Many would argue that family bonding activities are essential to a strong relationship between you and your growing kids. This year it is especially important to remember that although we are spending loads of time together in the same house, we might not be bonding with our teenagers at all.
All this closeness could be pulling us apart. It’s getting to the point that we retreat to our separate spaces just to get some alone time, and who could blame us? What should we do to keep our family bonds of unity and love strong both now and in the future?
With intentionality, a little planning, and some good humor involved, you can experience the joy and satisfaction of strong relationships through intentional and fun family bonding activities.
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Family bonding activities to enjoy at Home
Alright, let’s just go there straight away. The classic idea is that family bonding activities are experiences you share together outside the home. Usually on some wild adventure or excursion. But we have to get creative now because of the times we are living in. Its time to be inspired by our circumstances and innovate new family bonding experiences that can be enjoyed at or near home.
Get crafty and creative
Experiment with flexing your artistic muscles. Create something new. With stamp art, traditional art tools, fabric arts, and more. Why not teach your teens what you know or learn a new skill together?
Whether it is learning to Sew, knit, crochet, or quilt, the fabric arts are so therapeutic, especially right now, and are a lifelong skill your teens can carry into their adulthood with ease. Not to mention how incredibly practical this art form is for daily life, from mending clothes to making new creations.
Preserve your family’s photo history
Memory keeping scrapbooking – along the same artistic lines is the art of scrapbooking or memory keeping. Modern scrapbooking has definitely taken on a very artistic flair of its own. Scrapbooks are so much more now than simply photos glued to a page. There is art and composition and storytelling intertwined in each of the pages. It is one of my favorite pastimes when I have time. Which these days I don’t, but I enjoy capturing the story for future generations to understand.
While you are creating the pages, pass on the stories of the pictures to your teens.
Create a family tree – research and discuss your family’s history and culture
Edit photographs for printing – get your teens involved with helping you edit and print out treasured family photos. Maybe to put inside your scrapbooks or into frames on the wall. My girls love to print photos on special photo sticker paper to stick to their walls, create collages, and more.
Create a photo gallery on a blank wall in your home. Let your children pick out the photos, edit them together, and send them to print or print them yourselves. Purchase frames that suit the style you are looking to achieve for the gallery and hang.
Learn something new together
Invite your teen to teach you something they know, teach them something you know, or learn a new skill together. Here are a couple of ideas that can easily be done at home with your smart devices.
- Write, produce, and direct your own at-home movies
- Create original music together or cover a favorite song, perform, and record it.
You would be amazed at the creative potential available for both music and video at your fingertips with an iPhone or iPad, for instance. Check out apple.com/today for tutorials and ideas of creative projects to try.
- try several new science experiments together
- backyard camping can become an astronomy class and bird watching lesson.
- bake cupcakes, cookies, cheesecake, brownies, shall I go on? YUM! By the way, baking is a delicious form of scientific experimentation. So by all means, consider it part of your homeschool science class, and an essential life skill.
Family bonding activities – weekly family night
All this togetherness might be becoming too much for all of you, but don’t give up on having a once a week family night.
You can start off the evening with a family dinner. Even better if the teens were involved in preparing the meal.
Then you can either have a movie night complete with popcorn, candy, and all the works.
Or you can have a family game night where you play:
- favorite board games
- play charades and other active indoor games like twister or Pictionary
- play cards together
- do a puzzle together then frame it.
Here is another thought too. The activity that’s voted for on one particular week may not be interesting to everyone in the family. Make an agreement though that although participation in playing the game is not required, attendance and presence in the family togetherness time is. Maybe one of your teens wants to play Yahtzee and the other is like “eh, I’m not into it this week.”
That teen can still be there, present, on the couch playing on their phone, singing along to the music on the radio, rating the quality of the proceedings, recording her music video, etc.
The point is that for a couple of hours every week, everyone comes out of the shells of their bedrooms and has an opportunity to interact with other humans, or at least observe other human beings interacting in real life. Ha!
Maybe you can rotate these activities through the weeks of the month to keep it fun. I have a fun post about the best games that teens love to play to give you a few ideas. There is no reason this particular family bonding activity cannot become a family tradition idea that continues well beyond 2020.
Family bonding activities to enjoy around the neighborhood
Let’s say you want to have some family bonding time but you want to at least get outside of the house. What can you do close to home?
Is teaching your teen how to drive considered a family bonding activity?
Sure. Oh, I have been procrastinating on this task of teaching my almost 17-year-old how to drive. Mostly because our daughter has not been pushing it, although I mention it a lot. And because I am not especially keen on having my car insurance raised thousands of dollars a year. So…. there’s that.
But now might be the perfect time to share the highly bonding activity of shared terror inside a fairly large and highly crushable motorized machine. It sounds like fun family bonding time, doesn’t it? Just think of all the memories!
Get some fresh air together
- take a walk or go for a jog together
- go biking or rollerblading
- head out on a nightly walk after dinner
- go on a treasure hunt around the neighborhood
Once it’s safer to do so, try these fun activities together
Family bonding activities for a Rainy Day indoors
- shopping together and teach your teens the decision-making tools you use to get good deals or pick out the best of two options
- movie night at a theater
- rollerskating rinks are so much fun!
