When the kids are young it is easy to skip over family time and just try to coast through the day until bedtime. After a long week at work and/or taking care of kids it can be tough to not get a break, even on the weekends because of the constant needs of babies & toddlers.
Believe me, I am right there with you! I know how hard it can be; but I have also noticed that when my husband and I are more intentional with our family time and we don’t just try to spend the day “relaxing” on the couch (any parent of toddlers know that attempt never ends well) we all end up having so much more fun!
Since I have found this to be true in my own family, I thought I would compile a list of fun, easy, toddler-friendly activities to share with all of you. Even just 30 minutes or an hour of time spent together as a family can bring so much joy to the day and it’s a great habit to start early.
As our kids have grown we’ve noticed it can be challenging to find activities that work for every child’s age. Our son is at a different place developmentally than our daughter is, and it takes some extra thought to find an activity they will both love.
These are our favorites…
Play a game – Games can be lame, or they can be some of the BEST memories you make with your kids. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about a boring game at all, play one of these favorite board games for families. Some are silly, some are active and some are strategic, but they are great fun for all ages! (My husband and I even play a few of them after the kids are in bed, we love them so much!) See our full list of the best board games for families here.
Go for a Walk – I will admit, this is our default. My husband and I love to walk, so when we’re sitting around bored at home, it just makes sense for us to go on a family walk. It’s a fun way to exercise together, it wears the toddler our and we get in some good conversation along the way as well. Definitely a favorite activity!
Bake Cookies – There’s nothing like sweets to make a boring day better! You could make the dough and then get every one involved decorating sugar cookies or make a simpler recipe like oatmeal raisin chocolate chip and let the kids take turns adding ingredients and mixing. It will be a messy day, but a fun memory !
The Playground – Not necessarily the most innovative of locations, but going as a family can make it exciting! Bring a kite to fly together or bring beach toys & dig in the dirt. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant or expensive outing for the kid to have an amazing time playing with mommy & daddy.
Zoo Day – Consider investing in a membership to the local zoo or children’s museums. Most offer a yearly family membership that more than pays for itself after a visit or two. Using a membership also eliminates the stress of trying to get your “money’s worth” out of each zoo trip.
We have been able to go to our zoo for just 2 hours or so and enjoy walking around as a family, without feeling like we wasted a lot of $ on tickets because we didn’t stay the whole day.
If you have more time, try getting a city pass to yours or a close by city. These are a great value as they provide you with discounts to multiple attractions in your area. For example, with a City Pass in Houston you can see the Space Center, the Downtown Aquarium, the Museum of Natural Science, the Zoo and the children’s museum (there are a few more options too). It’s a great way to have an epic staycation with your kids!
Pjs, Popcorn & a Movie – Another tried & true idea. Movie nights are always a fun tradition and there are a lot of new kids movies that aren’t much of a sacrifice for parents to watch. Lately we’ve enjoyed the Lorax, Brave and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Each movie is hilarious (both for kids and adults) as well as brightly colored to hold the attention of littlest ones.
Start a Family Garden – It doesn’t have to be large an elaborate (though it could be!). You could do something small like keeping a few potted plants to keep on the porch. We have 3 pots on the balcony of our apartment, but our son loves watering them every day and watching them grow. Tip: this is an adorable, small potted plant.
This is a simple activity, but one that can be done together & it teaches responsibility too! If you are doing a bigger garden in your backyard, check out this adorable gardening equipment for kids/toddlers!
Family Craft – Thanks to Pinterest there are so many family craft ideas out there right now, branch out and try something new like this great family handprint craft or this Simple Bird Feeder Tutorial or do some finger print art! Have fun getting creative (and scouring pinterest) together and creating some art to display in your home.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt – Split up into teams and search for special objects on a list. You could make your own list to share or challenge each other by making lists for the opposite “team”. Meat up at the end to compare “treasures”.
Go for Ice Cream – Many places offer 99 cent ice cream cones (burger king, wendys & sonic all have them), take advantage of the deal and make it a family outing. This one is sure to be a favorite for the kiddos!
Host a Sing-a-Long – There’s no denying that children love to sing. Take 30 minutes or so to sing silly songs together like “the wheels on the bus” or “head & shoulders”. Be ready to giggle together as you create your own melodies or words. You may not be the best singer, but to your kids, you are awesome.
I hope this list has got you planning a fun family day with your young kiddos! What is your favorite thing to do on a family day? I’d love more ideas!!!
Looking for more encouragement for your day, check out this post about what my friend without kids taught me about parenting my toddlers.
Looking for more fun activities with kids? Try this fun and easy way to to create personalized coloring sheets! Click the image to view the tutorial.
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