15 Great Ideas for Family Bonding

Good parenting tip: 15 ideas for family bonding to be engaged and involved with your children. - SahmReviews.com

We regularly get comments on what awesome kids we have. They’re intelligent, talented, friendly and polite. We are their parents (not their friends) so we put our priority on making sure we are raising them right. We provide tools and offer ideas to empower our children so they can stand up for themselves, learn the value of money, be ready for adulthood and more  Yes, we have hiccups here and there because they’re kids. Teenage girls to be exact. Thankfully, those problems are the exception not the rule. We get along well because talk to our kids. We’re engaged with them and have been since the beginning.

Family bonding time is important to developing a good relationship with your kids while still taking their well-being into consideration. I’ve watched parents try to be friends with their kids and make decisions based on what they think will make their children happy. There are some parents I know who place a higher emphasis on their own quality time than family time with the kids. That sometimes means mom is out with her friends and dad is hanging out somewhere else while the kids are home with a sitter. If you want to forge fantastic relationships with your kids, be involved in their lives. Here are some ideas for family bonding to help you navigate these waters.

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Get crafty together

For the love of glue, glitter and paint… create crafts together! Scott and the girls always do some kind of project when I’m traveling and it continues to strengthen their bonds. You can paint rocks to deliver around town, turn old chalk pieces into sidewalk chalk paint or make something that supports your hobbies. Of course, there are also traditional crafts like crocheting, embroidery and sewing.

Find common TV or movie interests

Before you freak out about me saying you should sit in front of a TV or big screen together, hear me out. If you watch shows as a family, it gives you something to talk about besides school. You also can discuss plot lines, favorite parts and share excitement about upcoming movies or TV episodes. Even when your kids are young, you can find some show that you both enjoy watching. If you aren’t a fan of current children’s programming, find a timeless classic like Tom and Jerry or Little House on the Prairie. You could even watch some current hobby or cooking show. Movies are easy regardless of your child’s age because even features targeted at children have subtle content and Easter Eggs designed specifically for the adults in the crowd.

Play video games together

Yes, video games are a good form of family bonding. We’ve played a variety of titles together on the XBox and Wii including Mario Party, Viva Pinata Party Animals, Fusion Frenzy, Mario Galaxy, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Super Mario Bros. Scott and Madison bond over a shared love for Overwatch or No Man’s Sky and play games like Diablo as well. They regularly strike up conversations with each other about the latest game updates and strategies. You could even host an outdoor video game tournament!

Cook together

Whether you’re baking cookies, making sushi or preparing an entire meal, time in the kitchen is not only quality time but you’re also helping your child learn a critical life skill. A side bonus is that kids are more willing to try foods they otherwise wouldn’t be excited about. Start with something easy when they’re little then when they get older they can help research new recipes!

Share a hobby

Find a hobby that you can share with your kids. If there’s something you’re interested in, chances are there’s a hobbyist group, collector’s club, Meetup event, activity or opportunity to participate in. You could start a collection of some kind such as rocks, stamps, coins, Disneyana, sports collectables, comic books or diecast cars. Engage in some kind of activity such as model building, photography, gardening, metal detecting or cooking. Simply find something that is interesting to both kids and adults and learn about it or work on it together. The choices are endless!

National Hot Wheels Convention was a great bonding experience with our kids. - SahmReviews.com

Attend a convention

If there’s a hobby you’re interested in, there’s a good chance there’s a convention for it. Some are small and local while others are national. Off the top of my head, I can think of several conventions we’ve taken the girls to over the years. While most are focused on activities for adults, there are always activities targeted at welcoming young collectors and hobbiests into the fold. We’ve found children’s activities at the National Hot Wheels Convention, coin shows, sports memorabilia conventions, rock and mineral shows, board game conventions and car shows.

Exercise as a family

A healthy family is a happy family. Exercise comes in all shapes and sizes. When the girls were young, we played soccer and Frisbee in the street in front of our house. You can walk or go jogging, play a sport together, do strength training or even take dance classes together. You can spring for a gym membership or find inexpensive or free activities outside the gym setting. My personal favorites are long walks and family bike rides!

