Spending quality time with your children is one of the most important things you can do for them. This means more than just a quick talk in the car on the way to soccer practice or school, and more than a hug and kiss goodnight.
Studies show that children whose parents spend regular quality time with them, develop higher levels of self-esteem, as well as good communication and social skills. Spending regular quality time also helps to increase children’s positive behaviors, while simultaneously minimizing negative behaviors.
The Child Development Institute emphasizes that spending quality family time together helps children feel valued and important. According to a recent study, when children believe that they “matter” to their families, they feel connected to the family and are more likely to develop a strong bond with their parents.
“Multiple studies reveal that children are much more likely to develop emotional and behavioral disorders when they receive inadequate or poor parenting and each study uses the foundation of spending quality time with children as the first vital step to successful parenting,” states an article by Gail Fernandez, MD, posted by the Child Development Institute.
With school out for the summer, now is the best time to be spending fun, high-quality family time together. Keep in mind that this time doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Any new or different activities will be exciting to your child.
Below is a list of both indoor and outdoor activities to do with your kids this summer, and every weekend and summer afterwards! You can ask your kids what they are most excited to do, but it’s also beneficial to get out of your comfort zones and try new things together!
Examples of outdoor activities to do with your children:
- Trip to the beach or pool
- Picnic in the park
- Camp out in the back yard
- Scavenger hunt around the yard or neighbourhood
- Have a race
- Egg toss
- Build a tree fort
- Trip to the zoo
- Garage sale shopping
- Volunteering as a family (e.g., local church, soup kitchen, animal shelter)
- Sports (e.g., game of catch, soccer, or Frisbee)
- Outside games such as Capture the Flag, Hide and Seek, Freeze Tag or Kick the Can
- Plan a family yard sale (kids can keep a portion of the income as incentive to purge old items)
- Pick up litter in your neighborhood, local park or beach. This helps teach children the importance of taking care of the environment.
- Visit a local farm to pick blueberries, apples, peaches, etc.
- Planting flowers or vegetables in a community garden
- Canoe / kayaking
- Star gazing
- Nature walks / hikes
Examples of indoor activities to do with your children:
- Trip to the library
- At-home face painting
- Dollar Store shopping (give each child 5 dollars)
- Game night – cards or board games
- Create skits and perform for each other
- Karaoke / American Idol night
- Build a house of cards
- Make homemade sock puppets and put on a play with them
- Make homemade play dough
- Baking / Cooking / Prepping food
- Finger painting / Normal painting (lay an old spare sheet down to save your floor and table!)
- Family movie night
- Make a blanket fort
- Dress up night (as favorite characters, or use a random dress up bin and make new characters)
- Reading aloud to each other (and discussing the books)
- Arts and crafts
- Create vision / dream boards (use old magazine and newspapers to cut out favorite pictures and words to describe each family member’s dream)
- Create a secret handshake
- Mute the TV and create voices and dialogues for the characters (time to practice that British accent!)
- Use a sheet and a projector to create an at home movie theatre (can be bought online for as low as $40 on Wish.com and $109 on Amazon.com)
- Mug Painting (with non-toxic paint)
- Family photo shoot (can be indoor or outdoor)
Children are busier than ever before in today’s fast paced world. They have sports, extracurricular activities, clubs, friends and school. But don’t overlook the importance of slowing down and spending one on one time together. It will enrich the bonds between all family members. You’ll learn more about who your child is as a person, and you’ll gain the opportunity to guide them in life. Remember children look to their parents as role models. They watch how you conduct yourself and respond to everything life throws at you. Be the best role model you can be for them, and never stop having fun!