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20 Questions to Ask Your Family This Fall

Celebrate together as the season changes.

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?


THE GRATITUDE CHALLENGE

EASY ACTIVITIES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY TO CULTIVATE A MINDSET OF THANKFULNESS

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MAGIC OF THIS SEASON?

It’s easy to find yourself smack dab in the middle of the holiday season feeling frantic and totally unprepared for the flurry of meals, school programs, family get-togethers, and gift exchanges. It’s really hard to feel grateful when you’re STRESSED to the max. (Shocker, right?)

And you better believe your kids are picking up what you’re putting down. So if you want them to have a little gratitude for all that they have, a good place to start is intentionally expressing gratitude yourself.

This guide will help you and your whole family do just that. Download these free activities for all ages and start cultivating some gratitude magic!


6. What fall holiday from another culture would you like to learn more about?

To learn about more holidays around the world, check out 10 Autumn Traditions Around the World – Aberdeen.

7. What’s your favorite fall food?

Plan to make these as a family over the next week.

8. What are you thankful for?

And since gratefulness isn’t just limited to Thanksgiving, get our free download: 25 Family Activities to Increase Thankfulness and Joy

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.

Other resources:

DIY Date Night: Let’s Fall In Love!

25 Fall Activities For The Whole Family To Enjoy

30 Romantic Fall Date Ideas For Couples

Ready to raise the temp in your relationship with some hot summer date nights? These 10 dates to heat up your marriage during this summer of love can really turn up the thermostat in your relationship. (And you won’t even want to cool off.

1. Be a Kid Again 

When I think of the summers of my childhood, I remember endless games of tag and hide and seek. Now we have adult responsibilities that prevent us from being footloose and fancy-free. How can you bring some of that joy back? Be a kid again. Activities can include mini-golf, bowling, roller skating, visiting an amusement park, or an arcade. 

2. Group Date Nights 

Remember when you used to hang out with your friends? It may have been at the mall, a park, or the local eatery. There was nothing better than spending time with your friends, talking, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Get a group of your favorite married couples together. Go on a walking tour of your town, go ax throwing, or even participate in an escape room together. 

3. Retro Date night

You know the saying, “What’s old is new again.” Think about the clothes, music, or hairstyles from the past. Find a thrift shop that has clothes from the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s. Select an outfit for each of you. Host your own Retro Date Night with friends, or you all can dress up and have a date like they would have had in the past. For example, 50s Date: Go to a drive-in movie and then hit a hamburger spot or ice cream shop where you can share a milkshake together.

4. Future Date Dight 

Think about what your life might look like in 30 years. Would you be retired? Would you own that boat or lake house you’ve dreamed about? Would you have grandchildren? Would you have an RV? Try renting an RV and go camping near your home. Or go ahead and rent a lake house for the weekend.

5. Enjoy Your Town

You may have lived in your town for years but have never experienced it like a tourist. It may be fun to go on a walking tour. Enjoy the sights and sounds of a local farmer’s market.  

6. FTF Summer of Love

Summer of Love is a FREE experience for couples. Just sign up and get an email each week from FTF. In that email, you’ll find 6 days of LOVE for you and your spouse to enjoy through games, conversation starters, Virtual and DIY Date nights, challenges, and activities. All of this combined will help you learn skills, create new habits and make your marriage HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

7. Music of Your Life

Do you and your honey have a song? This summer may be a great time to take in an outdoor concert. One of my favorite local concerts is when our local symphony plays on the 4th of July. Classical may not be your favorite. However, see if your town has any music festivals or local artists playing your favorite genres. “Sometimes music is the only medicine the heart and soul need.”

8. Expand Your Mind 

Maybe the thought of heat or crowds of people doesn’t seem like fun to you. Instead, you may enjoy quieter moments together where you stimulate your brain, which is the largest sex organ in the body. Seek out art or history museums. If your town has public art, find it. Go see a play performed by a theater group. Find and watch a lecture by your favorite poet or writer.

