Take a day to learn more about your family. Sometimes we get so busy without day to day lives that we forget about our history. Spend a day learning about your family. If you live close to older family members take a drive to their house. Ask to look at old photo albums, hear family stories, and bring a tape recorder so you can record all the family knowledge you are learning. You could even go to your local library and put your last name into the newspaper archives and see what comes up. You can also drive by homes your family used to live in or see the schools your parents went to. Enjoy your time together learning about your family’s history.
Spend an afternoon getting to know your city and learn self-control along the way. Find a list online for a Town Scavenger Hunt or use the list we provide at the bottom of this post. Now pick something fun to do at the end of the scavenger hunt. Maybe go see a new movie, go to dinner at your favorite restaurant, get frozen yogurt or ice cream. Whatever you choose, you HAVE to finish the whole scavenger hunt before going. This could be harder for some, but remind everyone that good things come to those who wait. Have fun driving around town finding everything and then reward everyone with your planned family treat. Talk about how waiting can be hard, and getting everything done is work. But there are rewards when we do what we are supposed to do.
Your Town Scavenger Hunt
Tall building (more the 3 stories)
Lake or pond
Camper or RV
Store with electric doors
Person in a cowboy hat
Person on a cell phone
As a family choose a child from a local Giving Tree, Angel Tree or Project Christmas Child. Have everyone pitch in money to buy Christmas gifts for this under-resourced child. Head out to the store and make a day out of it. Let everyone personally choose something, when you get home make Christmas cards, write notes of love and encouragement and then wrap the gift in the most beautiful way possible. Talk about how it is always better to give, then receive. And come up with other ways you as a family can show compassion for others this Christmas season.
It’s time to honor someone you know and love. As a family sit down and think of someone you’re entire family values, then think of a way to honor them. Make a meal together and deliver it, bake cookies or a cake, bring flowers to their work or mow their lawn. Whatever you pick do it as a family, make cards telling them how much you appreciate them and deliver them with the act of service. Taking time as a family to honor someone in your life that has made a difference for your family will bring your family closer, maybe make this a monthly practice in your home to honor someone you love!
Find a family friendly Escape Room to go to as a family. Work together as a family to figure out riddles and solve puzzles together. Afterward talk about what was hard, what was everyone’s favorite part, and how everyone had courage to work together to get out of the Escape Room.
It’s finally Football Season! Time to grab the football and get out into the autumn air and play some family touch football. The rules are simple, and if it’s your first time, your family will pick up the game fast. Break up into two teams, no more than 5 players on each team, not less than 3 plays on a team. If you don’t have enough people, invite your neighbors to join in on the fun. Decide who the quarterback is and start playing. After the quarterback says hike, he/she has the option of passing the ball or handing it off to the running back. The player with the ball is considered “tackled” when he is touched with two hands by a defender. If a defender touches him with only one hand, the runner is still not considered down. Choose an amount of time to play and the team with the most points at the buzzer wins.
• A touchdown is worth SIX points, and is scored when a team crosses the opposition’s goal line with the ball, or catches or collects the ball in the end zone.
• A Field goal is worth THREE points. Field goals are usually attempted on fourth down if the kicker is close enough to the end zone to kick the ball through the posts.
An extra point is earned by kicking the ball through the uprights after a touchdown. The team can go for two points by taking the ball into the end zone again.
When was the last time you went to the park/beach and flew a kite? You’ll need to work together and trust one another to get a kite off the ground. Find the kite you have stored in the shed, build your own or grab one from the dollar store. Pack a lunch and head to your local park to enjoy time together as you reach new heights as a family. Work together and trust each other as you wait for the wind to be just right. Listen to everyone’s ideas, let everyone have a chance to be “in charge”, remember to be encouraging when it’s someone else turn to hold the string. Try to have everyone get a chance to succeed at getting the kite to fly.
Be sure to talk about what worked and what didn’t, what was everyone’s favorite role in flying the kite, and what it was like to trust each other and work as a team.
Life App - July
It’s summer!! Time to dust off your tents and sleeping bags and go camping as a family. Book a local camp site and get outdoors as a family. Listen to the crickets and watch the fire flies. Not able to get a reservation, if you have a backyard, you can still go camping as a family?! Pitch a tent in the yard, pull out the sleeping bags, light a fire in the fire pit and sit around and tell fun stories. If you don’t have a yard, no problem! Clear out the living room and camp right there. Build a tent out of sheets, pile on the pillows and have family time all night. There is no excuse to not change things up and go camping. Either in the great outdoors, your back yard or your living rooms. It’s about being all together and creating a memory.
