Father’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s a weekend to celebrate all the dads in our lives in some awesome ways. Dads play an essential role in the development of children. Research shows that a healthy relationship with Dad positively impacts a child’s health, behavior, educational achievement, and socialization skills.1 Dads bring a lot to the table, and we should celebrate them for all they do. Let’s celebrate all the father figures in our lives.
Before diving into awesome ways to celebrate Dad, let’s lay some ground rules.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind for Father’s Day.
Do ask Dad what he wants.
Do celebrate him as a husband, father and mentor.
Do make sure he feels fully appreciated.
Don’t say, “But we celebrate Dad every day…”
Don’t buy him something he won’t use.
Now, let’s talk about some awesome ways to celebrate Father’s Day…
Make Dad a card. I love the cards my kids make. Their personality shines through their creativity. [Find inspiration here, here, and here. Or do a google search for more ideas!]
Kick the day off with his favorite breakfast.
Play video games as a family. Go old school and play games he grew up playing.
What’s his favorite sporting event? Go to a game together or buy tickets for a future event. Many sports venues offer Father’s Day specials as well.
Go for a family hike. Mountains, state parks, or nature trails are great places to explore.
Play sports as a family. Play his favorite sport together.
Rent his dream car and go for a ride. Every guy has a dream car. Many specialty rental companies can help Dad drive the car of his dreams.
Do a project together. Does Dad like woodworking? Or painting?
Go for a family bike ride.
Camp out together. Are there state parks or national parks nearby? Camping in the backyard is a fun experience, too.
Plan an outdoor movie night. Grab a sheet and a projector and enjoy a movie under the stars.
Go fishing. I have so many memories of fishing with my dad and granddad. Create those memories for your kids.
Host a beer or wine tasting. If Dad is a fan of either, treat him to a tasting. Get an assortment from local breweries or wineries. You might just help him find a new favorite.
Go geocaching. If you’re not familiar with it, geocaching is like a real-life scavenger hunt using an app on your phone. Download one and explore your city.
Take him go-kart racing. If Dad has a need for speed, there’s no better way to enjoy it as a family.
Visit a museum. If Dad is a history buff or art enthusiast, take him to a local museum. If neither of those is his thing, look for an interactive museum the whole family can enjoy.
Take a road trip. Whether one day or the weekend, pick a destination, crank up the tunes, roll the windows down, and hit the road.
Take care of his household chores for him. Give Dad a weekend to relax. Take on whatever he regularly does.
Participate in a family fun run, mud run, or color run together. If running is what he enjoys, look for an opportunity to enjoy it with him.
Treat him to a cooking class. If Dad loves to cook, sign him up for a cooking class so he can sharpen his skills.
Get out on the water. Boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, swimming, or skiing are all good ideas. Enjoy the water together.
Have a movie marathon weekend. Let him pick a genre or movie series, load up on the snacks, and chill.
Hit up an arcade. Go to a local game room and let his inner child out.
Grill out. If Dad loves to cook outdoors, get his favorite meat and grill out as a family.
Take him shopping. Shopping? I don’t mean just clothes shopping (unless that’s what he wants to do, which is totally cool). Think about what he loves to shop for and take him there. Maybe it’s an outdoors store, a home improvement store, or an athletic store.
Host a family game night. Indoor or outdoor games are fun for the whole family. Play games he enjoys. [Check these out!]
Take him to his favorite restaurant. Here’s a secret: Often as dads, we choose a restaurant that the whole family will enjoy and one that will minimize any drama. Take him out to a Father’s Day dinner at his favorite place.
Solve an escape room mystery. Is he a crime solver? Help him channel that inner detective and solve a mystery.
No matter how you celebrate the dad in your life this Father’s Day, make it a day about him.
Dads do a lot for us and don’t often get the appreciation they deserve. Do some detective work and find out what he wants to do. Then celebrate him big. Happy Father’s Day!
Celebrate and appreciate Mom for who she is and all she does.
