By Melissa Stefanec
As any parent knows, your idea of a good time and your kid’s idea of a good time match like the pile of socks at the bottom of the laundry basket.
So, if you’re a parent who seeks entertainment ideas that will make at least 67% of your family happy, look no further. This list of activities that might just beat the odds and get a smile out of almost everyone in your family.
Most of these activities can be also customized for children of any age. So give them a shot. You only have boredom and bickering to lose.
1 — Go constellation hunting
There is something magical about staring into the night sky. When the time is right to stargaze, do some research about what constellations are visible. Then see if anyone in the family can connect the orbs in the sky to make a picture. You can also research the story of each constellation.
2 — Start a summer mini golf tour
Take your kids on the putt-putt tour this season. Map out a few different places to play mini golf. Then create friendly competitions. See who has the most holes-in-one at the end of the tour. See who had the lowest combined score. See who won the most individual matches. See who landed in the water hazards the most. Make it silly.
3 — Get a campsite close to home
Camping is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work to travel far away from home. If there are campsites close to your home, rent one for a night or two. Then you don’t have to travel far to enjoy the outdoors. You also have a short trip home if it rains. And, if you forget something, your house is guaranteed to have more supplies than the park’s camp store.
4 — Go to a park and tell your kids they’re teachers
Upstate New York is home to many state, county and private parks. Many of these parks have informational signs throughout them. Take your kids to one of these parks and have your kids teach you the information on the signs. Even if your child can’t read yet, they can use the pictures to design a story. The role reversal will make it fun.
5 — Take turns setting a family barbecue menu
Let each member of your family plan a barbecue. They have to set the menu and help prepare the meal. They can pick their favorite barbecue foods. Sure, one of your barbecues might be just cheese puffs, baked beans, and buttered rolls, but everyone will enjoy the autonomy.
6 — Go on a hike no one has been on before
Add some extra adventure to an everyday hike by going somewhere that is new to everyone in the family. Then you can work together to analyze the trail map and plan out the hike. A new hike will encourage collaboration. Just don’t get lost.
7 — Start a family movie night
A movie night may sound cliched, but if you spruce it up, you just might get instant buy-in. Plan out a series of movie nights. Each night, each member of your family gets a different responsibility. One person can pick the genre. Another person can pick the movie. Another one can pick a candy. Another one can pick a salty snack. Shake things up and settle in.
8 — Find the best ice cream parlor within 20 miles of your house
Research all the ice cream places that you can reasonably get to over the next few months. Keep a record of which places had things like the best ice cream, the best toppings, the biggest sizes, the funniest sundae name or the softest napkins. The whole family will enjoy being a judge in this delicious competition.
9 — Chalk for a better world
Make it your mission to find new and creative places to leave chalk art. You could chalk the end of a neighbor’s driveway with a beautiful picture or kind message. You could go to a public park and leave words of encouragement for strangers. You could go to a family member’s house and draw them a mural to brighten their world for days to come. Chalk is an easy way to spread joy.
10 — Have a “say yes” day
Set a monetary budget and some gentle boundaries and let the family embark on a “say yes” day. What is a “say yes” day? It’s as easy as it sounds; someone volunteers an idea and you have to say yes. Remind your kids to be reasonable, and then let them live out their simple and realistic dreams. Ice cream for breakfast? Yes. Family video game tournament? Yes. Swimming in a lake? Yes. Three playgrounds in one day? Yes. Let your imagination run you right into happiness. When choosing playgrounds, go for ones with outdoor soft play flooring for safety and fun.