We have all been experiencing lots of changes in the way we “used” to do life. School kids have had an extended springbreaksummervacation. (That’s not a typo, it’s how it felt!) Major events like graduations, birthdays and weddings have had to be tweaked to comply with social distancing. The first day of school is upon us, but it sure won’t be like any other first day. Seems like we all could use some joy in our lives!
I have found an article with the coolest ideas on the Parents website. It’s called 7 Secrets of Fun Families. Parents asked families to send them their favorite ideas for “packing family life with as much joy as possible.” They picked the best and then organized them into seven categories.
- They plan together for adventure. One family has an “inspirational” bulletin board where family members put articles about places to go or things to do. Then they make plans to do these things. Another family makes lists of fun seasonal things they want to do just for fun. These lists keep them from getting so many must-dos that they don’t have time for just- want- to- dos. A family in California has three grab bags for spur-of-the-minute ideas of things to do. One bag has ideas for very simple things like a picnic. More time consuming or costly ideas like a trip to the museum go in another bag. The last bag has the most involved activities like a day at Six Flags. The only rule they have is that when they draw a card, they must do what it says.
- They turn the home into fun zones. Now I am pretty sure you wouldn’t want your children to draw pictures on your walls, but what about drawing on the windows with dry erase markers? That’s what one family does. Is there somewhere in your house or yard that could be turned into a “sports arena”? You could make a putting green or maybe a maze. How about a “kid cave”? A Texas family turned an under-the-stairs closet into a secret hide-away complete with shelves and a curtain for privacy.
- They celebrate little things. Celebrating little-known holidays can add a dose of silliness to an ordinary week. You can Google “Everyday Holiday” and find all sorts of silly things to celebrate. One family in California loves to entertain, themselves, that it. Every few months they host little parties just for themselves. The kids get to pick the theme which could be the Super Bowl or even a much- anticipated movie on TV. They plan the food and even dress for these special occasions.
- They narrow the gap between playing and learning. How about a Family Book Club? Everyone in the family reads a chapter from the same book which they discuss at dinner. When they are through with the book, they reward themselves with a special outing like a visit to the ice cream store. Another idea is to have an alphabet party for each letter of the alphabet. This would be fabulous for a family with young children. The example they gave was “P is for party”. It is also for pink clothes, pears, pizza, popcorn – well, you get the idea!
- They fill their lives with sweet surprises. Keep- them- guessing- mystery- trips are when you load the kids in the car, but don’t tell them where you are going. How fun is that! Breaking the Rules is putting the kids to bed just like you always do, but then shortly thereafter, you blast music through the house, then pile in the car for a late- night treat in jammies.
- They find the silver lining. Creative thinking can turn disappointment into delight. There may not be a state fair this year, but who says you can’t have a family fair? Everyone can enter a project and eat junk food.
- They make work feel like play. You could have a laundry sorting party where you throw the clean clothes into their respective piles.
Another idea was to play “Beat the Clock” when the kids are doing their chores.
One mother makes a scavenger hunt for her kids when they are cleaning their rooms. She hides clues in the clutter to help the kids figure out what reward is waiting for them when they are through.
Simple, silly, meaningful and memorable ways of making every day special! To read the full article, click here.
– Becky Lynn is a writer for EllisDownHome.com. She and her husband Bob enjoy spending time with their 8 grandchildren and traveling. Becky loves cranking up the music and heading to the kitchen to try out new recipes or cook for an upcoming party. She is passionate about continuing to be a life-long learner!