It’s May, and you know what that means… Mother’s Day! Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to celebrate the women who have been influential in our lives. My mom, grandmothers, and mother-in-law have been significant in shaping me into the person I am.
But, this day is about all the moms in my life. And my wife is the most significant mom (don’t worry, my mom knows it’s true). She’s the one I chose to do life with. She’s the one who made me a dad. So, celebrate your mom, grandmothers, and mother-in-law, but also celebrate your wife. And I don’t mean just helping the kids make her feel special. Guys, you should make her feel all the love as well.
Here are some ideas to help you make sure that your wife feels all the love this Mother’s Day:
Make a video asking your kids what Mom means to them. Here are some questions to kick you off. What does Mom say the most? What is Mom’s favorite thing to do? Of all the things you love about Mom, what do you love the most?
Have the kids create a song about Mom and perform it for her on Mother’s Day.
Help the kids make her breakfast or lunch. It doesn’t have to be extravagant… just from the heart. Let the kids lead out and choose what they want to make.
Let her sleep in on Mother’s Day. This is a big win in my house. We all know moms need rest.
In-Home Spa Day, anyone? My 6-year-old likes to paint nails and give foot rubs. You can all pamper Mom as a family.
Homemade cards are always a win. Encourage the kids to make cards that represent their personalities.
Does Mom love to travel? Spring is an excellent time for a day trip. What’s within driving distance in your area that she would love to visit?
Is Mom crafty? What is her favorite craft? Whether she likes to paint, knit, or anything else, get some supplies together and create as a family.
Does Mom love movies? Watch her favorite movie as a family. Create a movie theater experience for her, complete with popcorn and her favorite snacks.
Here are a few more ideas specifically for you fellas:
Plan a date night or weekend getaway for just the two of you. Work out the details yourself.
Be intentional about speaking her love language on Mother’s Day.
Give her a massage. I don’t just mean a shoulder rub. Break out the massage oil and pamper her.
Clean the house. Moms often feel the pressure to have a clean house. Take care of this for her.
Most importantly, let’s show Mom that she is loved and appreciated.
Research shows four factors had more effects on helping moms feel supported in well-being and parenting:
Feeling loved unconditionally.
Feeling comforted in distress.
Authenticity in relationships.
Satisfaction with friendships.
I’ve learned over the years (from both my mom and my wife) that celebrating Mom is less about the cost and more about the thought and heart that’s put into the gift. That’s what matters most.
Don’t let anything stop you. Make this the best Mother’s Day ever!
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/happy-mothers-day-card-beside-pen-macaroons-flowers-and-box-2072160-scaled-e1596469791846.jpg300450Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2022-05-04 08:22:002022-05-04 12:59:29Easy Ways to Make Your Wife Feel Loved on Mother’s Day
As the year rapidly comes to an end, many people think about making the next year better. The idea of New Year’s resolutions has been around for thousands of years. The practice of looking back at the past, then forward to what’s to come is the hallmark of creating New Year’s resolutions for yourself and for your family.
Here are some must-have resolution suggestions for the different facets of your life.
1. Practice gratitude.
Believe it or not, an attitude of gratitude and appreciation affects your perspective of the world and what’s happening around you. Gratitude helps you recognize that it could be worse – no matter how difficult something is.
2. Care for yourself.
Self-care is a trending term these days. You may actually be resistant to self-care because it can be seen as selfishness. However, at a minimum, it’s essential to make sure that you are eating and sleeping well, and moving. Intentionally taking care of yourself can make you a better person, spouse, and parent.
1. Practice “couple” time.
Spending quality time together can enhance your closest relationships. This may look different depending on your stage of life and interests. Be intentional about making time for each other in the new year.
2. Show appreciation.
Show appreciation for your partner affirms that you see them. It doesn’t matter how small the task is. Appreciation keeps you from taking your spouse for granted. Make a habit of trying to find the good in your spouse and watch what happens.
