Re-discovering family activities


Admittedly I’m not much of a big “family activity” man. I suppose I could blame it on the fact that my family rarely went on small outings but regardless of that excuse, I never really developed a drive for doing family activities. I feel apathetic toward the whole idea since my own family is still really young (wife, one daughter, 3yrs.).

Recently though, I was thinking about how I wanted MY family relationships to develop and came to the conclusion that even though my daughter may be to young to remember what we do, the feelings she has and the interpersonal bonds (yes, I realize this sounds corny) she builds with me and my wife will remain.

A couple weeks ago I brought home one of those volcano stoves and took my daughter to the backyard to roast marshmallows. The whole experience lasted 15-20 minutes. I realized that it did more for me than it probably did for her. I’m now looking for more “simple” activities and if anyone has any ideas, feel free to post.


don’t neglect doing ordinary daily tasks together as a way of gaining “quality time” with your children.

you can rake leaves, she can help pick them up (after jumping in the pile of course)
she can pick up toys while you are cleaning the family room
she can help in the kitchen while you are working there. for real little ones this can be more annoyance than real help, like re-arrangeing the cupboard contents, but you are together


I’ve got a 2.5 year old and a 9 month old and we’ve been doing family activities like this since they were old enough to take out of the house. I don’t think 3 is too young to do family activities. We do a lot of free things in the community like country fairs with free petting zoos, pumpkin and harvest festivals, visit Hershey’s Chocolate World, etc. At home we cook together, play together, do gardening. I’d say pretty much EVERYTHING we do is a “family activity.”


One daddy activity that my brother and I remember with great fondness is when my dad pretended to be “The Claw” and chased us around the house.

He would mess up his hair, grab his wrist to create a “claw” hand, and then chase us around calling out, “The Claw will get you!”

If you read the Little House books, Pa Ingalls did exactly the same thing with his daughters when they were little, way back in the 1860s, only he was “Mad Dog.” The description in Little House In the Big Woods of “Mad Dog” is almost exactly like my dad’s “Claw.”

Find the description of “Mad Dog” in the book (ask the librarian, or any woman in the library), and then perhaps you can try something like this with your child if she is willing to play along. I suppose some kids might be too terrified, but most kids love it when their daddy is the monster.

I might start a thread about “Daddy Monsters” just to see if other people enjoyed this same activity when they were growing up.


I encourage you strongly to continue those activites. Your daughter may not remember each event or activity, but she’ll remember growing up in a fun, happy home. We have always organized our family activities around the liturgical/seasonal year. For example, during Advent my husband has read ‘A Christmas Carol’ aloud to the kids for years. We have given up TV during Lent for many years now and so we have family games nights a few times a week. We also take advantage of community activites many of which are geared for younger kids.

If you liked the volcano stove, look for other science activity idea books at the library. Many you won’t be able to do until she’s a bit older–but vinegar and baking soda is always fun!

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