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12 Keys to Balancing Work and Family Life


Many adults will face the challenge of balancing work and family life at some point. There are pressures to get ahead at work and succeed in your career path while also staying on top of chores, parenting duties, and self-care at home. We’ve put together some resources and tips to help anyone that is facing this challenge. Trying to succeed in the workplace and maintain an organized home with strong familial relationships can seem like a daunting responsibility, but it’s not impossible. Read through our tips and strategies for improving this balance and see what changes you can make today to help improve your life.

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Why is it so challenging to balance work and family life?

The workplace has gone through some serious shifts in the last few decades with the huge technological changes and which industries are growing and which are shrinking. Now, it’s easy to get in touch with anyone with just a few clicks, but where is the line? Workers today are constantly struggling with balancing work and family life and how to keep some division between the two for mental health and good work-life balance.

Employers should help with the solution.

Challenges exist for both employers and employees. On the one hand, employers love the idea that they can have full-time people available and on call anytime. But they also want a workforce that enjoys being part of the company culture and isn’t experiencing burnout from crazy work hours. A lower turnover and higher retention rate will save companies a lot of money over time, plus they will enjoy valuable employee mindshare if employees have a longer tenure. 

To prevent employees from burnout, companies must start by evaluating their expectations of employees and ensuring that all managers are aligned with the company values. It’s about prioritizing job satisfaction and the well-being of employees. The amount of paid time off is a big indicator of how much a company focuses on balance. Employees should be encouraged to step away and take time for personal things without constantly being worried that they are missing something important at the office.

Flexibility doesn’t always mean balance.

With such a large shift to hybrid and remote work teams, there must still be conversations with the leadership teams and the employees on expectations and how much time each person is working. If you work remotely but are expected to be available on your Slack channel for 13 hours a day, it doesn’t provide the flexibility and balance you’re looking for to have a personal life. Make sure to understand what your company expects for availability and response time, so you know if it’s okay to step away and do school pick-up in the afternoon or something similar.

12 Keys to Balancing Work and Family Life

Balancing work and family life can be a challenging task, but it is essential to maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. With the increasing demands of the modern world, it can be easy to get caught up in work and neglect the important relationships in our lives. However, by implementing these 12 key strategies, it is possible to find a good work-family balance.

1. Prioritize your time and stick to a routine.

One of the most critical aspects of balancing work and family is prioritizing your time. Evaluate the tasks and responsibilities in your work and home life, and identify the most essential ones. Work shouldn’t be consuming the top of your priority list. This will help you to focus on the things that matter most, reducing the stress and pressure that can come with trying to do too much.

A routine can be established to help you stick to your priorities. Get creative about how you fit your top three priorities into your daily routine. Maybe you always have breakfast at home with the family because it’s a great way to start the day and put the family first. Maybe you take advantage of quiet morning office hours to get a lot done so you can always leave the office at the same time. Maybe you have phone-free hours right when you get home to focus on the kids and chat with them about their day. In whichever way you split it up, make it a habit to bond with your family.

2. Communicate effectively.

When balancing work and family life, good communication is key. Be open and honest with your family about your work schedule, and let them know when you need to prioritize your work. On the other hand, make sure to keep your office informed about your family commitments and ask for their support when necessary. No one will know you’re struggling to fit it all in if you never say anything. Set expectations for people, so they know when you’ll be available for them.

Balancing work and family is not just about managing your time, but also about maintaining strong relationships. Make time to spend quality time with your partner and children, and engage in activities you all enjoy. Having a good open dialogue about life’s challenges can help the people nearest you understand what you’re dealing with and maybe come up with some short-term solutions.

3. Set boundaries.

It is also crucial to set boundaries between work and family time. Decide on specific times during the day when you will not be available for work-related activities, and stick to them. This will help you to give your full attention to your family, reducing stress and increasing the quality of your relationships. Avoid time traps like social media and television to ensure you have enough time for the most critical activities.

Calendar apps have time blocks that you can use that will show you as busy in case anyone tries to schedule a meeting. This allows you to set time aside to spend with your kids or work on a project with a deadline without distractions. Technology has made a lot of things easier, but one of those simpler areas is communication. People can reach you with a few taps of their fingers, so we are constantly interrupted and distracted. Setting blocks can allow you to protect your time and not be distracted by messages and calls.

4. Discuss flexibility with your employer.

Each company and occupation has different requirements for facing customers and collaborating with other team members. It might be worth exploring if you have a job that offers flexibility around working from home or a hybrid situation. Saving yourself the commute time and having a few days where you work independently, you’ll probably get more work done and have more time with your family.

It’s essential to be flexible and adapt to changes as they occur. This can involve adjusting your work schedule, delegating tasks to others, or being open to finding creative solutions to problems. Talk to your boss if you’ve never touched on this topic before and see what options you have to make your work schedule more flexible. Some companies even offer four 10-hour workdays instead of five. See what you can work out with your employer for a more productive schedule for everyone.

5. Practice self-care and be proactive.

Taking care of yourself is essential to maintaining a healthy balance between work and family. Set aside time for physical activity, such as exercise or meditation, and make sure to get enough sleep. Anytime you get sick, you’re forced to put everything else on hold while you allow your body to get better. You’ll have the energy to get you through your daily tasks by taking the proper steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes scheduling and attending all your preventive health appointments and being proactive about your health and wellness. Spend less time on it now instead of more when something goes wrong.

In addition to physical health, it’s also important to focus on mental health. Whether you find peace in the outdoors or you love spending a little time each week curled up with a new movie, it’s important to make time for yourself. Make time for hobbies and interests, which can help to reduce stress and increase happiness.

6. Seek support.

In any challenges life throws our way, it’s important to seek out support from others. This can come from your partner, friends, or family members. This doesn’t just mean communicating and venting to your closest people. It means listening to the suggestions they have to offer and accepting their help when it’s offered.

Having a support network can reduce stress and help you receive help when needed, making it easier to balance work and family life. This can include friends, family, neighbors, childcare providers, etc. Support can also come from professionals, like a therapist, who can help you manage moments of stress. It’s easy to get in a rut, and believe you need to power through your to-do list and avoid burdening others. Still, if you experience burnout, everything will get even more difficult to accomplish, and your quality of work will be lacking.

7. Add family life to your calendar.

Work calendars are easy to figure out. You check availability and send an invite for a meeting or a phone call. You except the others who were invited to show up ready to discuss a particular work project or topic. Try and utilize that same outlook on your family life. Block time off on your calendar and use it to go out for ice cream or watch a movie together. Have a few days each month when you put in long hours on family, just like you would at the office when working to meet a deadline.

Set aside a day at the beginning of each month where you review the family calendar and add important events as appointments in your work calendar. This will help you visualize what you want to attend and help you make a better plan to accomplish it. Add sports games, recitals, field trips, and even fun things, like National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast day and half birthdays. By blocking the time off on the same calendar that you add work meetings, you’ll be able to ensure that you don’t have any conflicts, and if you do, you can make conscious decisions on how to adjust the schedule.

8. Lead by example.

The actions you take in your life rub off on those around you, even if you don’t think they are paying attention. If you want your children to value family time, then it’s important to prioritize it in your own life. Showing them that family is a priority will help instill these values in them, creating a supportive and loving environment for everyone. 

Kids often understand way more than we give them credit for, and it has a huge impact on them when they are younger. You can talk to them about the importance of a career and work, so they know where you go during the day. It’s just important that you give them your full attention as much as possible and not constantly check your phone or interrupt them. When you are able to find balance, you are helping to set your children up for success in the future because they will have a strong role model.

9. Utilize all the tools and practice delegation.

In today’s atmosphere of having the world at your fingertips, it’s silly to overlook the services and technologies that can assist with some of your meaningless tasks. If you are struggling to find a balance between work and family life, consider offloading some of the things that take up your time that someone else could easily do for you.

One popular example is grocery shopping. You can make a grocery list online now and have someone else go to the store and shop for the items for you. An additional service fee covers the cost, but it frees up your time and energy. Meal delivery services are a great option as well. They ship all the ingredients to your home, so you and the family can work together prepping and cooking a meal without having to plan and shop. Boost your quality of life with just a bit of financial investment.

This principle also works at the office. If you are managing a team, consider what job duties you could pass on to one of your team members. They would be getting a new opportunity to learn and grow, and you will be helping their development while getting some of your own time back. Obviously, you cannot delegate your entire job, but there are probably at least two or three tasks that would be appropriate to hand off.

10. Enjoy a change of scenery.

Sometimes, when you’re facing a difficult situation, it’s best to take a step away and let your head clear. It doesn’t have to be a vacation, but getting a change of scenery for a day or a few will help you think more clearly. Consider setting up shop at a neighborhood coffee house or moving your desk to a new configuration. Take a walk somewhere new while listening to your favorite music, and just allow your brain to shift its perspective a bit.

This can help with overall stress, but it also helps you be a bit more creative in your problem-solving. Getting outside in nature and giving your eyes a break might help you come up with some new ideas to test out. 

11. Find ways to add fun to chores and tasks.

Balancing work and family life involves a lot of juggling with to-do lists. Consider combining some of your chores and tasks with some fun family bonding time. For example, blast a playlist and involve the entire family if you need to clean the house. Dance around while checking chores off your list, and you can finish the housework while laughing and hanging out with the kids. 

Fitness is another area where you can combine fun and necessities. Swap out a gym session for a hike with your partner or the whole family. Rent kayaks and explore waterways instead of meeting with your trainer. Get healthy while spending time with the people you love most. Maximize your time by crossing two things off simultaneously, and you’ll create new habits with your loved ones. Working parents have to get creative, but there are plenty of ways to do this.

12. Reduce your overall stress and cut out non-essentials.

A solution that works for so many struggles and issues we face every day is to reduce our overall stress levels. Stress actually makes things take longer and adds unnecessary time to your everyday tasks. If you constantly react and feel stressed, you’re probably working harder than you need to. Shift to a more proactive mindset and see if you can simplify your schedule and to-do list.

Another way to reduce stress is to reduce the items you have on your plate. We mentioned delegating tasks to others, but there might be some things you need to sacrifice now. For example, if you’ve joined a pick-up basketball team and you dread going every week because there are 100 other things you wish you could be doing, let it go. Unfortunately, we don’t have time for everything, so taking a minute to recognize and prioritize your activities and let one or two go will positively impact your overall ability to balance.

Closing Thoughts on Balancing Work and Family Life

In conclusion, balancing work and family life can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By prioritizing your time, setting boundaries, communicating effectively, practicing self-care, seeking support, being flexible, making time for your relationship, and leading by example, you can create a healthy balance that will benefit you and your family. Doing so can ensure that your work and family life are both fulfilling and enjoyable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you balance work and family?

The key to balancing work and family life is to be a strong communicator and build a support network. You need to be able to ask for the things you need clearly and have people you can reach out to.

Why is it important to balance work and family?

Balancing work and family life effectively will allow you to find peace and enjoyment in your daily life and reduce overall stress. It helps your family feel connected and prepares them for success.

Is it harder for women to balance work and family life?

Working mothers face more struggles with balancing work and family life. Statistically, they’re more likely to have higher stress levels while balancing other responsibilities.

What are fun ways to prioritize my family and maximize our time together?

Schedule quality time together as a family and prioritize it above other responsibilities. Pick up an Adventures from Scratch book that comes with 50 unique and memorable activities to get you started!

Is it important to keep work and family life separate?

Maintaining separation between your job and home is important for your mental health. You need to be able to shut off the noise and bond with your partner and children. That’s a good work-life balance.

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Fun Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Kids


Valentine’s Day was originally a Christian holiday celebrating Saint Valentine. It takes place each year on February 14th and now signifies love, romance, and appreciation. The holiday is not officially recognized on any calendar, but it’s celebrated in countries all over the world. This day of love helps bring a little light to the winter months, so why not make it fun to celebrate Valentine’s Day with kids along with your partner?

While couples may be vying for a dinner reservation, families can enjoy this celebration of love together and have some fun with it. Start your own traditions that include everyone, and set good examples of love and meaningful relationships. We’ve created this list of 18 activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day with kids. Try one or two of these to surprise your kids, or talk through the list as a family and pick out a few things to incorporate into your holiday this year. 

Why you should love Let’s Roam.

Let’s Roam offers tons of engaging scavenger hunts that can be enjoyed by both couples and families with kids. We’ve also got a family-focused Adventures from Scratch book that boasts on-the-go challenges, in-home adventures, and so much more!

18 Activities to Spend Valentine’s Day with Kids

If you’re looking to plan the best Valentine’s Day with your whole family, try some of these ideas that kids of all ages will love. Incorporate the whole family in your activities and enjoy this little holiday by creating new traditions.

1. Bake some heart-shaped goodies.

Valentine’s Day is known for sweet treats, like candies and cupcakes. Consider gathering the family together and baking special treats for the people in your life. Find some fun cookie cutters in the shapes of hearts, cupids, or lips. Make sugar cookies that the kids can decorate with sprinkles and frosting. You can deliver these to mailboxes and doorsteps throughout the neighborhood to spread the love a little.

2. Prep some DIY Valentine’s Day cards. 

Handmade valentines cards are the best kind because they’re from the heart. Bring all the art supplies and construction paper to create cards for friends, family, or classmates. You can pick and use markers, crayons, paints, and stickers to create beautiful notes of love and friendship. It might be easier to purchase the premade valentines from the store, but homemade cards are incredibly meaningful.

3. Pick out small gifts for the kids.

Just like you would purchase a special treat for your valentine, think about getting a little something for your kids for Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s a bouquet of flowers, plush toys, or just a little box of chocolates. You can make them feel special and loved for this holiday. Include a little handwritten card to make it extra special.

4. Learn to say “I love you” in new languages.

Children have some introduction to foreign languages in schools, but it’s not as much as in some other countries where kids are bilingual. One way to introduce more language to your kids is to bring education into your home by using the holidays to learn fun phrases that you can practice all day. Valentine’s Day is all about love, so use this holiday as a way to learn the word for love in a few different languages. 

See if your kids can learn how to say “I love you” in a few different languages and practice throughout the day. Other fun words you could practice would be heart, kiss, and candy. Ask your kids what languages they would be interested in. You never know what languages your kids know about and are introduced to by friends at school or things they watch on television.

5. Set up a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a scavenger hunt where everyone has to solve puzzles and clues to find little treasures. You can use free printables online or create your own clues. Set up paper hearts throughout the house and yard. Each one should lead to the next with a puzzle to solve or with hints. It’s fun to get the kids working together or create a little friendly competition. The last stop should include some fun Valentine’s gifts and candies that the whole family can share and enjoy together.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can bundle up and take advantage of some of the organized scavenger hunts put together by companies like Let’s Roam. Work together as a family and explore your own neighborhood or city. 

6. Take the kids on an ice cream date.

Valentine’s Day can become a special occasion for the whole family by changing the routine a bit. Many people don’t think about ice cream in the wintertime, but you can take the whole family to your favorite ice cream spot and not worry about the long lines in the summertime. Splurge on the fancy flavors and crazy toppings. Don’t think twice about the sugar rush that everyone will have afterward!

If you don’t have a favorite ice cream parlor in town, pick up all the goodies and have a sundae-building contest at home. It obviously doesn’t need to be ice cream either, you can visit a donut shop, bakery, or any other special treat that the family will love. Pick up the kids from school or bring them for a breakfast treat. Just add a sweet little surprise to the day.

7. Organize a “favorite things” party.

Valentine’s Day is all about spreading love. See if your kids are interested in hosting a “Favorite Things” party with their closest friends. It’s a fun reason to get people together and gives them a chance to share a few special treats. The way it works is that each invited guest picks something small that they love, and they bring a few of that same item wrapped to give others. Each person will take turns sharing about their favorite thing with the whole group and then once everyone has had a turn, people get to start selecting gifts that they will take home. 

This is a fun way to exchange little Valentine’s Day gifts with friends and share things that you love. Your kids will love the chance to be the hosts of a party with their friends, and you can help them organize the gift exchange. It’s best to set a dollar limit ahead of time with the other guests and ensure that everyone leaves with the same number of gifts they came with. 

8. Shoot arrows at Cupid.

Cupid is a popular icon for Valentine’s Day and for love in general. If you want to set up a cute Valentine’s game or activity, there are some fun ways to incorporate Cupid and his arrows. You can set up some hearts on the wall and put numbers on each one. Smaller hearts should have larger numbers. Use those as scores and challenge kids to hit the hearts with nerf arrows. You can blindfold them and play it like a pin the tail on the donkey. 

