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52 Outings and Activities That Will Bring Your Family Closer Together

Spending more time with family is at the top of many New Year’s resolutions lists. Prying your kids away from the television or PS3 may be difficult, but it will be worth the effort once you see the smiles on their faces and have the memory of spending quality time with them. Whether you have just a few hours or a few days to spend solely with your family, here’s a list of outings and activities that will bring your family closer together.

Family Activities Involving the Arts

Even if your kids are normally obsessed with science, there’s no reason not to expose them to the arts. The key is to make it fun and interactive, especially if the kids are under 10.


    1. See a play. It doesn’t have to be a super pricey production. Cities large and small have community theaters with reasonably priced tickets. If you can gather a group of families to attend, you can also score a group discount.

    2. Write a story. Pull out the art supplies and create pages for a story. Have everyone add a line to the story until it’s completed. It can be silly, after all, it’s your family’s own story and can be packed with clever inside jokes.

    3. Get painting. Kids love to paint. Lay out the newspaper in the kitchen and encourage kids to get in touch with their inner Jackson Pollock and paint whatever they feel like. Be careful not to give them criticism and remind them it’s all for fun.

    4. Sing a song. This can be done at home while cooking dinner or while in the car driving to hockey practice. Make a mix CD with your family’s favorite songs and encourage kids to sing with you for fabulous memories.

    5. Introduce kids to music you loved. Great music transcends, so if your favorites are classic artists like Miles Davis and Janis Joplin, share these artists with your kids. The younger they are, the easier it is to expose them to music outside of what they’re used to hearing.

    6. See a live band play. There’s nothing like live music. Introduce kids to the electricity that moves through a crowd when jamming to live music by taking them to see a local band play. There are many free events held during warm months, so check your local paper or a website that focuses on local happenings for ideas.

    7. Get crafty. Hop online and a quick search of crafts for certain age groups will pop up in seconds. This is a low cost way to have fun with your family since all you need is leftover boxes and materials, as well as paint, paper and glue, which you may already own.

    8. Scrapbook the day away. All of those pictures that are sitting in boxes or in a folder on your computer should be more accessible to remember the good times your family has had. Hit a local craft store and grab a scrapbook and the scrapbooking essentials (Exact-o knife, glue and a few decorations) to create a book that chronicles your family or a special event or vacation.

    9. Visit an art museum. People are funny about art. Many don’t understand it or want to, but it’s because they don’t understand that art interpretation is all about what you take from it. Teach your kids this golden rule of art early on and watch them blossom into people who see beauty in almost everything.

    10. Stop and take in a busker. This is a great moment to teach your kids to follow their passion in life. Whether it’s a performance artist or guitarist, it will make your kids smile and appreciate the different artistic skills people have to offer.

    11. Watch classic movies. This depends on how old your kids are, but showing your kids classic films will expose them to a different age and timeless stories and lessons. One that works for every age is It’s a Wonderful Life.

Family Activities to Get You Outdoors

Get moving with your family in tow. Sporting activities don’t have to be big, orchestrated events. Simply waking the kids up for a Sunday morning in the park is enough to give everyone some exercise and laughs.

    12. Do yoga. Look up a few simple yoga moves online and lead your family through the moves. Teach them to breathe slowly and to relax their body as they take on difficult poses. This can be done in the living room or outside on a warm day.

    13. Play frisbee. It’s cheap, takes no planning and if you don’t have a park nearby, you can play in an empty parking lot. This is a great workout because it makes everyone run around.

    14. Play catch. This is great for spring, summer and fall. Grab a few gloves and toss around a softball in the park. You’ll be amazed at how long kids can play catch for, so be prepared to put in at least an hour.

    15. Get a baseball game going. If your young child overcomes the fear of being hit in the face with a ball, take it to the next level by playing a baseball game. Don’t worry about filling every position or having formal bases. As long as you have about five people, you can comfortably play a never ending game.

