The day we brought our daughter home from the hospital, still reeling from her miraculous adoption story, I marveled at her tiny size. I kissed every one of those miniature toes and was awestruck as her soft finger curled around mine.
Yet those moments with my newborn were fleeting, as she grew quickly and blossomed before our very eyes. The phrase, “She’ll never be smaller than she is today,” made this new mom tear up as I wished I could stop time.
Fast forward almost five years and my mother’s heart still aches knowing that my baby girl, and her three-year old brother are growing up in the blink of an eye.
It’s amazing how quickly life in parenthood passes, and we must be intentional about making memories with our family.
Just as with any solid relationship, a strong family foundation needs to be nurtured, fostered, and tended to with the utmost care and attention.
When’s the last time you’ve been intentional about building into the life of your family? If you’re like me and this question makes you wrestle with a little “mom guilt” , lavish some grace upon yourself and start intentionally making memories with your children by scheduling a monthly family date.
It’s a delight to gather around the table, and mark a date on the calendar, “reserved for family fun.”
If you’re watching your pennies, alternate between an at home date and outings out in the community. You’ll find there is MUCH creative fun that can happen at home.
Get kids involved in the planning by making a list of activities to do, or as I shared in Take Back Your Family in 2015, use Family Activity Jars.
Another way to plan family fun is to create a Family Dream Board with pictures of activities you can’t wait to try together.
Here’s 40 Ways to Make Memories with Your Family, one scheduled “date” at a time! Have fun!
20 Ideas for Home Dates
1. Create a backyard obstacle course.
2. Have a picnic either in your backyard or in a local park.
3. Make a tent or fort inside and spend the day playing in it as a family.
4. Make your own puppets and put on a puppet show.
5. Build a snowman. If you live a warm location, build mini-“sandmen” with kinetic sand.
6. Have a theme party, just for fun, and invite other friends to join the fun.
7. Using the FREE SkyView App on iTunes, point your iPad to the sky and learn which constellations are in your own backyard.
8. Build something together as a family, letting the kids use tools and paint your project if applicable.
9. Create a spa at home and take turns giving each other foot massages and back rubs.
10. Write a story together and have the kids create the illustrations. You can scan in the pictures and have the book published with Snapfish or another site that will publish a book pretty inexpensively.
11. Make a scrapbook together of your favorite family memories.
12. Plant and care for a garden together.
13. Bake some cookies and give them away to another family.
14. Create a family mailbox, where you write letters of encouragement and kind words to each other.
15. Fly a kite on a windy day.
16. Exercise together by taking up a family sport.
17. Take a hike around your neighborhood or on a local trail.
18. Go camping in the backyard, complete with a tent and s’mores.
19. Get a bird feeder, a book on birds, and record the birds you find in your own yard.
20. Have a cookie decorating contest, putting the pictures on social media to see which ones get the most votes.
20 Dates Out on the Town
1. Go bowling together.
2. Join an indoor swimming pool and enjoy swimming all year long.
3. Do a service project and volunteer to help others.
4. Take a cooking class.
5. Find a local animal rescue and visit the sweet animals. Imagine what pet you would have if you were take one home.
6. Go on a scavenger hunt. Using local attractions, plan a day of fun, using clues to prompt to the next location.
9. Take a painting class where you can bring in your own snacks and drinks, all while being instructed to create the same painting.
10. Get to know the history of your state. Plan to visit historic places and learn about the events of the past that happened close to your home.
11. Kids plan a day for the parents! Give children a budget and have them surprise you with a fun activity.
12. Go geocaching and have an adventure close to home! Learn more about geocaching here.
13. Get dressed up and go out to a fancy dinner. Groupon makes fine dining affordable and the kids get to practice grown-up table manners.
14. Just for fun, spend the night in a hotel.
15. Expose the kids to culture and take them to a play, symphony, or ballet.
16. Go to a professional sporting event.
17. Tour some local businesses. We don’t live far from a Mayfield Dairy plant, and tours are inexpensive and fun.
18. Visit a farm and become farmers for a day.
19. As the weather warms, plan to attend local festivals and play games.
20. Run or walk a 5k together.
How do you intentionally unite your family? Do you have dates together? I’d love to hear about your family’s favorite ways to stay connected!