You can increase the intensity if you pick up a t-shirt with a cupid on it. Take turns having someone in the family wear it and try to avoid getting hit with any arrows. Or give Cupid the arrows and have them chase the rest of the family around. This could be a fun way to use up some energy and get a few great laughs from everyone.

9. Have a tea party.

Do you have young children that are delighted by the simplest things? Have a little Valentine’s party for your kids and some of their favorite toys. You can make some special tea, like Kool-Aid or juice boxes, and use toy teacups (or real ones if you have them.) Set up the typical tea snacks, like sandwiches and cookies, and don’t forget to remind everyone to dress up a bit for the event.

Children love when their parents engage in their favorite activities with them, so by including their toys in a holiday tea party and hanging out with them, you’ll give them a memorable experience. Once your kids get a little older, you can check out local restaurants that offer tea service. Having a fancy afternoon date somewhere new might be the perfect way to spend Valentine’s day with your kids.

10. Create Valentine’s Day crafts. 

Get creative and make some crafts that are themed around Valentine’s day. There are so many ways to dive into the theme of love. Conversation hearts are fun to incorporate into crafting. You can have kids come up with their own messages and add them to cut-out hearts that look like candy hearts.

Creating little love bugs is another fun craft idea. Utilize old toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls and transform them into small bugs with eyes, pipe cleaner ears, and whatever colors you want to decorate them with. 

A bouquet of flowers is another fun craft you can do with paper and other materials around the house. These DIY gifts would be perfect for dropping off with neighbors or friends to let them know they are special to you and spread a little love and kindness. Other fun options include watercolor hearts, DIY wreaths to hang on the door, and even handprint/footprint art for babies. Any excuse to get out the art supplies is worthwhile.

11. Invite the kids to dinner and a movie.

Popular date ideas can be repurposed easily to include the children and turn the date into a family activity. A dinner and movie night is a perfect example and would make for an easy Valentine’s Day activity for everyone. Choose a restaurant you all love and order takeout so you don’t have to cook, and then choose a movie that everyone would enjoy.

Many Disney princess movies fit the theme of love, but you can also choose something new for everyone. Gnomeo and Juliet is a play on the classic romantic play by Shakespeare. Older kids can watch teenage favorites, like Little Women, The Princess Bride, or Little Rascals. Whatever movie you decide on, just make sure everyone leaves their phones outside of your “theater” and make some popcorn or grab some snacks. 

12. Have a fondue night.

Fondue is a fun way to celebrate any special occasion, but it works especially well on a cold winter’s night. Fondue is traditionally cheese melted in a pot over a heat source. It’s shared with other people, and you use sticks to dip bread, vegetables, meat, or other snacks into the cheese to snack on. Gather the family around the table, add the cheese, and experiment to see which snacks taste the best.

You can swap the cheese for chocolate if you want to add a fun dessert. This will definitely get the kids involved. Add marshmallows, fruits, and other sweet treats to your sticks and dip them into hot, melted chocolate. You’ll feel instantly transported to a ski chalet somewhere in Switzerland. Plus, if you buy a fondue set, you’ll be encouraged to have fun with this more often.

13. Enjoy breakfast in bed.

Breakfast in bed is a beloved tradition for many different holidays. It’s a common Mother’s day treat, but why not expand the reach of this indulgence? Make a plan ahead of time with your kids to surprise your husband or wife, or you can work with your partner and surprise your kids with breakfast in bed. 

Put together a nice little spread with fruit salad, coffee, juice, and maybe even heart-shaped pancakes or waffles. If you are horrible in the kitchen, sneak out early, run to the donut shop, or grab some pastries. Either way, the point is to surprise someone you love with a relaxing morning where they get to lounge in bed in their pajamas and enjoy a slow, tasty breakfast. Include a little love note or a small vase of flowers to really make the morning memorable. Kids will love a change in routine.

14. Create a love chain.

Paper chains are easy to make and are popular during the holiday season to share things we are grateful for. These can also be fun for Valentine’s Day, but family members can write love notes instead of gratitude. Whether your kids want to say “I love you” to their siblings, their pet, or maybe their favorite toys, you can encourage them to share their love and admiration with words or drawings on small pieces of construction paper. 

Utilize the days leading up to Valentine’s Day and challenge each family member to write 14 love notes (or less, depending on how long you want your chain to be.) It’s great for kids to learn to share feelings and spread love and kindness. 

15. Treat everyone to a spa day.

Many couples spend Valentine’s Day pampering themselves with a romantic spa day. This idea can work for the whole family too. It might not be as romantic, but kids will love trying something adults love, and the parents will enjoy a little self-care and pampering. 

Turn your living room/bathroom into a spa with simple supplies. Stock up on healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables, and make up a pitcher of cucumber water or a bottle of sparkling juice. Once you have the snacks locked in, consider what “treatments” you want to enjoy. Retail stores like Walmart and Target sell sheet masks, gloves, and socks with built-in moisture, so stock up and try them out together.

There are also a huge number of concoctions you can make with ingredients you probably already have at home. Scrubs can be made with brown sugar and olive oil to help smooth skin. Set up a bowl and a towel and pour steaming water into the bowl with some essential oils for a steam facial. Just be careful no one puts their face in hot water. Pull out nail polish for at-home manicures and pedicures to complete the experience. 

16. Do a Valentine’s Day photoshoot.

Can there ever be too many photos of your kiddos? Consider using Valentine’s Day to organize a fun-themed photoshoot. Maybe you were too busy to send holiday cards this year and want to spread a little love in February instead. Find an empty wall or backdrop in your home and add some balloons, cut-out hearts, or letters. Invite the kids to help set it up with anything they have that signifies love. 

If you lack the supplies to make an elaborate backdrop, there are plenty of other options. One fun idea you can do every year is set up a tripod and a self-timer on your camera, pose the family together and hold your hands up to make heart shapes. These would be fun to look back on as the kids grow. 

17. Have a themed family dinner.

Family dinners are probably already part of your weekly routines, but holidays can give you an excuse to have some fun with it. Set the table and make it a fancy occasion with candles or flowers on the table. Most importantly, incorporate the holiday into your food.

For Valentine’s Day, one fun idea is a red and pink dinner. Those are the holiday colors, and you could use so many fantastic foods. Start with a snack of red peppers and tomatoes, make a main course of red sauce pasta or enchiladas with red sauce, and finish with a classic red dessert, like red velvet cake or strawberry shortcake. 

You can also utilize the shape of a heart in your dinner plans. Pizzas are a popular family dinner night option. Instead of ordering pizza delivery, pick up the ingredients to make the dough and have an interactive cooking night for everyone. See who can create the best heart-shaped pizza and let everyone choose their own toppings. 

A final option is picking each family member’s favorite food (something they love) and serving it up. It might be a bit random, but that will make it fun for everyone, and they will appreciate seeing their favorites on the table. 

18. Tell a love story.

Consider sharing a love story with your kids regarding bedtime storytime. Think about your own love story or possibly one from other family members or loved ones. Sharing examples of real relationships can help kids feel more connected to their families. Ask your parents and siblings if they are willing to share a love story by recording it or sharing photos that give kids something to look at while listening. These memories are fun to hang on to as kids grow up. 

If you don’t have a real-life story, or your kids are a bit too young to understand the origin of your relationship, there are some fantastic books you could read on Valentine’s Day to embrace the theme. Classics like Love You Forever by Robert Munsch or Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney would make great gifts for Valentine’s Day. Popular series also have Valentine’s Day stories, like the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series and the Little Blue Truck series. 

Final thoughts on having a happy Valentine’s Day with kids

Enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day with the whole family! Let us know which activities you try with your kids or if we missed anything from our list. Love should be celebrated year-round, so have some fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family?

There are tons of great activities to spend Valentine’s Day with kids. Do some crafts, bake heart-shaped sugar cookies, and plan a themed dinner for the holiday celebration.

How can we include our kids in Valentine’s Day celebrations?

If you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with kids this year, think about fun ways to celebrate love together. Have a themed dinner or go out for a fancy dessert together.

What is something fun to gift kids for Valentine’s Day?

Pick up a copy of the Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition for the whole crew for Valentine’s Day this year and have fun scratching off surprise activities to complete together.

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Easy and Effective Wellness Activities for Kids


As adults, we’re always thinking about wellness as a way to balance life and stay healthy. But we shouldn’t need to play catch up on creating habits. There’s a way we can help kids create habits early by introducing wellness activities for kids at a young age and having fun with them as a family. 

We’ve put together a list of some easy and effective wellness activities you can introduce to kids of all ages. Most of these are free or low-cost and can be done all year round. Help your kids get a head start on their wellness journey and learn to prioritize their mental health and well-being early in life.

Encouraging Wellness With Adventures From Scratch

A tight family bond can set a strong foundation for children, and establishing that bond can be a lot of fun. Crack open Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition and find great wellness activities for kids to do at home or on the go! You’ll scratch off activities and get to know each other with conversation starters all while laughing together. Make some memories that will serve you all well.

Reasons to Focus on Wellness for Kids of All Ages

Before we get to the list of wellness activities for kids, let’s look at the reasons this should be a priority in your home. You’ll be giving them a headstart and incorporating healthy behavior early by including activities like these.

Build healthy habits early.

Childhood experiences greatly influence adult behaviors, so putting some energy into creating habits while the kids are young will pay off later. You’ll help your children find hobbies they enjoy by trying different things, and they are likelier to stick to those as they grow up.

Nature has mental health benefits.

Spending time in nature has more benefits than just some fresh air. Studies have shown that being outside can improve your mood, reduce negative feelings of stress, and improve self-esteem. Finding outdoor activities you all enjoy will make it easy to find the time to be more active. There are so many different options to choose from, so there’s no doubt you’ll find something for the whole family. 

Physical activity helps them grow.

Regular physical and healthy activities will help children develop stronger cardiovascular fitness. Simply playing outside and running around will help kids build strong bones and muscles. It also reduces the risk of them ending up with a serious health condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children ages six to 17 years old receive around 60 minutes of exercise each day. Currently, only around 22% of children are meeting the recommended time.

It teaches independence.

As kids grow, they must learn to entertain themselves and enjoy independent playtime. By introducing them to different activities they can do on their own, you’ll be giving them the tools to revisit those activities. It’s good for children to feel comfortable playing on their own and spending time doing things they enjoy without the interference of others.

Kids get a boost in creativity and confidence.

Skill building is a great way to boost confidence in children. As kids start to master simple skills, like balance and jumping, they will become more confident in their abilities. The more they learn when they are young, the better they will be prepared for the schoolyard as they get older and play more with their peers. By encouraging wellness activities, you’ll be helping your children develop creativity and confidence as they grow up.

Relationships with family members improve.

Any time you’re doing activities as a family, you’re strengthening your bond. Changing up the routine and doing new things together helps widen your range of conversation topics and get to know each other better. Plus, you may find some hobbies and activities you can do together for years to come. Connection is essential for strong family bonds.

Wellness Activities for Kids

Fun activities can also be healthy and promote wellness in your children. If you’re ready to put some focus on the well-being of all the members of your family, consider some of the options on this list.

Go on a nature walk.

Screen time is taking over in many households, but by inviting the family to participate in more outdoor activities, you can help create some new habits. Nature walks or even neighborhood walks are the easiest way to get moving and enjoy some fresh air. Challenge everyone to spot a bird, notice what sounds they hear, or find a leaf or flower to draw when they get home. Just get everyone out the door, and you’ve accomplished the goal!

Make a playlist and have a dance party.

Dance parties and good music bring people together. By encouraging movement through dance in your home, you’re enabling your kids to tap into their rhythm and creativity. Introduce them to new music. Consider a music jar, where you add in 52 different artists you think your kids will love and let them choose one each week to explore. Your kids might be the next biggest Elvis or Dolly Parton fans if you just make the introduction and encourage them to have fun and get into it.

Try out a mindfulness meditation.

One of the most beneficial well-being activities is meditation. A simple but powerful form of self-care is just calming your breath and clearing your mind. It’s never too early to start practicing meditation, so involve your kids in this calming daily activity. YouTube has free options for kids; plus, apps like Calm and Headspace offer specific guided meditations for kids and families. Sit together quietly and practice that breath focus. It will definitely come in handy throughout life to be able to quiet your mind.

Pick out a fun coloring book.

Mindfulness activities come in all shapes and sizes, but one that has become especially popular (even for adults) in the last decade is coloring. You can find a huge variety of coloring books available now, from television show themes to abstract art. There’s also color by number, which requires extra focus and attention to use the correct color in the small spots. By focusing on a coloring book for a while, you’re able to give your racing mind a break, and it works the same for kids. You’re creating something without needing to think too hard about it. Find a fun coloring book for your kids and one for yourself and enjoy the calming activity together.

Grab a jump rope and jump around.

Jump ropes are simple and fun ways to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It’s a perfect activity for kids of all ages. Practice starting out with just one foot at a time and graduate to full-on jump roping. Even five minutes of this cardiovascular exercise can be incredibly beneficial. If you’re having some screen time, break it up with jump rope breaks just to get the blood moving and energy flowing. Teach the kids that it’s good for your brain to take a break every 30 minutes or so to move around. Another easy way to jump around is on a trampoline. Even toddlers can jump on the mini trampolines and build up their balance.

Build a gratitude paper chain.

A paper chain is an incredibly simple craft project you can do with your children to help teach them gratitude. Just use small strips of construction paper or any paper you have for crafts and get out markers, crayons, and pencils. Invite your children to write or draw something they’re grateful for and add it to the chain. This can be a daily, weekly, or monthly activity. It’s fun to chat about gratitude and hear why the children picked what they picked. It also gives you a chance to share something with them. The paper chain serves as a reminder to think about these things and make gratitude part of your routine and daily conversation.

Enjoy family yoga classes.

Yoga is a fantastic wellness activity for people of all ages. Many schools are introducing yoga in the classrooms now to help kids get up and move around during the day in an intentional way. If you’re looking for a good place to start, check out this YouTube Yoga for Kids video. The instructions are easy to follow for little kids, but the classes also allow adults to stretch their muscles and work on balance. Starting this practice at a young age and making it a habit will be very beneficial as time goes on. Flexibility is a use-it-or-lose-it thing, so the more you move, the better off you are.

Cook a new recipe together.

Healthy eating is important for everyone, especially growing children. Finding ways to teach kids about healthy food and how to nourish their bodies is a big responsibility. You can make it fun by including them in the process of cooking. Sit with them and pick out one weekly dinner they will help with. There are great tools for kids that allow them to safely help in the kitchen. Watch them chop, prep, and mix! They would feel a lot of pride over their creations and be more likely to finish the meal if they could help put it together. Enjoy the process and mess created while you spend quality time together in the kitchen. 

Get involved in a volunteer project.

Community service is great for allowing the whole family to work together and give back. Teach your children about life’s challenges and how they can give to those less fortunate or help protect things that cannot protect themselves. Choose your favorite park and pick up trash once a month there to keep it clean. Volunteer for a beach clean-up, walk dogs or read to them at an animal shelter, or serve meals at a homeless shelter to the people. There are so many fantastic organizations that thrive off of volunteers, and your kids will learn to be grateful for what they have and their ability to give back. It’s a wonderful feeling to help others.

Sign up for swimming lessons.

One way to get kids active and promote safety is by enrolling them in swimming lessons. This activity challenges them to do some physical activity while learning how to remain safe in the water. So many children complete swimming lessons and can comfortably play in pools and at the beach. If you live anywhere near water or your children may have access to open water, it’s a good idea to help them learn the life-saving techniques of floating and swimming. It’s such great exercise; most kids love splashing and playing in the water.

Learn something new together.

Learning activities promote the exercising of your brain and curiosity in kids. Growing up with the desire to keep learning will be incredibly helpful later in life. Consider adding in some fun educational activities when the kids are out of school that you can all do together. There are great online resources for science lesson plans during summer vacation. Conduct experiments as a family and have fun with it. If you want to keep it simple, pick up a chia pet or kit with all the materials and instructions to complete the task. As long as you’re asking questions and learning together, your kids will experience huge benefits.

Explore new neighborhoods and playgrounds.

There are thousands of outdoor activities and games you can enjoy with your family members. You can set up games like badminton, hide and seek, or even basic tag if you have a yard. It’s also good to change up the scenery a bit. Make a list of all the playgrounds within a certain distance from your home and visit a new one each week. The kids will love getting to play on different equipment at each park. The same applies to new neighborhoods, where you can walk and explore stores, attractions, or any type of interesting artwork in the area. 

