Have 30 minutes to spare tonight before bedtime? There are many fun family bonding activities that take 30 minutes or less (or can take longer if you have more time!). You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home – or front yard – to have great frugal family fun. These free activities can be thought of as team-building exercises for your family. Use limited time wisely to build your family closeness with these quick family activities:
11 Free Family Bonding Activities to Do in 30 Minutes or Less
1. Read aloud. Read a fun book to younger kids, or take turns reading aloud from a chapter book with older children. Try reading aloud one paragraph at a time, switching to the next person each paragraph. (As a variation, have each person read one page before passing on the book.) Reading aloud as a family is a great way for kids to practice reading and get comfortable with not only reading to people, but public speaking as well.
2. Play a board game or card game. It doesn’t have to be a 4-hour game of Monopoly to be a smashing fun time! Pick a game that can be played in 30 minutes or less that’s appropriate for all the ages in your family to play together. Games that require partners or teams are an even better way to foster cooperation.
3. Play frisbee. Exercise, fresh air, and family fun… playing frisbee in your own yard can be a great frugal treat for parents and kids alike!
4. Play Hide and Seek. Hiding and seeking both take critical thinking and problem solving skills, making Hide and Seek a fun educational game for little ones. Indoors or outdoors, this old standby of a game is sure to please.
5. Test your knowledge with family flash cards or trivia cards. There are many fun varieties of flash cards and trivia cards that you can purchase, such a BrainQuest. It’s also fun to make your own flash cards as a family by allowing everyone to draw their own pictures and write out questions. Little kids will need assistance, but you’ll end up with memorabilia that will be loved for years and is unique to your family.
6. Play charades. Imagination, pretending and investigation all come into play in this age-old game. Choosing a theme, such as school or camping, to pick your charades words from will make it easier for young kids to guess them.
7. Watch a TV show episode that’s a favorite in your family. Pop some popcorn and huddle close together on the couch.
8. Have an impromptu "photo shoot". Have your kids "model" their dress-up clothes while you be the photographer and let them pose.
9. Let the kids give you a makeover. Whether it’s painting dad’s toenails to look like Easter eggs or giving mom a new hairstyle and makeup, this fun project is free and takes little time… and the kids will LOVE it! Don’t forget to take a picture of the "makeover" for the scrapbook.
10. Cook together. From baking cookies to cooking dinner, there are many fun kitchen projects that will bring family members together. Added bonus: the kids will be learning the valuable life skill of cooking while being helpful and feeling important.
11. Have a dance party. Put on the radio or iPod and blast your favorite family-friendly tunes while everyone boogies down in the living room. Dancing is not only great exercise and fun, but also releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in the body. Endorphins released during a family dance party will permanently link feel-good emotions to family time in their minds. Exercise, fun silly dancing, great music, and family bonding all in one. What more could you ask for?
Those 11 great activities should give you a quick reference list to use the next time you find an extra 30 minutes in your schedule. Building closeness in your family, whether between parents and kids or between siblings, doesn’t have to be a big production. Family-building activities can be free and quick, with little preparation and without even leaving home. Try one out today!
What fun activities do you do as a family when you only have 30 minutes or less?
Originally published September 9, 2008. Photo courtesy of stock.xchng.