Quality family time builds strong family ties, creates lasting memories, strengthens parent and child communications, and even builds self-esteem and confidence in children. Plus, family time can be just as much fun for kids as parents! Check out some of my family’s favorite family time activities that are perfect for the cold winter ahead.
This is a sponsored conversation, I received product and a promotional item to facilitate this post.
Family Nerf Blaster Night
Have a blast with a family Nerf Blaster Night. Pick teams, load up on your ammo, build barricades, and let the fun begin! My kids love playing Nerf with friends as well as with mom and dad. I wasn’t sure how long it would last until a friend of mine said she still plays Nerf with her teenage boys! Anything that keeps kids, especially teens having fun with mom and dad is a must.
Make Family Skits
Kids love to showcase their talents. Create a short skit together, video the performance, and watch it together. This fun event gets kids and parents thinking creatively together with plenty of laughter involved.
Family Game Night
Game night is our favorite way to enjoy family time. It gets us all talking together and we learn so much about each other during game nights. Take turns playing your favorite games. To make it more special, prepare a special dessert centered around that night’s game. My family loves Pillsbury Brownies in the shape of dominoes for domino night!
Half of the fun is baking and decorating together. We prepare Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownies together and decorate them like dominoes with Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Frosting that we put in a piping bag.
Kids LOVE decorating with frosting at any age. Baking in the kitchen allows kids to release their creativity at a whole new level.
Pillsbury Brownies are so easy to whip up any time. Adding a little extra fun and creativity makes family game night even more special.
Another favorite game that we play on game night is Scrabble. We like to prepare Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Pillsbury Purely Simple Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and frost them with Purely Simple Chocolate Frosting.
Next, we add letters to our ‘Scrabble Cookie Bars” with Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Frosting. My kids love decorating with frosting!
This recipe would be great with sugar or chocolate chip cookies. I like the Pillsbury Purely Simple line because the entire line contains no colors, preservative or artificial flavors.
Who can resist these delicious Scrabble Cookie Bars?! They are so fun and so easy to make.
I’ve baked with my kids since they were toddlers, we love that time together. Usually we whip up a special treat during family nights as part of our evening together. Sometimes I surprise them with the dessert prepared – when they are welcomed with this dessert, they know it is family game night!
Explore the Local Zoo
We love our Akron Zoo, there is always something new to see. Winter is our favorite time to visit the zoo because so many of the animals are more active in cooler weather. It is the only time I hear the snow leopards and lions roaring. Plus, a visit to the zoo in the winter is less expensive too.
Right now the Akron Zoo has a Wild Lights event with Christmas lights, making it even more exciting!
Play Family Hide and Seek
This is my family’s favorite family time activity. Whether we play outside or inside with the lights off, it is always a huge hit! You can’t beat good old fashion playing together to build up your family.
Go Down Memory Lane
If you are like me, you have plenty of home movies but never watch them. Family time is the perfect time to get out old home movies and pictures to go down memory lane together. Recalling your shared past together is a great family bonding experience. It will encourage a lot of conversations, recalled memories, and funny stories! It also works as an incentive to get your photos off of your phone and into an album.
Take a Nature Walk
Winter is a wonderful time to take a nature walk to explore the outdoors, especially in the snow! See if you can identify the animal prints in the snow.
Build a Time Capsule
I remember loving this as a kid! This is a once-only family time activity but your family will really get a kick out of building a time capsule together.
Have everyone pick a few items to include in the time capsule and bury it in your back yard. Select a date to dig it back up for another incredible family time moment! Include items like artwork, school papers, newspaper or print-out of headlines online, photograph, notes to your future selves, and more. Be sure to put it in an air and water-tight container.
Check out Christmas Lights
We usually drive or walk around neighborhoods to enjoy Christmas light displays a couple times during the month of December. I remember doing this as a child with my parents too. This is a fun and easy way to enjoy family time. Stop for hot chocolate while you are out!