3. Work on deeper connections.
It’s easy to get so overwhelmed with the busyness of life that we forget to connect. In the new year, be aware of how you can connect with your spouse during these four times in the day:
1) When you wake up in the morning
2) When you depart for the day
3) When you reconnect after work
4) When you say good night
These little moments can totally impact how you build intimacy in your relationship.
1. Eat meals together.
For years, dozens of studies have shown that family meals decrease substance use, eating disorders, and depressive symptoms. Family mealtimes also increase academic success and self-esteem. Additionally, eating together strengthens the parent-child connection. Schedule at least four meals to eat together. It can include Saturday breakfast or Sunday dinner. (Now you have two more to put on the calendar.)
2. Volunteer together.
Children can often believe that their wants, needs, and desires are the most crucial thing in the world. Volunteering allows them to get out of their world and help others. You might start small by helping a neighbor or planning to volunteer monthly at a local animal shelter.
3. Take an annual family trip.
The purpose of a yearly family trip is to take time away from the day-to-day and have focused time together. It’s easy to get disheartened about financing a family trip to, say, a famous amusement park. Instead, focus on adventure and making memories that last a lifetime.
4. Unplug from technology.
Technology has become an integral part of our lives, but it can be a distraction sometimes. In the new year, make a conscious effort at specific times to step away from the phones, tablets, etc. Have a bowl near the dining room table where everyone can place their phone before you sit down to eat together. For a more significant challenge, take one day a month where everyone unplugs.
5. Schedule weekly family fun nights.
Playing board games or watching a movie together once a week is great for bonding! You can share the games and movies that you enjoyed growing up with your children or discover new ones as a family.
As the new year gets closer, choose an activity from each category. Remember, your goal is to increase the connections in your family by spending time together. Start slow. You don’t have to do it all! Keep your focus on bonding with your spouse and your children. And remember to have a GREAT and prosperous new year!
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Untitled-22-01-1.png5001200Gena Ellishttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngGena Ellis2021-12-28 19:30:002021-12-21 10:46:42Must-Have New Year’s Resolutions for Your Family
For many, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family, make memories, and eat a lot. Some of us have traditions that trace back generations. What about you? Perhaps you look forward to your aunt’s sweet potato pie or anticipate what everyone will say they’re thankful for.
It’s also fun to start some new traditions that may become part of your family’s fabric. Your kids can look forward to them, play a part in making it better every year, and remember the first time you did it together. Who knows? They may pass it on to their children one day because they helped start the tradition.
Thinking about starting some new Thanksgiving family traditions? Check out these ideas.
1. Do a morning Turkey Trot.
Participate in a charity walk/run/race as a family. My city has one to benefit a local family shelter. No need to be a stellar athlete. Get active while helping a charity. This link lists Thanksgiving Day charity runs throughout the U.S.
2. Share words that will leave imprints on hearts forever.
a) Draw names in your family the week before Thanksgiving.
b) Write a handwritten note of gratitude to that person.
c) Stick it in an envelope.
4) Read the notes on Thanksgiving.
3. Facetime/Zoom family and friends who can’t join you.
Schedule the Zoom ahead of time and see how many extended family members you can get on one call. Be sure to screenshot all the faces. Doesn’t have to last long. You’ll have different homes with Thanksgiving parties linking up for a Zoom party.
4. Deliver treats to local public servants: police officers, firefighters, convenience store workers, etc.
Bake some cookies or homemade brownies to thank them for their service. Individually wrap them and include a note of thanksgiving and the recipe. This will help your kids learn to think of others.
5. Create a family Thanksgiving music playlist full of seasonal songs.
Music has a way of keeping the mood just right.
6. After the meal, take a walk and play kickball, wiffle ball, or football.
You can do this on your family Zoom, around the dinner table, or during the post-meal walk.
8. Teach your kids how to make a family favorite Thanksgiving dish.
It’s never too early to start passing down traditions to the next generation.