School is out and the family is all home. It’s time to get outside. Let’s plant a garden. Head to your local garden center and pick out some of your favorite fruit or vegetable plants or seeds. Have the whole family get involved in your yard and make an area to garden. Even if you only have a balcony, you can grow fruits and veggies in pots or planters. Set aside time throughout the month to be all together outside taking care of the plants you have planted together. Give everyone a job to do: Someone waters the plants, another family member checks for weeds, someone is in charge of the plant food and take turns being the one to harvest. So get your hands dirty, grow something both healthy and delicious for the entire family. Be sure to celebrate all the stages of growth, the first blooms, the first sight of fruit and enjoy eating what you have labored all summer to create.
It’s never too early to make a plan as a family in case something happens. Emergencies happen and natural disasters happen and we all need to be prepared for it. As a family, make a plan to know what to do if an emergency arises. Go out and put together an emergency kit with all the things you’d need. Let every family member be apart of it, let your little brother pick the color of flashlights that you need, let dad pick what size backpack you’ll put everything in. Make sure everyone takes ownership of your family emergency kit. Sit down together and make sure everyone knows the plan and know you are prepared.
There is so much hope in the future, but there is also hope in our present. Find an air tight container and add family memories, mementos, newspaper clippings, CDs of your favorite music, letters about your hopes/dreams, photos and whatever else you’d like to add. Decide as a family what you want in your family time capsule and find a place to bury it, decide if you’ll open it as a family years down the line or leave it for someone in the future to find.
We are all different, some of us are as different as night and day. Explore the night as a family with a full moon night hike! Connect with nature in a new way by taking a guided night hike. Contact your local Audubon Society or nature center about hikes in your area. The same trail, mountains, trees and animals during the day becomes a completely different experience at night when the stars come out. Open your eyes to a whole new world, open your ears to hear the calls of wildlife, engage all of your senses, check out constellations and discover planets in the night sky. Bring along some wintergreen Life Savers, chew them with an open mouth, and watch as you create flashes of light! This sparkly phenomenon, known as triboluminescence, can only be seen in the dark.
We can all help make our community, school, street and home a better place for everyone by serving others. Pick a day to hit the town to find ways you can serve others as a family. Before heading out, create a BINGO board filling in blank spots with ways you can serve others throughout your day, make one for each family member, making sure to mix up the spots and service projects so no one has the same game board. As you are out finding ways to serve, mark off each box that you accomplish. Keep serving until everyone has gotten a BINGO! Not only will everyone have fun, but you will definitely make an impact in your home and community by lending a hand to help someone else.
Bingo spot ideas:
Help sibling clean bedroom
Do the dishes
Clean up after pets
Donate clothes to a charity
Donate food to a soup kitchen
Bring in grocery carts at a store
Pick up trash at a park or beach
Bring cookies to a neighbor
Give gift card to fire station/police station
Walk a friend’s dog
Volunteer at church
Visit a retirement home
Donate blankets to a dog shelter
Smile at someone
Hold a door open for someone
Pay for someone’’s gas
Wash a friend’s car
Bring someone a meal
Visit an elderly shut in
Bag someone’s groceries for them
Help carry groceries
Pay for someone’s coffee
Give someone a compliment
Bring flowers to a nursing home
This outing is almost like playing a game, the whole family will love getting to choose the adventure. Pick an afternoon to get outside and go for a walk/hike. It can be in your neighborhood, a park or even a hiking trail. Pick one family member to be “the leader”, they decide which way the family will walk, how far, when to stop then start again and even how fast! The leader can also have the family walk silly, skip or hop. The leader can decide to have the family do something on the walk, like find rocks, look for leaves and even roll down a grassy hill. Decide as a family what the “leaders” time limit will be. Once the time is up, pick a different family member to lead. You may be surprised to find new places in your neighborhood or adventures in your local park!
It is always better to give than receive, isn’t it? Let’s celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas a little differently this year. No, there won’t be any gold rings or french hens this Christmas. Instead let’s give to others. As a family work together to do something everyday for 12 days for someone else. No matter how big or small the act of kindness is, you will be blessing that persons Christmas! There are so many needs in our communities that we can meet if we just put our mind to it. Here’s 12 ideas, but feel free to come up with your own!
