Family Activities for Weekend Fun
by Elizabeth Amy Ramirez
June 22, 2018
The weekend is coming. What plans do you have to spend quality time with the kids? Many parents don’t plan anything for the weekend because they’re simply too tired. Others try to fit in as many activities as possible, which may provide hours of fun but by the end of the weekend everyone is exhausted. There are endless activities for kids that don’t require a lot of money or effort. What you will need is a little extra energy and a commitment. Read on for fun family activities created with busy families in mind.
Let the Kids Be in Charge
First, let the kids join in the planning. This doesn’t need to be complicated. Have a brainstorming session during dinner and let each family member share ideas for fun things to do over the weekend. If you have a strict budget, discuss that in kid-friendly language and suggest free and inexpensive things to do. Next, print out or draw by hand a calendar and let each child fill in the activities they’ve chosen. Explain that weather or other issues might mean a change occasionally.
Family Movie Night
Make family movie night a special evening of entertainment at home. Assign the job of creating movie tickets to an older child. Print the tickets out on brightly colored paper. If you don’t have a computer or printer, make it a fun art activity and let everyone create their own ticket. Make sure you have plenty of popcorn and other treats.
Take a Nature Walk
If you think taking nature walks means you must get in the car and drive to a preserve or park, you’re missing out on nature in your own neighborhood. Walk through your neighborhood and enjoy identifying plants and trees. Even more fun is exploring to find out where bugs and other wildlife hide. Make it a scavenger hunt to see how many different types of plants, trees, and insects you can find. Neighborhood nature walks are great activities for kids to meet neighbors and visit with those they don’t have a chance to see during the busy work week.
Make Homemade Sculpting Dough
Remember when your mom made dough for you to play with? You spent hours shaping pretend pastries. Here is an easy recipe for sculpting dough that is ready to use in 10 minutes. You’ll need the following ingredients: 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup salt, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. In a 2- quart saucepan, mix flour, cream of tartar, and salt. The salt is critical as it keeps the dough from sticking and acts as a preservative. Add water and oil to the pan. Turn the burner on low and cook until the mixture is lumpy. Continue stirring until the concoction starts getting just a bit solid. Add food coloring and keep stirring. Don’t worry if it seems to be getting lumpier – that’s normal. When the dough begins sticking to the spoon, it’s ready! Take it out of the saucepan and let it cool on waxed paper or a plate. Unleash the sculptors!
Music is not only fun, it’s therapeutic. Children can even make their own instruments from things you have around the house. The round oatmeal container becomes a drum. Plastic bottles filled with tiny pebbles or dried beans can are maracas. Attach the jingle bells in from the Christmas box to a piece of elastic. Paper towel rolls transform easily into flutes or horns. Prepare to make a joyful noise! If you find one or more of your children are really drawn to music and seem to have a talent, perhaps it’s time to try music lessons. Who knows, you might have the next famous pianist or singer right under your own roof!
Perform a Play
Calling all thespians! Most children love to perform and even those who are shy usually join in once they see how much fun others are having. Let the whole family write the play and plan the props together. You don’t need to buy expensive costumes. It’s more fun to create props and costumes from whatever you have at home. Explore the basement and attic to find treasures. Most people have something unusual tucked away in a box that’s perfect for family theater night. If the weather’s warm, set-up lawn chairs and invite your neighbors to be the audience.
Kids love water! You don’t have to drag out the kiddie pool to have fun either. If the weather is warm enough, plan a Water Weekend right in your backyard. Water balloons are essential this weekend, so make sure you buy enough. This is one time when everyone in the family can throw water at each other without getting in trouble. Another way to enjoy playing with water is to host a car and bike wash. There’s no limit to the amount of safe fun a family can have when they include permission for kids to get wet.
Do a Puzzle
Puzzles are not solitary kid’s activities. Don’t just set your child at the kitchen table and provide a puzzle to occupy them. Putting together a puzzle is a fun activity for the entire family and one to be done together. Don’t hesitate to buy a 1000-piece puzzle. Adults help the little ones find the pieces. It’s not unusual for families to stay up past their normal bedtime to find that “one last piece.” Puzzles come in an endless variety of designs making them the perfect family activity sure to catch the interests of every family member.
If you’ve never gone on a camping trip, this may be your year! Start off with a camp-out in your backyard, or if the weather is too cold, your family room. Makeshift tents can be made from sheets and blankets draped over chairs and tables. Give everyone a sleeping bag and their own camp kit. Be creative. If you have a camping lantern, great! If not, provide flash lights. Grill hot dogs or sausages on the patio and if you have the set-up, make a fire to roast marshmallows. Consider this a practice run for your camp-out in the woods.
Keep a Photo Diary
Don’t forget to make lasting memories of your family fun times! A photo or video diary is yet another thing to do with kids. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment. Most cell phones today include a camera and a video recorder. Your family will spend hours enjoying the photos, especially if you decide to put them in a scrapbook. You can have fun editing your videos too. Another fun family activity!