15 Nov 5 Ideas for Fun, Low-Cost Family Connectivity
By Elizabeth Seacat
It’s Friday afternoon and you’re ready for the long, quiet, relaxing weekend ahead. Okay, let’s be honest. We are parents. We are busy, tired parents who rarely have a quiet relaxing weekend. My idea of quiet is midnight when I can finally put my feet up, but I fall asleep before I change into pajamas. Sound familiar? I’m a single mother of two children so I can relate to the hectic schedules and daily needs of a family or life in general. By attempting to split my time between work, an internship, and finishing a class for my master’s degree, I’m left with very little time to actually spend with my daughters, especially when it comes to quality time. This has been a constant in my life and possibly yours, too.
Because of your tiring schedule, attempting to connect with your children on a level other than feeding them dinner or tucking them into bed can be a more difficult task than one might believe. With the constant struggles of maintaining everyday needs, life can seem overwhelming especially when it comes to caring for your child or finding ways to personally connect with them. In addition to the lack of time, financial constraints or an inability to creatively spend your time together may limit this as well.
Before you give up, know you’re doing a great job. Your children look up to you as a mentor, parent, and friend so let’s give them what they need and a boost to help you to fulfill these roles. I’ve compiled a list of ideas my daughters and I partake in that are low cost and promote healthy family connectivity.
- Cupcake tosses at the park! For each birthday, we have a cupcake toss which creates excitement, not only on the special day but in the days leading up to it, as well. You can make the cupcakes at home so it’s inexpensive. How it works: choose a park you’ve never been to, set boundaries to run within and ready, set go! Toss the cupcakes at one another and see who ends up with the most mess. Be sure to pick up your cupcake wrappers, if you use them, and chocolate cake works best! This activity could also be used as a reward for receiving a good grade at school or simply as a fun day spent together.
- It’s a room full of balloons! Each year my daughters receive a room full of balloons for their birthday. Each year you can change up the color of the balloons or number of them you want to have. Make sure not to put them into their rooms until the morning in case they wake up throughout the night.
- Hola! Ciao! Hallo! Every other week my daughters take turns for a Culture Competency Night. On Monday evenings they randomly choose from a selection of countries within a jar. They then research various predetermined questions regarding facts about the country at their leisure throughout the week and on Sunday evening we create a dish of their choosing from the information they had looked up. This exciting night not only promotes the foundation for learning how to research at a young age and competency for other cultures, but it also gives us an opportunity to make a dinner or dessert together.
- Coin toss scavenger hunt! A fun way to spend the day is to get lost and finding new places to have a picnic by means of a coin toss and series of turns. Choose a number between one and thirty. This gives you the number of turns you take whether it be driving in a car or walking around your neighborhood. If the coin lands on heads turn right and if it lands on tails turn eft. Wherever you end up is where you spend your time. It’s a fun way to find new areas of town while also learning about direction. We have ended up having picnics on a sidewalk while making new friends who walk by and have found quaint sandwich shops to sit at.
- Sunday art intake! Every Sunday the Speed Art Museum at the University of Louisville offers free admission. This is a great way to enjoy a day out and about while also laying a foundation for art appreciation at a young age. The museum also offers additional art infused educational days that are geared towards children at a free or low-cost admission. After museum visits, we go home, and my daughters make artwork based on their favorite of the day. Maybe you might have a Picasso in the making!