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Visit a museum, zoo or aquarium

There are children’s museums all around the country and those make a great start for family time in this type of environment. Expand your horizons as your kids get older. Visit museums of all types including art, music, history, cultural and casually walk through the displays. Talk about what you’re feeling, seeing and learning. Take this same approach as you stroll through zoos and aquariums. Read the signs, learn the history and talk.

Cheer on a sports team

If you have a local minor league team, buy tickets and regularly attend as a family. Minor league events typically offer opportunities for kids to get involved. We’re fortunate enough to have a minor league baseball team in addition to a minor league hockey team! Tickets are affordable so it’s something you can do regularly without breaking the bank. You can also watch professional teams on TV together. In addition to attending a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, the girls have learned all about football and join Scott and I to cheer on our favorite teams and players each week. We’ve watched the Olympics and enjoy a variety of sports including hockey, baseball (Go Cubs!) and football to name a few.

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Attend a concert

Pick a concert and attend. Don’t get hung up on the type or level because music concerts are gold. Let this sink in for a minute. Memories are often tied to our senses so any type of musical performance is going to create memories. We’ve attended a variety of concerts and performances with the kids including Weird Al Yankovic, Blue Man Group, Katy Perry, 2 Cellos, Gaelic Storm, Piano Guys, Yo-Yo Ma, Rocktopia, I Love the 90s, symphonies, bands and even school-level performances.

Go on a road trip

Find a place you want to visit and plan to go. Discuss as a family what everyone wants to get out of the experience and everyone becomes emotionally invested in the trip. But it’s not just about the destination, it’s also about the journey. Make plans to stop along the way and see historical landmarks, beautiful scenery or visit unique stores. Laugh, be silly and be adventurous. Most important: create memories and enjoy finding common interests to talk about in the future.

Visit an amusement park or water park

Weeeeeee! Family trips to amusement parks and water parks are sure to create happy memories. Plan the trip together. Discuss which rides and attractions are on the priority list. Go on the scary rides together. Don’t be afraid to get wet on the water rides together. Make use of the time as you stand in line… together. (Are you seeing a pattern here?) While planning a trip to Disney often requires you to budget time as well as money, you can make it a shorter trip by visiting regional parks.

Take a cruise

If you plan carefully and in advance, you can find affordable cruises or special promotions on cruises. Attend the shows. Learn to make towel art or sing karaoke. Add ice cream to hot chocolate for a late night snack. Dance, swim, explore and relax. Make the most of your cruise by planning for time both on and off the cruise ship. Of course, be lax with your normal rules. Bedtime? No thanks! Eat your veggies? Meh. Check out these tips on what to pack for your cruise.

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Attend Family Space Camp

Trips to Huntsville, Alabama have always been part of our life because that’s where Scott’s family lives. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that we had the opportunity to attend Family Space Camp. Lasting only a few days, it’s a short experience. But I cannot emphasize how cool it was. We learned about being astronauts and space exploration. We participated in team activities, shot rockets, ate in the mess hall and stayed in the dorms on the premises.

Iconic game designer shares his thoughts on games in education, Easter Eggs and his latest venture in this Steve Jackson exclusive interview. - SahmReviews.com

Play board games as a family

Last but not least, plan regular game nights. Or game days. Or game weekends. Simply put, play board games. Invite friends or neighbors. Find a game meetup. Attend game conventions. Steve Jackson’s quote is one of my favorites because it sums up what I feel. Not only do games teach kids so much, but they allow families to bond and that’s the best part of all of it.

You don’t need to incorporate all these ideas, but the more you do together, the stronger your relationships will be. It’s important to remember that kids need to be part of the discussions, the planning and the conversations. It makes them realize they are part of the experience and not just along for whatever mom and dad have planned.

What is your favorite way to bond with family members?

103 thoughts on “15 Great Ideas for Family Bonding

  1. We raised 4 daughters and they were a trip to do things with! They were and still are huge sports fans. That’s mostly how we bonded over sports teams. They cheered them on and played sports games. My one daughter is into those tough sports. She’s won a few trouphies and medals. My other daughter ran the Chicago Marathon last year and raised a lot of money for World Vision! We bonded over WWF now WWE wrestling. We went to a few of their big matches out of state. We used to go camping together and fish. Of course, we bonded while going to movies, shopping, going to their favorite restaurants and more. Now they are grown and doing the same things with their kids. Thanks for sharing some of your bonding tips!