9. On the Road Again 

Take a short drive, a weekend trip to the beach, or even a planned 2-week road trip that allows you to see and experience something other than the ordinary. While together, be conscious of talking to each other, not spending so much time on your phone or device. If you feel like you run out of things to talk about, here are a few conversation starters. 

10. Let’s Get Physical

Being physical with your spouse creates a deeper level of intimacy and greater bonding to each other. Participate in a virtual race and train together. Or, take any outdoor exercise class like walking, yoga, kayaking, etc. (If you run out of ideas, you can always do a bedroom date!)

Let this be your summer of love!!

Other helpful blogs: 

3 Great Dates To Enhance Communication In Your Marriage

5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Fit

6 Exercises to Strengthen Emotional Intimacy in Your Marriage

7 Questions Every Couple Needs to Ask Each Other to Improve Their Sex Life

3 Easy Ways to Make Your Marriage More Fun

The romance doesn’t need to go down as the anniversaries go up.

What sounds better than a fun, fulfilling marriage? Nothing!!

If you’re married, you know keeping things interesting takes a little effort, but what things in life worth having don’t? You’ve signed up for a lifelong pursuit of your spouse and to fall in love with them over and over again. Having fun together helps naturally draw you closer and rekindle the flame.

1. Add elements of surprise!

  • Text your spouse something spicy during the workday. Make it out of the blue and with no business attached, (aka, no talk about what’s for dinner or what needs to get done) just some good flirtatious banter.
  • Surprise your spouse by wearing their favorite outfit or favorite outfit under your outfit (if you catch my drift) and suggest an impromptu date night.
  • Send them something at work—could be something as small as a coffee or as grandiose as an edible arrangement.
  • Pick something up for them while you’re out running errands just because.

2. Play together!

  • Play is essential to having fun in marriage. There are not only relationship benefits to playing together but health benefits! The National Institute for Play (NIP) believes (and has the research to back it up) that play can dramatically transform our personal health and our relationships. It can be board games, video games, a puzzle, a Minute To Win It challenge, Dominos, cards, tag around the house, strip poker, or whatever your favorite way to spark some healthy competition is.

Play generates optimism, novelty makes perseverance fun and leads to mastery. Additionally, it gives your immune system a bounce, fosters empathy, and promotes a sense of belonging and community. Each of these by-products is an index of personal health, and their shortage predicts impending health problems and personal fragility.

3. Don’t shy away from passion!

  • Light the candles, turn on some music, turn down the bed or change up the location, and enjoy the intimacy. Take time to be curious about your spouse, compliment them, cuddle up close, and turn off the phones. Alone time can be so beneficial and adventurous. It can reignite the passion and give you lovely serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin boosts (aka, the happy chemicals in your brain).

BONUS: Free date nights!

  • Surely you’ve heard it before, so you’ll hear it again: Date your spouse. The romance doesn’t need to go down as the anniversaries go up. Try new places, carve out quality time, cultivate intimacy, and enjoy being one on one. There are tons of date night ideas, free virtual date nights, and date night DIYs right here on our site free to you!

It’s easy to have fun in your marriage when you realize having fun means creating fun! Enjoy laughing together, kissing one another, and everything in between. 

Some more blogs you may be interested in:

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

We’re Engaged. How Do We Make Sure Our Marriage is Fun?

Fun doesn't always just happen, but you can make it happen!

You’re getting ready to marry the love of your life, and you’ve been reading card after card wishing you a marriage full of love and adventure. With that comes the hope of fulfillment in each other and the desire to have fun, because who wants a boring marriage?! No one…

Here are 3 easy things you can put into place NOW to keep the fun in your marriage relationship forever:

1. Add elements of surprise when you’re married!

  • Text your spouse something spicy during the workday. Make it out of the blue and with no business attached, (aka no talk about what’s for dinner or what needs to get done) just some good flirtatious banter.
  • Surprise your spouse by wearing their favorite outfit and suggest an impromptu date night.
  • Send them something at work—could be something as small as a coffee or and grandiose as an edible arrangement.
  • Pick something up for them while you’re out running errands, just because.