Listen to a podcast together.

Podcasts are fantastic tools for learning and can be a simple and effective wellness activity for kids (and adults). There are language options to help them listen and speak new languages, story options that promote good listening skills, and other fun topics that teach kids something new. Focusing on what they hear helps them develop a good attention span and stronger focus. Choose from one of the Common Sense Media lists for kids’ podcasts or ask your friends and other parents for recommendations. Set a few minutes aside each day to listen; you could even add it to your nighttime routine with the kids. Invite them to sit quietly and pay attention to the stories and fun facts and then chat about it with them afterward.

Practice daily affirmations.

Help boost self-esteem by practicing daily affirmations each morning on the way to school or when you’re getting ready in the morning. Have everyone in the family devise their own for the day or choose one together and practice repeating it aloud at least three times. Choose from this list of ideas if you’re struggling to come up with a few. Affirmations help develop and invite a mindset of growth and positivity. There’s a lot of power in saying things out loud. It can help shift your mindset and battle any negative feelings or emotions.

Discuss social media as a family.

Social media has completely transformed how we communicate with others. While it’s a tool that can be extremely useful and bring joy, it can also harm our mental health and become an addiction. Introducing kids to these apps and tools in a healthy way is important. You want to help them form a good relationship with screens and technology and understand how to limit usage and not overshare. Some parents set up accounts for their kids and allow them minimal, supervised access. However you decide to do it, make sure to discuss it as a family.

Participate in group activities with other families.

Social skills are developed by watching other people interact and then practicing those skills. Sign up for group activities, where your kids can see you introduce yourself to new people and start conversations. Encourage them to do the same with the kids in the group. You can find library reading groups and playgroups at local community centers. Use social media groups to find other families searching for families to hang out with. Meeting new people can be intimidating for everyone, so it’s a great thing to practice when you’re younger. 

Start your own garden.

Getting enough fruits and veggies is important for a healthy diet, but sometimes, it can be hard to get kids to love their greens. Consider starting a garden. It creates so much investment in the plants and the foods that they bear. The entire process is good for the family, and everything can be done with minimal knowledge. Plant flowers for extra color and pick seeds for your favorite fruits and vegetables. You might not be successful with everything, but everyone will have a blast checking on the progress and watering the garden each week. You and your kids will also love eating your harvested foods when they’re ready.

Talk about feelings and emotions.

Emotional wellness is just as important as physical wellness. Children need to develop their emotional skills and learn how to deal with their feelings at the moment in healthy ways. The best way to promote strong emotional wellness is to be open and talk with your children about emotions. Set up a time each day where you reflect and list the emotions you’re feeling and invite your kids to do the same. 

Study the human body.

One path to good behaviors and healthy kids is to help them understand the reasons for doing some of the preventive things we do to take care of ourselves. For example, with teeth, it’s good for kids to understand how brushing their teeth can help protect their mouths and keep them healthy. Health Powered Kids offers a 20-minute exercise that educates kids about the importance of brushing and flossing. There are also lesson plans that cover bones, muscles, stretching, and more. These activities are designed to give kids context behind these actions and help motivate them to choose healthy options when they can. 

Organize a scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are a fun way to get moving and get a little competitive. Use your house as a base or even your neighborhood and set up clues and puzzles for the family to solve. If you want to take advantage of something that’s already built, you can try Let’s Roam. There are customized scavenger hunts or options for most metro areas, so you can get the family out exploring together. 

Make a choose-your-own-adventure fitness jar.

Have everyone in the family write a few of their favorite fitness activities on small pieces of paper. Add all the papers to a jar, and every day, have someone pick one item out and complete it as a family. You can include fun games, like tug of war, or simple exercise moves, like push-ups or sit-ups. By including everyone in the brainstorming, you’ll be sure to have a good variety of fun things, and it will be a daily surprise to see what you have to do.

Have fun with household chores.

Every household has a list of chores that have to get done. Instead of dreading that to-do list, find ways to make it fun and include the whole family. Kids need to learn how to take care of themselves and their household eventually, so include them in the work. Turn it into races to see who can clean their room the fastest or turn on a fun playlist while you clean up the kitchen at the end of the night. Getting an allowance for completing chores is a good motivator, but laughing with the family can make it fun for everyone.

Schedule daily recess at home.

Most children get to enjoy recess each day at school. It’s dedicated time to get outside and play with their friends. But what about the weekends and school breaks? Consider making recess a daily activity in your household. Don’t worry about the weather; just dress for it and get outside to do something fun for 30 minutes. Take a walk around your neighborhood or walk to run errands instead of driving. Play basketball or visit a park, just like the kids would do at recess. You could even just move a meal or snacktime outside. Just having it as part of your home routine will be beneficial to everyone in the family.

Final Thoughts on Wellness Activities for Kids

There you have it, a great list of things to do that will motivate, inspire, encourage, and teach them. The great news is that you can learn and create as a family while nurturing such positive habits. Looking for more ideas? Read up on “25 Mom-Approved Activities for Kids at Home.”

Get moving and start these habits today. Every member of your family will benefit, and you’ll all be able to try new things and grow together. Plus, each of these wellness activities for kids will help bring you all closer together.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you teach children wellness?

Incorporate wellness activities for kids into your daily routines. Practice positive affirmations, take more walks outside, introduce them to breathing exercises, and promote fun, physical activity.

What family activities can we do to promote strong mental health?

Start with shared activities! Plan a daily recess and get everyone outside for a period of time. Or take yoga or cooking classes with your kids to spend time together and learn new things.

How can I incorporate more family activities into our routine?

Try out a list of fun activities you can scratch off together. Consider Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition, which is filled with entertaining activities that will get you connecting and laughing.

Family FunHolidays

25 Parent-Approved New Year’s Eve Activities for Teens


Holidays are usually a drag for teenagers. They are too old for all the cutesy kiddo parties, but not quite ready for adult antics either, and finding that perfect combination of age-appropriate and fun can be difficult. Add volatile hormones and quickly changing interests to the mix, and it becomes dang near impossible. New Year’s Eve is especially hard for teens, as NYE parties tend to revolve around copious amounts of alcohol, scant outfits, and wild antics, or they’re boring nights in with your mom’s book club friends. Neither screams fun for your 14-year-old. That’s why we have scoured the internet for these amazing parent-approved New Year’s Eve activities just for teens!

Adventures From Scratch: Friends Edition

Snag a copy of our adventure book made especially for friends! Your teen will find over 50 scratch-off activities, in several adventurous categories, to share with their friends. Let your NYE activities be a surprise with a scratch-off adventure from Adventures From Scratch!

The Best New Year’s Eve Party Ideas for Teens

Whether you decide to throw your own New Year’s Eve party or arrange an activity outside the home for your teens, look for events that have a balance of freedom and adult supervision. If you’re the adult in charge of a group of teens, you don’t want to be a helicopter parent, but you also don’t want to be that parent who lets chaos ensue under your roof or on your watch.

Your teen isn’t an adult yet and doesn’t have any experience with party planning. So, if they ask to throw a party or want to take friends out, they are going to need help planning the event. Take this opportunity to work with your teen, getting their input on everything from food, to games, to the playlist. Use your experience to help them knock out the little details that they might not think of, but leave the choices up to them, as much as you can.

1. Appropriate Food

No party is a good party without tasty treats. For teens, stick to finger foods and hearty appetizers. Remember, they tend to eat a lot, so you might put out a little more than you would for adults. Consult your teen and make sure you have a few of his or her favorites. They may know the favorite treats of the friends they invite as well.

2. Variety of Games

Teens are fickle, and you never know what they might enjoy on any given evening. Your best bet is to have several options from DIY party games to age-appropriate board games, to active games that let them burn off some energy. Set up stations for Twister, Karaoke, video games, and charades. Some artsier tweens may even want to have a craft section where they work on a New Year’s resolution-based collage or poster. You may also want to have a playlist full of their favorite dance tunes should a spontaneous dance party break out.

For a list of appropriate board games, check out the student section of “40 Fun Board Games to Play With Friends.” You could easily adapt any of the options from “25 Fantastic Party Games to Play With Friends” for your teens.

3. Festive Decorations

A fun way to amp up the glam for your teen’s New Year’s Eve celebrations is to treat it like an adult party. Confetti, streamers, a disco ball, and plenty of sparkly party decorations will add some festivity to your bash. See if your teen wants to have guests dress up in their prom or homecoming attire to add a bit of glamour to the party. Prepare some take-home party favors for your teens to consume on New Year’s Day to remember the awesome night they had! Include a tasty treat and a positive affirmation or funny prophecy for their new year.

4. Time Capsule

High school is a special time in the lives of most people, and whether it was miserable for you or a blast, you probably have strong memories related to this period. Help your teen create positive memories by encouraging them to build a time capsule. Have each guest bring one item that “represents the past year” for them. Combine all the items in a shoe box or an appropriate box and set a goal to open it on their high school or college graduation. Make sure to include a list of all the participants on the outside of the box, so they can all be present, at least by zoom, for the grand opening later. It’s a fun activity that will bring create a lasting connection between your teen and their friends.

5. Non-Alcoholic Party Drinks

Another fun idea is to set up a faux drink station for teens to experiment with creating mocktails. You can find some free printable recipes online, line up some common cocktail syrups and garnishes, and make a mocktail recipe book for them to peruse and create. Pick up some plastic martini glasses or champagne flutes from your local dollar store, or if your teens are old enough, let them borrow your real set.

6. Kid-friendly Countdown

The climax of any New Year’s Eve Bash is the actual ringing in of the New Year. The timing will depend on the age of your kids. If you’re planning a party for tweens, then you might need to orchestrate a ball drop earlier than midnight, but if your kids are older, then allow them to watch the real deal. If you need to do it earlier, either watch the drop in a time zone ahead of yours or create your own DIY drop on a nearby flagpole!

Champagne toasts of sparkling cider or hot chocolate, noisemakers, and confetti all make the New Year’s Eve countdown extra special!

7. Fun New Year’s Eve Photos

Set up a photo booth in your living room with funny props for guests to get snaps of their awesome night with friends. Feather boas, glitter glasses, and funny hats are staples, but you could also do a theme like the 1920s, western wear, or disco. Set up a smartphone to capture the shots and give them the ability to easily share shots with each other. Teens will obviously use their phones too, but having a central camera will allow you to make sure you get a copy of all the hilarious shots.

Top Activities for Teens on New Year’s Eve

8. Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt

Set your teens loose on a fun-filled scavenger hunt from Let’s Roam. Our hunts are expertly curated for maximum interaction and hilarious antics. Teens will set out on a mission, learning interesting trivia and competing in photo and video challenges. Our hunts generally take place within a one-mile walking radius, so your teens will have some freedom but be contained within a fairly compact area. We have hunts in cities all over the world, and most are appropriate for the whole family including your tweens.

If you aren’t comfortable with setting your teens loose in the city, Let’s Roam also offers incredible in-home scavenger hunts.

9. Virtual Murder Mystery Party

If you prefer to keep your gathering virtual, look into our amazing array of Virtual Murder Mysteries at Let’s Roam. Murder on the Space Station would be a great option for teens. The keynote speaker at an inter-galaxy summit is murdered on the space station. Work together to apprehend the killer before intergalactic chaos ensues. The game usually takes an hour and can be played with very small or very large groups. Our murder mysteries are hosted by a crew of professional actors who will keep you on task and entertained the whole night through!

10. Late Community Outing

Check around your community for businesses that are teen-friendly and open late on New Year’s Eve. This could include ice skating rinks, teen clubs or arcades, bowling alleys, or mini golf courses. These establishments are a nice compromise as your teen will get some freedom, but you will know where they are and that there’s at least some adult supervision.

11. Movie Marathon

Whether you send them to the drive-in, book tickets for a couple of shows at the local theatre, or rent a few fun movies for the house, a movie marathon can be the perfect NYE activity for a low-key group of teens. If you choose the drive-in, hook them up with tons of good snacks and drinks to cut down on concession prices. If you choose to have the marathon at your house, have each teen bring their favorite movie, and then bring out the bean bags. hot chocolate, and tasty treats

12. Sleepover

Movie marathons easily flow over into sleepover antics. Since your teens will likely want to stay up for the ball drop, just plan on having them all hang out at your place until morning. Celebrate New Year’s Day with fresh donuts for the crew.

13. Amusement Park Celebrations

Amusement parks often have special holiday celebrations, complete with decorations, fireworks shows, and concerts. Most major theme parks have areas that are made for older kids with terrifying rides, hands-on carnival games, and age-appropriate shows. The confines of the park allow teens a large amount of freedom, but keep them in heavily camera-monitored areas. For a little extra security, you might remind your teens that they are on candid cameras.

14. Night Ride

If you live in a rural area where you have access to forests, large pastures, or ATV trails, organize a late-night ride for your teen’s friends. You will need to enforce some driving rules and make sure you have safety equipment for everyone. To really make it fun, turn the drive into a giant game of capture the flag or a scavenger hunt for hidden finds along the trail.

15. Midnight Polar Plunge

Some teens are all about the extremes. For a group of rowdy exhibitionists, organize a midnight polar plunge in a local swimming pool or trough of ice water. The kids can ring in the New Year by jumping in the frosty water together. Have a seating area around the fire and plenty of hot chocolate ready as they will be psyched up and need to get out all the giggles as they warm up. Most of them will never have felt something that exhilarating and listening to their conversation afterward is a lot of fun.

16. Pizza and Beer

Invite a few friends over for a pizza-making extravaganza. Provide the dough and all the fixings and let the teens make their own creative concoctions. You can provide ginger beer, root beer, and non-alcoholic beers to add a little adult flavor to the get-together.

17. Painting Party

If your teen has a creative side, then organize a painting event for them and a small group of friends. Most cities have a facility that specializes in wine and painting parties. Just ask them to swap out the wine for some sparkling cider and reserve a spot for your creative kiddos. These activities are perfect for budding artists as there’s a template to follow and guided direction. Each person usually makes the same piece of art, so the teens will have matching keepsakes to remember their night by.

18. Backyard Bonfire

Hit up a beach, pasture, or your backyard, and be sure to pack the s’mores kits. Crank up a good playlist, start a raging bonfire, and encourage teens to tell their best ghost story, play truth or dare, two truths and lie, or share their New Year’s resolutions. You could also have them write down any bad habits they want to get rid of this year and toss them in the fire. Bonfires naturally create an environment for conversation and intimacy, so invite your child’s besties and let the flames work their magic. Just make sure you have plenty of food for the ravaging teens.

19. Volunteer Project

Young people are the most willing participants in community projects. They have big ideas, tons of empathy, and an untainted view of the world that allows them to serve others without judgment or overcomplicated thought processes. If your teen is interested in community service projects, then gather a small group and go serve at a local food kitchen, take party favors to the local homeless shelter, or spend the evening playing games with elderly citizens at the nursing home. Afterward, retreat to your home for a movie marathon and tons of yummy snacks. Holidays are hard on the homeless and those who can no longer be with family and friends for whatever reason. Having your teens around for the evening will bring them joy and a positive outlook for the new year.

20. Camping Trip

You’re going to be up all night anyway, you might as well spend it around a campfire with hot cocoa and roasted hot dogs. If your crew loves the outdoors, then spend the evening on a sunset hike and then huddle up around the fire for songs, stories, and games. You will need several tents and perhaps an adult to sleep in each. If you live in a really cold environment, you could rent a cabin for your adventure weekend.

21. Snowman Contest

If you live in a place where snow abounds, then put the teens to a challenge. You can present them with a theme or challenge them to build the largest snowman. To make it more difficult, you can limit the tools they are allowed to use or only let them use items they have in their cars. Take photos of each team’s creations and have the teens post them on their social media platforms. The team that gets the most votes wins a special New Year’s Eve gift.

22. Parent Pranking

If you have a mischievous group, pile them in the car and pay their families a little visit. Allow them to come up with their own pranks or give them a little guidance. Just make sure the pranks aren’t too extreme and don’t cause permanent damage. The teens know their families pretty well and will have a good idea of what is too much. Pranks could include surprising an unexpecting dad with a pop of confetti, moving all the porch decorations, or making prank phone calls. Get creative with it, just don’t go too far.

23. A Late Night Sporting Event

One of my favorite pastimes as a teen was late-night basketball and flag football games at the city park. We would gather all our friends, park our cars and turn on the headlights and play until curfew. Set out some ice chests of cold drinks and plenty of finger foods, and you have a night of fun that is easy, cheap, and innocent.

