It is so easy these days to let work, school, and business rule our lives, and it is easy to lose touch with the other members of our family. A great way to counteract this and build family communication and togetherness is to hold a weekly toy game hobby night. If you have a family get-together one night each week where everyone plays with the kids, with the kids’ toys, this is great for parent-child bonding and will quickly rekindle those family ties.
Families with small children will probably focus more on the toy aspect of the gathering. To get the most benefit, take the time to get down on the floor and play with those youngsters. Push those trucks around and make engine noises along with the kids. Cuddle those dolls and call yourself “grandma” or “grandpa.” If your back can take it, let the kids take turns riding on your back while you crawl around the floor neighing like a horse. Every kid loves that!
On summer evenings, the sand box at the local park can be a great place for bonding with your kids. Take along a variety of suitable sand toys – including a few wheeled vehicles, various containers, toy garden tools, and old kitchen utensils. In the sandbox with your kids, let your imagination run wild – you can create anything from castles to entire towns.
Another great idea for a toy hobby night is modeling dough. Old jar lids can be pressed into service as pans. With some small cookie cutters, let your kids enjoy preparing a variety of delicious cookies and desserts. Turn a large box on its side – hey presto! – you have a magic counter where the kids can proudly present their confectionaries. Don’t forget to pretend to buy and eat – and show your appreciation!
Slightly older kids might enjoy some fun board games. Games like Life, or Candy Land, dominoes, and card games like Uno can all be very popular. You need to be considerate about the choice of game – would every family member, for instance, enjoy Scrabble? Or would the thinking and spelling seem like work to some of the kids? Some games, too, might take too long, so the youngsters’ attention span plays out. Some games, like Monopoly, encourage merciless competition, so the losers can feel left out. Having said that, an important aspect of family game evenings is that the kids learn how to lose and still have fun. It’s all about getting the right balance – don’t lose too easily and obviously to the kids all the time, but don’t mercilessly win every time, either. If some of the kids have a real problem with losing, there are co-operative games available where the whole family can be on the same team together.
It can also be really rewarding and fun to share hobbies as a family. Music-making can be particularly rewarding. Remember the old Victorian tradition of the family sharing parlour songs around the piano, in those long-distant pre-TV days? Well, singing together can be a great family activity, not least because family voices tend to be similar and blend well together. If singing isn’t your cup of tea, how about square dancing, or some outdoor activity where the whole family can participate – fishing, for instance. Or a sport like badminton. There are endless fun night ideas – the important thing is for the whole family to enjoy being together.
Having a family fun night one evening each week will help you stay close to your kids as they grow up. It keeps the bond of love fresh and the lines of communication open. Plan a family fun night this week!