You don't need a ton of free hours or crazy gadgets to spend some quality time with family. All it takes are a few great ideas. There are lots of family bonding activities that can help build closeness among family members without requiring much time or preparation. Bonding as a family can be quick and simple, and most of the time, it doesn't even require anyone to even leave home.
At-Home Fun Family Bonding Activities
Your family bonding time can start at home. Work some family time into your everyday routine to make spending time together just a normal part of your daily life. Doing little things together can help parents and children bond with each other while strengthening all your family relationships. There are tons of indoor and outdoor activities for families to try - these ideas will just get you started!
Have a Family Movie Night
Have a weekly family movie night at home. You can rent a kid-friendly movie or choose one from your home collection. Ask each person what movie they would like to see and give each person a chance to choose one of their favorites. To complement your movie night, serve popcorn and candy to make it feel like you're at the movie theater. Movie night is a classic indoor activity, but to help build strong family bonds, talk together about the movie too. Ask about each person's favorite characters or parts of the film. The more you know about one another, the more you'll connect.
Go Through the Old Photos (and Home Movies)
You know all those boxes and albums of old photos? They're the perfect bonding opportunity. Sit down together and talk about the people in the pictures. They could be photos from just a few years ago or super old pictures taken a century in the past. Either way, looking at them together is fun and creates a connection. And don't forget to rewatch those old home movies.
Baking cookies is a kitchen project that can bring everyone in the family together. Making the cookies can be as fun as eating them. During the holiday season, allow kids to decorate festive cookies and share them as gifts. Everyone can talk about their favorite treats, or parents can share memories of baking with their parents and family recipes.
Sit Down to Dinner as a Family
Sitting down to a family dinner is a great way to connect with each other and share the details of your day. You can cook together to increase the bonding time, or make it as simple as ordering a pizza and enjoying it together.
Ask each other fun family questions, create a set of DIY conversation prompts to ask each other during the meal, or take turns coming up jokes and voting on the best ones over dinner. Making it fun for both parents and kids will encourage everyone to keep opening up and enjoying their time together. Even if you can't do it every day, sitting down together for a family meal when you can will help build family bonds that last a lifetime.
Play Games That Help You Connect
Board games can bring tons of laughter and fun to your family bonding time. Game night can bring out the inner child in everyone. Some board games to consider playing are Monopoly, Pictionary, and Trivial Pursuit. Create a family game collection and take turns picking out a game to play. You can also try laid-back question games like This or That for kids, print out some fun family trivia questions, or create your own printable board games for family fun and bonding.
Video games are also fun, especially if you play together. Also consider going outdoors and playing an active game such as basketball or catch. Exercise can be a part of family fun and offers everyone benefits.
Bond With Backyard Camping
Family camping for one night can take place right in your own backyard. For this family night activity, you'll want to buy or borrow a tent and sleeping bags, as well as items like bug repellent and a flashlight. Keep it simple and plan to cook hot dogs and marshmallows over a hot grill or fire pit (if zoning allows) on long skewers. Once inside the tent for the night, become a storyteller or sing songs together.
Make (and Fly) Paper Airplanes
Make a bunch of paper airplanes together and have fun decorating them with markers, crayons, and other art supplies. Then see who wins in a paper airplane race. You can use the standard paper airplane or experiment with your own designs.
Do Some Birdwatching
Birdwatching is an ideal way to get the whole family outdoors and involved. Buy a field journal to help identify birds and keep a family log of all the birds you spot. You don't have to go anywhere to see birds, either. Just look out your windows! You can also take snapshots or draw pictures and start a family birdwatching scrapbook complete with images.
Play Some Practical Jokes on Each Other
Why wait for April Fool's Day? Play a few practical jokes on one another. Make sure the jokes are safe and fun for everyone, of course. Some fun practical joke ideas include filling the bedroom with tons of balloons, replacing the sugar with salt, and filling someone's shoes with something to make them hard to put on.
You can also take turns hiding something funny in different spots where people won't expect to find it. Laughter can help bring families together - and you might be surprised at how special and memorable some of those funny moments become to your kids as they grow!
Start a Family Book Club
Pick a book that everyone is interested in. Books such as the Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia, or a special holiday story are all great choices. Have each person take turns reading aloud, and then discuss the book after it is over. If you have any budding writers in your family group, try writing a story together or having each person write a story to share too.
Make a Craft
Arts and crafts can be fun for kids and adults. There are many craft projects that are simple, yet can still be a great way to bring everyone together. For example, during Christmas, have each person make an ornament to hang on the tree. Not only will the time spent making the craft build bonds, but the finished product is a great tangible reminder of that love and family time.