2. Play together!

  • Play is essential to having fun in marriage. There are not only relationship benefits to playing together, but health benefits, too! The National Institute for Play (NIP) believes (and has research to back it up) that play can dramatically transform our personal health and our relationships. It can be board games, video games, a puzzle, Minute To Win It challenges, Dominos, cards, or whatever your favorite way to spark some healthy competition is.

Play generates optimism, novelty, makes perseverance fun, and leads to growth. Bonus feature: it gives the immune system a bounce, fosters empathy, and promotes a sense of belonging and community. 

3. Don’t shy away from romance!

  • Light the candles, turn on some music, and enjoy cultivating intimacy. You have lots to look forward to as you step into married life together. Take the time to be curious about your spouse, compliment them, cuddle up close, and tune in to each other. Alone time can be so beneficial and continually draw you closer to each other. 

BONUS: Free date nights for a more fun marriage!

  • Surely you’ve heard it before, so you’ll hear it again: Date your spouse. The romance doesn’t need to go down as the anniversaries go up. Try new places, carve out quality time, cultivate intimacy, and enjoy being one on one. There are tons of date night ideas, free virtual date nights, and date night DIYs right here on our site—free to you!

It’s easy to have fun in your marriage when you embrace that to have fun means to create fun! Enjoy laughing together, kissing one another, and everything in between. ; )

Some more blogs you may be interested in:

Build an Unbreakable Marriage Right from the Start! 

(And get a discount* on your marriage license at the same time!)

Preparing for Marriage is an online course that will guide you and your bae on a journey to build a solid foundation for your marriage! From communication to intimacy, conflict to in-laws, we unpack 8 fun and fast-paced lessons in short videos that will provide you with all the essential tools to create a thriving marriage.

Plus you’ll have access to healthy relationship experts, Reggie & Lauren, by email every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement!


*Must live in a qualifying state where a discount is offered on your marriage license for completing premarital education or counseling.

5 Ways to Build Teamwork in Your Family

Check out these fun ways to strengthen your team!

When it comes to family, every member of your tribe brings something unique to the team. Teaching them early and often how important it is to build teamwork will not only benefit your family; it’ll teach your child the value of working with others to accomplish a goal. 

Talk with any human resource officer and they’ll tell you—being able to effectively function as a team member is a valued skill. They look for it when hiring new team members, along with other essential skills like communication, conflict management and problem-solving.

There are lots of fun ways you can build teamwork into your family’s daily living.

Here are a few examples:

  • Share chores. Since you aren’t running a hotel, it takes everybody contributing something to keep everything going. From feeding the dog, picking up clothes and making beds to clearing the table, loading the dishwasher, vacuuming, packing lunches and folding laundry, even the youngest family member plays an important role. Talk about the difference it makes when everybody works together to get it all done.
  • Cook together. Deciding on a menu, buying all the ingredients, prepping ahead of time and preparing the meal allows for lots of teamwork. Then sit down and eat the meal together to celebrate what you accomplished!
  • Play games as a family that require teamwork. Whether it’s going to an escape room and figuring it out together, playing Minute to Win it or Jenga together, or creating an obstacle course in your yard, these games teach the concept of working together to accomplish a goal and it’s fun in the process.
  • Volunteer. Giving back to others as a family teaches your child many lessons, not the least of which is the value of serving and exposing them to worlds they may not realize exist. Helping to build a hiking trail at a park, picking up trash along the river or in your neighborhood, serving food at a community kitchen, or mowing and raking an elderly neighbor’s yard instills self-confidence in your child. It also encourages problem-solving, teaches them their presence and voice matter and lets them experience the impact you can have working together as a team.
  • Plan a trip or a staycation. As you prepare for your next trip or even a staycation, add some fun to the mix! Instead of planning it all yourself, divide up the responsibilities among family members. (When and where you’ll stop to eat, sights should you plan to see along the way, the best route to take and how much gas will it take to get there, etc.) Oh, and be sure you have someone in charge of fun—as in elements of surprise that only you and the “fun person” know about! Give the ones working on food a budget to work with. And, share any cool sights that you know of as a jumping-off point for the sightseeing planners.