    16. Attend a sporting event.It doesn’t have to be the high dollar NFL tickets, just taking your family to see any caliber of sporting event will get everyone in the competitive spirit. Score tickets to a minor league game for a steal if you buy them online or from a discount site.

    17. Go for a bike ride. This is great for those who live in a neighborhood where bike riders are welcomed. If not, hit a park to go for a long bike ride with the kids. Make a day trip out of it and pack sandwiches and snacks for the ride.

    18. Go for a hike. You may be surprised at how much your kids like hiking. It gives them a chance to explore the great outdoors, see the terrain and flowers or plants they may not be familiar with.

    19. Go camping. If your kids have never been camping, they’re missing out! Tents are easier than ever to put up, so don’t let that stir you away. Remember you don’t have to go away for a week, a simple overnight or two day trip is plenty of time to let them take in the scenery.

    20. Get on a toboggan. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one, just anything that lets you slide down the hill in the dead of winter while laughing with your kids. Pull out the flip camera and take footage of the kids tumbling down the snowy hill for a keepsake.

    21. Go for a nature walk. This is different from a hike because it can take place in your very own neighborhood. Point out exceptional nature in the environment whether it’s spotting a blue bird or collecting leaves to use for crafts.

    22. Go fishing. This gives you the opportunity to talk to your kids about everything or nothing at all. Be sure to take a camera along, especially if it’s the kids’ first time fishing.

Family Activities You Can Do in an Afternoon

Not every family activity requires serious planning. Check out these ideas for quick family activities you can conduct in an afternoon for bonding time that fits your lifestyle.


    23. Bake cookies from scratch. With baking, the kids can really get involved measuring out ingredients, forming the dough and decorating once the cookies are ready. Always supervise children and teens using the oven.

    24. Get into a classic book. Pull out a classic story like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Gather your family around in the living room or in the master bedroom and read a few chapters aloud. Your older kids can also take turns reading.

    25. Decorate for the next holiday. It’s a lot more fun to decorate the house when there’s teamwork and the entire burden isn’t dumped on mom. Let kids decorate as they wish and leave their decorations as is. There’s no need for everything to be perfect.

    26. Play charades. This staple game is a blast for kids of all ages. Teach them the basics and watch them be entertained by something other than a computer, for hours.

    27. Show kids how to organize. While this may not be the most fun activity on the list, a lot of adults don’t know how to organize or keep things tidy because they were never taught. If you’re going through the closet, show your kids that life is easier when like items are stored together.

    28. Visit a bookstore. Stay with your kids as they browse and see what they naturally gravitate towards. This is a great indication of what your kid’s strong suits are and you can begin to nourish.

    29. Have a barbecue. Everyone can contribute something whether it’s mixing the coleslaw or helping season the meat. A family that cooks and eats together is sure to create amazing memories.

    30. Watch old home movies. Kids will love seeing footage of their older siblings as babies or children. Make some popcorn and gather everyone around to reminisce on the past.

    31. Share pictures from when you were young. Kids of every age will get a kick out of seeing pictures of you from your hey day. From the clothes to the hairdos, it’s a great opportunity to share a part of you your kids never knew.

    32. Tell stories about family members who’ve passed away. Maybe your kids never knew your father. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear stories. Leave your own issues behind and share good times and stories with your children about family members who’ve passed away.

    33. Clear out the house for donations. Teach kids to give back. Let them k know that items are better off in the hands of someone who needs them than sitting on the floor of their closet. This also teaches kids not to get attached to material items, no matter how much or how little they have.

    34. Play photographer. Pull out the camera and take pictures of your family in their natural habitat, doing the every day things families do. Let little ones play with the digital camera and give them quick lessons on lighting and angles without being too pushy. Let their creativity soar.

    35. Go outside and blow bubbles. Bubbles are cheap and they’re just as fun as they were when you yourself were a kid. Even young kids will love learning how to blow a bubble and be amazed at how many they can create.

    36. Eat outside. This takes you away from distractions like the TV, computer and phones. If you don’t have an outdoor eating area, take your meal outdoors with a picnic spin with a blanket, whether it’s in your own yard or at a park.