9. Visit a nursing home, foster home, etc.
Spend time with people who may not have family members around. Call ahead and schedule. Workers at the facilities can often direct you to those who will most appreciate your visit.
10. Invite a neighbor or someone who doesn’t have family near to share your Thanksgiving.
11. Have kids make the appetizer (with your assistance, of course).
You may not want them in on the main feast quite yet. The kiddos will be beaming with pride when they see everyone eating what they made for the festive occasion. If the appetizer isn’t good, everyone will forget once the turkey, ham, and pies hit the table.
12. Ask lots of questions.
Set questions out for families to discuss while eating. Make it fun and informative. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about each other.
Leaves are colorful. Depending on where you live, the weather may be delightful, with a slight bit of chill. Spend time hiking with the people you love. Bonus: You’ll see plenty to be thankful for.
Serve at a community kitchen, homeless shelter, or any number of places. Call ahead to save your spot, because lots of people volunteer during the holiday season.
Don’t get discouraged if some new ideas miss the mark. Sometimes the joy is in the attempt. But if you hit on a new tradition or two, you’ll add even more joy to the idea of spending Thanksgiving with the ones you love.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Untitled-5-01.png5001200Reggie Madisonhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngReggie Madison2021-11-05 15:28:512021-11-10 14:08:1715 New Thanksgiving Traditions for the Family
Halloween stress got you downright scared? Does the thought of taking your little monsters trick-or-treating give you nightmares and send shivers down your spine? Does the sugarfest at the end of the evening just make you want to screeaammm??
We all know that kids can sense the stress that we feel, which affects their stress levels.1 And that can make for a harrowing, horror-ific Halloween night.
But there’s no need for the stress of Halloween to drive you batty. Instead, try using these spooktacular tips below for a stress-free Halloween with your kiddos.
Scare up an easy dinner before you go out. Full tummies make for happier trick-or-treaters. Don’t make it complicated for yourself. Shoot for frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, or easy grilled-cheese sand-witches. And save a few leftovers for when you get back home.
Join forces with other families. The candy-hunting trip can be much more fun and manageable when you’re together with friends. Adults can help look out for each other’s kids. A long night of trick-or-treating can feel shorter (not to mention more relaxed) when you have other parents to share the experience with.
Hit the restroom before candy-sniping. Ok, you probably know this if you’re a veteran parent. But it’s a good reminder. Bladders are small, and frustrations can arise when you’re across the neighborhood and one of them “has to go…reeeaal bad…”
Pack for the road. Tote along a backpack with extra jackets, water bottles, an umbrella, and a plastic shopping bag (either for candy wrappers from “on-the-spot” taste tests, or in case the plastic pumpkin bucket snaps a handle). Your kid may insist on wearing their sparkly cowboy boots or dinosaur feet, so carry along an extra pair of sneakers in case they get tired, achy feet later in the trip. (A stroller or wagon is a good idea, too!)
Plan for the cold. If possible, have the rugrats wear PJs or sweats under their costumes. It adds an extra layer to cut off the chill, and they can easily peel their costumes off when they’re ready to sift through the spoils when they get back home.
When it’s time, kill the porch light. You and the family may like to hand out candy to other little witches and ghouls once you get home from your own trick-or-treat trip. But don’t forget to take the opportunity to spend some alone time together as a family. Close the door, turn the porch light out, brew up some hot chocolate, and cue up a kid-friendly Halloween flick until it’s time for lights out.
Relocate for trick-or-treating. Is your neighborhood not the most lucrative on Halloween night? Is the candy supply in short supply on All Hallow’s Eve? Trying to avoid taking your kid by Old Farmer Johnson’s abandoned shack to see who has a pack of licorice to offer? Find out who in your town is offering treating opportunities. Sometimes the stores in the mall will hand out candy. Churches, community centers, and other organizations will often host Halloween festivals or “trunk-or-treat” nights. This keeps the candy-hunting in one spot, facilities are close and convenient, and high-grade candy is usually abundant.
