Family – they’re often the most important people in your life. Whether the loved ones you call family are relatives, dear friends, or your furry companions, family is there to lift you up in the good times and support you when it gets hard. Where would we be without the love and support of those closest to us?
And to top it all off, science has shown that spending time with family can lower the probability of childhood mental health problems and contribute to a decrease in stress. In addition, increasing social ties can lead to a longer lifespan.
But in our fast-paced modern life, it’s all too easy to slip into a routine of tackling a never-ending list of tasks rather than creating priceless memories and building strong connections with those we love the most.
Being in the timeshare cancellation industry, we’ve heard from so many people that the #1 reason they bought a timeshare was to spend more time with family – but then never end up using it. So we wanted to compile a list of creative ways you can spend more time with your family – right from the comfort of your own home.
Here are 10 fun and creative ideas on how to spend more time with your family – without having to buy a timeshare.
- Movie Night With a Twist
Family movie nights are a go-to way to spend time together, but with a few fun tweaks, these chill evenings can turn into a really special event – all while helping you to create some amazing memories together.
• For a simple way to spice up movie night, try cooking up a tasty snack together. The Food Network has a great list of mouth-watering and unusual movie night popcorn recipes. Maybe one of these recipes will turn into your family’s special movie-watching tradition?
• To make your movie night extra festive and special, try creating a whole theme by pairing your dinner or snacks with a movie choice, printing out homemade tickets, or even dressing up in character. Need some ideas to get your wheels turning? Check out this list of thought starters.
• Weather and space permitting, you can even host a movie night outdoors. All you need is a projector, screen or wall, and a laptop to stream a movie right in your own backyard. Maybe you could even make the movie an outdoor adventure theme with snacks like ants on a log or s’mores?
• Don’t have an outdoor space or it’s way too cold for an outdoor movie night? Try building a blanket fort in your living room, and you can have the fun of an outdoor movie night right from the comfort of your home.
2. Make a Game Plan
It’s all fun and games until…well, actually, it’s just all fun and games at a game night. From board and card games to interactive electronic games, game nights can be an engaging way to connect and laugh with your family. Here are a few ideas on how to turn your family game night into something a little extra special.
• If you have a larger size family, try making your game night an all-day or multi-night tournament. The winner gets bragging rights, or you can award them a prize, such as not having to do chores for a week, extra allowance, giving them full reign to pick the movie at the next family movie night, a gift card at their favorite store, and so much more.
• Don’t have a larger size family? No problem. You can still up the stakes of your game night by awarding the winner an awesome prize.
• Try making snacks that fit into your game night theme, such as serving alphabet soup for Scrabble or your family’s favorite candy with Candy Land. Taste of Home has put together some other themed food ideas you can check out.
• If your family is tech-savvy and you each have a mobile phone or iPad, you can play interactive electronic games on your TV screen together – like these from Jackbox Games. Their games are rated T for teens, but they also have a Family Friendly setting if you need it.
- Reimagine a Family Dinner
You gotta eat, right? Family dinners can be a great way to spend time together, even if it’s just trying to make sure you all sit together for thirty minutes when things are hectic. If you’re looking for a few ways to make family dinner a little different and to spice things up, here are some ways that could be fun:
• While certain foods are made to eat with your hands, like pizza or a sandwich, try an “eat with your hands” theme night with food that you would normally eat with a fork. Think spaghetti, salad, or cake. Your kids could have a ball with this unconventional approach to dinner one night… although we don’t recommend skipping on the napkins 😉
• If ditching utensils isn’t your thing, what about skipping the table? If the weather is warm enough, you could have a picnic in your backyard. If that’s not an option, you can still pack a picnic basket and set up a blanket indoors for a fun and memorable dinner one night on the living room floor.
• Spice up your menu with unusual theme nights, for example, a color night where everything you cook has to be red or starts with the same letter.
• Turn your family dinner into a collaborative cooking night where you make the meal together as a family. Each person can be responsible for one dish or it can be a way to pass on and teach family recipes to children.
- Backyard Camping
What feels like a vacation, but you don’t have to travel? Going camping in your very own backyard! Here are a few tips:
• Get inspiration from Buzzfeed’s backyard camping suggestions, such as how to turn your yard into a Twister board and making s’mores with terracotta pot fires.
• If you don’t have access to a backyard, you can have a fun indoor camping night, complete with setting up tents and sleeping bags in the living room.
• Make backyard camping feel like summer camp with fun activities like arts & crafts and star gazing. If camping inside, you can use a star projector to transform your home into a mini planetarium.