-12 ideas to show others Compassion-
1. Bake cookies for a neighbor.
2. Bring hot coffee to a fire house.
3. Donate clothes to a Foster Care closet.
4. Clean up trash at your local park/hiking trail.
5. Bring dinner to a family friend.
6. Give out candy canes to people looking at Christmas lights.
7. Serve at a Christmas Eve service at your church.
8. Bring blankets and animal food to your cities animal shelter.
9. Bring school supplies to your school.
10. Help shovel snow off a neighbors driveway/Mow their lawn.
11. Buy toys to donate to Toys 4 Tots.
12. Offer to wrap presents for a friend or neighbor.
Chose a place to serve together as a family this month, you can do so much more TOGETHER. Make sure it’s something you can all cooperate and do together. Check out The Children’s Hunger Fund toy wrap or food backing days, volunteer to sort toys for Toy’s For Tots, help serve food at a soup kitchen, sort can goods at a food pantry, or partner with a ministry at your church that’s already serving in your community. Whatever you do, do it all together because no matter how big or small the family member is, you can all do more together than you can alone.
The holiday season is around the corner and instead of making a list of all the things we want, let’s find things we can give away. It’s time to clear out those closets and pull out the things that you no longer use or don’t need anymore. Make sure parents are clearing out stuff too!
As a family take the toys, clothes and maybe even canned goods to a local shelter, group home, soup kitchen or local charity. Make time to serve together there as well. Serve a meal, help sort clothes/toys in a foster care closet, offer to stock shelves at a food bank or help in any way you can there together
Dress in dark clothes, and head out to the backyard after dark. Give each family member a flash light. Play hide and go seek with one family member being “it” and the others hiding. Instead of tagging someone when you find them, you turn on the flash light and “tag” them. As players run away to dodge the light continue to try to tag them with the beam of light. Take turns being “it” and enjoy hours of laughter and fun as your family takes the initiative to make new strategies on how to dodge the light and stay in the game. This would be even more fun if you invited another family over to play. The more the merrier!
Check out the Stars. Wisemen have followed the stars for thousands of years. Buy a star chart to get started. Then choose one spot in your yard that affords a clear view of the heavens, and venture out after dinner to watch how the night sky changes hour to hour. A little fresh air before bedtime can really help your kids sleep later too.
Head to the party store and get a dozen balloons filled with helium. Have each family member write a word that builds confidence in a person on each balloon. Head to a park and pass out the balloons to kids and make someone’s day!
Joyful, kind, helpful, spirited, tenacity, loving, smart, caring, giving, etc.
Build confidence with giving your kids responsibility. Head out to your favorite gardening center and let your kids pick out vegetables or herbs they want to grow. Spend the day outside planting a garden, they will learn confidence when their hard work reaps real food! Make a responsibility chart with a list of things to do to care for the plants ie: water, pull weeds, remove dead leaves and steams etc. Remember to celebrate each step of the way, when you see new growth, a flower bloom, the first sign of real vegetable. Then enjoy using your garden fresh veggies and what your kid’s confidence grow.
Instead of going out, let’s stay IN. Make a special family movie night and watch the classic Disney movie Pinocchio. Pop popcorn and get everyone’s favorite candy. Make sure to put all those phones away and enjoy family time unplugged. After the movie, talk about honesty, why was it hard for Pinocchio to tell the truth, how the movie would had been different if Pinocchio had chosen honesty from the beginning, and how we can be more honest in our lives.
Waiting is hard, especially if you’re waiting to go someplace fun. As a family choose a place you want to go: A theme park, beach pier, fair, arcade, latest movie, or bounce gym. Make a jar that family members can add loose change, money and allowance to. Set an amount you’ll need to be able to go on this family outing. Wait patiently as a family as you save for the outing, talk about how close you are getting and how exciting it will be to finally get to go. Once you’ve reached your goal use the money from the jar to pay for the day. While out enjoying what you’ve waited for, talk about how it was worth the wait and the hard work it took to get to where you wanted to go.
Set aside a day to find peaceful places in your community. Everyone’s idea of peaceful is a little different, talk about what brings you peace and where you might like to go to feel peaceful. Then pick one of the places to visit together as a family. Some people feel peaceful at the beach, in the mountains, at a park, near a river/stream, listening to music or visiting an art museum. Decide together what would be the most peaceful place to go and spend the day. On your way home talk about how being there made you feel, try to set aside more time to find peace places as a family.
It’s time to be kind as a family. Look up a local, animal shelter and find out if they need volunteers for a day, have fun walking/playing with dogs who need some extra love. Or find out if they need food, blankets or toys for the animals in the shelter, collect those things from friends, hit a thrift store to get blankets etc. Spend time as a family giving back to those who can’t give you anything in return. And you never know, maybe you’ll end up with a new four legged family member!