40 Ways to Make Memories with your Family

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!





Photo of author


I'm Jethro. I'm a carpenter, and love to build things! You can find me in the garage or at work most days of the week.My sister is Crystal, who you might know from this very blog. Her son Johnny loves video games just as much as I do - so we have a lot of fun playing together!

44 comments on “40 Ways to Make Memories with your Family”

  1. It’s so important to spend valuable time with your family. My kids are adults now, and we still spend time together even if that means having a great meal together or watching a good movie. These are all great ideas for sure.

    • Absolutely! It doesn’t matter the activity, but the quality of time that you spend together making memories. I’m sure looking back you have a lifetime of those with your family.

  2. I like the idea of having the kids plan a day for the parents. I’ll have to let my kids do this one day. I’m sure it will be Chuck E. Cheese and maybe the zoo. Lots of great ideas.

    • Ha! I’m sure kid days would be some of their favorite things to do, but since the objective is to have fun, I’m ok with that! 🙂

  3. Hi Sarah, your opening about the little one and how fast they grow touched my heart as I often had these feelings. Great lists and reminders to spend time together and make memories.

    • Sue, it’s amazing how fast their little lives go! I had always heard that but never could appreciate it until I became a mom myself. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

    • Thanks, Nina! It’s so fun to have the kids come up with creative ideas and I loathe the word “bored”, so this is a great solution!

  4. We are totally making a family activity jar this spring. I hate the “what are we doing today” question every Saturday morning lol

  5. I really like the idea of doing a family mailbox. Would be something sweet to do when my boys are older and they can both read and write!!

    • I know! SO precious and something they could decorate, too. I also just saw an idea for a notebook passed between child and parent, and think that would be special, too.

    • I know, I know, but we’ve done a 5K and LOVED it. It’s fun to do something original, but I love the idea of running and THEN making the cupcakes. I’m not above rewarding myself with food! Ha!

    • Thanks, Cynthia! Best wishes to you as you plan time with those you love most. It’s so important, yet can be such a challenge to find the time.

  6. Love the message. Something we don’t do enough is have date night. We do a lot of family things and spread out to be with family but me and my husband never take time for us away from the house! Great list!

    • We are so much happier when we are spending quality family time and couple time. It doesn’t take long before we all need to reconnect after busyness and the hustle and bustle of life. Best wishes as you carve out quality couple time!

  7. You have some great ideas here. I live in a very rural area and I find I run out of ideas on what I can do (for cheap). Thanks for sharing.

    • I understand! We get in a rut, too and it seems we always do the same things. 🙂 I’m glad I could shed some light on some new activities!

  8. What great ideas!! Family time is so important and these tips really help with having a busy family! It’s great co-hosting with you for the #HomeMattersParty , please be sure to check out my posts and comment. 🙂

  9. What great ideas. It’s been a long time since I’ve been geocaching, and my girls are old enough to join me now. It’s fun to see this on the list. Thank’s for the excellent activity and date ideas!

  10. LOVE these ideas! It is so true, you have to intentionally make memories with your family. We had a tradition for years to do a backyard campout over Labor Day weekend. It was a BLAST. So many wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing and being a wonderful co-host of the #HomeMattersParty – we love having you on the team! 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

  11. I love all these ideas! We try to have date nights individually with our boys and try to make it a point to do a family outing/activity once a month.

    Thanks for sharing at Manic Monday linky party, hope to see you next week!

    • I’m glad you liked these ideas. Date nights individually is just as important as family date nights.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We hope to see you again soon.

    • I’m glad you liked this round-up of ideas. I think she did a great job.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  12. Great tips Sarah!
    I particularly love the mail box one… I am already having wonderful imaginations.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Have a super blessed day!

  13. Crystal,
    Thanks for sharing Sarah Ann’s post at Cofee & Conversation last week – we’ll be featuring it at this Wednesday’s party 🙂
    Great job, ladies!!


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