Offer candy credit. Before the little monsters start goblin up all the processed sugar, make a deal with them that they can trade in a portion of their loot for other incentives. Maybe they give you 80% of their lot for a trip to buy a $10 toy. Or for half their chocolate, you’ll take them to see a movie at the theater. Donate their trade-in candy to a good cause.
When it’s all said and done, Halloween should be an opportunity for families to draw closer and share a fun experience together. And being stress-free doesn’t have to be just witchful thinking. Trick-or-treat yourself (and your kids) to a stress-free Halloween night!
1Laurent, H. K. (2014). Clarifying the Contours of Emotion Regulation: Insights From Parent-Child Stress Research. Child Development Perspectives, 8(1), 30–35. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12058
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Untitled-9-01-1.png5001200Chris Ownbyhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngChris Ownby2021-10-27 14:59:562021-11-01 09:41:33Tips for a Stress-Free Halloween
The cool, crisp mornings. The crackle of a bonfire. The gooeyness of s’mores. The vibrant colors popping in the trees. Fall is upon us, and it’s oh so magical.
The dawn of any new season brings opportunities to intentionally connect with your kids. It’s a great time to talk about what makes fall unique and learn more about your traditions and traditions around the world.
Here are some questions to kick off fall conversations with your family.
As with any good questions, take the opportunity to dig a little deeper into your kids’ responses. Ask them why they answer a certain way. Have fun! You might find some new fall family traditions in your conversations.
1. What fall scent smells the best?
Pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, apple cider, pecan pie, bonfire, just to name a few.
2. What’s your favorite fall activity?
Hayrides, trick or treating, pumpkin carving, the list goes on and on.
3. Where’s your favorite place to go in the fall?
Do you have a specific place you like to visit to see the leaves change? Is there an apple orchard or pumpkin patch that your family loves?
4. What’s your fondest fall memory from your childhood?
This could be a specific holiday, a fun trip, or just something that brings joy.
5. What fall holiday do you enjoy most?
6. What fall holiday from another culture would you like to learn more about?
9. What’s your favorite thing to watch in the fall?
(Halloween classics, Thanksgiving specials, football, the World Series, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or are you prepping for Christmas already?)
Would you rather:
10. Enjoy a pumpkin spice drink or apple cider?
11. Get lost in a corn maze or spooked in a haunted house?
12. Eat caramel apples or candy corn?
13. Watch football or baseball? (It’s the playoffs!)
14. Jump in a pile of leaves or go on a hayride?
15. Have a cool, crisp, fall day or go back to the summer heat?
Trivia (Who doesn’t love good trivia?):
16. What makes leaves change their color?
(Answer: Sugar is trapped in the leaves, causing red and purple colors.)
17. What country did Halloween originate from?
(Answer: Ireland. Halloween originates from a Celtic festival celebrating the new year on November 1. Traditions were to light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.)
18. What is the most popular autumn tradition in the world?
(Answer: Halloween. It’s traditionally celebrated as All Hallows’ Eve in many countries (the day before All Saints’ Day).
Bonus: Thanksgiving comes in second, followed by Dia de Los Muertos. If you want to explore another culture’s celebrations, I strongly recommend learning more about Dia de Los Muertos. Sounds like a “Coco” movie night!
Finish this statement:
19. My favorite Halloween treat is:
20. My favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving is:
Use these conversation starters at the dinner table or in the car.
Fall is a great time to connect as a family. Take the time to slow down before the bustle of the holiday season. The weather is perfect for getting outdoors and exploring with your family.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Untitled-16-01.png5001200Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2021-10-18 15:56:532022-11-17 09:26:5020 Questions to Ask Your Family This Fall
Get ready to learn from and interact with people of many different cultures.
