What activities can you do regardless of your financial status, or what kinds of facilities there are in your neighborhood? Here are 10 of our favorite family activities.
1. Going for a walk together
It sounds boring, but walking together has a lot to offer physical exercise, fresh air, a chance to chat with your kids and partner, and renewed energy. When my kids were really little (even littler than they are now), the thought of "going for a walk" every day, as people in the country I live in seem to think is the proper mom/housewife type of thing to do, made me want to run away screaming. Now, we do it fairly regularly, and it's fun. We grab a hot chocolate when it's cold, and an ice cream during the summer.
2. Clean up
The weekends provide a great opportunity to clean and tidy your house, as a family. Doing those chores together can make the process fun, and you'll be so happy to sit down after, and enjoy your lovely home. If you want to go a step further, why not organize a "clean up the neighborhood" event? This teaches your kids to be responsible citizens of the earth, and may help you connect with neighbors.
3. Go to the movies
See a movie on the big screen! Almost every child loves the cinema, and if you choose your film well, it will be fun for you too.
4. Something creative
Depending on the ages and interests of your children, of course. A friend of mine recently built a huge wooden trebuchet from scratch, together with his four sons. After they were done (something that took several weekends), they invited all their mates to launch water balloons with their new siege "weapon". But playing with clay and baking the results in the oven, drawing a portrait of someone, or teaching your child how to use a sewing machine are ideas too.
5. Go to a house of worship
Even if you don't believe, visiting different houses of worship can be very educational. You can even visit a few different ones, either during the same weekend or spread out over several weeks. Then discuss the differences in the way they worship, and how the house of worship made you feel.
6. Play games
If you have small kids, games like hide and seek, I spy with my little eye, or just running around, are bound to make them happy. My kids are always begging me to play hide and seek with them, and I make a point of doing what they want during the weekends. Board games can be fun, even if you have teenagers (well, for some teenagers, anyway).
7. Enjoy good food
Cook an elaborate meal, or have your husband or kids make you one! Or order take-out, if that's what you like. If you make a point of always enjoying some special meal during the weekend, the foodie in all your family members will have something to look forward to. We like to have a sit-down meal together, usually with three courses. It helps us realize the weekend is different from the rest of the week, when we're too rushed to have an elaborate meal.
Most people will have a public swimming pool in the neighborhood. Why not use the weekend as a chance to check out yours?
9. Nature appreciation
Go bird watching, bug hunting, frog catching, or something similar. Find out what species live in your area. If there is a patch of nature, like woods, a lake, or a nice park, near you, go and enjoy the scenery. And take pictures.
10. Interactive games
If you really have to use the TV or computer, why not play Wii sports games with your kids or partner? It does use a screen, but at least it gives you some exercise and it also encourages family bonding.