So, everyone put down their devices and set aside some time together to re-connect. We've got a list of activities to get you started:
Although cramming a bunch of whining kids into the van and forcing them to walk doesn't sound appealing, you just have to push through that part. Hiking has got to be one of the number one activities that kids complain about, but then always have a great time in the end. If you choose a mountain top hike, it is likely you will spend a lot of time at the summit playing some sort of imaginary game involving a castle, or have a treacherous game of hide and go seek tag. A long trail that leads to the water's edge will probably inspire some pretty badass beach forts and some tidepool explorations. Dare them to touch an anemone or hold a tiny shore crab! Grab some Nui sweatpants to keep them cozy and give them room to play.
Bake Day //
Who doesn't love homemade baked goods? If you are up for something adventurous, Pintrest is full of fun ideas to make with kids these days. Or if there is a holiday around the corner, break out the food colouring, powdered sugar, and paint brushes. Making a big batch of white sugar cookies creates the perfect edible canvas. Plus, you make a great excuse to use fun cookie cutter shapes. You can always fall back on old faithful recipes like chocolate chip cookies or banana loaf. The important part is that they are involved and that they have fun. Even if your kids are older, this is still a crowd-pleaser. There are tons of young adults who have never baked a day in their life, let's change that! Keep your outfit safe from mucky handprints with an apron from Alternative Apparel.
Try some of our favourite Pinterest recipe finds! Click the images above.
Every kid should learn to ride a bike. It is an empowering feeling to get up on those two wheels and cruise. Plus, it's a great way to show kids that exercise can be fun! Don't have a fleet of family bikes yet? Hit some garage sales or look on sites like Craigslist to see if anyone is unloading them for cheap or free. You don't need the top of the line rides to have fun. Take a drive somewhere to a long flat trail like the Galloping Goose on Vancouver Island, or just ride around your neighbourhood. As long as everyone has a helmet and a sense of the road, you'll have a blast. Grab a backpack and some snacks and stop somewhere scenic for a break. Make sure they don't get too chilly with a sweater from Imps & Elfs.
Games night //
There are families who sometimes play games, and then there are Games Families (we all know one...or are one). Despite which category you fit into, games night is bound to be entertaining. There are classic games like Clue, Trivial Pursuit, Scattergories, Settlers of Catan, and countless card games. If you don't have many in your family room, go to a local toy store and ask for recommendations. Learning a new game together might be a little challenging, but it could be one that you could play together the rest of your lives.
Charades Night //
Two words, 5 syllables, first word! Charades is always going to offer an energy filled evening, especially if you invite another family or two. If any game can get a room full of people on their feet, it's this one. The best thing about it is you don't really need an official game to get started. Everyone can just write down something on a piece of paper and drop it in a hat. Having the suggestion cards does make it easier and more fair though. Number everyone off randomly and make teams, then watch hilarity ensue. Don't be surprised if someone's latent competitive side rears it's head.
Shiner fishing //
Shiners are what we Island kids called the small Perch that hang out under the docks here. They're generally a pretty hungry bunch. The easiest way to get bait is to wrangle up some mussels from the side of the dock and squish the flesh out. All you need is a couple of tiny weights, tiny hooks, some fishing line and a few sturdy sticks to tie them to and voila! Shiner rods! They are easy for any age, as long as the kids are old enough to understand not to get a hook in their finger. The shiners tend to congregate around the big dock posts. Let the little weight drop and see the frenzy that the mussel guts can create. Bring a big bucket to keep them in so the kids can watch them swim about, and at the end of the day release them back into the ocean. If you have older kids capable of fishing with a real rod, use the shiners as bait for fish like Rock Cod and have them cast off the dock. You may even catch dinner!
Project Time //
Has Dad been itching to make a birdhouse or a tree fort? Make it a family event. Even if all the kids are doing is running tools and materials back and forth, they will undoubtedly remember this day when they look at the finished project years later. Even if it isn't something that you are building, any kind of hands-on project that gets everyone involved is a great way to bond and an opportunity for the kids to learn new skills.
Family time is so important. Doing something as a group, whether it's a project you accomplish, a game you laugh your way through, or just sitting down together for one meal a day without any distractions, is quality time. Years from now, no one is going to remember what pictures they liked or the status they posted, they will remember bonding with their loved ones and that feeling of closeness.