    37. Play a board game. Pull out a classic board game like Monopoly or Sorry. This is fun because it usually involves lots of conversation and laughing.

    38. Make a pizza from scratch. Your kids will be wowed at how much goes into making a pizza from scratch. It takes some elbow grease, but will be a fun activity that everyone will enjoy once it’s out of the oven.

    39. Fly a kite. On a windy day, grab a kite and show your kids how to make it fly high in the sky. Most kids today never fly a kite, but it’s an activity that is affordable enough to make a serious comeback.

Special Outings and Activities for Families

These are activities for your family that may take a little saving and planning, but are worth the bonding experience. Kids grow up faster than you think so you’ll only have a chance to do momentous things like visiting Disney World for so long.


    40. Take a trip to the beach. For some this may be an hour away, for others, it’s thousands of miles away. Seeing your kids frolic in the ocean and build a sand castle is priceless, so do what you must to take your family to the beach for a brush with a different type of nature than you’re probably used to.

    41. Start a garden. We know this one’s not for everyone, but if you have the land and the time, starting a garden is a great activity to spend time with your family. It requires hard work and constant care, teaching your kids responsibility and getting in touch with where their food comes from.

    42. Visit a farmer’s market. If you can’t start a garden, visit a farmer’s market. This may be a trek depending on where you live, but it will be an enriching experience for kids to see the people who put the work into getting veggies and fruits to your table. Let the kids pick a new fruit or vegetable to try, which will also get them in the kitchen for more family time.

    43. See The Nutcracker live. The holidays brings a fuzzy people for most of us and seeing this ballet live will be the icing on the cake. This may not be a smart pick for very young children with short attention spans, but for kids in grade school or older, they’ll be enamored with the set design and costumes.

    44. Visit a farm. Again, this one may be a stretch depending on where you reside. Visiting a farm allows kids to come in contact with the animals they may consume daily, giving them an appreciation for animals, the land and the farmers who do the dirty work to get their eggs and beef.

    45. Plant a tree. While ideally this is done when your kids are young, planting a tree unites the family when the kids are any age. You can do some research online or at the library with your children to find out the best type of tree to grow for your climate. Even if you don’t plan on living there forever, the tree will always stand, representing your family at that time.

    46. Spend the entire day outside, in the yard. If you have a yard, encourage your kids to get out and play all day. Turn on the sprinkler, make hotdogs on the grill, buy ice cream from the ice cream man and share funny stories. .

    47. Go horseback riding. Kids will love riding horses, even if they’re a little timid at first. Encourage them with words and let them know being afraid is OK, but overcoming a fear is even better.

    48. Create a model-anything. It can be a ship, a plane or anything else. Making a model takes patience and hard work. This is an activity best suited for kids 10 and older who are wiling to take the time to focus on details and small parts.

    49. Go to the zoo. This seems like an easy one, but not every area has a zoo. You can check online for animal sanctuaries that may be in your area and allow visitors. It won’t be the same as the zoo, but it will give you a chance to talk to kids about humane practices.

    50. Go to a local history museum. Even small towns have museums that chronicle the history of the area. This teaches kids their roots and that every area, no matter how glitzy or seemingly dull, indeed has a history.

    51. Check out your family history. This can be done online (for a price) or at a local genealogical center in your area. When visiting a center, take all of the information you do have such as names or documents to help you in your research.

    52. Learn to play an instrument. The easiest bets are the guitar or piano. It’s an investment for sure, but you can all learn how to play the instrument at your own pace, without any formal instruction. It will be trial and error, but will make for great memories.

As you can see from our list, it isn’t hard to find affordable, accessible outings and activities that will bring your family closer together. It’s important to spend time with your family regularly to create a comfortable relationship with your kids that shows you’re genuinely interested in their lives and how they feel about things they’re going through. Take the time to bake cookies or watch a classic film to open your kids to new experiences and give them the gift of always exploring and learning new things.