24. Giant Food Fight

The New Year is the time for “out with the old, and in with the new.” Take this opportunity to clean out those 12 bottles of expired ranch dressing in your fridge and the fresh spinach that is now mush. Have your child’s friends do the same, and organize a food fight in a large open space. Kiddie pools full of rotten fruit and balloons filled with watery ketchup make disgusting weapons. Split the kids into two teams and let them go at it, or devise a few obstacle courses or gross games involving expired food products. It’s nasty. It will take a lot of cleanup the next day, but holy cow is it fun?!

Writer note: When I was a teenager, we ended our church camp every year with a gigantic food fight. The counselors gathered all the leftover food, mixed it with water and mud, and set us free in a giant field. It was the best part of the whole summer, and I still remember rolling in the muck with my besties to this day. You will be picking noodles and beans out of your hair for hours, but it’s worth it for the memories.

25. Take a Little Trip

Spend New Year’s on a train journey. Visit a fun city near you, or book a few days on a dude ranch. The kids are out of school and are likely stressed by this time of year. They could use a getaway, and so could you. Let them take a friend or two and plan plenty of age-appropriate activities. Let your teen help with the planning and do some of the research for your activities. Planning a joint trip is a great bonding experience and will be a good learning experience for them too.

Time to Party

Alright, parents, it’s time to pick your poison and start planning. However you want to let your teen celebrate the New Year, make sure that you take don’t push your ideas on them. We know after reading this, you’re very excited about the possibilities, but your first move should be to share this article with your teen and see if anything piques their interest. They may choose one from the list, or it might spark a creative idea of their own! Either way, good luck with your planning. You got this!

If you have experience with teenage New Year’s Eve ideas, drop your memories in the comments for us all to enjoy!

Did that last idea of taking a winter vacation sound pretty good to you? Check out our list of “32 Wonderful Winter Vacations in the U.S.” for some great cold-weather ideas!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some New Year’s Eve activities for teens?

For a fun NYE with teens, plan a glam party complete with dancing and photo booths, have a snowman-building contest or organize a late-night sporting event.

How do tweens celebrate New Year’s Eve?

For a fun and safe tween activity, download the Let’s Roam app and sign them up for a city scavenger hunt. They will hunt for clues through a small part of town, competing in trivia, photo, and video challenges along the way!

What activities are appropriate for teens on New Year’s Eve?

NYE activities for teens should provide autonomy but reasonable safety as well. Consider a movie marathon at the local theatre, a bonfire, or a New Year’s Polar Plunge!

Family FunHolidays

How to Throw a Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Party


As the holiday season is in full swing, many people forget to make plans for New Year’s Eve. This holiday celebrates the changing of the calendar year and it’s the perfect time to celebrate big moments in your household and reflect on the fun that you had in the last year. It’s also a good time to practice a reset and celebrate the ability to start a fresh new year filled with possibilities. Enjoy a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party with your whole crew this year, either at home or at a new vacation destination.

We’ve pulled together some ideas to help you get the ball rolling. There are some fun party ideas to try in your own home with a group of any size. Create a fun party atmosphere with a small budget and a tiny bit of creativity and everyone will look forward to your NYE parties for years to come. 

If you crave an escape at the end of the holiday season and winter break, consider getting out of town for the holiday weekend. New Year’s Eve is known as a big party holiday, but that doesn’t mean that you have to leave the kids at home. There are plenty of kid-friendly New Year’s celebrations that everyone will love. Kick off the new year while exploring a new destination with the family and spending quality time together. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, so browse the list and start making your plans.

Start the New Year with an adventure!

Our scratch-off books are expertly crafted and full of exciting activities, designed to deepen bonds and add some adventure to your routine. If you and your loved ones are looking for something new to do, snag a copy of Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition, and get scratching! Make this your go-to book when you want to get together with your family!

Fun Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Party Ideas at Home

If you’re planning a fun New Year’s Eve celebration with your family and friends in your home, we’ve got a few ideas to help you throw a fun party. These options help make sure the kids feel included in the party and can create some fun new traditions with the family. Start making your plans now for your NYE gathering.

Fun Dance Party Playlist

One way for some guaranteed family fun is to enjoy a dance party at your New Year’s Eve party. Put together a playlist using your favorite songs, plus some favorites of your children. Turn up the music and turn down the lights and get out there and dance. Make it into a dance contest or just allow everyone to let loose and have some fun. It’s the perfect way to celebrate with your favorite people.

Confetti Balloons for a Countdown

Balloon drops are an epic part of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Bring that fun to your party at home with confetti balloons. All you need is a bag of shiny or sparkling confetti (you can also make your own by cutting up scratch paper at home) and some balloons. Fill up a balloon for each hour that your celebration will span. For example, if you’re starting at 8 PM and going until midnight, fill up five balloons. Each hour, you can pop one balloon in the countdown and let the confetti fall with a cheer. It’s a very affordable, but fun way to enjoy the countdown and utilize balloons creatively and joyously.

Fun Beverage Bar

For bigger groups, a fun hosting idea is to set out a beverage bar and allow people to help themselves to a fun drink that they can customize. It helps cut down on the time you’ll spend serving everyone as well, so you can enjoy the party more. With adults, you can include some boozy options and cocktail fixings, but to make it family-friendly, consider a hot chocolate station for everyone. There are so many ways to customize your hot cocoa using flavors that you stir in or toppings. It serves as decoration too because nothing is more photogenic than a table covered in marshmallows, chocolate, and candies. 

Some Party Games

Board game nights are always a fun family activity. Older kids can take on the adults and compete in games like charades, Pictionary, and other family favorites. Pull out a collection of your board games and make some snacks. Make it an annual tradition to play games on New Year’s Eve with your friends and family. You could organize it like a tournament and have trophies and prizes for the winning teams. 

Unique Midnight Toast

When the clock strikes midnight, it’s customary to have a toast and clink glasses celebrating NYE and all the good that is to come in the new year. If you’re celebrating with the whole family, you can still have a toast, just utilize mocktails or sparkling cider for the kids. Another popular option for young kids is a milk and cookies toast or some fancy milkshakes topped with whipped cream. Make it a special toast with the kids, and let them add some words or wishes for the new year. Try to snap a picture so you can add it to your memory book.

Sparklers to Light Up Yard

New Year’s Eve happens during the time of year when the nights are extra long. Have some fun outside using fun items that light up. Glow sticks are safe if you have very young children. Sparklers are a popular option if everyone is old enough to follow the safety rules while holding the lit sparkler. Keep up your holiday lights well into the new year and enjoy playing outside in the twinkling lights during the last sunset of the year.

DIY Party Hats and Noisemakers

There’s no better way to say Happy New Year than making a bunch of noise and cheering loudly with the people you love most. Prepare for the big countdown to midnight (or whichever time you chose to celebrate) by creating some noisemakers and fun party hats. These will make some great party favors that your guests can take home with them too. 

One simple way to make your own noisemakers involves paper plates. Each person needs two paper plates they decorate the bottoms of. Use markers, crayons, paint, glitter, and anything else you can attach. Once they are decorated, add some dried beans or similar small pieces of something to one of the plates. Put the other plate on top with the decorated side out and glue them together. Tape works too, you just want to make sure that the plates stay glued together so you don’t lose the pieces that make the noise. Another option is to reuse water bottles by filling them with beans and decorating the outside. And if you don’t want to make your own, pots and pans work great to bang together too when the clock strikes midnight.

Interactive Meal

Consider what foods are favorites for the entire family and plan a fun dinner around them. Do you have a very adventurous family? Consider taking a trip around the world with dishes from different countries to eat throughout the day. Don’t worry, you can order takeout if there’s something that’s above your expertise in the kitchen (or you just want to avoid dishes.) 

Depending on the age of your kids, you might want to even include them in the dinner prep. Organize a pizza dinner where each member of the family and any guests can build their own pizza. Put out some of the most common toppings, and maybe some weird experimental options too. Once the dough is flattened and covered in tasty toppings, you can cook them in a pizza oven. Desserts are good for this too. If you want to keep your main meal simple, you can invite everyone to decorate their cookies or cupcakes and make fun and colorful creation.

Dressing Up

Dress up with a fun theme or get dolled up for dinner with the family. Use this holiday as your excuse to have a fancy night. If you don’t want to pull out your Sunday best, you can take this idea in the opposite direction and wear fun pajamas, like matching onesies. Even if you’re having a pretty standard night at home, you can up the fun levels with an assigned and festive dress code.

Props for a Fun Photo Booth

If you’re throwing a New Year’s bash, set up a fun photo booth with props and simple costumes. Find fun party favors with the new year on them, like glasses or glittery headbands, or hats. You can make a simple background with a sheet or fun wrapping paper. Use a polaroid camera or just a phone so that you can print photos on the printer. These are great party favors if you’re having friends or extended family over, or you can just keep them and collect them from your own family throughout the years. 

Reflection on the Past Year

One of the best parts about New Year’s Eve is the opportunity to reflect and celebrate the fun things and important moments from the year. There are many fun ways to do this. You can put out the supplies and have everyone work together to build a time capsule. Invite each member of your family to choose a few of their favorite small items and souvenirs from the year. Print out some photos and write little notes documenting things you want to remember when you open them in the future. It’s a fun DIY activity for the whole family and can be done a hundred ways.

If you want something a bit more simplistic, take some time over dinner or with a fun mocktail toast to go around and share a top memory from the year. Invite each person to share something they learned in the last twelve months or something they are most proud of. You’ll often be surprised at the things that stick out in your child’s memories for the year.

Fun Family Activities on New Year’s Day

What better way to kick off a brand new calendar year than a super fun family activity? Decide how you want to celebrate the first of the year on New Year’s Eve. Try something outside, like ice skating or sledding. Plan a fun scavenger hunt in your city, or check out a new restaurant or museum as a family. 

If you want something more laid back, you can plan a fun breakfast spread when everyone wakes up. Make pancakes, waffles, or whatever the favorite of the household is. Let everyone enjoy breakfast in bed or set up a fun picnic in the living room in their pajamas. It’s all about spending time together and enjoying the holiday doing something that you all enjoy.

Places to Visit for a Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Celebration

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a family vacation somewhere new this year. Many destinations put together family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebrations. This list has something for all families, from fireworks displays to face painting to unique countdowns at age-appropriate times. Explore somewhere new with the family and ring in the new year in style this year.

Beach Ball Drop in Panama City, Florida

Escape the cold weather and enjoy a kid-friendly New Year’s celebration in Panama City. The entire pier shuts down for traffic so people can enjoy all the festivities safely. The main attraction is the beach ball drop. The kids’ beach ball drop happens at 8 PM (so you can still have a normal bedtime.) 10,000 inflatable beach balls are dropped over the guests, followed by a fireworks special. If you didn’t get enough, you could enjoy live music until their second fireworks show and another beach ball drop at midnight. 

Noon Year’s Eve at Port Discovery in Baltimore

Bring the whole family to Baltimore, Maryland, to attend the Noontime New Year at Port Discovery. This popular event is packed with winter-themed activities, like Snow Fun and a Polar Bear Party. Kids can meet Time Travelers who tell fun stories about their adventures through time and space. Add on a trip to the Aquarium and make it a weekend of educational but fun activities for the family. 

Pajama Party at the Seattle Children’s Museum

Travel to the Pacific Northwest, where there are some world-class museums, plus some of the most beautiful National Parks within a day trip from the city. On New Year’s Eve, you can head to the Seattle Children’s Museum for the Pajama Party. Throughout the day, they have dance parties, a countdown at noon, and a station set up to make time capsules. While you’re there, kids can learn about the mountains, the Orcas who live in Puget Sound, and the stories of the PNW Native Americans. The museum is a perfect getaway for families with young kids. 

New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Disney

Disneyland always has unforgettable fireworks displays for holidays and special occasions. On New Year’s Eve, the park has a fireworks show at 9 PM and 11:55 PM, so plan accordingly. If you’re going to spend the day enjoying the rides and magic of Disney, find your way towards Sleeping Beauty’s Castle early to grab a spot and watch the incredible show before leaving the park. Just be prepared for crowds. It’s one of the busiest times during the year for visitors.

Live Music and Parades in New Orleans

New Orleans is a celebration destination, but most people think of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. Many family-friendly events are happening for New Year’s Eve so that you can bring the kids along to enjoy all the fun. The Louisiana Children’s Museum has many fun activities at the end-of-the-year celebrations. 

Pool Party in Glenwood Hot Springs

Just a few hours west of Denver, Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains, you can ring in the new year at Glenwood Hot Springs. The Springs provide a fun place to swim and play in the water, and you can even catch the annual fireworks show from the water. The city offers face painting, live music, and hot cocoa for families. It’s fun to get into the mountains for the holidays and still celebrate with all the classic New Year’s festivities. Maybe you can add a day or two on the ski hill. 

Noon Yards Eve in Washington DC

Celebrate new year’s eve in the Nation’s Capitol with Noon Yards Eve. There are glitter tattoo artists, bounce houses, carnival games, and fun music. It’s a perfect way to close the year with the kids and have a blast together. With so much to see and do in Washington, DC, it’s an excellent getaway for the entire family. Check out the museums, tour the famous National Mall sights, and see if you can snag a tour of the White House while the Christmas trees and decorations are still up. 

Kid-Friendly Celebration at CAMP in NYC

CAMP is a family experience company that offers fun-themed experiences in their shop locations. The New York City location host a Noon Year’s Eve event with a countdown, sparkling cider, a dance party, and all kinds of crafts for kids and their families to work on together. It’s the perfect option for families in the Big Apple who might want to avoid the madness of Times Square.

Pizza and Pop Train Ride in Ohio

The Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad offers a New Year’s Eve Train with Fireworks. There is a wine and cheese option for adults, but they also offer a pizza and pop option for kids and their families. You’ll head out on a two-hour train ride that leaves at 10:30 PM and stops at midnight so you can enjoy a beautiful fireworks show. Enjoy a fun getaway with your family to ring in the new year. These scenic train rides are a favorite of many families in the Ohio Valley area.

Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodges has nineteen locations around the United States. This family-friendly water park resort offers a huge selection of fun indoor activities to help the entire family escape the cold weather. During the holiday season, they run an event called Snowland at all locations. Daily activities include crafts, meeting Santa, yoga classes, bingo, trivia, and scavenger hunts. Check out all the seasonal things on the calendar and take advantage of all the attractions that are open year-round, like the water slides, arcades, and lazy rivers. It’s a great way to get out of your home and surround yourselves with fun to ring in the New Year.

Final Thoughts on Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Party Ideas

We hope this list gives you some ideas to help plan your end-of-the-year festivities. Let us know your favorite New Year’s traditions and what you plan to do with your family this holiday. Also, if you’re looking for ways to keep the energy high this winter, take a look at our list of “25 Holiday Travel Tips to Keep you Merry on the Move”!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best New Year’s Eve party ideas for the whole family?

If you are throwing a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party, create some confetti balloons in advance that you can pop with each hour getting closer to midnight and let the kids toast with sparkling cider.

Where are fun places to ring in the New Year with young kids?

If you want to travel and enjoy a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party, consider one of the Great Wolf Lodge locations, or head to Port Discovery in Baltimore for a fun Children’s Museum celebration.

How do you make New Year’s Eve special for kids?

Create new traditions by spending the holiday reflecting on the year and planning something fun. Pick up a copy of Adventures from Scratch and choose one of the dozens of adventures in the book.

Family Fun

22 Super Fun Snow Day Activities


When the snow starts falling outside, there’s always the possibility for a fun at-home snow day. Roads can be slippery, and schools might be canceled or switched to remote learning, but have no fear, there are so many fun snow day activities that can be enjoyed without leaving your yard. We’ve pulled together a list of all the fun things you can do both inside and outside on a snow day.

Save this list so you can easily access it the next time the flakes are flying outside your window, and you have the opportunity to play and enjoy the beautiful winter weather. There are plenty of these activities that work for sunny days or rainy days as well. 

Spend the snow day adventuring with Adventures From Scratch!

If you’re at a loose end indoors, take a look at our family-centered adventure book. It’s expertly curated by family and travel experts to ensure that you and your loved ones get the most out of every moment together. With more than fifty scratch-off adventures, you can cook, dance, learn, and get active as a family, and have a blast while doing it. Just pick a category. Scratch off an activity, and enjoy! Grab your copy of Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition today, and watch the family magic unfold!