Create a Family Tree
Begin a family tree based on the information you have on hand. Ask the older kids to do some online research about the family history or write to long-lost relatives to fill in the branches of the tree. Discuss the geographic and ethnic origins of the family and how they have influenced present day practices, beliefs, and celebrations.
Start a Family Journal
Start a family journal to bring everyone closer. Designate one night a week to make a new entry, and take turns on who gets to write the information. Add personal observations on the events of the past week, and comment on people and places impacting your lives. If a relative from the past has left behind a diary or journal, pass it around, read it aloud, and discuss the events and people that shaped the writer's life.
Ways to Create Family Bonding Time Out and About
If you're looking to break out of your regular routine, these fun activities will help you do it - together. Try these family bonding ideas if you want to spend time together but need to get out of the house.
Visit a State or National Park
If you live within driving distance of a state or national park, head out for a day trip as a family. Getting out in nature and seeing animals can be a wonderful way to bond. You're sharing a new experience together, and that brings you closer. You can even talk about everything you saw on your way home.
Make Sidewalk Art Together
If you have a sidewalk in front of your house, you can do this at home, but if not, there are plenty of public sidewalks you can decorate if your city allows. Pick up a box of sidewalk chalk and work together as a family to make a scene. Think outer space, rainbows and unicorns, super heros, or pretty much anything you can agree on. Create chalk art of the family, of where you live, or with everyone's names or initials.
Volunteer as a Family
Volunteering together not only strengthens the family bond, but can also demonstrate the importance of giving back to the community. Some volunteer ideas that are ideal for families are serving meals at a shelter, picking a family to help during the holidays through Angel Tree or a similar project, or taking part in a charity walk.
Have an Ice Cream Taste Test
Getting ice cream as a family is a classic for a reason. Stop by your local ice cream parlor and order lots of different flavors. Then do a taste test where each member of the family ranks the ice cream from best to worst. You're sharing the same ice cream (use new spoons), so you'll be bonding over that shared experience. Plus, giving opinions and hearing other people's can help you learn about how you all see the world a little differently.
Take a Family Hike
Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air can be a great stress reliever and a fun way to get everyone together to talk and enjoy the scenery. You can take a walk around your neighborhood or go to a local park or hiking trail. For added fun, collect items from nature and discuss what you find.
Get Lost on Purpose
Getting lost on purpose can be super fun. You can do it by walking or driving, but either way, it's about sharing the decision-making and letting go of control. Take turns deciding which way to go when you get to an intersection or fork in the road. You can always use your phone to find your way home again, and you never know where you might end up! This is a unique and creative way to foster connections and build unforgettable family bonds.
Have a Family Night Out
Have a family night out and go to a movie, concert, or play. Get each person to come up with ideas of fun night out activities and make a list. Choose a different activity each week or month. Look for unique opportunities in your area, like festivals or art events too, so you can try some new activities that will build family closeness.
Go on a Picnic
Take the family on a traditional picnic with all the trimmings. Let everyone pack one of their favorite foods. While picnics are common in the summer, you may want to plan a winter picnic for something new and different! Plan some fun picnic games or a scavenger hunt to keep the fun going.
Take a Class Together
Learning new things together is another way to strengthen your family bonds. Think about something you'd all enjoy learning, such as cooking, photography, a new craft, or a fun dance. Then take a class together to learn it.
Watch a Sunset
If your kids are older, planning a walk at sunset is a fun way to spend time together. If possible, choose an elevated location from which you can see the sun's descent, or for the ultimate sunset experience, opt for a west-coast beach.
Make Sure You're All Enjoying Quality Family Time
When planning activities to enjoy with your family, remember the focus should be on spending time together. To have the best outcome, have all family members agree to set time aside for the activity and establish some rules, such as the following:
- Complete all homework before participating in the activity.
- Turn off all cell phones and stop texting.
- Don't bring work home from the office on family night.
- To prevent arguments or bickering, set some talking guidelines in advance. This could be as simple as setting a timer for a few minutes to reset if kids argue or someone says something negative.
- Respect everyone's feelings. Take turns choosing activities and coming up with ideas.
- If things don't go perfectly, don't stress. The unexpected can still be fun and memorable for everyone.
The Best Family Bonding Ideas Can Be Simple
It doesn't take a ton of time or money to bring your family together. Sometimes the simplest bonding activities make the best memories. To make the most of your family time, try to make sure that everyone is enjoying the activity at hand. There are many activities to choose from, so pick the ones that appeal to your family's specific interests. That way, you can improve your family's connections and form some happy memories everyone will love.