concept of family. father and child daughter outdoors in summerEvery parent dreams of being the perfect parent in every way, but sometimes life’s busy schedules get in the way of one of the most important things we can do with our children, and that’s carving out meaningful family time together.

Spending quality family time helps children feel that they are important and loved. It gives children a safe space to discuss their feelings and thoughts. Some parents have found it opens the door for children to share of any negative feelings or experiences they are having. It also provides parents a wonderful chance to role model parenting excellence, and those other traits they want to pass along.

Here are some activities you should make time for.

Outdoor/Nature Activities

Plant a garden – Gardening isn’t just for spending time outdoors together, as gardening has many benefits for your children, including learning about healthy eating, learning responsibility by keeping their plants healthy, building patience, developing math skills, and more. 

Look at the stars and find the constellations – Consider an entry-level telescope, or simply head to the backyard on a clear night for some stargazing.  Aside from the astronomy that you can teach your children, you can also help teach them math skills, such as counting, identifying shapes in the stars and looking for patterns. 

Explore nature on a hike – Children love to explore, and taking a hike into the woods on a nature trail can be a great way to spend time exploring together. Exploring involves seeing new things, listening to the unique sounds, touching what’s within reach, and smelling nature’s fresh scents. It can even involve taste if a little research is done ahead of time. For example, dandelions are edible and considered by many to be quite tasty, both cooked and raw.

Birdwatch in your backyard – “Birding” is an educational and enjoyable way to spend time with your children. The benefits of birding range from learning about habitats to teaching basic biology concepts to providing opportunities for simple DIY projects like building bird feeders.

Learning Activities

Cook together – There are plenty of ways for children to learn when you teach them to cook. You’re teaching them to problem-solve, do math via measurements and fractions, it improves their self esteem, and it teaches them fine motor development and hand-eye coordination, plus much more.

Visit a  Museum – Museums are a wonderful day out to explore something that is of interest to your child. An aquarium is a great day of underwater exploring, a natural history museum visit usually always includes dinosaurs and mummies. And children’s museums are often designed to include a little of everything and provide a great way to explore under one roof.

Do a Science Experiment – Most of us remember the classic volcano-building science experiment, but depending on what experiment you chose, you can teach your children just about anything. 

Creative Activities

Make art – Children receive a lot of gratification from making artwork, whether it’s a painting, a macaroni noodle mosaic or a tissue paper collage, there is that great sense of satisfaction that comes from seeing their work complete. 

Dance – Even if you’re not a good dancer, children love to dance with their parents and it’s a great way to model some fun physical activity.

Sing learning songs – Singing together is a great form of bonding, and there are plenty of learning songs that you can use to teach things other than just the ABC’s.

Time with your children comes and goes faster than you can imagine, so it’s important to set aside quality time that will create meaningful memories. Many children may see a much better gift in time spent exploring together, rather than another trinket from the toy aisle. So carve out opportunities to be together and get started creating new memories with your children.

Author: Daniel Sherwin