“You need to make time for your family no matter what happens in your life” –Matthew Quick, ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’
Truthful and meaningful connection with your family can be encouraged and built in a number of ways, but perhaps none more so than through the activities that fill your family leisure time. Enjoying engaging activities together is a sure-fire way to build positive connections, treasured memories and to look after your collective wellness.
At the time of writing this piece, the UK is in full lockdown, so yes, these activities come from a place of keeping you and your family sane whilst living without the ability to go outside very much. That being said, these are amazing activates for family connection and mindfulness, whatever the national situation!
1. Family Cook
Not only is food essential to life, but I think for most people it is at the centre of the home. This kitchen is always where people congregate in my family home, and so it makes sense that spending time in here, making food together, is a fantastic way to connect. Food has an amazing ability to create memories; a source of comfort, nostalgia, excitement, nourishment (for body and soul) and wellness.
Create food together. It could be as simple as baking a loaf of bread or creating an entire feast. Preparing food together offers a fun and engaging way to encourage communication and teamwork. It is also something that gives you results in a relatively short amount of time… fantastic for those kids whose attention spans or energetic impulses might not manage a lengthy plight!
2. Garden Time
Gardens are full of joyous opportunity. Not only is the garden a wonderful place for activity, but it has bucket-loads of potential for projects! Yes indeed, TV, computers, consoles and tablets have their place in family entertainment; but the garden offers a place that is naturally pointed away from modern entertainments.
Why not organise an assault course in your garden? Maybe build a den? These are activities that take hours… even days. And more often than not, they are just as enjoyable for the adults as for the kids. Or perhaps a growing project is more favourable? Build some raised beds, pick some fruit, plant some vegetables. When it comes to the garden, the options for family connectedness and creativity are many.
3. Art Hour
Art projects are also a wonderful way to pass family time; tactile, imaginative, creative and, more often than not, messy! Your art time can take any form. Perhaps you favour a free for all; a table full of paint, glitter, glue, paper, stickers to get stuck into. Or perhaps you prefer a more focussed project? Create a cool superhero. Draw a map of an imaginary island. Build a rocket from household junk. Paint a picture of your favourite place. The possibilities are endless. Get connected through creativity.
There’s nothing like a bit of light hearted competition to bring a family together! Little competitions bring joy, excitement, focus and learning. Here are a few suggestions…
Handstand Competition – Who will last the longest?
Family Quiz – Put it together like a pub quiz! A fun thing to both write and take part in.
Dance Contest – Ever remember making up performances for your parents when you were a kid? Why not introduce this to your family. Another brilliant way to spend a significant amount of time engaging with imagination and creativity.
5. Tidy Party
If you are stuck in the house with a whole family, one thing is for certain, things can get a little cluttered. For the wellness of both your body and sanity, why not make tidy up time fun! Whack on your favourite music, grab everyone’s favourite drink and make tidy up time an enjoyable and ultimately satisfying experience.
6. Movie Night
If you are going to snuggle in with the ones you love, why not go the whole hog? Get the popcorn going, shut the curtains, gather your cosiest and softest blankets and really enjoy a nest of comfort with your nearest and dearest human beings. Movies are magical; a source for great nostalgia for so many of us… why not create a home experience to match?
By Chris Thomson
Family is the source of a great many wonderful things. One of the greatest of these, is the wisdom of children: Lessons on Kindness from Children
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