Within the circles I run it's pretty easy to get a hardy amen to the statements "families that play together stay together" or "families that learn together live together" or "families that work together waltz together". I made up the last one. This was my first time trying it out. That was probably the last time I'll use it. I am confident, however, that someone in my circle would impulsively say amen to it simply because I put the words "family" and "together" in the same sentence.
In other words, not many parents would argue with the directive "mom and dad, do stuff with your kids."
But kids are energetic and always learning and always hungry for something new and we straight up run out of ideas for things to do with them. And, so, we default to pressing play on another episode of "Hey Kids, Your Parents Don't Have Time For You". I am not here to petition against screen time. I have been educated, entertained, and even edified by content distributed via video format. But Dude Perfect has reduced their posting schedule to at the most every other week so we can only rely on them so much.
So why is it such a challenge at times to "do stuff" with our kids?
I am willing to do stuff with my kids. Actually, I am more than willing. I like doing stuff with my kids and yet, when the time for doing something together comes, I draw blanks. I haven't the ideas. I'm not the ideas guy.
We've stolen some ideas from the ideas guy and thought we would share some of them with you here so that you can now have the ideas.
Here are the most recent activities we've been doing together as a family. And a few things just Katie and I are doing.
Play Make Believe With Them.
Dress-Up and Plays.
This has been a huge win because every evening after dinner the kiddos run to their rooms to put their costumes on and prepare their performance. This gives Katie and me a chance to clean the kitchen and chat about life. Sometimes Katie and I have a role in the play and sometimes we are relegated to the audience. Either way it is a family activity and we have been loving it. The key piece is having costumes the kids are pumped to get in. They take it from there.
Play Sports With Them.
I mentioned these portable pop-up goals in Top Five Tuesday so I thought I would share the link to them here. This has made playing soccer so convenient. Not only do we all play as a family, but having these goals has inspired the kiddos to play by themselves as individuals or with any sibling that is available. It's not an all or nothing situation. Check out our sweet pop-up goals here: https://amzn.to/3EK2UE7
Include Them In Tasks Around the House.
The Distinct Privilege Of Refilling the Berkey. Like I said, random.
Katie is especially good at turning seemingly mundane tasks into relationship building activities. Who would've thought that refilling the Berkey top chamber would be such a highly sought after job? It has become that in our home ever since Katie started taking turns letting the kiddos fill it up. And since it's a Berkey it doesn't even matter if they sneeze into it.
Learn With Them.
Poetry and Singing.
Katie has been teaching the kiddos different poems and they love it. We practice them together at the breakfast table, on walks, and in the car. The most recent poem the kiddos are learning is Emily Dickinson's "There Is No Frigate Like A Book" You can read it here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52199/there-is-no-frigate-like-a-book-1286
The kids like to stroke my ego so they have been making a point to memorize the words to all the songs on my children's album. It's a win/win. My ego gets bolstered and my kiddos learn biblical truth. Ironic. You can have your kiddos listen to them here: https://open.spotify.com/album/1TYghZMG1tba1NbFGwME7Q?si=hxS-1AvYSjitTXqoGEK_wA
Include Them In Your Work Projects.
Relationships Aren't Efficient.
I am getting ready to re-seed my lawn and am pretty sure that the prep work would've taken 1/8 of the time had I done it without the help of Leon, Lucy, Louis, and Lawrence. I also know that it has become the emblem of bonding for us that I wouldn't trade for a brand new lawn. They are invested in the project and ask me when the seed is going to get here, if they will need to water it with me, and if the worms will eat the seed. I am bad at things like planting grass and am assuming that the seed won't take but this whole experience has been worth it already.
We love reading the bible and growing in our faith. We also enjoy other non-fiction books to learn more about business, homeschooling, nutrition . . .etc. But we also love and get countless insights from reading fiction. Right now Katie is blowing through Louis L'Amour's "The Walking Drum" and I am working my way through one of Kurt Vonnegut's novels. Whenever we feel the need to break away from watching shows or movies we track down a good novel and it helps us start a new trend.
Date Night Activity.
Katie and I have been making a point to do activities on our date nights in addition to eating dinner. Of course there are seasons where all we want to do on date night is sit in a coffee shop for as long as possible then get food then go home. But lately we've really enjoyed going to the shooting range for an hour or so, then going to dinner. Doing activities together and learning new things together seems to keep things fresh and exciting.
We are working on compiling more and more family activities so that when the kiddos are ready and charged up we are to. The comforting thing is that our kids think anything is cool as long as we are going it with them.
If you are looking to create more systems that simplify your home, check out Katie's Free Masterclass to learn her top three tips for creating a peacefully productive home!
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