Start Your 365 Day Family Fun Challenge
If you’re a virtual school or homeschool family, you’ve already taken a huge step toward spending quality time together as a family. Why not take an enjoyable next step and make a “365 days of family fun” pledge? That’s what one Connections Academy family started in 2011—and completed successfully in June 2012—with great results!
Inspired by her neighbor, Alana Greene of Buford, Georgia, challenged her husband and four children, ages 8 to 12, to join her in doing something fun and new every day for a year. With the flexibility of online education, the family could schedule schoolwork around community events, day trips, and other family outings. As they shared activities, laughter, and learning, the “Greene Team” reinforced their close relationships and built a congenial spirit of teamwork within their family.
Visit the Greene family blog, and you’ll see that while most of their ideas were free or low cost, the fun and memories they created were priceless. Here are some general ideas to help you and your kids start brainstorming your own unique and creative activities for family fun!
- Get active and get outdoors. The Greene Team roller skated, scootered, swam, hiked, danced, and Hula-Hooped their way through the year. Your family might prefer bowling, putt-putt golf, tennis, basketball, jumping rope, or flashlight tag. Keep in mind that many community and recreation centers offer free or low-cost ways to learn new sports and fitness activities. You can also find creative ideas for outdoor activities on Pinterest.
- Be crafty. Handprint pictures and imaginative crafts made from old CDs were just a few of the Greenes’ projects. While summer is here, consider doing some fun and messy projects outside, like sand art or anything that involves dye, spray paint, or glitter. Use the hose to clean up! Or use nature’s bounty of leaves, pinecones, and more to make beautiful art.
- Play with your food. If you have a more relaxed summer schedule, why not cook with your kids? The Greenes enjoyed fondue, a make-your-own-pizza bar, foods from other countries, and homemade éclairs in their culinary adventures. Kids won’t even realize they’re learning about units of measure and nutrition! Visit Connections Academy’s own online cookbook for simple recipes the kids will love.
- Explore science and nature. Kids love science when it’s hands-on and messy! The Greene kids enjoyed the Mentos and soda eruption experiment and also staged their own nature scavenger hunts. You can find tons of other fun science experiments online. Enjoy the opportunity for you and your children to learn and be surprised together!
- Exercise your green thumb. Gardening is a great way to get kids interested in eating their veggies. Or let your young artists plan and plant a flower garden to perk up your landscape. No room for a garden? Why not plan a trip to pick your own produce at a nearby farm, then take your harvest home and make something delicious for dinner or dessert!
- Serve your community. Summer is a great time to pitch in and clean up a park, playground, or nature preserve in your area. Or model kindness to others by helping an elderly relative or neighbor with his or her home or yard maintenance. The Greenes made and sold crafts to raise money for a sick child’s care and had a food drive for charity. These activities will teach your children how helping others makes them feel good inside. (And celebrating a job well done with an ice cream or another treat is always fun!)
- Discover your state. Have you ever been a tourist in your own neighborhood? The Greenes visited their state capital, historic sites, and a chicken farm. Every state has its own unique attractions, so why not research and discover the most interesting ones in your area? Consider landmarks, parks, museums, battlegrounds, businesses, and natural attractions, and start exploring!
- Silly stuff. Challenge your kids to a shaving-cream or water-balloon battle! Build a crazy kid wash station in the backyard for cooling down this summer. Have a three-legged or sack race. Stage a yodeling contest. Create crazy costumes. The sillier the better is a great “rule” for having fun as a family!
I hope these ideas and the Greene Team’s example will encourage you to start your own yearlong adventure. Even if you can’t try a new activity every day, I’m sure that any time you do something new and fun, your family will build even stronger connections—and create memories that will last a lifetime.
If you have any fun, crazy, or creative ideas for starting a family fun challenge, please share them in the comments below.