It’s worth it!

Getting the whole crew involved might be a bit more time-consuming, but the teamwork opportunities and lessons are endless. Not to mention you’re making family memories, especially when unexpected things happen like a flat tire, a detour or foul weather, requiring the team to make a quick adjustment. 

While you’re trying to build teamwork, your kids might not be super appreciative. However, over time it’s pretty likely the benefits of working together will pay off. Things like: realizing that as a family, we can do tough things together and get to the other side. Having different personalities, likes and dislikes makes us strong together. We depend on each other to help carry the load. We can disagree or not do something right and still love each other. There’s more than one way to get a job done. 

Here’s what’s really awesome: your goal is to get your family to work together as a team. In the process of doing that, you’re teaching your children a life skill that will work for them forever. That’s a good and powerful thing.  

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

Do you feel overwhelmed in your life?

Can you remember the last time that you had a huge belly laugh?

When was the last time you stopped and had some fun?

You may have heard the saying, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” I submit that desperate times call for FUN MEASURES. When our life gets hectic and busy we often forgo fun and play. The National Institute for Play (NIP) believes that play can dramatically transform our personal health, our relationships, and the education we provide our children. 

Additionally, the University of Denver’s Center for Marital and Family Studies finds that the amount of fun couples have together is the strongest factor in understanding overall marital happiness. The more you invest in fun, friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will be over time. The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high and significant.

Here are 5 ways to have more fun in your life…

  1. Make it a priority. When something is a priority, we make room for it in our lives. We place it on the calendar. If it has to be rescheduled, we quickly do so. Fun should be one of those things. It brings emotional, physical, and relational benefits to your life which include boosting the immune system, fostering empathy and promoting a sense of belonging and community. 
  2. Discover what you enjoy doing, even if others don’t feel the same way about it. That’s ok! This time is about enhancing your life, not a time to keep up with Joneses. If you like trivia, find a live trivia game. If you like puzzles, get the biggest one and go for it.
  3. Be creative and adventurous. Having fun doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Try something that you have always wanted to do like going paddleboarding or kayaking with a group of friends. Start an herb garden for your window. 
  4. Share fun with friends and family. Once you have found what you enjoy doing, then it’s easy to find what you can enjoy with friends and family. It could be taking a family hike in a park, having breakfast for dinner with friends or making cookies for first responders. Whatever it is, do what you find fun—and it may even bring joy to others.
  5. Become a Fun Ambassador. Now that you and your family have recognized the power of fun, pass it on to others. Sharing the positive impact of spending time with friends and family encourages others to do the same—it’s CONTAGIOUS

★ Having fun is not a one-time endeavor. It is an attitude and opportunity for enjoyment to flow through all aspects of your life. Get out your planner now. Schedule some playtime for the next week—a minimum of 15 minutes per day.

Image from Pexels.com

Chattanooga is home to a ton of fun events, activities, and experiences for kids of all ages!! Explore the rich history of the city, enjoy all the animals (from penguins to the average house cat), get your creative juices flowing, and more with these unique, Chattanooga local mother-daughter date ideas!

BONUS: Want to download this list of Chattanooga mother-daughter dates? Click HERE!

Local Chattanooga:

  • Polly Claire’s Tea Room This quaint, historic tea room is the perfect place for your next mother-daughter experience! Enjoy a cup of tea and your daughters company for an experience she won’t forget.
  • Pottery Painting (The Pottery Place or River City Pottery) Grab a brush, some paint, a pice of pottery, and create a masterpiece! Your daughter will love this creative experience.
  • ArtsyU Painting Studio Similar to painting pottery, why not take a painting class together? You and your daughter can create a beautiful piece of art while being instructed by a professional.
  • Chattanooga Zoo Experience wild peacocks, exotic animals, fun events, more at the Chattanooga Zoo! You can even book a wild encounter to get a behind-the-scenes look at the animals, how to care for them, and why they’re at the zoo!
  • TN Aquarium Who doesn’t love river otters, penguins, butterflies, lemurs, stingrays… the list just keeps going! Be sure to reserve a full day to get the most of all the aquarium has to offer.
  • High Point Climbing Center Don’t worry, you don’t have to climb the wall with her if you don’t want to! She’ll have a great time feeling strong and capable while getting some of that energy out!
  • Naughty Cat Cafe Any cat lovers in the room? Take a trip to Chattanooga’s first and only Cat Cafe! Enjoy a complimentary drink and snack while cuddling with kitties!
  • Chattanooga Lookouts You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy a night with The Lookouts! Their season typically ranges from April to September.

