So the other day I lifted my head up from my game of Candy Crush and realized each of us was tethered to our device and not at all connecting with each other. We were scattered throughout the house, faces illuminated by a flickering screen. This was becoming an all to common scene in our house. Enough is enough! I announced a family day. I was taking them to a wifi free zone. We were heading out to the bush.
Money is tight since I quit teaching so we’ve had to come up with free outings for our family. There is a provincial park about 15 minutes away from
our place with plenty of trails and no cell service. Perfect!
Amid the sounds of squirrels chittering, the chainsaw buzzing and even a few shots being fired by near by hunters my kids and I made a tiny fire in a sandy hollow. Just big enough to roast a few marshmallows and weenies over, maybe boil a pot of water for campfire tea and hot chocolate.
We had a blast and made a few memories!
Looking for ways to cut back and reconnect with the family? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Get Back to Nature!
- Go for a hike, bike ride, have a picnic or learn survival skills. There’s a provincial or state park within driving distance of any city or town. So google which one is nearest you and head out!
- Go Geocaching. Let your device serve as a treasure map. Go to Geocaching.com to find coordinates near you and add them to your GPS or smartphone.
- Don’t want to leave town? Do a neighbourhood clean up. Grab some garbage bags and gloves and help keep your streets and park litter free.
- Mark when natural events like eclipses are happening and gather the family to observe them.
Learn a New Talent
- Teach yourself and your family to juggle, change the oil in the car, knit, bake bread, sew, learn origami, or do magic tricks. Learn something new wherever your interests lie.
Check out your Community Calander
- My local community hosts events like free movie nights in the park, free jazz concerts in the evenings, markets, fairs and street festivals I can wander through and much more.
- Contact local museums, zoos, art galleries and swimming pools to find out when their next free entry day is.
- Visit local sand or snow sculpture competitions.
- Mark the events you would like to attend on your calander.
- organize a potluck dinner with your friends and neighbours. The trick… they can only bring dishes created from ingredients found in your cupboard and fridge at the moment they receive the invitation!
Visit a U-pick or local Farm
- This one will cost you the price of the fresh produce you pick (which is usually less than what you would pay in the stores by the way) but is a great way to spend a few hours with the kids. Plus they get the added benefit of learning where their food comes from. Afterwards head home and do some baking, canning or preserving together!
Kids in the Kitchen
- Everyone picks a favourite or new recipe to try and then cooks it up.
- Kids are more likely to eat what they help create. Prepare a variety of soups, casseroles or lunchbox items together. Toss them in the freezer or gift one to an elderly or sick neighbour.
Local Landmarks Scavenger Hunt
- Set up clues to lead your family to various local landmarks around town. Take a family photo in each location to record your journey.
- Visit with the elderly at an old folks home or volunteer at a local food bank or outreach program once a month.
- Drag out the craft and scrapbooking supplies and create a variety of cards to give out throughout the year. Need some ideas… search free card patterns on the internet. There are a ton of ideas out there.
- Drag out the board games and have a good old fashioned game night. Up the ante a bit… the winner gets out of doing their household chores that week!
Monthly Talent Show
- According to Wikipedia Garth Brooks had family talent nights growing up. Everyone prepares a song, poem, painting, new trick, comedy act, skit etc… to perform for the family. Who knows? Maybe the next superstar resides in your midst.
Check out the Library
- Your local library hosts a variety of free events like film nights, author readings, Creativ-Tea time, and much more. Find an event to suit your family on their website!