Let’s face it. There’s nothing more stressful than being a parent. You’re in charge of raising your children to be responsible, kind and generous people — all while keeping a job and managing your own time. That’s quite the tall order, which means parents everywhere have one thing in common: they need fun family activities that bring everyone closer together. Those fun family activities could be anything from board games or silly scavenger hunts to special bonding experiences like camping or weekend getaways out of town.
If you’ve been wracking your brain for activities to do with family, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find a list of fun family activities that are sure to put a smile on every face in your family.
The Importance of Family Bonding
Someone once said, “the family that plays together, stays together.” While we’re not sure what the stats are behind that saying, there is certainly plenty of evidence supporting the notion. In fact, it’s shown that taking the time to connect with children through play:
- Teaches skills like creativity and cognitive flexibility
- Builds strong relationships between parent and child
- Releases oxytocin during playtime
- Strengthens relationships between both parents
- Enhances self-esteem in children
Families that play together also stay healthier together. It sounds cliche, but the science is clear. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), having play and bonding time playing with parents and siblings is key for children to build thriving brains, bodies, and social bonds. Having fun with parents from a young age helps improve children’s abilities to organize, get along with others, and regulate emotions.
25 Fun Family Activities for Everyone
Whether you’re looking for a way to spice up your family bonding time or just want to relive some of your own happy childhood memories with the kiddos, check out this list of 25 fun family activities for inspiration.
1. Go on a treasure hunt
If your kids are still on the small side, you can channel their inner pirates with this fun twist on a scavenger hunt. Start by planting dollar-store jewels and other small toy treasures all around the inside and outside of your house. Next, draw a map on some paper that’s been stained with wet tea bags and burned a bit around the edges to give it a vintage look. Now set the kids off on their treasure hunt as you give the occasional hint and snap photos or record the event for posterity (and scrapbooking, discussed later).
If you really want to go all out, dress everyone — parents included — like proper pirates. Get some black and white striped shirts, pair them with loose britches secured with a red sash, throw in a black eye patch — you can even strap a plastic parakeet to each kid’s shoulder if you want to go all out. Argh matey, let the treasure hunt begin!
2. Take the family to an escape room
Okay, maybe we’re biased, but we think this is one the most fun family activities you can try! For a unique way to combine problem-solving and family bonding, check out your local escape room for a thrilling adventure the family won’t soon forget. For most escape room adventures, kids eight and up will be able to handle the intensity, but you can be sure that the tweens, teens and adults in your crew are going to get a real kick out of these puzzle-solving adventure games.
The way escape rooms work is you and your entourage are locked in a room. In order to escape you have to read the clues, solve the puzzles, and employ teamwork and strategic thinking to complete the objectives that will spring you from your imprisonment. The clock is ticking. If you don’t escape in time — usually 60 minutes — it’s curtains!
Escape rooms are theme-based with decor, sounds, and lighting that make the experience as up-close-and-personal as possible. For example, the Paranoia Quest gives you the choice of participating in a murder mystery, escaping a zombie apocalypse, or escaping a room before a ticking timebomb goes off.
3. Play classic children’s games
Want to keep it casual? Opt for the classics! Hide and Seek and Kick the Can are both fun variations on the “Tag! You’re it!” kid fun favorite. These games can be adapted to be either indoors or out-of-doors, depending on the weather, that every member of the family can participate in. Kids love searching for their parents almost as much as they love squirreling themselves away in places they are sure they can’t be found.
4. Create culinary delights
Whether you want the bonding experience of passing down a beloved family recipe to the next generation or you’re just keen to get the kids to expand their palates and experiment with new dishes, cooking together can be a great way for a family to spend quality time together.
Sit down as a group and decide what new types of cuisine you want to try. Maybe let each family member be responsible for choosing a recipe and acting as head chef for a particular dish as the rest of the family acts as their helpers. You can even take it to the next level and pretend that you’re opening a family restaurant or bakery. The twists of how you and your family can have some quality kitchen and dining time together are endless.
5. Start a family book club
Encourage the entire family to become life-long book worms by creating a fun activity around reading. If everyone is at the same reading level, you can start a family book club where everyone reads a selection and then you all discuss. Not only does the family get to interact and practice good communication skills, but when each person takes a turn selecting the book they want the group to read, the others get a chance to learn more about their hobbies and interests.