Under $20 or Free:

  • Coolidge Park The next sunny day, be sure to stop by Coolidge Park for a great time with your daughter! From riding the carousel (only $1!) to having a picnic by the water.
  • Creative Discovery Museum (Second Thursday of Every Month) Family Night at The Creative Discovery Museum is fun for kids of all ages! Plus, it’s free!
  • International Towing & Recovery Museum Okay, this one might not sound as exciting, but it’s still a ton of fun! Explore a piece of Chattanooga history with your daughter while learning something new!
  • Chattanooga Market You don’t even have to buy anything (although popcorn is a plus!) to enjoy The Chattanooga Market. Typical season is from April through December.
  • Visit an animal shelter (McKamey or Humane Society) If you can have enough will-power to keep from adopting all the adorable dogs and cats, the animal shelter is a fun place for both you and your daughter!

Near Chattanooga:

  • Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater Although this movie theater only runs during the warm months of the year, she’ll never forget the experience she had! Plus, it’s only 20 minutes from downtown! Bring cash though, they don’t accept cards!
  • Lake Winepesaukah Also best during the summer months, this local amusement point is a great choice for a full day of fun! From roller coasters to water slides, Lake Winnie is one of Chattanooga’s best attractions!
  • See Rock City If you’ve ever driven on I-24, you’ve seen the signs, the barns, and the billboards. But have you seen Rock City? Your daughter will love a full day exploring the beauty of Lookout Mountain and beyond!
  • Raccoon Mountain Caverns Take an adventure like never before and explore the caverns of Raccoon Mountain together! This guided tour will teach your daughter all about caves, the creatures that live in them, and how she can help protect their beauty!
  • White Water Rafting on The Ocoee River This activity is not for the faint of heart! If your daughter loves daring adventures, she’ll love the experience of racing through the rapids!
  • Hidden Hills Farm & Saddle Club Take a trail ride on a horse together or enjoy one of the many events on the farm at one of Chattanooga’s hidden gems! Be sure to schedule your ride in advance (and wear your best cowgirl outfit!)

Outdoor Adventures:

  • Chester Frost Park Want a trip to the beach but don’t have time to hop over to Florida? This man-made beach on Dallas Bay has great playgrounds, picnic areas, and so much more!
  • Enterprise South Nature Park Not your average park! Follow these walking trails for an up-close look at part of Chattanooga history: the location of ammunition bunkers for World War II. Although they’re empty now, it’s still a neat sight to see!
  • Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center Book a guided canoe trip, do some birdwatching, or enjoy a peaceful walk on one of their many trails! You’ll both feel reenergized and reconnected with nature by the end of your trip!
  • TN Riverpark From the Chickamauga Dam, through Downtown, and on to Historic Saint Elmo, this 10-mile paved trail has plenty of opportunity for a bike ride, a picnic, or a fun time by the Tennessee River!
  • Sculpture Fields at Montague Park One of Chattanooga’s most recent additions, Sculpture Fields features 33 acres full of sculptures from around the world!
  • Warner Park Pool and Spray and Play For $2-$3 (depending on age), you and your daughter can enjoy a full day by the poolside! This public pool is close to downtown and open to the public for some summer fun!
  • Chickamauga Dam Recreation Area Featuring one of Chattanooga’s best playgrounds, this beautiful recreation area has enough for a full day of fun! Enjoy a splash in the water, grill some lunch, and explore the walking trails!

Want more parenting resources? Click here!

