60 Simple Ideas for Bringing Family Together

Scrambling to keep kids entertained? Try these screen-free activities to bring everyone closer wherever you go this season.

WHERE: At home

  • Make your own sundae buffet
  • Write old-fashioned letters to grandparents
  • Rock a family band (no instruments? grab spoons and pots!)
  • Craft collages from family photos, paint, old magazines…
  • Break out the gaming classics (Candyland for littles, Madlibs for big kids)
  • Hide-and-seek in groups of two
  • Rummage the closets for an impromptu fashion show
  • Pinkies up! Host a high tea and wear funny hats
  • Start a family book club
  • Dust off the cookbooks and bake a new recipe together

WHERE: In the backyard

  • Build a fairy house with garden fixings
  • Lay out blankets for a picnic dinner
  • Star gaze
  • Play architect with rocks and sticks
  • Soak sidewalk chalk in water for a painterly effect
  • Host an outdoor movie night
  • Search for bugs
  • Blow bubbles
  • Splash in muddy puddles rain or shine (break out the hose!)
  • Kick off a game of soccer (Women’s World Cup starts in June!)

WHERE: Around town

  • Stop by a nearby Visitor Center and play tourist for a day
  • Visit a museum and share your favorite exhibit
  • Feed the animals at a local farm
  • Paint pottery for each other
  • Enjoy a county fair or flea market
  • Get tickets to a local play
  • Fly a kite in a local park
  • Ride Go-Karts or play mini-golf
  • Go roller-skating indoors or out
  • Volunteer at a local food bank

WHERE: On the road

  • Sing-along to your favorite songs or make some up!
  • Start a travel journal and share highlights on the return ride
  • Play I Spy (themes: colors, nature, cars)
  • Break out an old-fashioned map
  • Listen to an audiobook (take turns choosing)
  • Create a fun family questionnaire (starter: what superpower would you choose and why?)
  • Make friendship bracelets for family members
  • Bring disposable cameras to take pictures from the car window
  • Write a list of things to start a road trip scavenger hunt
  • Tell stories (themes: scary, embarrassing, firsts)

WHERE: At the beach

  • Build a sandcastle with roads and tunnels (pack toy cars)
  • Make foot/handprints in the sand with the date and take a picture as a memento
  • Hunt for buried treasure (hide seashells and other nature things)
  • Bake a sand cake
  • Play tag on sand—or in water with the good swimmers
  • Pick up trash together
  • Play a card game like Go Fish
  • Draw sand tic-tac-toe or hopscotch
  • Read a book together in a shady spot
  • Book a surf lesson or boogie board

WHERE: In the mountains

  • Find a bike trail you can all enjoy
  • Hike in search of waterfalls
  • Roast marshmallows around a campfire
  • Zip-line!
  • Go tubing down a river
  • Rent kayaks or a whitewater raft
  • Go horseback riding
  • Ride a sky tram and take in the view
  • Do yoga or meditate in the fresh mountain air
  • Bring a library book to identify trees/flowers/plants