February 28th will come and go. Another Black History month completed. Your kids did a neat Black History project at school. You learned about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, slavery, and Frederick Douglass. Now it’s back to normal. But you don’t want it to be. You want Black History month to positively impact how you see your country and see people of different races and ethnicities. You want to figure out how February can be a starting point for celebrating the unique contributions of diverse Americans and not just a time that’s limited to February.
As families, we have less control over what schools teach, society markets, or our government regulates. However, as a family, you can use the month of February to start conversations, enrich your experiences, and learn about different cultures. Hopefully, you’ll ignite a curiosity that can only be filled by continuing to engage in practices that celebrate African Americans’ contributions and the many rich heritages that make up America.
Here are some ways your family can celebrate Black History month all year round. None of this takes much work. It merely takes being intentional. Pretty soon, your kids will look forward to learning from and interacting with people of many different cultures.
Often, the best way to learn about a culture and history is to immerse yourself in that culture.
Each month, visit a black-owned or uniquely black-operated establishment: restaurants, clothing stores, entertainment spots, places of worship, barbershop, boutique, etc.
You may get a few looks.
It’s ok. They are only trying to understand why you’re there.
Choose a day of the month to listen to music from predominantly black artists: jazz, blues, black gospel, hip hop, R&B, etc. (Think Motown Monday or Friday night Jazz.)
Experience the difference. Discuss what’s different from what you’re used to. What made you comfortable or uncomfortable? What’s good about it? What’s similar to what you’re used to?
Visit museums, watch documentaries and movies, and read books.
As a family, choose a few months out of the year (for instance, once a quarter) to learn something new. You may watch a documentary or visit a museum. Read or listen to audiobooks. Libraries are full of children’s books that highlight various achievements and contributions of African Americans.
You may follow a theme throughout the year—for instance, music. You might visit the National Museum of African American Music, watch documentaries on the Harlem Renaissance, or play jazz throughout your home on Pandora or Spotify.
Another example—sports. You might learn about the Negro Baseball League, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, etc.
*Terms to Google: Harlem Renaissance, The Great Migration, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Miles Davis, Tuskegee Airmen*
Discuss how what you’ve learned has influenced this country. How have the contributions made America a stronger or better nation? What have you learned that was not so positive?
Develop authentic relationships with African Americans where you learn about their experiences. Of course, no one person or family represents the entire African American population. You’re learning about the individual and how their experience as an African American has impacted their life. Their experience as an African American will be different than another African American. Eat with them. Spend time together. Go to places of entertainment with them. Initiate conversations to better understand their story. Be willing to be uncomfortable to better understand.
Check your motives in the process. Do it for the right reasons, not just to check off the box to say you’ve done it, but out of a genuine desire to better understand differences. Diversity brings richness to a community that can’t be gained any other way. We have diverse relationships because we all benefit from them.
Curiosity often begets more curiosity. It’s easy to turn the calendar and return to being with those we’ve always been with. Talking to the ones we’ve always talked to. And listening to what we’ve always listened to.
But we can all be better. We become better through continual exposure, knowledge, and understanding. Let February launch us all to be better.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/pexels-emma-bauso-2833393-scaled-e1613485408894.jpg13672048Reggie Madisonhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngReggie Madison2021-02-16 09:23:392021-02-18 12:11:24How Your Family Can Celebrate Black History Month All Year Round
Nothing like the hint of fall in the air to lift your spirits. I mean what could be better for your soul than sipping a pumpkin spice latte in front of a fire pit on a crisp evening?
What? You don’t like pumpkin spice anything? No problem. There are plenty of other activities you can do with your family to create fun during this fall season.
Here are 25 suggestions to get the pumpkin (I mean ball) rolling on your fall activities:
Gather pine cones, slather creamy peanut butter on them, roll them in birdseed and hang them outside your window so you can watch the birds. OR give them to older folks in your neighborhood who can’t get out, but would enjoy seeing the birds.