- go to your local museum
- arcades for the gamers
- bowling for the ones that need to release some energy
Family bonding activities for a sunny day outdoors
- Plant a vegetable garden in your backyard
- explore nature, go on a nature hike
- go walk along a beach
- go on a picnic to a scenic location and take in the view
- take the kids on an old fashioned train ride
- go to a cultural festival or a food festival
- carnival or county fairs are always fun
- visit a waterfall/cave
- visit a farm and
- go fruit picking depending on the season- berries, peaches, apple, pumpkin
- go through a corn maze during the fall.
- Drive-in movie theater
Family Staycation ideas
I have an entire article and podcast episode of great family staycation ideas that won’t break the bank. Here are a couple of ideas from that post that encourages family bonding.
- travel together locally or go on a road trip within your state and driving distance to home
- go camping
- explore a few museums for the history or art lovers in the family
- see the sea creatures in the aquarium
- see the animals at the zoo
- go to the lake or the beach for the day
Family bonding activities for special occasions or seasons of the year
There are so many wonderful seasonal and holiday family traditions your family can enjoy. I wrote about them in the article 20 Most Inspiring Family Tradition Ideas to share with your teen now. Take the opportunity while they are still at home with you to share how and where your particular family traditions took root in your family tree. Then let them help you prepare to celebrate the next one when it comes along again this year.
Family bonding activities to share your passion for arts, dance, nature, spirituality, sports, etc.
Wherever your passion lies, use it as an instructive way to strengthen family bonds by sharing it with your teenagers.
- Play Music – if you or your kid have a talent for playing music, by all means, enjoy this art form together. Join them in the singing if you do that well and they play guitar or violin. Or let them sing while you play the piano. Or sing together in harmonies. Puts a smile on my face.
- Concert – enjoy the feel of the sounds reverberating and the magic of music moving within you that cannot be duplicated on the radio at home. Also watching someone creating music through instruments live is a magical experience. Introduce your kids to your favorite bands, and let them do the same for you. Or go to a local music festival together and explore the art of local musicians.
- The Arts – Take them to museums and art galleries. Create art together. Go for a painting class or a pottery class or a drawing class together.
- Theatre – take them to a play or show and watch their eyes light up with the wonder of the stage.
- Cinema – there are modern movie theaters complete with 3D capabilities and Dolby sound. There are classic drive-in movie theaters and local classic cinemas. Experience all and see which your family prefers.
- Dance – ballets, performances, shows, concerts, and more. Dancing is a moving experience to behold and to enjoy.
- Books – take your teens along to meet authors or illustrators. Go on trips to the bookstore or the library together.
- Sports – play or cheer on your favorite teams together. Speaking of Sports, do not neglect the opportunity of participating in summer sports with your teenager. Check out this article on summer sports for kids that features water sports, court games, field, and street games that can be played with your teens.
- Spirituality – worship together, sing together, and find opportunities to enjoy celebrating your relationship with your creator together.
- Nature/Animals – share your love and care of animals and nature with your children. Introduce them to species they haven’t seen before in real life. Watch nature programs together. Give them to see this beautiful earth through your lens, and the wonder and awe of it’s beauty.
Whatever your passions, may your children grow an appreciation and respect for it. You never know, you might spark something inside them as well to pursue their own passion projects.
Family home improvement projects
There is something so satisfying about working on making your home better together. Not only are the results usually better than when you started (if you do it right!), but the process can be highly instructive (a life lesson for sure) and a productive way to spend time together.
Some ideas here are:
- repainting a bedroom
- redecorating a room
- pruning and caring for the garden
- creating a backyard garden box
- building a hutch for chickens, bunnies, or a dog house
- painting the front porch
- painting a mural on a wall
- creating an art or photo gallery on a wall
- retiling the floor
- changing out light fixtures
Your teenagers will learn so many wonderful life skills with each of these home improvement activities that will help give them the confidence to take care of their own homes when it’s time.
Family bonding activities – other
Volunteer your time and energy
It is always a good time to bond through service. Look at ways to volunteer and serve the community with your teenagers. Why not also consider a creative way for your family to bond together over raising money for your favorite charity. Ask your teenagers for ideas. They will surprise you with their ingenuity.
Start a family business with your teens
Why not start a family business? OOOHHH!!! That would be a very cool thing for you and your teens to do together and could result in creating generational wealth for your family and future generations.
As you can see, there is no shortage of ways to experience bonding together as a family, especially those ways that will interest your teenagers. I hope that this year you can enjoy more than one of these ideas to grow the relationship with your teens all the more before they become independent adults out on their own.
Other articles to enjoy
- 12+ Daddy-Daughter Date Ideas that will Delight your Teen
- The 20 Most Popular Family Tradition Ideas To Share With Your Teen Now
- Summer Bucket List for Teens 2020 – Fun and Safe Edition
- How to Execute Staycation Ideas for Cheap Family Fun
- The 30 Most Inspiring Places to Volunteer for Teens
- 5 Father-Daughter Bonding Strategies for Strong Teen Years
- The Best Gifts for Teenage Artists This Year
- The Epic List of Summer Sports for Kids to Enjoy This Year
- The 40 Most Surprising and Best Games for Teens
- Best Harry Potter Games for kids and Potterheads
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.