Outdoor Activities for a Snow Day

Some fun outdoor winter activities are perfect for snow days. Get the family outside to take in some fresh air and burn up some energy while having fun together. Bundle up and head outside! 


Sledding is one of the best ways for kids of all ages (and adults too) to enjoy a few inches of snow. From the classic wooden toboggans to the neon-colored saucers, there are many different types of sleds to try out on your neighborhood hill. Take turns flying down the hill on the snow. The steeper the hill, the faster you’ll fly. Just remember that you have to climb back up when you’re done unless you’re lucky enough to have access to a tow rope. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a hill, take turns pulling each other through the snow on the sleds.

Snow Forts

Igloos are structures built completely out of packed snow blocks and if you have enough snow falling, you can create one in your yard. Packed snow sticks together and provides a great building material for a fort. Utilize plastic storage bins or anything that you can pack snow into and create bricks or blocks of snow. This will make the building process go much smoother.

Get the whole family involved with shovels, warm mittens, and some creativity. If you want a bit of a shortcut (because igloos can take hours), you can use a playground, picnic table, or other structure in your yard or garage and pack snow on top of it. Make some hot soup and enjoy your lunch or dinner in your cool snow fort. If the weather stays cold in your location, you can use the fort all winter long. 

Snow Painting

The white, clean look of fresh snow offers a perfect canvas for some colorful yard art. Snow painting is a fun and simple activity for kids (and adults) on a snow day. You can purchase snow paint from most major retailers, but it’s really easy to make your own at home as well. Grab some empty squirt bottles or spray bottles. Add two tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 cups of water, and food coloring to the bottles. Use a funnel to help keep the mess to a minimum.

Once you’ve got some color options, head outside and create some masterpieces in the snow. If the temperature outside is frigid, you could also fill a plastic bin with snow from outside and paint it inside. Try different methods like paint brushes and stencils. Create colorful flowers in your snowy yard or leave messages of love and support for anyone walking by on this snowy day. Use the paints on any snow creations you make in your yard.

Snowball Fight

A classic snowball fight is the perfect snow day activity to get the whole family outside. Split up into teams and toss packed snowballs toward your opponents. If you’re worried about someone getting hurt with a packed snowball throw, there are tons of other games you can play using snowballs. Create targets in the yard and see who can get the most points. Play catch with one snowball and see which team can keep theirs together the longest. Play bocce ball in the snow and work to see who can get their snowball closest to the jack. 

There are tools you can purchase now to help make snowballs, but a good pair of mittens or gloves should do the trick. All you have to do is grab a handful of snow and pack it together so it sticks. The tools seem unnecessary unless you’re wanting to keep your hands completely dry and warm. Use the snow paint to color your snowballs if you want to keep track of who gets closer to a target. 

Snowman Building

Take your snowballs to the next level by creating a sculpture out of snow. Putting together a snow person is simple. Roll the snow to create multiple large round balls and stack them on top of each other to create a body and a head. The standard number is three, but you can get as creative as you want. 

Once you have a body and head, you can start to accessorize and give your creation a bit of personality. Find items in the yard to create facial features. The traditional song calls for a carrot nose and two eyes made out of coal, but many options will work just as well. Pinecones, sticks, rocks, leaves, fruit, and items from your kitchen inside will work as well. Do you have a Mr. Potato Head toy set inside? Those pieces are made to bring something to life.

Snow paint is a fun way to dress up your snow people. You can paint the body different colors, or even try to create a tie-dye outfit. Add funny hats or glasses, or borrow some from your family members if you’re creating a replica of your family in the yard. Just make sure to bring anything inside that you don’t want to get lost or carried away by a curious animal visiting overnight. 

Obstacle Course

As you can see from the other options on this list, snow can be molded and shaped in so many unique ways. Use this to your advantage and create an obstacle course in your yard using the fresh snow. You can shovel out a special snow maze with tons of dead ends and challenge the kids to race to the end and see who gets the best time. 

Think of fun ways to use the snow you have cleared from your sidewalk and driveways to create obstacles that the kids will have to climb over, crawl through, or get around. The more challenging, the better. Add a balance beam, hoops, or even cones to give participants some fun and tricky obstacles to maneuver. The snow will add a little extra cushion (and so will the snowsuits they are wearing). Use sleds to have them pull each other to add extra work if you want to help wear them out and burn up some energy. Just make sure to celebrate their accomplishments afterward with a little medal ceremony. It will feel just like the Winter Olympics.

Snow Angels

One of the first things that young children want to do in fresh snow is jump into it. Snow angels are a fun creation that’s made by laying on your back and moving your arms and legs back and forth until you’ve cleared a section of the snow that resembles an angel. Your arms create wing-like shapes and the movement of your legs creates the bottom of a gown. This activity takes just a few minutes, but kids can immediately see the shapes they made with their bodies and it gives them an excuse to jump right in. See how creative they can get with shapes in the snow once they’ve made their first one.


One great snow day activity that also helps to improve your children’s motor skills is ice skating. It’s a fun and active way to get outside on a cold winter’s day and move your body. Head to a local skating rink if the roads aren’t too bad and rent skates for an hour or two. If it’s the first time for anyone in your family, you can use a chair, a cone, or anything lightweight and large to assist with balance on the ice. Pushing those items around the ice helps new skaters learn to move their feet without being constantly afraid of falling. 

Frozen bodies of water make great skating rinks if you don’t have access to a public rink. Just make sure to check the ice thickness before heading out on the ice. You can bring along hockey sticks and play a game of puck, or just enjoy gliding around on skates and getting some fresh air. It’s a fantastic winter activity for the whole family.

Neighborly Shoveling

Do a good deed on a snow day by heading out into the neighborhood and completing the shoveling work for others. Most cities require residents to clear the public sidewalks and paths to mailboxes and there is a timeframe for that clearing to be completed. If you finish your driveway and sidewalk, consider helping someone else on the street clear their walkways.

This is a great way to get your kids involved with giving back. This small act of kindness helps get everyone outside and moving their bodies, plus it helps your neighbors check something off their to-do list. Spread the love.

Indoor Snow Day Activities

If the temperatures outside are just too cold or the wind is howling, there are plenty of fun indoor activities for a snow day that the whole family can enjoy as well. Avoid going stir-crazy by keeping everyone entertained. These are also perfect to sandwich between the outdoor fun while everyone is warming up or after the sun goes down and it’s dark outside.

Snow Ice Cream

You’ve probably all heard of ice cream, but have you ever tried snow cream? It’s made using fresh snow, milk, sugar, and a splash of flavor. It’s a fun way to turn the snow into a tasty snack. Use maple syrup or vanilla extract to add some extra flavor. With food coloring, you can turn the snow cream into a colorful treat. Once you’ve mixed a large bowl of snow cream, split it out into individual bowls for each member of the family. Bring out all the sundae toppings as well and enjoy it like ice cream. Add chocolate syrup, sprinkles, or even a cherry for the full effect. 

Tropical Destinations

In the winter, every day that falls under freezing temperatures might have you dreaming of a tropical getaway. Whether you have one on the calendar or not, you can spend your next snow day pretending. Turn the heat up on the thermometer a few degrees and pull out your favorite hot weather outfits. 

Once you’re dressed the part, you can embrace the theme with a playlist filled with summer anthems and tropical beats. Have a dance party with the family and enjoy some of your favorite hot weather treats. Make frozen fruit smoothies to drink through colorful straws, put on a movie that is set in Hawaii or another tropical destination, and let your mind escape to somewhere with no snow on the ground. If you want to play some games, consider limbo or hula hooping, just like you’re poolside at a resort. Get creative with what you have. This might just become a new family tradition for the first big snow of the year.


Nothing feels as warm and cozy as a kitchen that smells like warm cookies or your favorite desserts. See what ingredients you have in your pantry (or stock up when you see the weather report) and pick out a few recipes that you can bake with the family. Get the kids involved and take your time measuring things out and mixing everything up. It’s not too often that you get an uninterrupted day, so take advantage and get ambitious with your baking. 

If you make too much, you can always deliver some to your neighbors or friends nearby. Everyone loves a warm dessert on a cold, snowy day. Turn up the music, put on your aprons, and have a great day mixing and decorating some quality goodies.

DIY Snowflakes

Bring the beauty of the falling snow inside without all the cold and sloppy mess by doing a little DIY project and making paper snowflakes. It’s a simple process that just requires scissors and some scratch paper (or any white paper.) Fold the paper a few times and then make some cuts in the paper. Use triangles, squares, rectangles, and other shapes. Once you unfold the paper, you’ll have beautiful snowflakes with fascinating patterns. 

If you want to add something extra special, bring out a paintbrush and some glitter paints. Make the snowflakes shimmer and shine. You can tape them up on your windows and keep the snow around long after it melts if you’d like. This craft project is fun and easy. 

Indoor Snowball Fight

Snowball fights don’t all need to happen outside. If you’re worried about the snowballs being a bit too icy or someone taking a hit to the face, you can bring the fun indoors. The best way to make soft snowballs indoors is to use socks. Roll them up into a ball and secure them by tucking in the ends. Put them all into laundry baskets and divide them up among the teams. Have fun tossing them at each other while running around the house. 

If you want to have fun while completing a chore, consider challenging everyone to toss them into sock drawers and score points with each basket. You might just make this part of your weekly laundry chores because everyone will have a blast trying to get the socks into the drawer as quickly as possible.

Hot Chocolate While Watching the Snow Fall

One of the best treats to pair with falling snow is a warm glass of hot cocoa. On your next snow day, gather the whole family in the living room to watch the snow come down and enjoy their hot chocolate. If you want to make it a little more special, you can put out some extras that people can add to make their drink perfect. Marshmallows, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar, or even sprinkles are all great options. 

Use this time to slowly sip the hot drinks and chat with each other. A snow day is a perfect opportunity to take things slowly and enjoy the little moments throughout the day. Hot chocolate can be made as fancy or simple as possible. Use hot chocolate bombs or melt a chocolate bar over the stove and try something different.

Board Games

Board games are a fun way to get the whole family involved in an activity. With options for all age groups, you can have fun with kids of any age. Raid your stash of board games, and check with the neighbors if you need some new options. Pull them all out on the table and then prepare some snacks and refreshments for your fun competition. 

Decide if you want to split up into teams or if you want each person to play for themselves. Choose three or four games that you want to add to the day’s schedule. Set up the games, put on some music in the background, and have a blast enjoying a little friendly competition with the family. If you’re short on options, use a deck of cards or pull together some supplies for a DIY game, like charades and Pictionary. Classic games, like Monopoly, Sorry, and Candyland, are great to have on hand at all times. Board games are a great way to take a break from screentime and enjoy each other’s company.

Watch Movies in Pajamas

When the weather is extremely cold and miserable outside, take advantage of the downtime and dress up in your coziest pajamas and have a movie viewing party. Pour drinks for everyone, see what candy and salty snacks you have, and don’t forget the popcorn. Bring pillows and any other comfortable items down to your living room, or wherever you have the best television in your home.

To bring the entire family together, make sure to choose movies that everyone will be interested in. With small children, you can find many of the classic Disney movies on the Disney Plus streaming services. Pick out a few options and let the family vote on the one they want to see the most, or allow each person to throw out their least favorite option. The more excited everyone is, the easier it will be to get through the movie with everyone enjoying themselves.

Science Experiments

If baking isn’t your thing, but you want to do some hands-on activities on your snow day, consider doing some science experiments in your kitchen. There are many things you can do with items that you probably already have in your home. 

Baking soda and vinegar can create some fun reactions. Put some baking soda into a balloon and then fill a water bottle with vinegar. Take the balloon and put it over the top of the water bottle, and watch the balloon expand and blow up on its own. Preschoolers will love seeing the magic happen.

Another fun experiment you can do at home is to create your own toys. Slime is made using glue and shaving cream. Kids love playing with it. Homemade play dough is another easy DIY toy. It’s made by mixing flour, salt, water, and a few other simple ingredients. Use food coloring or essential oils to add a little color or scents to your creations.

Blanket Fort

When you have an entire day to play inside, consider building a fort with your kids. Use the furniture as your base and build walls and a ceiling with blankets and pillows. Forts are perfect to curl up and read, play quietly, or even take an afternoon nap. If you have any string lights or lanterns, you can use those inside your fort as well (be careful with any possible fire hazards in the fort.) 

You can make it a competition and have each kid make their own. Once everyone is complete, you can give each other tours of your forts and have different activities take place in each one. Leave the forts up all day and enjoy the change of scenery. It might make a huge mess, but it’s a fun way to stay entertained while stuck inside.

Indoor Scavenger Hunt

Set up an indoor scavenger hunt for everyone to compete in on your snow day. You can grab a free printable list online that has tons of ideas, or your can make your own based on the items you know you have in your home. Split everyone up into teams and send them out to search as quickly as possible. You can offer special prizes for the winners, like the chance to pick out a movie to watch or get first dips on the snacks later.

Using adjectives instead of specific items will ensure that things are easier to find. For example, instead of saying a specific food item, you could say that they need to find something to eat with a blue wrapper or something spicy. It’s a great challenge that will encourage your family to work together and use their brains to find everything on the list.

Fireside Reading

Snowy days are perfect for diving into a good book. If there’s a lot of snow in the forecast, head to the library and stock up on books to enjoy. Maybe you even take a snowy trek to the neighborhood library on your day off. When you’re ready to dive in, light a fire and cozy up with the family. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can pull up a fireplace on your television, complete with the sounds of crackling wood. Candles provide a cozy environment as well.

Encouraging the entire family to get lost in a book for a day is perfect for a snow day. Grab some snacks, make a cup of tea or hot cocoa, and make sure you have comfortable clothes on so you can relax and enjoy yourself. 

Indoor Picnic

Picnics are a fun activity for warm summer days at the park, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a picnic on a snow day. Just bring the fun inside. Grab a blanket and prep all the typical picnic food. You can make sandwiches and snacks and grab some drinks. Lay the blanket out in the living room or even on the kitchen floor and set out all the food for people to enjoy. The best picnic foods include pasta salad, cheese, crackers, and small sandwiches. Enjoy your picnic slowly and enjoy the change of scenery for your meal. It’s fun to change things up every once in a while. 

Final Thoughts on Snow Day Activities

Bad weather doesn’t mean the fun needs to be put on pause. Refer back to this list of snow day activities next time the flurries start to fly and help your family break out of routine and do something memorable. Whether you choose to play inside or outside, this list has ideas. Let us know what your favorite snow day activities are in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best indoor activities on a snow day?

When planning indoor snow day activities, consider the materials you have on hand. You can try some great science experiments, or plan some at-home activities like scavenger hunts or board games.

What snow day activities are good for younger kids?

If you want to entertain young children with snow day activities, get outside and enjoy the snow. Make a snow fort, have a snowball fight, or practice painting the snow in different colors.

What activities are good for the whole family on a snow day?

To keep the family entertained on a snow day, check out Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition. You can scratch off the activities and adventures to be surprised and make memories with the family.

Family FunHolidays

How to Host a Festive and Fun Family Holiday Gathering

family-holiday-gathering (1)

Whether you’re a “hostess with the mostest,” and throwing a party is what you live for, or you just drew the short stick for this year, hosting a get-together often comes with a little stress. Even the best party planners can get overwhelmed by all the details. The menu, the decorations, the guest list, the cleaning, and above all, finding party activities that your guest will enjoy. With a little help though, your holiday bash can be a blast and fun to plan. Here are a few tips to help you throw a family holiday gathering without all the stress.

Enjoy family time all year ’round!

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, food, and fun! It’s not very often you get to spend the day with your extended relations and long-lost cousins. So why not make the most of it with Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition? This beautiful book is chock-full of challenges that will test your creativity as you build deeper bonds. You’ll work together as a family, and celebrate the wins together!

Step By Step Process

In order to make sure you get all the details covered, and don’t give yourself gray hair in the process, follow this step-by-step list to get your party train rolling.

1. Make your guest list.

The most important part of the holiday season is spending time with family members and loved ones. The right guest list can make or break a holiday party. Obviously, family gatherings don’t have as much leeway in this department. We don’t really get to choose our family, but you still have the option to include a close circle or the whole extended family. When planning a gathering for friends, think long and hard about who you want to be there, their relationships with each other, and the vibe you want to elicit.

