Before I talk about how to make a family outing jar, I’d like to give a few reasons why you should make one. If your family is anything like ours, you’re probably high on extracurricular activities and low on quality family time. (Sitting around the TV together doesn’t count!)
Recently, we’ve made some changes to our schedule that will help us focus on building memories as a family. One of those changes is that we save back Sunday for family time. Period. We completely unplug. No email. No web browsing. No shopping. No home-improvement projects. No individual activities, like reading, as positive as that might be. Sunday is set aside for time spent together.
Trouble is, it can be hard to think of fun activities to fill all that time we just opened up. Enter our new family outing jar. Basically, it’s exactly what the name implies: a jar full of activities we can do as a family for $20 or less.
First, start with some 3 x 5 cards. I found these brightly colored ones in a clearance aisle on a recent shopping trip. Then I cut the cards in half and gave each person in the family four card strips, along with a marker.
Starting with the youngest member of our family, we made suggestions for a family outing that the whole family could enjoy in an afternoon together. Then, we voted on the idea. Thumbs up or thumbs down. Majority rules.
We continued around the table until each person had contributed four approved ideas for a fun family outing. Here are some of the ideas that got voted into our family outing jar:
- Play Monopoly.
- Go out for ice cream. (This one got voted in twice. What can I say? We love ice cream!)
- Build a family bonfire.
- Go hiking at a local state park.
- Do an art project together. (I recommend checking out artforkidshub.com for some great, hands-on projects you can do together.)
- Have a Wii tournament.
- Go bowling.
- Have a tea party.
- Play at a park.
- Play soccer in the backyard.
- Go to the library.
- Create a village in sidewalk chalk on the driveway.
- Paint a pottery project at a bisque pottery store.
- Go on a “Super Silly” Easter egg hunt. (Fill plastic Easter eggs with instructions for silly actions, like “Sing a song.” “Run around a tree three times.” “Get the person next to you to laugh without touching them.” When you find an egg, open it up and do what it says.)
- Visit the zoo.
- Go antique shopping.
- Have a picnic in a park.
- Go swimming.
Obviously, some of these ideas depend on warm, sunny weather, so we marked those with a Sun on the card. Other ideas require money, so we put $$ on those. We’ve begun to fill a money pot in the kitchen with loose change, which will fund our events. No money in the pot? Pick a different card.
Our goal is to pick at least one card from the jar every week and do the activity listed—together!