6. Hike your hometown nature trails
Explore your town and surrounding countryside with your family, get some exercise, and learn new things about the flora, fauna, and geological marvels in your area. See what interesting things you can spot along your nature hike. You can pretend to be explorers or engage in the fascinating hobby of bird-watching. However you choose to frame your hiking adventures, it’s great to get out with the family and enjoy the fresh air.
7. Visit museums
If you think museums are stuffy and boring, think again. Many of today’s museums — whether they specialize in art, the sciences, or history — have engaging exhibits designed to pique the interests of people of all ages.
Look for intriguing new art exhibits where there is an opportunity to have hands-on creative experiences or science museums with interactive opportunities to see science happening in real time. Some museums offer an opportunity for physical exertion with rock climbing experiences or kid-friendly playgrounds. If you need to drive a bit to get to your closest museum, make a day trip out of it and add in a picnic lunch.
8. Go on a family team-building picnic
Speaking of picnics, think about how you can combine a traditional outdoor eating experience with family team-building activities. Fill up a picnic basket with your favorite finger foods and find a quiet piece of country or a pristine park to gather together with the family. After everyone has had their fill, break off into teams of two or more and play some outdoor games like cornhole or horseshoes or show the kids how to toss a frisbee around. It doesn’t really matter what games you play, as long as the family is having quality time together.
9. Fly kites
Whether you buy ready-made kites at the store, or download instructions for making them yourself, everyone can have a great time outdoors flying kites. Let each child choose their own kite. Better yet, look for the type of kites that your child can color or decorate with a specially-crafted tail. Once the kites are flight ready, try to choose some fun venues for your first kite launch. Beach shorelines are great, as are community parks and fields. Look for a breezy place with few trees and lots of wide open space.
10. Take a family road trip
Nothing makes for childhood memories like the family road trip. Call a family meeting and talk about where you’d all like to go. Whether it’s traveling to one of the country’s beautiful national parks, a dream excursion to one of the Orlando area theme parks, or just a trip to visit the grandparents out of state, half the fun is getting there.
To make the driving time fun, play road trip games like “I Spy” – where you give a hint about an object and others have to guess what it is — and license plates, where you see who can spot the most different state license plates. Don’t forget the music for singalongs and a sightseeing app so you can find interesting attractions to stop at along the way.
11. Create a family fresco
Got an empty wall that could use some original art? Why not get the family together to create your very own fresco. Buy white board paint to prep the wall. Then give each child and adult a set of white board markers and the space to be creative. You can even trace the outlines of an above-ground or underwater scene and let everyone play a part in making it come to life. What you create isn’t half as important as the act of creating. Let loose and see who the true artist is in your family!
12. Create an indoor campsite or blanket fort
What kid doesn’t love turning their living room into a fort? Even if conditions outside aren’t ripe for camping, you can still pitch a tent inside or set up a makeshift blanket fort with couch pillows and sheets. Create a faux campfire with lanterns and tell ghost stories while eating hot dogs and s’mores. All the fun of a real camping trip but without the bugs!
13. Do a giant jigsaw puzzle
Get the biggest, most intricate, and most colorful jigsaw puzzle you can find and set up a permanent place in the house for the family to work on it. Keep track of your family’s progress and encourage friends and extended family members to help out when they’re visiting. Everyone is sure to share feelings of a job well done once the puzzle is solved. After you’re finished, you can either turn it into a wall-hanging to preserve for posterity, or break it up, pass it on to your nieces and nephews, and get another puzzle to begin.
14. Gather for a movie night marathon
You know the drill. Everyone piles onto the couch for a night of movie marathon-ing. Grab plenty of blankets, pop bowls of popcorn, and get your pajamas on. Then choose a genre or series that everyone can relate to — Harry Potter or Disney animated features are always a good choice — and snuggle in together for back-to-back screenings. Movie night is, without a doubt, one the best activities for families.
15. Have a regular card night
Whether it’s Go Fish!, Gin Rummy, Hearts, or Bridge, it’s always fun to get together for a good old-fashioned game of cards. Are your kids a little older? Teach them poker or blackjack and set up a casino night with snacks instead of chips. Let the adults be the dealers as the kids try their luck at the card tables. Winner winner chicken dinner!
16. Create a family time capsule
This is one of those family team building activities that is sure to capture the minds of the whole family today and for years to come. Ask each family member to bring one item that reflects who they are and what they are interested in at the moment. Place each item in an airtight box and bury it in the back yard or store it in a safe-but-not-to-be-touched space in the attic or basement.
Put today’s date on it and then set a date in the future and make a pact to get together in five, 10, or even 20 years to open the box. Just think, you’ll all be gathering together again in the future to open up this reminder of a meaningful family building activity and who all of you were in the past. You’re sure to get some laughs at what the youngsters included!