    1. That’s wonderful to hear, Sue. It’s fun to hear about your experiences, including how you’ve incorporated some of these with your kids (and also grandkids) as well!

  2. It’s so important for families to find ways to strengthen that bond. We love to play video and board games together. We also love to binge watch Netflix.

  3. You have pretty much covered it all and I know I have to step up my game. I feel like I have been a caring parent but I need to try a little more and cooking with my kids seems like a good start.

  4. These are all great things to do together! Family time and connecting is so important! I love playing games with my kids, and we have our weekly tv shows we only watch together. It’s my favorite time of day. We really need to get out and get active more though.

  5. Wow, there is always so much that can be done! It is amazing how simply little crafts can be made into such memories depending on who partakes in the event. I treasure the memories I have of my dad!

  6. I love all of these ideas. My daughter and I have a couple of the same shows we watch so we will sit down and watch an episode or two together.

  7. These for sure are great ideas for family bonding! I love to visit museums together or go to the theater or cinema. Trips are also a lot of fun!

  8. Such a great lists of family bonding ideas and the whole family will definitely enjoy doing these things together. Oh, I love family bonding!

  9. the greatest gift we can give to our children is our time. We paint rocks and leave them with notes to pass them on and hope it makes someone smile, even if for just a minute. All good suggestions, thanks!

  10. I like to watch movies and play board games with my children and grandchildren. This is a fantastic list of family bonding ideas! I would love to go on a road trip or a cruise with them. Sounds so fun!

  11. I raised a daughter and doing things with her is awesome even now as an adult. When she was little we played board games together. Her dad was the cook in the family so we never shared that. Now that she is an adult and I have moved closer to her, we have begun taking annual trips together. In March we will be taking our second trip to the Riviera Maya. Can’t wait.

  12. Your ideas are fabulous and would make for some fun family adventures. I found that our kids would sometimes complain about some of our outings or family time but in the end they always seemed to enjoy themselves and now talk about the memories.

  13. Our girls are grown now but we still do bonding activities. We like to take walks together & watch movies.

  14. My family’s interests are so varied from each other, but the one thing that we can all do together is cooking. We all gotta eat!

  15. I think my favorite on this list is playing board games together. Board games get you to focus on EACH OTHER, and don’t require tooooooo much effort to get up and running!

  16. Our family are card players – it’s easy to teach very young children to play cards, and it’s a wonderful way to spend time together – I learned how to play crib at age 5!

  17. I grew up with all of this and I cherish it… I believe in pushing it all in as family is the most important thing in the world… Some of these I haven’t yet tried, however, would love to do thank you for the ideas. 🙂

  18. One of my fondest memories as a kid was helping my grandmother make dinner. Before Covid I would take my family out to dinner every Tuesday. No TV and cellphones off. Now my son will volunteer to take the dog for a walk to get away from family for awhile.

  19. Once in a family party we made the drunk uncles play Ghostly Blitz. Can’t tell how much fun It was, they cheated openly

  20. Great family bonding ideas! I think playing games, doing crafts together and exercising are great ways to bond.

  21. My family and I love playing games! We have a game budget during Christmas time. Each Sunday me and my siblings would gather together and play games after Church. Not only games, but we have a family movie night on Saturdays and we do dinner discussions during our weekly dinners. These have made our meals lots of fun.

    Thanks for sharing these great ideas! I’m excited to implement them!

  22. During the pandemic, we have learned about games that are online too. Like Words with Friends and Scrabble! This was a way to stay close and in touch. I learned how to text and use the Social Media platforms to keep in touch. FaceTime and Skype have turned out to be a couple of my favorite apps to not only talk to friends and family, but to see them! I thank God for these apps. For example; my two brothers died in February within days of each other! There was no way I could make their memorial (their memorials were held together). There was a snow storm and it was two hours away! I thank God that I watched the service live over the Internet! Most of my family came over and watched their memorial together! I would have been a basket case if I could not at least watched it!!

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