Over the past year my husband and I have been trying to be more intentional (and frugal) with our spending. This has been quite the challenge for me as I have conditioned myself to believe that in order to “have fun” we have to “go out.” My children seem to think the same things. Perhaps I conditioned them as well. When I ask what they want to do at night, the typical responses include “go to the movies,” “go bowling,” “swim at the rec center,” or “go out to dinner.”
I have always been known as “the goer,” or “the doer.” My sister-in-law is always teasing me that I don’t know how to just stay home. And in some ways she is right. I love being able to take my kids out to explore, have adventures, and do things that I did not get to do when I was a kid because my family was so large. But I have recently learned the value of finding joy at home. Not only does it save time, money, and energy, but I am a lot happier.
Why would having fun at home make me happier than having fun away from home? There are a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that my kids are learning to let go of some of their entitlement, and need for constant entertainment, and find joy and contentment where we are.
Here are a few things you can do to have fun at home:
1. Art projects:
I am not a very artsy person, and so I just kind of assumed my kids wouldn’t be either. But I was wrong. Hand my kids paper, scissors, crayons, markers, paint, glue, or basically any art supplies, and they will have fun for hours. I discovered that this summer when I decided to branch out and bought some watercolors for them. They disappeared to the back patio for hours.
Does this suggestion seem too obvious? Maybe it is, but the thing that surprised me about it was that I did not have to buy anything fancy, or use anything big. My kids were thrilled to cut out snowflakes, shape home made play dough, or draw cartoon characters. Whatever you have, let them use it to get creative. And join in.
I can’t stress enough how much fun games are. One of the best ways we have found to have fun at home is by teaching our kids to play some of our favorite games. I must admit, the first few times it is an exercise of patience, but once they get the hang of it, total enjoyment. My kids are 8, 7, and 4, (We have a 1 year old too, but she doesn’t play) so I am not talking teens here. We play Phase 10 , Uno, Yahtzee, Sorry!, and a game called Shanghi Rook. We have recently introduced our 8 year old to Chess, and that has been really fun too.
Not only are games a fun way to pass an evening, but they can also be great for teaching skills like simple math, color recognition, hand eye coordination, sportsmanship, and more.
Kids love crafts, and adults can enjoy them too. I recently got my kids one of those Wonder Loom things (do you know what I am talking about?), it makes rubber band bracelets. They can spend hours creating on there. And, I love seeing them work together to come up with color palettes, to decide who each bracelet is for, and more.
Pinterest is full of fun craft ideas that you can make age appropriate. We recently enjoyed making fruit loop necklaces. Probably the easiest “craft” in the history of crafting. I told my kids that they could wear them when we went out as a family the next night, and could snack on them if they got hungry, even my 7-year-old thought it was a fun idea.
4. Cook together:
One of the things I enjoyed doing the most when we were going out to have fun was going out to eat. Even if we just went to a fast food place with a play land, the kids got to have fun, I didn’t have to cook, and there was no mess to clean up. But I discovered that cooking together can also be a ton of fun. I just have to remind myself to be a little more patient, and choose recipes that the kids can help to make.
For healthy and easy for kids, check out these fun Kid Friendly Kale recipes?
5. Family Movie Night:
My husband works weird hours, and so does not get to see the kids as much as he would like. He usually gets them off to school in the mornings, but they are often in bed before he is off work at night. This means that Sundays (his day off) is one of the best days for spending time as a family. However, after a long workweek, we don’t always feel up to a busy Sunday. So, we started the tradition of having Sunday nights/afternoons be family at home movie night. The kids get to pick the movie (Which is sometimes just awful, I think the worst was “Frenemies” ! Thanks a lot Netflix.), we make some kind of popcorn, and we all lay in mom and dad’s bed, or in the living room on the floor to watch.
My kids seriously look forward to this. And it is free. Always a plus.
No matter how you choose to have fun at home, just be sure that you are having fun together. We would love to hear what you do for fun at home! Tell us here in the comments or on Facebook. And, if you are a blogger with a post, feel free to link up in the comments!
We will be sharing 5 More Ways to Have Fun at Home coming soon!