When you are thinking about doing something with your kids, take into consideration the ages of the children. For instance, younger children will probably not appreciate an evening around a fire telling scary stories, but it could be the perfect activity for older kids. A few hours at a petting zoo might bore older kids while the younger ones thoroughly enjoy it.
Since most families consist of children of varying ages, a few ideas on things that should interest all ages may be in order.
Go skating. Ice skating or roller skating can be learned by all but babies who cannot walk yet. Even toddlers can learn to skate. Find a spot where it’s quiet and mostly empty of other people if you are going to teach your kids to skate, so mishaps won’t cause problems for others. Dress your kids in a few layers, even for roller skating, to help absorb the shock of falls. Make up your mind there WILL be falls and accidents but your kids will be fine. Let them know that, too.
Sight seeing doesn’t appeal to kids unless there is something exciting to see, but if you live near a metropolitan area, there are sure to be special museums or attractions that will interest your kids. The Space Center in Houston, Texas is one example. It will fire the imagination of toddlers to teens (and beyond!). Think about whatever place your community or city holds in history, science or culture and draw on that for inspiration on where to look. Even small towns often have amazing, locally oriented museums and centers.
Another thing that most kids will enjoy is a simple outing in nature. If you have little ones, find a place where it’s easy to walk and where you can walk slowly to allow the kids to see everything. Take the time to point out interesting facts or your thoughts about wild flowers, birds and animals, and rocks and trees. Don’t forget to ask the kids what they think or which one they like best. Encouraging questions will keep them involved and leave a lasting impression. Take a picnic lunch if you can and eat wherever you find yourself at lunch time.
If you can’t get away from the house, you can still include all the kids in learning something new or doing something special. Why not have a formal dinner at home? The kids can learn all about all those utensils, how to properly handle a napkin and how to handle themselves in a formal setting. If you think your teenagers won’t be happy with this idea, ask them to help you teach the smaller ones. If you only have teenagers, tell them you need to practice yourself, or promise them dinner at an upscale restaurant where they will have to know how to conduct themselves. Make it fun.
Learn something together. Did you always want to learn to play the guitar? Maybe your kids would like to learn, too. Rent or borrow a guitar and get a book on how to play, or get a friend to teach you and your kids. Or maybe all of you would like to learn a new language, or sign language, or the Morse Code. Get a pair of birding binoculars and watch and learn about the birds local to your area. Learning together creates special bonds with your kids.
No matter what the ages of your children, doing things together as a family will draw all of you closer together and make some awesome memories, too.