Eat dinner together. Eat healthier dinners together. Exercise. Unplug.
New Year's resolutions, individually or as a family, often boil down to one thing: what we're doing right now is not good enough.
Instead of trying to measure up to a possibly unrealistic standard (and potentially setting yourself up for failure), make 2016 the year you stop focusing on changing and start focusing on having fun.
Make it a year full of adventures by trying something new each month.
The first month of a new year is often the time when menus get overhauled. Get really adventurous and let your children pick out a brand new recipe to prepare for family dinner. Take them to the grocery store and have them pick out the ingredients. Then let them help prepare the meal.
Always wanted to try snowshoeing or cross country skiing? How about skating on the community ice rink? Take advantage of the winter weather and find a venue where the family can take lessons together.
Your children might think you're from another planet when you pitch this next idea but don't let that deter you. Grab a pair of binoculars or a telescope, a flashlight and a few cups of hot chocolate and head outside to observe the night sky.
This month Jupiter will be ascending, making it the brightest it will be all year. This means your children should be able to see the planet all night. With a pair of binoculars, they might even catch four of Jupiter's largest moons. Older children might enjoy charting the sky on a black piece of construction paper with white chalk.
Take your kid to the grocery store and let them select one random ingredient. Then use your smart phone to look up a recipe with your child's pick as the main ingredient and gather the remaining ingredients to make a whole new meal for dinner that night.
Summer weekends are packed with local 5K races. Pick a charity that is near and dear to your family and run (or walk) the course together.
With the weather heating up, nothing sounds better than a cool dip in the water. Add some friendly competition (and learning, too—but shh, we won't tell) by challenging your kids to make rafts with supplies found around the house. Test them out at a nearby pond, stream or river, and see whose can hold the most weight. Afterward, go for a refreshing swim and splash around.
Climbing a tree is a childhood rite of passage. Climbing really big trees? Well, that's just plain fun. Find one of the best forests in your area and scout the best trees to climb (safely, of course). Afterward, snap pics of the tree and head home to identify the tree type and learn more about it.
A trip around the world would be the adventure of a lifetime, but let's be honest: we don't all have that kind of budget. Instead, pick out where you would like to go and find local restaurants that cook the cuisine of that country. Once a week, head to a new place (Ethiopia, Brazil, India). Work up an appetite beforehand by looking up the most popular sports in each country and playing them as a family.
Geocaching is a popular activity for folks young and old. For our kids, it brings the idea of a treasure hunt to life. Choose a geocache and use your sleuthing skills (aka, GPS) to find the spot. For more fun, create your own cache and hide it for another adventurous family to find.
The days are getting cooler and nights are getting shorter. Bring the adventure indoors and create an indoor campground. Build a series of pillow forts (one for each child). At the center (and with adult supervision), place a fondue pot or s'mores maker and cook up some sweet treats. Take turns reading scary stories from a book or let the kids create their own in round robin fashion.
Create a family tradition by going out to check out holiday lights. But wait, where's the adventure? If the weather allows, your kids can decorate their bikes with LED lights and garland. Ride your bikes around the neighborhood as a family parade as you check out other decorations.
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Find activities for kids near you.