Have fun bonding with your kids and creating a close family unit by doing activities as a family that are different from your normal day-to-day routine. Here are a few suggestions of family activities to mark off your bucket list, life list or list of life goals:
Every kid loves sleeping in a tent under the stars – and every adult likes the break from their BlackBerry. "My husband and I have found that taking our 3-1/2 year old daughter Maia on camping trips definitely helps us to bond with her and with each other," says Melissa Hart, author of Gringa: A Contradictory Girlfriend. "When we're outdoors, hiking and kayaking and sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows, we become close in a way that we can't possibly at home with the distractions of TV, phone and computer."
Doing an activity that gets your adrenaline pumping creates instant bonding and fun memories for years. Pick an activity based on your children's age, but some great family activities for adrenaline pumping fun include zip lining, indoor rock climbing, riding on a hot air balloon, white water rafting and (for the truly adventurous) bungee jumping.
Whether you drive to a cute city 2 hours outside of town or you take a cross-country trip, every family has to have at least one road trip adventure. Taking a road trip is a great way to teach kids about geography, while the closeness of the car encourages conversation and bonding.
Taking a family trip to another country will create instant family memories. Get your kids involved by learning key words and phrases of the native language, as well as trying new and unusual foods. Assign one child as the family photographer while another blogs about your adventure in another country.
There is something about getting your hands dirty together that creates instant family memories. Plus, what kid doesn't like digging in the mud? Have the whole family go to the nursery together to pick out the seeds that they want to plant. Your kids will love seeing the seeds blossom into beautiful flowers.
Find a class that caters to your interests and enjoy not only learning something new, but bonding as well! Whether it is a cooking class, dance class, pottery class or knitting class, get the entire family involved in picking the activity that everyone will enjoy.
Gary Stevens says he offers a Taekwondo class for parents and children at his New Jersey studio. "It's a great way for the parent to exercise, sweat and take a class with their child," he says. "We offer a Saturday morning class for 2 and 3 year-olds with a parent. They stretch together, do sit-ups and push-ups together and the parents hold the targets for their children to punch and kick. We have had nothing but rave reviews, especially from the dads with their daughters."
Have your kids pick their favorite recipe and assign out different parts of the recipe to different family members; for instance, dad will chop up celery while the kids butter the dish and stir up ingredients in a bowl. You can also explore new recipes and have fun creating new family favorites.
Taking a family bike ride together is a great way to get exercise, appreciate nature and see other parts of your town. Look for bike trails at your local park or neighborhood that will keep your family safely away from traffic, but still surrounded by nature.
Learn how to arrange your subjects, what clothes to wear and what not to do when you want to take unique family photos that you will want to frame and display in your home. Brought to you by HP and pro photographer and mom Tracey Clark.
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