2. Pick your location.

Just because you’re hosting the family holiday, doesn’t mean it has to be at your house. In fact, it might be less stressful for you to have it somewhere else. Most of us get a little overconcerned about the cleanliness of the baseboards or how others will perceive our homes when we host within our own walls. If having all those people in your halls, makes you nervous, you could choose a public place instead, like a city park, recreation center, restaurant, or local pub. Think about the personality of your guest list and decide on a place that fits your idea of a good party.

3. Set the rules.

Every bash has a set of parameters. Before you send out your invites (or a mass text), you need to decide a few things. Will you be providing the holiday meal or are you going to do a potluck? If it’s a Christmas party, will you be exchanging gifts? Will you draw names, play a gift-exchange game, or have a price limit? Will it be casual or black-tie? You might consult a few key members of your guest list and decide on these important aspects before you get too far into the planning.

4. Pick a theme.

Developing a cohesive theme for your party will help you consolidate options for food, dress code, and games. This one step can alleviate a lot of stress by bringing everything together in your mind. Once you have an exciting theme to work from (more on that later), you’ll find that the rest falls into place. Plus, people are more likely to get on board when they get to look forward to something out of the ordinary.

5. Decide on a menu.

There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to a holiday meal. You can go traditional and make it all from scratch, or have a taco bar and have everyone bring an element. Even if you do a potluck, we recommend you develop a menu. This way, you can send out the theme and the list of needed items, and people can sign up for what they would like to bring. This way, you won’t end up with 10 desserts and no meat.

To keep everyone in the loop, you can use an online menu planning website or app like Potluck by Meal Train. It allows you to put in the details of your gathering and the menu with quantities, allowing everyone in the group to see what has been claimed and what is still needed. It’s a quick and easy way to keep everyone on the same page.

6. Send out invites early.

The holiday season is an extra level of busyness for most people. Between work gatherings, family obligations, school gatherings, and friends, most people have something every weekend from November to January. Get your invitations out early! Six weeks in advance is advisable, but a month, at the very least.

Be sure to include an RSVP section, the “rules” of the party, the address, the dress code, and any parking instructions.

7. Pick a partner.

Choose someone off your guest list that you work well with. They can help you pick decorations, think of game ideas, and take some of the stress off of planning the whole thing yourself. They may even want to help financially if that is a concern for you. Time to go shopping!

Building Ambiance

Creating an environment that is beautiful, comfortable, and appropriate for conversation is the key to throwing a truly great gathering. There are a lot of little things to consider, and every party is a little bit different, but here are a few aspects to think about:

Create an easy flow.

Think about the flow of people through your space. You should have clear walking paths between your points of interest. For instance, guests should be able to easily move from your snack table to the coffee bar, to the fireside seating without impediment. Create space anywhere you can by removing unnecessary objects and producing a flow that feels intuitive.

Play the proper music.

Music sets the ambiance like nothing else. If you ignore the rest of this list, have a great playlist in the background. For a black-tie cocktail party, consider a classical music list. For a family-centered get-together, turn up the Christmas favorites, and don’t forget some fun jams for the kiddos. If you’re gathering with friends for drinks and snacks, then just bust out the oldies from your glory days. You could even lay out old CDs or vinyl and allow guests to choose what comes next. Make it part of the party activities.

Set mood lighting.

Another key to creating a fitting ambiance is to control the lighting. For a classy dinner party, consider dimming the overheads and brightening the table with Christmas lights or candles, along with the firelight. While you don’t want anyone tripping over their feet, bright, fluorescent lights tend to make people feel exposed, especially if there are any social anxieties.

Create conversation pits.

In any large group, people tend to break off into pods for conversations. For indoor gatherings, rearrange your furniture so that you have several different seating areas. Even some big throw pillows, in a corner, can create a cozy spot, so don’t go buying a bunch of new chairs or anything.

We also suggest a good outdoor spot for those who need a little fresh air. Whether it’s rockers on the porch, benches around your fountain, or a few logs around the firepit, having an outdoor space is a relief for those who don’t like close contact.

Pro Tip: Make sure that your guests know what areas are available to them, and place food and drinks at each of the sites. If it’s too cold to congregate outside, you may consider a few open windows for those who get a bit claustrophobic.

Offer apps!

If your party includes a large meal, serve some appetizers for those who can’t wait (or are nervous eaters). Spread them out around the area and include cute labels, with ingredients, so everybody knows what they are eating.

Provide a beverage station

There will be at least one person in your group that will need a glass of wine to calm their nerves or put them in the mood to socialize. Your beverage area should be well-stocked, well-lit, and easy to access. Consider making a festive cocktail that fits your party theme to serve with dessert. If your gathering is on the dry side, offer non-alcoholic bevvies at the bar instead.

Sprinkle decorations to draw the eye.

A great way to utilize your decorations is to highlight your seating areas. Consolidate most of your decorations to these areas, drawing in the guests and giving them some conversation starters. Great decorations do not have to be expensive. In fact, you can use just about anything to add to the ambiance, including your prepared food items. Set up a table for all the beautiful desserts. They are literal “eye candy.”

Candles are a cheap and effective accessory, and so are Christmas lights. Remember to stick to a color scheme, two or three colors, nothing too overwhelming. Local craft stores and even Dollar General have great options for inexpensive decor, and you can find plenty of inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram.

The Best Party Activities

Tree Decorating

You may consider having multiple trees for your party, but leave one to be decorated as a part of the night. You could set out pre-made decorations or provide a craft table where each guest can make their own ornament. Then you can decorate and have a tree-lighting ceremony to kick off your gift-giving segment.

Treasure Hunting

Entertain your guests with an indoor scavenger hunt from Let’s Roam. Through our interactive scavenger hunt app, you can keep your guests busy with some friendly competition! These activities can be performed at any time and don’t take much prep on your part. Choose from several different categories, each with something for all ages. Have other ideas? Turn them into a custom scavenger hunt event!

Icebreakers and “Team-Building” Games

Sure, you’re meeting with family, but you might not necessarily know everyone in attendance. There are always significant others to meet! Additionally, it can never hurt to get to know your distant relatives a bit better. Why not bring everyone together for a little team-building exercise? We happen to know a thing or two about team building, and it can be fun for anyone!

Try some icebreakers to get the conversation flowing or engage the gang in some improv games, team up for holiday trivia, play a group game of Pictionary, or battle it out with Family Feud! Guests would love a game night after dinner, don’t you think?

Finish the Lyrics

This game is easy and plays on our ability (or inability) to remember song lyrics. Play a few bars of a famous Christmas song and challenge guests, two at a time, to “buzz” in and finish the lyrics. This one always brings out the laughs, whether from mistaken lyrics or horrendous singing ability. Make sure to have a little gift for your winner.

Cocktail Contest

If you’re having an adults-only party, then challenge each guest to create their own, unique, holiday cocktail. You can have everyone bring a specific kind of liquor or additive to help with the cost, like a potent potluck. Give points for categories like taste, potency, and presentation. No booze? No problem! Compete in a fancy mocktail contest instead!

Baking Together

What better way to bond with your loved ones than to whip up some of great-grandma’s famous recipes together? Too many party planners run around for hours before the get-together trying to make sure that everything is perfect and complete, but this keeps guests separated from the planning and uninvested. Successful event hosts know that the more people feel involved in the process, the more they will enjoy the gathering.

You could also decorate pumpkins, gingerbread houses, or cookies together as an edible craft project or competition. Get creative!

S’mores By the Fire

Nothing facilitates conversation like a firepit. When people have something to do with their hands, a warm ambiance with a mesmerizing flame, and a chocolatey treat in hand, all the world is right! Roast some delicious s’mores and enjoy sweet conversation with your delectable treats.

Ugly Sweater Making

Ugly sweater contests have become a pretty common party theme. It’s even more fun when you create your own sweaters! Head to Hobby Lobby or your nearest store full of bobbles and beads, and stock up on tassels, sequins, hot glue, and funny patches. Let your guests create their own masterpieces, and have a fashion show to determine the winner!

Saran Wrap Ball Game

You might be familiar with this mess of plastic wrap that’s become a festive favorite in households worldwide! The objective is to wrap as many little trinkets, baubles, and treats as you can inside a tightly wound clump of plastic wrap, carefully placing each far enough away that it’s a challenge to get to but close enough that it helps build your ball. For an eco-friendly twist, use packing materials that would otherwise be discarded or wind up your presents in strips of cloth headed to the rag pile. Whatever you use, the game will be just as exciting!

Once your ball is ready to roll, have everyone sit in a circle. Each person gets to throw two dice to see who gets the highest number. That player goes first. He or she must put on mittens or oven mitts (to increase the degree of difficulty, of course), then pick a spot, and start unwinding. The person to their right will roll the dice until they hit doubles. At that time, the ball and dice are passed to the right. Keep playing until the ball is gone! Everyone gets to keep their prizes.

Tips for Lowering the Stress

Don’t procrastinate.

While you’ll certainly want to serve the cheese dip warm, holiday decorations, game setup, and playlists can be made ahead of time. If you send invitations out six weeks in advance, then begin collecting your decorations then. Putting everything off until the last minute will make you a worn-out, nervous mess by the time your guests arrive.

Ask for help.

In addition to finding a party-planning partner, get input from your other guests on food and activities. Two brains are better than one, and three or four are even more efficient. Don’t be too proud to ask for help, and don’t assume that your guests don’t want to help!

Betty Crocker is A-Okay.

You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen, making every dish from scratch. It’s perfectly okay to mix and match pre-made deli trays and bakery goods with grandma’s potato salad. If your local baker makes the best cookies around, then preserve your mental health, grab a box, and present them in a creative way. There’s no shame in it, and you’ll be supporting local businesses!

Get some digital help.

Check out an all-inclusive planning app like Event Planner to keep all your ducks in a row. They can help with invites, menus, and budget management, among every other aspect of the preparation process.

Don’t be afraid to change it up!

If you have had the same-old-same family gathering for the last thirty years, then your new ideas will likely be met with some resistance, but the truth is, if you’re bored with the normal, then the likelihood is that other family members are too. If you’re keen on making some changes, start with one or two things, incorporating a new activity or an easy-to-accomplish theme, while keeping the familiar menu. Conversely, choose a non-traditional meal, but keep the gift-giving process familiar. You want to spice up the party, not flip the whole table. Keeping the family involved in the process is important too, so ask family members to take on a task with the planning or preparing of an activity.

Suggested Holiday Themes

Autumn Harvest

With scarecrows, hay bales, and pumpkins of every color, a harvest theme is perfect for a family-center Thanksgiving gathering. You can assemble traditional games like pinning the tail on the donkey, bobbing for apples, or making caramel apples. It will be hunting season, perhaps you install an archery pit or a dart board for a little competition. Set up a photo booth for the mandatory family photos.

Favorite Film

Choose a Christmas movie like The Grinch or A Christmas Carol, or go completely random with Wizard of Oz. Guests will come dressed as their favorite characters, and all decorations and food items should pertain to the movie somehow. If the weather participates, you might end your evening with an outdoor showing of the film. Set out blankets in the yard with a screen and projector, or create comfy palettes in your living room for a late-night showing. Don’t forget the hot cocoa.

International Smorgasbord

Celebrate Christmas with an international flair. The holiday is celebrated in most of the world at this point, but the festivities vary greatly! Check out the customs and traditional foods in France, Korea, or South Africa. You could choose one country, or have people bring their favorite traditional dish from their favorite destination.

Pajama Party

If you’re having a close family get-together or a girl’s party, make sure everybody is comfy by throwing out the sparkly holiday dress code and making it a pajama party instead! Pick a great movie, put on some cocoa, build a fire, and celebrate the holidays with a laid-back evening with your besties.

Old-Fashioned Fun

Bring in a little nostalgia by planning your party around old favorites. Set up Monopoly, Twister, Charades, and tug of war. Arrange a candy table with old-school treats like buttons, tootsie rolls, Pez, and gumballs. Break out the classic Nintendo for a rousing game of Mario. Whatever it’s that brings back happy memories for you and your clan, collect it, and spend your holiday reminiscing happy times.

Murder Mystery

Sure, the holidays are festive, but what’s the harm in a little mystery? Set yourselves up to solve a crime, as you play characters involved in a tricky whodunnit! Each guest should be given a script so you can learn a bit about the characters and their personalities. If your family is up for it, go all out! Accents, funny dialect—the works! Break out into team sessions to see which group can determine the culprit first!


Everybody loves tacos, and it’s an easy meal to create for a large crowd. Find some appropriately-themed, brightly-colored decorations, and host a fabulous fiesta! Set the table for around a giant sombrero, and have a party like never before, as you enjoy red and green tortilla chips, dip into fried ice cream, and try to bust through a holiday-themed pinata.


Go to Old-World Spain and bring on the tapas. These tiny dishes are perfect for a casual party, as they are usually finger foods, so no dishes, and they are visually appealing. For a unique aspect, consider hiring a flamingo dancer for a group lesson.

Safety Precautions

Unfortunately, all the good holidays fall during the winter, putting those with severe illnesses and compromised immune systems at greater risk of contracting coronavirus or other winter illnesses. If you’re truly concerned, it’s your gathering, and you’re more than entitled to request that guests disclose their vaccination status, wear masks, and adhere to other guidelines from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The pandemic is now a part of our world, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

You might want to ensure your venue is large enough to maintain social distancing and, before joining holiday festivities, ensure that you are up to date with your own booster shots. Keep hand sanitizer readily available, and take extra precautions if you know that there will be unvaccinated people and high-risk guests in attendance.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re bored with your normal holiday gathering, then take a risk this year and try something new. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t like it, and you don’t do it again, no harm done!

Have a unique holiday tradition? Drop it in the comments for us!

While you’re here, be sure to check out some of our other holiday posts. From Friendsgiving ideas to winter break suggestions, we’ll keep you moving and grooving with your family all season. And if you’re one of those late shoppers, we’ve even got a list of last-minute gifts to help you ensure you’ve purchased perfect presents for everyone on your list this year!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you host a good holiday party?

Hosting a party can be stressful, but with these tips for hosting a family holiday gathering, you’ll have it covered. will help you choose a theme, plan a menu, create the proper ambiance, and include fun activities!

What do I need to host a family holiday gathering?

Every family holiday gathering needs an abundance of food and fun! Head to for more details. While there, grab a scratch-off adventure book with over 50+ family activity ideas!

How do you host a stress-free holiday party?

Take the stress out of planning a family holiday gathering by using an event planning app, involving loved ones in the process, and starting early. Holiday tips from could help you sail through this season!

Family FunTravel

Tips for Planning the Perfect Family Getaway Weekend


Are you looking for some fun ways to spend some quality time with the family? Plan a family weekend getaway to make some memories and have some fun! We’ve put together a collection of tips to help you plan the best family vacation, even if you just have a few days to sneak away. You’ll get some ideas to help prepare your kids and set your family up for success. Plus, we shared a list of various types of destinations to help you start brainstorming your wishlist today.

So, let’s get through the business of planning and preparing so you can be ready to relax and have some fun with your family as soon as possible.

Record your family’s travel memories!

While preparing for your family’s weekend getaway, don’t forget to pick up a copy of our Adventure Travel Journal! Use it to save your packing list, record vacation firsts, and document the attractions you visit and interactions you have with others. It’s the perfect companion for any trip!

How to Start Planning Your Family Weekend Getaway

Let’s start with the 10 tips that will help set you up for success. These practical guidelines will help you make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything and have all the important pieces figured out before you leave.

Choose a destination everyone will enjoy.

Picking a place to spend your time is arguably the most important part of the planning process. Involve the entire family and see what ideas people have. You might be shocked at some of the unique ideas your kids come up with. Maybe they have friends at school that have talked about a trip they went on and it sounded cool. Maybe your kids have an interest in something they’ve learned about that you didn’t know.

By involving the entire family, you can agree on a place together and it will help everyone get excited. The last thing you want is pouting children because they have to leave home to travel somewhere that they don’t know anything about. Remember, you are ultimately in charge, so set whatever guidelines in place you want to help with the selection.

Set your budget, and start saving.

There are plenty of budget-friendly destinations, especially if you are taking just a weekend trip. Determine how much money you want to (or can) spend on the family vacation. Make sure to consider everything. 

Many people only figure it transportation and lodging, but there are likely going to be other costs along the way. Think about admission to museums, attractions, and dining out. Add in some extra money for souvenirs, especially if you want the kids to get a memento from the trip. 

Once you set a budget, figure out the timeline you need to save up the money. Even if you’re going to use a credit card to make purchases and earn points, you want to be able to pay it off before it accrues any interest. That will give you an idea of when you can depart for your weekend away.