Image from Unsplash.com

With all of the expectations around the holidays, things can get kind of crazy. And if that’s not enough, COVID is hanging around like a cloud over everyone’s head. So this year, there’s bound to be disagreements about how, when or IF you do all the things. Think traditions, party plans, travel—you name it. The very time that’s supposed to bring families closer together is often filled with more fun stuff like extra stress, fighting kids, awkward extended family dynamics, and sometimes marital tension. Whew!

Sometimes the craziness gets the best of us and family members start to feel disconnected. This leads to all kinds of holiday drama—the very thing we all want to avoid.

Want to help make sure the holidays are a time where family members feel connected and close (6 feet apart kind of close, though)? Here are some things you can do at home, in the car, during meals, and out in the community that not only will create conversation, but also laughter, insight, memories, and you guessed it, CONNECTION!

IF YOU’RE TRAVELING…

If you do decide to travel, make sure you spread the love and not COVID by practicing social-distancing when you’re out and about. But while you’re in the car, instead of automatically plugging into technology, what about giving your kids a limited amount of time with tech stuff? Don’t be intimidated by the pushback and don’t expect them to thank you any time soon. Get creative and offer some motivation for participation and keep them busy so you don’t hear, “They’re breathing on me!” during your hours-long trip. For example, for every 30 minutes you play the game you get X number of minutes with your screen. During the downtimes, stay safe and healthy with some of the socially-distant/safe activities on the journey:

  • Categories:  Pick a category (Disney movies, popular songs, flavors of soda) and take turns naming something in that category until someone is stumped. (This person loses and the winner picks the next category.)
  • Going on a Picnic: This is a memory game for all ages! The first person starts a story with, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring…” and then lists an item. The next person says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring…” and then lists the first person’s item PLUS a new item. As the story grows and grows, each person repeats the list and adds a new item. The first person to incorrectly list all the items is out! You can keep playing until only one person remains.
  • License Plate Game: Interpret the letters in each license plate you pass. For instance, TMK could stand for “Toasty Miniature Kangaroo.”
  • People-watching: Watch a vehicle traveling on the road near you for a few minutes. Make up a story about the people in the car. Answer questions like: What are their names? Where did they come from? Where are they going? Why are they going there? What are they going to do when they get there? The sillier and more detailed the story is, the better!

IF YOU’RE STAYING AT HOME AS A FAMILY

  • Plan a walk and play “I Spy.” When you exercise together, your brain releases endorphins that create “feel-good memories” you can all enjoy for years to come. Walk around the yard, neighborhood, park, or find a local hiking trail, but encourage the whole family to come! To keep the kids engaged for the walk (and to keep things playful for the adults), play as many rounds of “I Spy” as you can. Then keep track of who wins the most “I Spy” rounds and award them with a special treat when you get home, like hot chocolate, a cookie, or maybe watching the movie or show of their choice.
  • Make something special. Baking goodies for the ones you love is fun, but baking goodies for someone in need, or someone who doesn’t expect it is even more fun. It also teaches the littlest ones in the family that holidays aren’t just about receiving, but giving! Choose one or two people, families, or organizations you’d like to delight this holiday season. Then, gather together in to bake something yummy together and share. Consider giving to an elderly neighbor, a family friend, the staff of a local nonprofit your family supports, etc.

IF YOU’RE SHARING A MEAL WITH OTHERS…

To avoid awkward silence at the dinner table with relatives or friends you may not see very often, try a few of these conversation starters:

  • What is one way you have helped another person this year?
  • Who is someone in your life you’re thankful for and why?
  • If you could have dinner with anyone (past or present), who would it be and why?
  • If you could have a superpower what would it be and how would you use it?
  • What is the most beautiful place you have ever seen?
  • What is the hardest thing about being your current age?

It’s possible to be in a room or a car full of people who are not interacting fully with each other, especially when routines get thrown to the side and people are tired and cranky. When people feel disconnected and schedules are upside down, chaos reigns. Instead of chaos, plan for what you know is coming, whether it is boredom, difficult conversations or unwanted silence. During the busiest season of the year, these tips may help lessen the drama and help you make memories with family and friends.

Image from Unsplash.com