Once the leaves have fallen off the trees, gather the entire family to rake leaves into a huge pile. See how high and wide you can make the pile and then jump in it. An alternative could be that a couple of you make the pile and then hide in it until other family members walk past it. Then you jump out of it. That should make for a great game of chase. 😁
If you’ve got littles, take them outside to gather different color leaves and then press them between two sheets of wax paper or put them underneath paper and let them rub crayon over the leaf to make an etching.
Learn about vegetables that grow well in the fall and plant a fall garden. Let your kids educate you about how to do the planting, how many plants you need, how to care for the garden, and when things are ready to be picked.
Take advantage of the clear nights to throw a blanket on the ground and do some stargazing. You can go old school and use a book or high-tech and use an app to find all the constellations. If you prefer to do something during the day, look at the cloud formations and play I Spy for formations that look like a horse, Barney, a tree, or leaves… you get the picture.
Pack a picnic and head out for a hike to look at the fall colors and picnic at an overlook.
Make a list of all your family’s favorite fall foods like pumpkin spice cookies, caramel apples, popcorn balls, pumpkin bread, apple pie, and apple spice cake. Let the baking be a family affair. Keep some and give some away.
Find an older person who needs help with their yard. Take a day and work together as a family to spruce things up.
Make leaf shapes from paper and have everybody write down things they are thankful for. Put them in a bowl, then open them up and read them at Thanksgiving dinner.
Go old school and teach your kids games you used to play when you were their age—Kick the Can, Freeze Tag, Four Square, Jax, Marbles, Hop Scotch, Duck Duck Goose, Monkey in the Middle, Jump Rope or Double Dutch, Spud, Horse, Red Light Green Light, Freeze Dance, and Wiffle Ball ought to give you enough to keep them engaged for a while.
Go for a walk and gather all kinds of things that are signs of fall like acorns, leaves, sticks, pine cones, seedpods, and nuts. Then make a fall wreath out of what you found.
Create a fall yard display complete with a scarecrow.
Have a contest to see who can come the closest to replicating their favorite fall drink.
Build a fire in the fire pit and roast marshmallows and/or make S’mores.
Since it gets dark earlier, go on a flashlight hike and see what kinds of things you can spot. You never know when you might encounter a raccoon, opossum, or skunk. (Pepé Le Pew!)
Have a watercolor painting night for the family with a fall theme.
Learn how to make bread. There is something about the smell of bread baking when you walk through the door that wakes up those taste buds. The best part though is eating it warm out of the oven. Pure happiness.
Have an ongoing board game competition with your family during the fall months. Maybe the overall winner gets their favorite meal made and served by everybody else.
Decorate your bikes and go for a bike ride through the neighborhood.
Choose some of the old-fashioned relays like the wheelbarrow race, three-legged race, egg/water balloon toss, egg and spoon relay, and crab race. Gather some of your extended family or framily (friends who are like family) and head to a large field where you have room to spread out and let the games begin.
Visit an apple orchard and sample all the goodies. Take the apples you purchased and bob for apples with your feet.
Create an outdoor obstacle course for the entire family to complete. Think Slip ‘n Slide meets mudder run and you’ve got some serious fun in the making.
Make homemade hot chocolate complete with marshmallows and whipped cream and see who can make the best mustache while drinking it.
Pitch a tent in the backyard. Hang a sheet from a tree and watch a movie OR learn how to make shadow figures.
All of these are pretty simple and fun things you can do with your family.
The best part though is that in the midst of creating all of this fun you are also teaching your children, listening to them, letting them lead, laughing together, modeling how to be a good loser and a humble winner, how to share, what to do when you disagree and how to be a good team player—just to name a few.
It’s been a year, to say the least. We all could use some fun right about now. So, work can wait. Put your phone down—except to take pictures of course and go all-in for some fall family fun and activities. You won’t regret it.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/krzysztof-kowalik-Cc1RmGnf20E-unsplash-scaled-e1600261405168.jpg163600Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2020-09-16 09:03:392020-09-16 11:10:0625 Fall Activities For The Whole Family To Enjoy