Purchase airline tickets before prices begin creeping up.

If you are planning to travel somewhere that requires a plane, make sure to book your tickets at least two weeks from the travel date. Last-minute tickets are expensive, so the sooner you can purchase your flights, the better deal you will get. There are also some websites that can help you locate cheaper tickets. Free services, like Faredrop, are great if you know what city you want to visit and you want to get alerts whenever there is a deal.

Another option is to sign up for promotional emails from the airlines you like to fly with. You’ll know about seasonal sales and deals. Plus if you have frequent flier miles or credit card points, you can cash those in to save some money on your tickets. Purchasing travel insurance might not be a bad idea. You never know when something could come up with the kids and the more people you are bringing along, the higher the odds are that something changes and you don’t want to lose that money.

Consider all lodging options.

Hotels aren’t the only option for lodging on a family vacation. There are tons of kid-friendly rentals through Airbnb, VRBO, and other rental sites that might suit your family a little better. It’s nice to have some space to spread out and hotel rooms can get a little cramped. Plus, having your own kitchen can allow you to cook some meals or at least have some snacks on hand at the place you’re staying.

If you want a more pampered vacation, check for all-inclusive resorts where you just pay one bill and everything is included, from meals to activities to drinks. Some resorts even have spa services that can help the parents really relax on vacation in between all the fun family activities.

For the opposite experience (but no less fun), you can camp in a tent or an RV. Don’t have a camper yourself? Rent one and take your family out into nature and enjoy the simple things in life for the weekend. Glamping has become more popular in recent years with yurts and nice canvas tents set up in beautiful locations so you don’t even need to figure out how to set up the tent.

Just keep an open mind to the options and choose the one that will best fit your family and the vacation you’re trying to have with them.

Plan out a (loose) itinerary.

You will find no shortage of fun activities for the family at any destination and it’s good to make a plan ahead of time. Just be careful that you don’t overpack the itinerary. You don’t want to be rushing through something that you’re having so much fun at only to find out the next place isn’t all you hoped it would be. Be in the moment and allow for some wiggle room in your schedule.

The best way to do this is to plan one big activity each day and have a couple of smaller options to fill in any open times. If you are going on a day trip that will take a little longer, don’t pile on other commitments the same day because you need a little space to relax as well. 

Do the research ahead of time and figure out which attractions and activities require reservations or advance tickets. Anything else can be a bit more spontaneous. If you don’t do everything on your list, it will just give you a reason to come back in the future. The last thing you want to worry about on vacation is obsessively watching the clock.

Research babysitting options.

Family-friendly resorts, campgrounds, and sometimes hotels might have babysitting or child care services available to guests. If that’s an option, consider planning a night or even a visit to one of the local breweries with your partner to enjoy some adult-only time. 

Another option is to bring along a grandparent, aunt, or uncle that can enjoy the family vacation with you and also give you a little break at some point. Having an extra set of adult hands is never a bad idea, especially when you are exploring someplace new with younger kids. See what options you have if you think a little help would improve your vacation.

Make plans for the animals and plants.

Are you leaving behind any pets? Make sure you set up a pet sitter or a boarding reservation for them. Sometimes, those reservations fill up quickly, so you want to make sure you are getting your spots booked far enough in advance. If you have a sitter that can come stay at your home, that might be the easiest option. 

Even if you don’t have pets, it’s a good idea to have someone keep an eye on your place when you’re out of town. It might be as easy as checking the mail and watering a plant or two, but it’s just a safer option to have someone keep an eye on it when you’re out of town.

Allow an extra day for transition time.

Weekend trips can pack a lot of things in. If your plan is to head out Thursday evening and get home Sunday evening to get back to work early Monday morning, you may be absolutely exhausted. Consider planning your arrival for at least Sunday early afternoon so you have some time to unwind (and unpack). 

Weekend trips should be destinations that aren’t hard to get to so you don’t have to spend hours on the commute both ways. Maximize your time with your family by making the transportation piece as easy as possible and that will allow you to have a little time to recuperate before diving back into the normal grind of daily routines and busy lives.

Start the countdown.

Once you have dates locked in, start getting excited. Unless you are keeping it a secret from your kids, get them in on the excitement. Write the number of days on the calendar and talk about it each day. Put a countdown app on your phone and check it each night before bed. However, you can incorporate the excitement that vacation is coming, do it. The anticipation can add to the fun.

Have fun with the planning process!

The process of planning vacations should be a fun process. There will be some moments of stress or an overwhelming amount of options to sort through, but if you approach the entire planning process excitedly, you can help set the tone. Involve the family once you’ve narrowed down some options if you want their input. Let yourself have fun dreaming about the hotels you’ll stay in and the views you’ll enjoy. This can be a special time for you each week as you put everything together.

Managing Kids’ Needs During A Family Trip

One of the most stressful parts of a family vacation is how to manage the kids and keep them happy. If the kids are melting down and not having fun, it doesn’t really allow anyone else in the family to have a good time. We’ve put together a few tips on this topic to help set you up for success.

Ask for their input.

We mentioned this above in the planning tips, but it’s worth repeating. By involving your children in the planning process, they will feel partially responsible for a successful trip. If you just default to a place you think they might like, you may miss out on places that they are interested in that are really high on your list.

Get everyone excited about new things!

Being able to watch your children experience new things will feel like you’re discovering them for the first time as well. Vacations are a great time to see new places and things. Take a minute to watch your child’s face when they see the ocean for the first time or spot a new animal in the wild that they’ve never seen before. You might even love their reactions to a candy store or a silly little ride that costs a quarter.

Kids view the world in such a different way than adults. Getting to experience these moments of discovery with your kids will be pretty magical. Point things out and enjoy the experiences alongside them because they will remember that.

Bring a bag of tricks.

Have you ever wished you had Mary Poppins’ famous bag? You can by packing your own bag of tricks. The simplest things can be incredibly distracting which can help avoid meltdowns while traveling. Stock up on a few goodies from the dollar store that you can bring out to keep kids entertained. Small new toys can help shift their entire demeanor.

Bring things like stickers, homemade playdough, coloring books, and small toys. These can help you keep kids entertained on the airplane or for long car rides, but they can also work at restaurants and in the hotel for some quiet time. Use it as a bargaining chip or a reward for good behavior. New toys and small gifts will really get your kids’ attention and help you keep them entertained so everyone has a good time.

Consider your dining options.

Hanger is the emotion you feel when you’re so hungry that you’re angry. It’s a situation you never want to find yourself in and you definitely don’t want to deal with hangry children. Having snacks on you at all times can save the day if anyone is starting to get hungry. Even if you don’t have a cooler, you can pack nuts and granola bars. 

Mealtimes are also important to consider ahead of time. Obviously, eating local foods is a fun part of vacation, but not every child is an adventurous eater. Try selecting restaurants that have kids menus and are welcoming to families so you have some simple options for the kids to eat. If you are in a small town or might not have access to restaurants that are comfortable for your family, make a grocery stop to stock up on some easy meals that you know your kids will eat. 

Don’t forget to include sleep in the plan!

Naps are crucial for young children to keep them happy. When you’re planning your excursions and organizing your itinerary, make sure you’re thinking about those times each day when kids normally take a nap. If you have a child that can sleep anywhere, you can just bring a stroller and let them nap wherever you are. Other parents are not so lucky and they need to be somewhere where the kids can sleep in a dark room on a bed. 

Just make sure you’re considering your options and maximizing the time each day when everyone is up and ready to explore. Also, consider any time changes if you are traveling outside of your time zone. Even an hour can mess up a kid’s schedule and throw off your plans.

Keep the schedule simple.

You may want to hit the ground running and take in everything you possibly can in a new destination, but the reality of that happening without any meltdowns or issues is very unlikely. Kids don’t have a full to-do list of things they want to see, they are focused on having fun and getting time to play. By allowing yourself lots of flexibility and wiggle room in your schedule, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best offerings in your destination and have time to relax and just be together.

Give the kiddos info ahead of time.

Once you pick your destination, make sure to share fun facts about it with your kids. Research places together on the internet, watch YouTube videos, and spend time learning a little bit about your destination. This will help the kids put things in context when they arrive. For example, if you are going to Yellowstone, learn about some of the wildlife that you might see there and teach them a little bit about Old Faithful before you arrive.

Imagine if you’re learning how to do something new and you get the chance to practice after learning about it, the information is more likely to sink in. That principle works with your trip as well. If kids have some understanding before arriving and then they get to experience it themselves, they’ll be more likely to remember the information and will enjoy things with more context. You’ll also get the pleasure of seeing what pieces of information they find most interesting.

Final Prep for Your Family Weekend Getaway 

Once the trip is planned and you’ve done everything you can do to prepare the kids, you just have to wait until the time comes. These prep items should be taken care of right before the trip. I wouldn’t wait until the night before, but maybe as the weekend approaches, check these few items off your list.

Document medical information and emergency contacts.

Put together a list of doctor’s phone numbers in case anything comes up on the trip. You can also locate the emergency locations near the place you’re staying so you aren’t searching frantically if you end up needing to take anyone. Better to be prepared and never need the information than be scrambling to figure it out in a tough situation. 

This is also a good time to verify that all prescriptions are up to date and filled so you don’t run out on your trip. Make sure that you have backups packed whenever possible of things that you cannot go without (like contacts or glasses). The last thing you want to do is track down a pharmacy when you only have a few days to have fun.

Get everyone packed and ready!

Some families allow everyone to pack for themselves, but with little kids, that’s probably a horrible idea. Make a quick list of what each person should have for the time that you will be gone. The easiest way is to address one person at a time and lay out each of the outfits needed. You can pack multiple people in one bag and with packing cubes, you can keep the bags super organized.

Toiletries can be shared among everyone in most situations, so just grab one bag for those items. Once clothes, shoes, and other overnight needs are packed, you can grab any of the fun items. If you are flying, pack a carry-on with books, tablets, and anything else your family needs to stay entertained on the plane. 

Don’t forget to bring a camera!

Capture the memories. Many people caution travelers to leave their phones behind and be present, but if your phone is also your camera, you’ll want it with you. Taking pictures allows you and your kids to relive these moments again in the future. They capture specific memories and when you look at them in months or years, you’ll be transported right back to the vacation.

Kids don’t really start holding on to memories until elementary school, but if you have photos and can share stories with them when they are older, it will help them feel extra special and improve the overall family connection.

So pack your camera or keep your phone charged. Enjoy the moments with your own eyes, but capture a few to enjoy for the future as well. You’ll be happy you did.

Remember the water bottles.

Hydration is easy to forget about when you are running around and having so much fun. Pack a reusable water bottle for each member of the family that you can bring anywhere and get refilled. This will save you money because you won’t need to purchase expensive bottled water at the airport or gas stations.

This is just one of those easy things to overlook. Especially if you’re traveling somewhere in the heat, it’s important for everyone to get enough water to stay comfortable and take care of themselves. 

Consider shopping when you arrive.

The younger your children are, the more things they require on vacations. If you are traveling with a baby, think about picking up some of the essentials at the grocery store when you arrive at your destination. Pack a few diapers for the commute there and then pick some up when you land. That will help keep your luggage free for other things. 

If the thought of an errand stresses you out, you can either pack everything you need or you can set up a delivery from Amazon to the place you’re staying so it’s there when you arrive. 

Have a Back-Up Plan

Spend a few minutes thinking of the three biggest things that could go wrong and brainstorm a quick backup plan. Being prepared can help reduce stress. Think about things like not being able to check in at your hotel when you arrive or if your flight is delayed or if they don’t have the right rental car for you. Just knowing what your possible backup plan is will help reduce the stress in the moment. Don’t spend too much time on this, just put a little thought into it so you aren’t starting from scratch in the event that something does pop up.

Family-Friendly Destinations for Weekend Getaways

There are so many classic American destinations that are perfect for family vacations. Some require longer than a weekend, but if you choose something that isn’t too far from your homebase, you can make anything work. 

Go camping at a state park.

Every state has a selection of state parks that showcase some of the best natural features of the area. Depending on what part of the country you live in, you can enjoy activities like biking, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Most states have a small fee to utilize the parks, but some are free. 

If you want to really experience everything a certain park has to offer, stay in one of their campgrounds. You can have a bonfire (if the area allows them) and make s’mores or play card games and hang out in the great outdoors.

Make it a wildlife adventure.

Do you have kids who love animals and could spend hours at the zoo? Plan a trip somewhere they can see some wildlife in its natural habitat. Consider a long weekend in Hawaii where you can take whale watching tours and see the largest mammals swimming and playing in the turquoise waters. 

You could also look for some outdoor adventures in the western part of the US. Dude ranches are popular family spots with horseback riding and tons of up close animal encounters. The United States has so many unique species throughout the country, so just do a little research if you’re looking for the best spots to see animals in the wild and you might get lucky on your trip. Plus, you’ll likely have more fun than at the zoo.

Relax with a beach trip.

East coast or west coast (or even the south coast or the Great Lakes), there are so many spots for a beach vacation that it’s accessible from anywhere. Spend a weekend playing in the sand, riding rides on the boardwalk, or shooting a round at a golf course overlooking the water. 

From Miami, Florida to Cape Code, Massachusetts, the East Coast has great options for the family. The Carolinas are pretty central and you can choose from the quiet Outer Banks in North Carolina or the busier Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. California beaches are popular on the west coast, or you could head south of the border to Baja, Mexico. 

Many destinations have an assortment of water sports that you can try as a family, like surfing or fishing. Stay in a beach rental with great access to the water or look for an oceanfront resort & spa which will have all the amenities you could dream of. 

Have fun at a theme park.

Amusement parks are fun for the entire family. Whether you go big and head to Disney World in Orlando or you stick to something a little more low-key, the family will have a blast. From the Beast roller coaster in Cedar Point in Ohio to the historic Cyclone in Coney Island, NYC, there are thrilling rides within a few hours’ drive of your home.

Challenge your kids to try a zipline or just cruise down a giant slide, whatever their speed is, they will love going with their siblings and parents to a theme park. You can stay in a hotel nearby and spend a full day from open to close if everyone is up for it. That will help you really make the most of your admission tickets.

Explore a national park.

Similar to state parks, the national park system protects some of the nation’s best gems. Explore mountains, waterfalls, canyons, deserts, ocean coasts, and much more. With hiking trails, visitor’s centers, and tons of scenic drives, these make great family vacation destinations.

Don’t miss out on the free ranger walks and presentations that will help you locate animals and unique plants in the park, spot stars and planets in the night sky, and learn more about the historic events that have taken place in these locations.

Check out big city museums.

Big cities offer so many options for families with kids of any age. Most large metropolitan areas have great children’s museums to explore along with aquariums, zoos, science museums, and other unique attractions.

In the midwest, you can visit Chicago and visit Navy Pier, the John Hancock Tower, take a river cruise, and enjoy some deep-dish pizza. Atlanta, Georgia has a huge aquarium, a museum dedicated to Coca-Cola, and you can learn more about Martin Luther King Jr at his former home. And obviously, we can’t talk about big cities without mentioning New York City which has weeks’ worth of activities to do.

Step back in time at a historical site.

Use your family vacation to help your kids see some of the places they have learned about in school. Instead of just reading about it in class, they will be able to see some of the important historic locations around the United States and they can even bring pictures and souvenirs back to share with their class.

Walk the Freedom Trail and see where Paul Revere famously rode his horse warning people about the Red Coats in New England. Step back in time in Williamsburg, Virginia where the people working there dress as they did centuries ago and help visitors see what life would have been like for the settlers of the original colonies. See the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Or take the most popular option and visit the nation’s capital, Washington DC. 

Pack your swimsuits for the water park.

Indoor waterparks are open year-round and offer a great escape from cold weather climates even when you can’t jump on a plane with the whole family to the beach. The Great Wolf Lodge has multiple family resorts around the US. It’s filled with tons of water slides and indoor and outdoor pools.

In the summertime, look for some fun outdoor options. Rent cabanas by the pool and spend an entire day playing and lounging with your kids. It’s a great way for everyone to burn energy and practice being brave on the slides and on the diving board. Add some ice cream and mini golf when people need a break from the chlorine. 

Head out on a road trip!

If you want to take a more spontaneous trip, pack up the car and take a little family road trip. Maybe you live in California and can cruise Highway 1 down to San Diego or you might drive through Texas Hill Country or explore a collection of small towns in Tennessee. No matter where you are in the country, you can plan a fun little road trip with the family to break up your normal routine.

