A guest post by Harry Vincent
When the kids are tiny they’re easy to please. When they grow up, things get much harder. Here are some fun ideas for a more mature family that doesn’t want to give up family time.
Cook a Large Meal Together
Cooking is usually something reserved for the parents, but teens should learn this valuable life skill sooner rather than later. If your teenager doesn’t have any real cooking skills, then family cooking can teach them everything they need to know (or at least the basics) while simultaneously giving you more family time. Everyone wins.
Start with simple things like cooking pasta or baking lasagna. Then, over several weeks, you can work up to more challenging cooking feats like baked goods and soufflés. If you’re feeling especially daring, brew some beer or some other alcohol at home (though they might feel that it’s unfair if they can’t drink anything).
fermented beverages that aren’t alcoholic is also an option and will teach them a lot about how their favorite store-bought foods are made (think pickles, sauerkraut and the ever-popular kombucha).
Have an Upgraded Movie Night
Instead of renting a DVD, start off by streaming a new movie from iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play. If you’re one of those families who still doesn’t have high speed Internet, look at these Time Warner Cable Internet Plans.
To kick things up a notch, take the party outside and throw the movie up on a big screen. You will need a projector for this. Is it an investment? Yup. Will it be fun? Are you kidding? You remember how much fun the drive in was when you were a kid? You can bring that experience home. Your kids will love it.
Choose Unusual Activities
When the usual stuff gets boring, and it eventually will, it’s time to kick things up a notch. A few ideas include:
Indoor rock climbing is becoming more popular and, if you’ve never tried it as a family before, you should take your kids. Maybe they’ve been with their friends, but there’s no reason why this can’t also be a family activity.
Is it unusual? Maybe. But, you will also build team and trust skills, spotting each other as you climb to the top.
How many families do you actually see go-karting together. Not many. And, that’s precisely why you should try it. Go-karting is fun and you can kick things up a notch by racing against each other and keeping score.
The way you would likely have to do this is by racing for time. At least one family member would have to sit out each round and time the others. Rotate drivers so that everyone races the same number of times. At the end of the night, add up the times and the lowest total time gets a prize – maybe a free drink or a sundae or something else (and if you win, yes your kids should totally pay for it!).
Have a Sing-A-Long
It might sound cheesy, but it’s not if you put some time into it to make it special. First, you need the right setting. Dedicate a room in the house for family games. If you’re going to do family karaoke, you had better nail it or it’s going to be torture for everyone.
A lot of people like karaoke because it’s silly, you can goof off, and no one actually expects you to sing well. But, what would happen if you flipped this game on its ear, took singing lessons, and held a family competition?
That’s exactly what you should do.
Buy your family a good microphone from a company like Blue Microphones, and get a shock mount with a pop filter. Now, take some singing lessons as a family. Think of this as training for the competition.
When you feel you’re ready, pick songs and pit family members against each other. Everyone votes for their favorite singer. You could even get extended family in on the action if you needed impartial judges. It might be unusual, but at the end you will have accomplished two things: you will have learned a very good skill (singing) and you will have brought your family closer and shown your appreciation for their new talents.
And, that’s not strange. Matter of fact, that’s what family should be about – coming together.
Harry Vincent is a family therapist. He likes to share his insights on family living. His articles can be found mainly on lifestyle and family websites.