My husband and I have been married for almost 20 years now and in those 20 years we had four beautiful children. Sometimes I still wonder where the last 20 years went. I mean, weren’t we just dating a few years ago with the sound of Phil Collins “Groovy Kind Of Love” playing in the 1990 red Chevy S-10?
That dates us, doesn’t it?
Back in those days we thought we were busy. We had high school homework (we are high school sweethearts), then college for a couple of years (at different schools) then we got married. I remembered crying because I knew that he would go off and find someone at college and leave me behind. Sniff. Sniff.
Of course he didn’t. We got married and moved to our little apartment, then our little house, then our little house on the prairie, then finally to our house by plum creek. Somewhere along the line we had four children. Four children with 40 hours of work (him), homemaking and blogging (me), extracurricular activities (three of the four), church responsibilities (both of us) and for the finishing touch, him returning to college to get that four year degree he never got the first time around. Ahem.
Photo Credit: Fleck Photography
If we aren’t careful, these blessing will be gone before we know it. That is hard, right? I mean, we are doing our best to live life but in a blink of an eye, the children will be gone and the busyness will stop. How can that make me sad? It does.
Not too long ago, we realized we only have three more summers with our oldest, Ryan. That’s three more summers of for sure vacations. He will be 18 so soon.
That is why in the middle of track meets, college homework, high school homework, blog work, house work and everyday life, we determined to have a family fun day.
Why Family Fun Days Are Important
It may seem pretty simple and straightforward: it is to have fun, right? I think they are more than that. Kids see how busy you are. Well, keeping it real here, the younger ones seem to think I don’t do anything. “Not like Daddy does”. 🙂 When you take time out of your crazy, busy schedule to have fun with THEM, they notice. They appreciate it.
Right now my husband is as busy as he ever has been. If he isn’t at work, eating or sleeping, he is downstairs working on his homework. He is excellent at taking at least a little time each day to talk to the kids one on one about their day. It may only be for a couple of minutes, but he makes the effort.
When he takes a whole day off to go somewhere, it’s like gold. The quality time spend together as a family far outweigh the hanging to do list. Which is why in a few short days, we are heading out somewhere together. (I’ll keep you in the loop, I promise!)
Fun And Pop Tarts
The best family fun days are the ones we don’t tell the kids about ahead of time. When they roll out of bed that morning we say, “You have 20 minutes to get ready because we are having a family fun day!” The mad scramble to change and for the bathroom follows and it is a lot of fun. Oh, and family fun days always means Pop Tarts in the car. It doesn’t seem to excite the older two like it used to, but the younger ones still get a kick out of it. 😉
Our trip to a state park a couple of years ago.
Family Fun Days do not have to be expensive or even far away. The state park cost us nothing. A family bike ride in a local town cost us nothing.
Some Tips For Family Fun Days
:: They don’t have to be costly to be fun. Look around at your local museums and check into how much a membership costs. We belong to our local museum so we have access to 100’s of museums across the country, for free. For a family of six, that is important as the cost of the membership is usually about the cost for six people to enter the museum anyway!
:: Don’t forget parks, bike rides and swimming pools. To make it different, go to a different town. See if you can rent bikes for the day or borrow someone’s trailer to get them there.
:: Picnics are great. Nothing like eating a PB&J on a blanket surrounded by your family at a park or beach. I’m serious. I could put a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in front of the kids for lunch at home and they would grumble. I put it in a plastic sandwich bag and write their name on it and it is the best tasting food in the world. It’s all perspective, you know.
:: Check out free zoos, free days at museums or half price days at movie theaters. Also, if picnics aren’t your thing, check out kids eat free days at restaurants. No shame to bring your hungry kids in to a restaurant and eat for free. NO SHAME.
:: Plan well and leave cell phone, computers at home! Look, I know we are all busy. However, if your children get to spend the day with you, don’t let your busy life interfere. Turn off the electronics and look at the world around you. Especially your children.
Remember, your children just want to spend the day with you. It doesn’t have to be the most impressive trip you have ever taken. Just give your children your attention and love. They will talk about the day for years to come. Even 14 year old boys. 🙂
Where do you like to go for family fun days?