Try New Cuisine as a Family
The best way to expand your child’s palate is to make it fun to try new cuisine. Instead of going to the same restaurant or making the same meals at home, we explore new cuisine and flavor for family time.
Start off easy and work your way up to Thai, Indian, or Portuguese foods. It is even more exciting if the parents are trying the new cuisine at the same time as the kids!
Activity Nights Dining Out
Find a restaurant that offer family and kid activity nights. Our local Chick-fil-A does a great job at this with their family connect times with crafts, activities, and live music. Coffee shops often have live music making it a great place to enjoy dessert or a light meal together with entertainment.
How about dining on a train or enjoying a mystery dinner theater. There is nothing wrong with just dining out at your favorite restaurant together either, however finding a dining option that comes with an added experience will create long-lasting memories.
Volunteer as a Family
Christmas is the perfect time to volunteer with your family. Your local food bank is a good place to donate toys. My kids love shopping for other kids and usually contribute some of their own money without being asked.
Depending on your child’s age, your family may be able to volunteer to help distribute food this busy holiday season through your local food bank too.
Beyond Christmastime, food banks, animal shelters, nursing homes, and other non-profit organizations can always use your family’s help. Not only would your family be helping others but it is also an incredible bonding experience.
Movie Night at Home
Don’t just sit on the couch and watch a movie together. Plan your entire evening around the movie. I got this idea from the Pillsbury Family Activity Page. They suggested creating a dessert that goes with the theme of the movie like monster cookies for a scary movie or birthday cake for a movie that has a birthday party.
For instance, the new Pete’s Dragon movie just came out on Blu-ray so we prepared dragon foot print cookies.
We quickly whipped up a batch of Pillsbury Purely Simple Sugar Cookies and stamped a dinosaur/dragon footprint to the cookie dough.
It reminds me of the scene in which they first discover Elliot’s footprints in the forest! This was a quick and fun way to make our family time a theme night.
They were so delicious that my daughter asked me to make these cookies as her classroom treat for her birthday later this month. Sure thing! They couldn’t be easier to make – just add butter and an egg to the mix, then bake.
For our theme movie night, I also downloaded some free activity sheets to do before the movie. You can normally find free downloads of crossword puzzles, word searches, coloring sheets, and more.
Movie Night at the Theater
Plan time together to see the latest movies in the theater. Afterwards, chat about your favorite character or scene.
We do this about once every 6 weeks. Go to a matinee to say money. If your kids cannot agree on a movie, rotate who gets to decide each time.
Build a Snowman as a Family
Be a kid again and play in the snow with your kids. Build a snow man. Build a snow fort and have a snowball fight. Go sledding. Some of the best family time happens outside playing with your kids.
Teach Your Dog a New Trick
Once a month or so, teach your dog a new trick as a family. This is a fun activity that is also rewarding for years to come. Our dogs will let my kids do anything, including dressing them up in their pjs, that’s fun too. 🙂
Read a Book Together
We’ve always read to our children before bed. Now that they are getting older, we can read longer chapter books. Take turns or choose a reader each night.
For even more fun, sit by the fire together while reading. Here is a great list of read-aloud books for families with kids ages 5-12. Some of our favorites include Ender’s Game, Airborne, The Borrowers, Flat Stanley His Original Adventure, The Boxcar Children, Charlotte’s Web, and Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.
Start Family Time Now
I hope that my list of family time activities has encouraged you to try new things during your family time this winter. If you haven’t devoted time previously to ‘family time’ then now is the time to start. The key is to set aside time devoted to your family. Turn off the smartphones and really spend time with your family playing and having fun. Decide as a family what you’d like to do. The bottom line is that kids don’t need a lot from us, they just want our time and undivided attention.
Cooking and baking is always an easy and fun way to start any family night. Pillsbury does a great job at showcasing recipes that are delicious and easy to make. Their holiday recipes are always a hit at my house. Pillsbury makes it easy to celebrate more of both everyday and special occasions with their convenient products. A delicious dessert is the perfect start to any family time.