Summertime Family Fun – Part 1


Summertime Family Fun Graphic

Spending time with family is important, but it can also be fun! We’ve got some great ideas to make your family time fun and memorable in this two-part Summertime Family Fun article. Check out Part 2 for 10 more ideas for family activities.  


Family Time

What are your favorite memories from your childhood? Most likely they revolved around spending time with those you love.

Because it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, it is important to be intentional about creating time and experiences together (or it may not happen). According to family expert, William Doherty, families that are intentional about connecting with each other through traditions, special occasions and everyday rituals (such as having family dinnertime) are more likely to create and build strong bonds with each other that will last a lifetime. What fun things can you do with family members this summer to connect and create memories?

Ground Rules

Start by creating ground rules as a family such as:

Make a plan. Pick an activity and set a date and time to do it. If you like to be a bit more spontaneous, just plan the date and time and then randomly select ideas from a jar of fun activity ideas that you have chosen together. Be sure to take turns selecting the activity so everyone can participate.

Focus on each other. This is about connecting with each other; friends, work and other distractions can wait. Having a no electronics rule may help to reinforce this.

Keep it simple. Spending time together doesn’t have to be elaborate or require a lot of time or energy. For those with small children, going to a park together or writing on the sidewalk with chalk can be just as much fun as doing something that requires far more effort.

 Get ready…get set…play!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Pick a theme and do activities related to the theme. For example, go to a museum to see unique rocks, then go on a hike and collect some of your own. Or go to a car show, then set up a race track at home for matchbox cars.
  2. Get outdoors. Have a picture nature scavenger hunt, track the phases of the moon, go on a hike, have a picnic in the backyard, fly a kite, blow bubbles together or anything else to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
  3. Share your talents. Write new lyrics to familiar tunes, create your own dances to favorite songs or host your own Olympics with unique events such as an obstacle course, miniature golf or javelin (foam noodle) toss. Award prizes.
  4. Get board. Have a board game party or put a puzzle together.
  5. Camp in your backyard. Find constellations, tell stories or make shadow puppets on the side of the tent or house. If you have a fire pit, light a fire and roast marshmallows and make s’mores. If not, improvise using a gas stove, barbeque or microwave.


Check out Summertime Family Fun – Part 2, and see 10 more great ideas for summertime family fun!

This article was written by Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor, Weber County

Reference: Doherty, William (1997). The intentional family: Simple rituals to strengthen family ties. HarperCollins: New York, NY.

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