Your kids probably have some time off coming up, and whether you're spending it with them or they'll be with grandma and grandpa while school is out, there will be a lot of hours in the day to fill. To avoid the dreaded "I'm bored!" moans, consider a few simple ways to pack the day to the fullest with healthy, fun activities that will make it a great family fun day. Best yet, these things don't require spending any extra cash.
The kids wake up and turn on some cartoons. An episode or two is fine – this is vacation after all – but before they get in full-fledged lazy mode, it's time to eat and brainstorm some activities. Start by setting up a breakfast bar with oatmeal and a choose-your-own-toppings buffet filled with healthy items like dried fruit, nuts and honey.
While they eat, get their input on how they want to spend the day. When kids feel like their ideas count, they are more engaged in the activities. No idea is too silly, so have everyone share!
This is the perfect time to explore the benefits of your own backyard. What local parks can you explore? Is there a community calendar you can check for free events? Is there story time at the neighborhood library?
Once everyone has eaten and you have a plan for your family fun day, have the kids get ready to go. Fill your day with a few small activities or one larger activity, and plan to be home later to eat lunch.
Don't overlook that a meal can be an activity in itself. Kids love to help cook, so involve them in the steps for creating a delicious lunch. Maybe they can help chop veggies for your famous soup or mix up banana bread ingredients for dessert. Not only is cooking together a great way to bond, but kids won't even realize they are learning, too!
Next, sit down to eat and strike up a conversation. This is always one of the best parts of our family fun day is reliving the happy memories from the past. Try sharing stories from your own childhood that kids today might find interesting. It's a short lesson in history that will bring you closer together, plus you might get a lot of laughs comparing what you did with what children do today.
After an action-packed morning and lunch hour, it might be time for a little R&R. Send tots off for a nap and let older children pick a calm activity they'd like to do for a while, like reading or coloring. This gives everyone a little break and recharges their energy.
An hour or two later – before afternoon turns into evening – find one fun physical activity to do together. It might be sledding, a game of tag in the yard, hide-and-seek, or taking turns on a trampoline. Pick something all ages can enjoy so you can all burn off any remaining energy before settling into the evening hours. After all, if it's a vacation week, you'll be starting your family fun day all over again tomorrow!