10 Year-Round Family Fun Activities
group magazine: February, 1994
From: February 1994 GROUP Magazine
Keywords: Family Activities Spring Fall Summer
10 Year-Round Family Fun Activities
Seasonal ideas that'll get families talking, laughing, and working together.
BY JAMIE SNODGRASS
The parents have put in a hard and harried day at the workplace. Little brother has lost his first tooth and is still glassy-eyed as he holds a tissue to his gum. His teenage sister is slouched in front of the television, bored stiff again. "Oh great," she says to herself, "another scintillating night with my family."
Hey, it's time to give your kids' families something to smile about! Use these 10 ideas to add spice to their family life!
1. Cemetery Walk-Have families bring their flashlights and meet at a large cemetery (get permission from cemetery officials). Give one member of each family a sheet of paper and a pencil. Have families walk among the tombstones and find ones that record the earliest birth, longest life, largest family, and other unique information.
Gather back at the church and ask families to discuss unique epitaphs and what the people might've been like. Have them talk about fears and uncertainties concerning death and how the promise of eternal life impacts them.
2. Time Capsule-Have each family create a time capsule. Have each person select an item to symbolize something he or she would like to accomplish within the next six months. For example, a devotion pamphlet could symbolize developing a better devotional life, a box of Q-Tips could symbolize sharpening listening skills, a book of matches could symbolize quitting smoking, or a pencil could symbolize getting better grades.
Have family members each tell about their item and the goal it symbolizes. Then place all the items in a plastic, airtight container. Have them bury the container in their back yard and mark the location with a wooden cross. Have family members encourage each other on their self-improvement goals for the next six months. (See the "Fall" section below for ideas on what families can do six months from now.)
3. Water-fight Challenge-Gather all youth group families at the church for a time to cool off during hot weather. Supply buckets, squirt guns and bottles, water balloons, and hoses. Have families challenge each other to an all-out, full-drenching water fight! After the war is over, order pizza and convene your peace talks over pepperoni on the church's patio.
4. Budget a Meal-Ask all youth group families to meet at your church and bring dollars and pocket change. Have parents give an odd amount (such as $3.23) to each family member. Then go to a local fast-food restaurant. The challenge is that each person has to buy a main item, side order, and drink with their money, trying to get as close to spending it all as possible without going over. (Parents and older siblings help out the young kids!) Treat the wisest budgeter with an after-dinner ice cream sundae.
5. Role Mask-Making-Meet at the church for a discussion on roles people play within their family, such as peacemaker, supporter, funny one, housekeeper, baby sitter, and slave. Give family members each a paper bag, a pair of scissors, and several crayons. Have them use the supplies to design a mask to represent their role. For example, a mask for "funny one" could be a clown.
Have family members each wear their mask and describe the role they feel they play. Conclude by having families brainstorm positive roles for each person so all family members sense their importance and belonging.
Pray as a large group, thanking God for the important role each person plays in his or her family.
6. Time Capsule Revisited-Have families dig up the time capsule they buried last spring, hose it off, take it into the house, and open it. Have family members each take out the item that symbolized their goal and tell whether or not they accomplished the goal. Have families re-evaluate unaccomplished goals, then celebrate successes by eating homemade pumpkin pie!
7. Family Visitation-Go to a nursing home, hospital, or retirement center and have families visit people who are separated from their families due to illness or other circumstances. Work with the organizations and assign one family per resident or patient. Have families each bring homemade goodies, cards, gifts, and their camera so they can take a picture of their family with the person they visit.
Afterward, encourage families to send a copy of the picture to the person along with a note saying when they can visit again.
8. Hide, Seek, and Encourage-Gather families in the youth room. Have someone in each family volunteer to be "It." They'll each hide anywhere in the church. After three minutes, have all families split up and look for their family's It. When a family member finds It, the person must say an encouragement or compliment to It, such as "You sure are creative!" The person then hides with It. The next family member to find the hiding place encourages both hiders, then joins them. The last family member to find the hiding place becomes the next It, and the game is repeated.
9. Snowfamilies-Invite families to the church for a snowfamily-building contest. Ask families to bring old clothing, food coloring, wigs, or anything else to help them build and design a snowperson to look just like each family member.
When finished, have family members stand by their snowperson "twin." Have them take turns introducing their snowfamilies.
10. Ice Sculpting Contest-Have families bring screwdrivers and hammers to church for an ice sculpting contest. Prior to the event, buy a large bag of crushed ice for each family. Allow the ice to thaw just a bit, then place the bags in a freezer so the ice cubes freeze together in each bag.
Welcome families, then give them each a bag of "ice block." Have them cover their table with newspaper, then divide their ice block so each family member has a chunk. Have family members each use their screwdrivers and hammers to sculpt something they're interested in, such as dogs, football, cars, or clothes.
When completed, have each person describe his or her creation. Then quickly place the ice sculptures in a freezer while families clean up the mess.
Set out bowls of ice cream or ice cream cake for a party. Bring out the ice sculptures and use them as table decorations!
Jamie Snodgrass is a youth worker in Oregon.
Copyrightę 1994 Group Publishing, Inc. / GROUP Magazine