- Get Creative
Studies show that creativity can improve your health, so spending creative time together as a family can be both a fun and healthy way to bond. Here are a few ideas on how to create an art night for your family:
• The Barnes Foundation has put together artist-inspired art project ideas for the whole family that are both entertaining and educational.
• Get your hands on some watercolors and the whole family can each try to create a portrait of the same object. Examples could include the family’s home, each other, the family pet, a still life made from objects lying around the house, or even a favorite cartoon character.
- Make a Family Scrapbook
Who doesn’t want a family scrapbook to look back on? Digital pictures are amazing, but there is something pretty special about pictures you can hold in your hand too. A scrapbook is a wonderful way to capture memories that otherwise could easily be forgotten or that could get buried away on a phone or computer. Plus, making a scrapbook as a family is a way to make memories while you’re preserving them. Here are a few tips on how to get started:
• The Spruce Crafts has a great beginner how-to scrapbooking guide to help get you started, complete with a basic layout recommendation and a supply list.
• Scrapbook with copies of any original printed photos, since you’ll be cutting and pasting them and you may not want to destroy your originals. Here’s how to use a phone or a scanner to make copies.
• You can create one scrapbook together as a family – from choosing the photos to decorating the pages – or each family member can work on their own scrapbook around the table together.
- Share a Hobby
Carving out time to share the things you love to do with the people you love can be a fulfilling way to spend more time with your family. It could also be a great way to introduce your children to hobbies that they might fall in love with themselves. Don’t have a hobby? You can always start one together as a family. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:
• Video editing
• Learning an instrument
• Building models
• Reading or a family book club
• Jewelry making
• Soap making
• Learning a new language
• Playing sports
• Flying kites
• Coding/computer programming
- Start a Garden
Gardening is a great way to teach your family the importance of patience, care, nature, science, and eating healthy foods – as well as being a great overall life skill. Times together in the garden can be so peaceful and it can be fun to eat food varieties that aren’t typically available in the grocery store or farmer’s market. Here are a few tips:
• Enlist your family’s help in choosing what to plant so that everyone feels like it’s their garden.
• If you have the room, it can be exciting to grow giant wild sunflowers that will tower over your whole family. Some can get as tall as 12 feet!
• The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a beginner’s guide to help get you started.
• Make sure you plant veggies and fruits during the right season and according to your geographical region. Here are some charts and graphs broken out by U.S. locations.
• If it’s too cold to plant outside or you want to start small, try growing herbs or lettuce indoors.
• If you want to grow your own food, but also want something really easy and low maintenance, try a smart garden that has an automatic light timer and watering system built-in.
- Turn Your Living Room Into a Stage
Turn off the TV one night and try performing a play together as a family instead. The play can be improvised on the spot or scripted – whatever you prefer! You can even really go for it and dress up in costume. Here are a few tips:
• The Kennedy Center has a bunch of pre-written plays that you can perform together at home – all for free.
• If your family is on the shy side, perhaps performing a sock puppet show would feel like a better fit? Making your sock puppets could also be something you could do together beforehand.
• According to Scholastic, the performing arts are a great way to teach your kids life skills such as improvisation, public speaking, empathy, and self-esteem.
- Work It Out
Exercising as a family can be an awesome way to instill lifelong healthy habits in your children, and has loads of mental and physical health benefits. A few tips:
• Working out as a family can be an efficient way to fit your workout into your schedule when trying to balance fitness and family.
• Working out doesn’t have to feel like exercise. Try a family dance party! You can even take the experience up a notch by decking yourself in glow gear. Other options include shooting some hoops together, racing, and so much more.
• Want a guided exercise class? Find some family workout videos to stream on YouTube for free. Online fitness subscription services like obé and Peloton also offer workout classes geared towards kids as well. Bonus tip: you don’t need to own any Peloton equipment to subscribe to their online workout videos.
Family Time Is Precious
There are so many ways to enjoy more time with your family – without even having to leave the house! While these moments are fun on their own, they are also the gifts that keep on giving as they turn into lasting memories. Whether it’s building your first garden together or putting in the last puzzle piece to a 3-D puzzle, make sure to take lots of photos and videos to commemorate the fun times. And then you can scrapbook those photos together!
What are some of your favorite memories and activities to do with your family? Do you have any traditions built around certain activities? Comment below and share them with us. We’d love to hear how you love to spend time with your family, and maybe it will help give others some additional ideas!