17. Have a disco dance night
Pick a decade and create a playlist of music from that era. Then have everyone dress up in the outfits of those days and get moving to the beats of days gone by. Whether it’s channeling the groovy Beatles vibes of the 1960s and 1970s in tie-dye duds or punking out into the post-grunge bands like the Foo Fighters or Nickelback from the early 2000s, it’s always fun to dress up and cut a rug.
18. Sing karaoke together
Since you’ve already got those playlists going, why not put them to good use for a karaoke get-together? You can find the karaoke versions of your favorite songs on YouTube. Take turns taking center stage or create a routine that includes the entire family. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up taking your show to a real karaoke venue to show off your family’s singing and performing talents.
19. Participate in family game night
Board games have stood the test of time as a staple of family night. Go old school with Monopoly, Scrabble, The Game of Life, or BattleShip, or check out the video versions of these classic games. Want to crank up the family bonding game genre a notch? You can get board games that let you role play in a murder mystery. See who solves the crime first or who, unbeknownst to the rest of the family, is guilty of….murder.
And if you want to just have an impromptu game-playing night together, you can always play charades, a family classic that will appeal to any of your crew that likes to ham it up.
20. Create a family vegetable garden
Share the joys of growing your own vegetables with the entire family either with an outdoor community garden, in a garden you create in your own yard, or with plants right inside your home. Start out by letting each child choose the seeds, plants, and other equipment that they might want to use.
Get some books on gardening that you can all read together and let everyone contribute to the weeding, watering, and care of the plants. Once selected vegetables are ripe for the picking, you can all sit down and enjoy the fruits — or the vegetables — of your family teamwork.
21. Hit the skating rink
Whether you’re a roller skater or an ice skater, nothing spells family fun like taking a trip to the local skating rink. You can rent skates at the venue — so no need to invest in your own equipment — but bring your own knee pads and helmet if you’re a novice or it’s been a while since you’ve been on wheels or blades.
Of course, if skating is old hat to you, this is your opportunity to show the kiddos how to do the limbo in roller skates or show off your single or double (or triple??) axel moves on the ice.
22. Go miniature golfing
Miniature golf is the only place most of us have any chance of getting a hole-in-one. Suitable for all ages, mini golf is one of the most popular fun activities for family. It’s especially enjoyable for kids if the course has a theme and is full of interesting targets. You don’t even need to keep score if you don’t want to. Miniature golf is more about letting loose and enjoying the day than any kind of serious competition. But if you must compete, give the littlest ones a handicap so they have a chance to win.
23. Create a family scrapbook
Chances are you have loads of family photos and memorabilia you’ve picked up through the years. And what about all those old birthday and greeting cards you’ll feel guilty if you throw away? Preserve them for posterity while engaging in a meaningful crafting activity with your kids.
Buy the largest scrapbook you can find and gather together all your craft supplies like colored pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, ribbons, and craft paper. Then spread everything out on a large table and start turning those memories into a multi-generational scrapbook the whole family will have a blast making together. The best part is that you’ll be creating something unique to your family that you can pass onto future generations.
24. Participate in community service
One of the best family bonding activities you can engage in is doing acts of service together. Find a volunteer activity that you can all participate in. Whether it’s tending to a community garden for those in need, working with rescue animals at your local shelter, or serving the homeless during the holidays, giving back to the community is a great way to share your core values with your children and model empathy and kindness.
25.Become a family of mad scientists
Crack open that chemistry set, give life to those dehydrated sea monkeys, or build an erupting volcano in the middle of the kitchen table. There are loads of family-friendly science projects you can share with kids of all ages. Just be sure you’re prepared with any necessary safety equipment like goggles and gloves and be ready to clean up the messes that are certainly to ensue when experiments go awry. But that’s what science is all about, right? Learning through experimentation, taking calculated risks, and trial and error.
Take the Family to Paranoia Quest
Coming together to make great memories is what family time is all about. Whether you’re looking for a place to hold a birthday celebration or just want to spend quality time with the kids, the next time you plan a special family adventure, choose an escape room experience at one of Paranoia Quest’s Georgia venues.
We have lots of kid- and adult-friendly escape rooms in Atlanta, featuring murder mysteries and Harry Potter themes! Not in or close to Atlanta? We also have escape rooms in Buford, whether you’re looking to make a jailbreak or find your way out of Wonderland.
Book your escape room today!