Grab a paper map where you can plot out some options for your adventure, then prep some road trip games and snacks. There are also some fun apps that will help you locate the strangest and most unique roadside attractions!

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, we’ve given you more than enough info to help you ensure that your family weekend getaway goes off without a hitch. If you want more inspiration and advice, stick around! Find out which kid-friendly destinations come highly recommended by our travel experts, and get tips to travel like pros. Our family fun and travel posts offer tons of valuable advice.

We hope you enjoy your trip!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make the most of a long weekend with my family?

If you are planning a family weekend getaway, ask your family for input on where you should go. Heading somewhere that everyone is excited about will help boost the overall feelings on the trip. Plan one activity each day and allow for some spontaneity.

Where are the best places to take a family trip for a weekend?

Family weekend getaways come in all shapes and sizes. It depends on the age of your children and how adventurous you want to be. You can plan a relaxing beach vacation or take the whole family to an amusement park in a different city. Just find something that you think everyone will have some fun doing.

How can I plan a fun staycation for my family?

If you have a few days and want to do something different, plan a family weekend getaway. Book a nearby hotel, enjoy a scavenger hunt in the city, and try some scratch-off adventures with your favorite people!

Family FunTravel

15 Pumpkin Patch Activities to Include on Your Autumn Road Trip


As the cool breezes begin to blow and daylight hours get shorter, it’s only a matter of time before the talk of pumpkin spice lattes and spooky season begins. If you’re starting to plan your fall fun, make sure you have a visit to the pumpkin patch on your list! The best farms offer tons of fun pumpkin patch activities for the family to enjoy. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites, so have a look and see what’s available near you. You might even be able to include them all on your foliage tour this year!

Enjoy Adventures From Scratch this autumn!

Adventures From Scratch is perfect for any time of year, but the crisp cool days of autumn make these exciting activities extra enjoyable! We’ve got over 50 of them packed into each of our scratch-off adventure books, whether you’re looking for ideas for your family or your next date night. Grab your copy today, and start scratching!

15 Awesome Pumpkin Patch Activities

When you’re ready for some family fun, head to the farm and take advantage of the best pumpkin patch activities. Usually, you’ll pay general admission to the location and have access to each of the fun activities. For smaller crowds, consider paying them a visit on weekdays when there are fewer people. Remember, these spots are only open for a couple of weeks each year during the peak season, so don’t miss out.

If you live in a part of the country that doesn’t get much fall weather, consider packing up the car (with all the essentials for a road trip with kids) and heading to a part of the country that is popular during the autumn season.

1. Get lost in a corn maze.

Cornfields might not sound like a fun place to play, but that just means you’ve probably never experienced a corn maze. It’s fun for the whole family. Farmers plant the corn into a maze and let it grow tall throughout the summer. By the time fall rolls around, the corn is high enough that even adults can get lost in the field. 

If you want to start with something a bit easier or accessible for young children, see if they have a hay bale maze. These are fun for toddlers because they offer a bit of a challenge, but you can keep an eye on them as they run through the maze area.

2. Enjoy scenic hayrides.

Wagon rides, or tractor rides, take visitors around the farm. It’s a fun way to take in the scenery of the farm and kids love it. You’ll grab a seat on a bench or maybe a pile of straw bales and the rides are usually around 15 minutes. The open-air ride allows you to take photos and enjoy the fresh air. Plus, most kids are huge fans of tractors and machines that they don’t get to see every day. 

Some pumpkin farms even offer haunted hayrides in the evenings if you want something a little more spooky. Get into the Halloween mood with a ride through some scary scenes and see how jumpy your family is.

3. Feed farm animals at a petting zoo.

Many pumpkin farms have animals on site. If there are friendly animals in the barnyard, you might be able to purchase small bits of food and have the chance to feed them and pet them. This is great for photo ops with the family. Kids will love getting the chance to pet llamas, pigs, goats, sheep, and maybe even larger animals, like cows and horses. Petting zoos stimulate all five senses, so they are great experiences for young children. 

4. Wear your Halloween costumes.

Many of the best fall activities are centered around Halloween. If your family already has their costumes picked out and ready to go, why not find more excuses to wear them? Many pumpkin patches encourage costumes, especially for the younger crowd. Check and see if there are any costume contests at the pumpkin patch that your kids can enter. It’s always more fun when other people are dressed up at the same time, but any excuse you have to put on your costumes is fun. Plus, you don’t want to pay for something that you only get to wear once.

5. Try some pumpkin games!

Pumpkins are fun for a lot of reasons. You can do so much more than carving, but it can be messy if you attempt to do these things at home. At the pumpkin patch, you can often find some of the fun pumpkin-related games all set up for you. 

One popular option is pumpkin bowling. Instead of using a regular bowling ball, you roll a pumpkin down the lane to knock over pins. It’s a lot harder than regular bowling because you’re rolling an object that isn’t perfectly round and doesn’t come with holes for your fingers. It’s also played on uneven ground, but the challenge makes it even more fun.

Another pumpkin patch activity you might find is a pumpkin cannon or slingshots. This is really fun for the kids because they get to launch pumpkins into the air and try to hit targets. The pumpkins usually smash open when they land which is always a treat to watch.

6. Paint some gorgeous gourds.

There are many varieties of pumpkins and gourds. You don’t have to just search for the perfect orange round ones to carve faces into. Painting gourds and pumpkins is a fun way to decorate them without having to scoop out all the innards and use knives and sharp tools. You can be very creative with the painting as well. Incorporate some symbols of fall and use them to spruce up your front steps. With the painted gourds, you don’t have to worry about rotting because you aren’t cutting them open. They will last the entire season, whereas the pumpkins you carve may only last a few weeks (depending on the weather).

7. Sample all the snacks.

Check to see if your local spot includes any type of pumpkin farm market where you can purchase snacks and produce grown at the farm. Apple cider donuts and drinkable apple cider are popular fall flavors. You should also sample any pumpkin products they have like pumpkin pie or pumpkin ice cream. 

Take advantage of the proximity to where the items are grown and how fresh they are. The fall flavors are a favorite for many, so enjoy them while they are fresh and in season. If you don’t love apples and pumpkins, try butternut squash, corn, or beets.

8. Take advantage of pony rides.

Family farms often have at least one pony that kids can take a ride on. If your kids have been begging to try horseback riding, this is the perfect place to start. Ponies are smaller than full-grown horses and much more friendly for first-time riders and young children. Rides will follow a short trail where an adult, either you or a worker at the farm, will walk alongside the pony and child to make sure they are able to stay on.

Your children will have an absolute blast taking a ride, and you might be able to avoid having them ask for their own pony in the future. There might even be other horses and animals available for a ride as well. Some farms even offer yoga and other fun events with goats and other popular farm animals. 

9. Play in a bounce house!

Inflatable bouncy castles are a huge attraction for any small child. They can literally bounce off the walls and jump all over and not hurt themselves (unless it’s jam-packed with other children). Some places take it to the next level and set up a full inflatable obstacle course with slides and hurdles to jump over and hoops to jump through.

This is one of the easier attractions to get your hands on and more and more are available to rent nowadays. If your child loves jumping in the bounce house, you can even rent one for their next birthday party. But for now, take advantage of anything like this that the pumpkin patch has available to get some energy out.

10. Make your own wreath out of corn stalks.

Fall decorations are fun and festive and they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg at the home decor store. Grab some corn stalks from the local farm (with their permission of course) and see what kinds of decor items you can make with something that would have otherwise been composted. 

The most basic decor item you can put together is a wreath. Just braid the dried stalks together into a circle. You can add a few pressed leaves for more color and then display this on your door for the season. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can try to make your own scarecrows with corn stalks and put them up in your garden. You can just tie some stalks together and then use anything colorful to add a face, hat, and clothing (doll’s clothing can work as well.)

11. Get face painting done.

One simple delight for kids is getting their faces painted. Many pumpkin patches have a face painter there for an added bonus for the kids. There is usually a board of designs they can do. Popular options include animals, rainbows, superhero masks, and other small designs. Kids can pick out what they want and then you can enjoy a few minutes of quiet while they get their faces painted. If you wear your costumes to the pumpkin patch, you might even be able to have something painted on your family members’ faces that matches your costumes.

12. Show your bravery at a haunted house.

Halloween and pumpkins go hand and hand thanks to the season. Many pumpkin patches fully embrace the Halloween fun and set up haunted houses for visitors. Exploring these spooky sites can be exciting for older kids and adults! If you have really small children, maybe the rest of you take turns going through. 

If you have a younger child that wants to go to a haunted house, you can usually search for kid-friendly options that might operate during daylight hours or keep things pretty PG and low-key inside so it’s fun for all ages.

You might even consider taking your family or your date on a Let’s Roam Ghost Tour Scavenger Hunt! Each haunted history tour leads you to locations with paranormal connections, fills you in on the facts, and lets you compete for points accrued by completing challenges. It’s a fantastic activity you can enjoy on your way to or home from the pumpkin patch.

13. Check the local events calendar for fall festivals.

Pumpkin patches only get to operate for a few weeks during the peak pumpkin season. Many places have a kick-off fall festival or a big event on the weekend that they close. It could be something as simple as a trick-or-treat event for young children or a giant festival with train rides, live music, and food vendors. 

Check your community calendars or follow the social media accounts of local pumpkin patches and farms to stay up to date on the events going on. Make sure to plan your trips around any special dates that you don’t want to miss.

14. Test your shot with corn cannons.

Corn cannons have become a popular attraction, albeit one of the more adult-oriented additions to our list of pumpkin patch activities. If you’ve got teens in tow or are heading to a farm for an autumn date night, try your hand at this strategic pastime! The concept is simple—load cobs of corn into cannons, and shoot them at targets!

Turn the experience into a competition! You could even make a friendly wager. Perhaps the winner gets to choose this year’s pumpkin.

15. Don’t forget about pumpkin picking!

Last, but definitely not least, plan to choose your own pumpkins. That’s the whole point of a U-Pick Pumpkin farm. Find the perfect pumpkin for you and let your entire family select their own as well. Everyone has a unique vision of the ideal size, shape, and color of the pumpkin. Some people love the giant ones and others love the weirdly shaped pumpkins that are super short and wide or tall and skinny.

You can go in with an idea of how you want to carve your pumpkin or let the pumpkin speak to you once you find the right one. However you decide to do it, have fun with the process, and make sure to take your time exploring the options.

Destinations for a Fall Family Road Trip

If you want to explore the beautiful changing colors of the leaves during peak season, you may need to hop in the car and head towards one of the more scenic places in the country. During the fall harvest, you can enjoy the changing leaves with shades of reds, oranges, and yellows along with all the tasty flavors of fall fruits and vegetables.

New England

The most popular place in the country for fall fun, gorgeous scenery, and beautiful colors. The small towns throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and Upstate New York are perfect for a family road trip. 

There are pumpkin patches and apple orchards all over the place. Let the kids ride the Cow Train at the Great Pumpkin Farm in upstate New York. Sample pancakes in New Hampshire at Polly’s Pancake Parlor with fresh local Maple Syrup. See the entire working farm at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont with views of the Green Mountains. 

Wherever you decide to go in New England, you will be met with history, beautiful fall colors, and all kinds of attractions to help you get in the mood for the fall season. Plus, you’ll end your trip with a camera roll filled with memories and gorgeous leaf-peeping pictures.

Minnesota’s North Shore

You may only think of this northern state as the winner for the coldest temperatures in the country, but the shores of Lake Superior are a beautiful place to escape in the fall. Pack the family in the car and explore the multitude of state parks along Highway 61. There are waterfalls, hiking trails, and beautiful views of the largest lake in the world.

The small towns along the highway, plus the city of Duluth on the southern tip of the lake, are home to all kinds of attractions and activities that are perfect for families. Take the gondola up Lutsen Mountains, visit the historic (and possibly haunted) Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, and pick out your pumpkins at one of the farms in the area. You’ll be treated to some gorgeous fall colors and smaller crowds than other more popular regions of the country.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is considered an All-American Road and it is a beautiful drive during the autumn season. The road runs for 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina and connects Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

This route could easily be done one way by looping through some of the bigger cities in those states on the way there or back. You’ll be able to explore some historical sites along with beautiful hikes and mountain views from so many scenic overlooks. 

Asheville is a great fall destination along this route. Families can visit all the fall festivals that take place in this town and the surrounding area during the peak fall color season. The Biltmore Estate is a popular spot to explore and tons of beautiful spots along the shores of Lake Lure where you could stay for a few days when you need a break from driving.

Northern California

The Bay Area is a great launch point for many of the popular autumn road trips. Take the family through the Redwoods and then up towards the Sierra Nevadas to enjoy the changing colors of the trees splattered all over the mountainsides. The Lake Tahoe area is gorgeous and has so much to explore for the whole family.

Yosemite National Park is still wide open in the fall before the snow falls and the crowds are much less than during the high summer season. The Central Valley is home to hundreds of farms and you can find pumpkin patches and autumn festivals in many of the towns throughout the region.

The Pacific Northwest

North Cascades National Park is one of the least visited national parks in the United States. It’s filled with hikes of all levels and during the early fall months, you can enjoy the changing colors of the trees with a backdrop of the American Alps and turquoise glacial lakes. 

Head towards Seattle and enjoy the many pumpkin farms through the Skagit Valley. There is an 8-acre corn maze at Muddy Boot’s Pumpkin Farm where your family can get lost for hours if you aren’t careful. Bob’s Pumpkin Farm has a sunflower festival in the month of September and then transitions to a full-blown pumpkin extravaganza in October. 

You may think the PNW is rainy all the time, but the fall months are still sunny and warm. It’s a well-kept secret that you and your family can enjoy this season.

Make your plans today for pumpkin patch activities and scenic fall drives!

Get out and enjoy the beautiful time of year with your family. With all the incredible fall activities and seasonal events scattered throughout the country, it’s easy to find something that will be within a day trip or weekend road trip for your family. Whether you decide to pack up the car and take an adventure or do something closer to home, make sure that you bring the camera along and enjoy making these special memories.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find the best pumpkin patches for my family?

When searching for a local farm, decide what kinds of pumpkin patch activities you are looking for. Little kids would love face painting, hay rides, and bouncy castles, while older kids might prefer haunted houses instead.

What are the best fall activities to do as a family?

Check to see if there are any pumpkin patch activities in your area to explore with the family. You can pick out your own pumpkin and take advantage of the fun games and activities they have set up. Otherwise, apple orchards or hikes to look at fall colors are fun and outdoors.

How can I make fall break memorable for my kids?

If you aren’t able to head out of town for fall break, consider a staycation! Be sure to schedule some pumpkin patch activities and find other creative ideas in an interactive book like Adventures From Scratch.

Family FunParenting

45 Riveting Rainy Day Activities for Your Bored Brood


While the farmers are rejoicing in the much-needed moisture, rainy days for stay-at-home parents bring an instant sinking feeling in your gut! You’re going to be cooped up inside, all day, with your bored brood, and if you don’t find some fun rainy day activities quick, you are all gonna go cray cray! Don’t stress. Grab a coffee, and sit back. We have gathered the 45 best rainy day activities to keep your crew entertained all gloomy-day long. We have scavenger hunts, DIY art, science experiments, and much more. Our list includes activities for kids of all ages too. Let’s get to it!

The Perfect Rainy-Day Activity Book

For a whole slew of in-home activities, snag Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition. This interactive book is loaded with challenges for every day of the year. It’s expertly crafted to include 50+ exciting adventures for the entire family. Each task is hidden beneath a scratchable coating, and a helpful key can help you pick the perfect page to start scratching. Grab your copy before the doldrums strike again!

Rainy-Day Activities for the Whole Family

1. Convert your home to a scavenger hunting ground!

At Let’s Roam, we love a scavenger hunt, and our experts create the best out there! Check out our Indoor Family Scavenger Hunts for hunts specifically designed for kids of all ages and various interests. We have “Global Geographers,” to help kiddos learn all about our great globe and cultures, “Math Masters” uses challenges and trivia to improve the math skills of counting kids, and “Advanced Adventurers,” for kids above the age of ten!

Our hunts are designed in conjunction with school teachers and development experts to ensure age-appropriate fun and a little learning too. Download our scavenger hunt app today, and fill your rainy days with our amazing adventures!

2. Create your own masterpieces.

Brighten up the gloomy day with a little art! Turn your living room into your very own art gallery. Grab a couple of thumb tacks and some twine. String up two or three swags and clip on the art with close pins. Bring out the crayons, watercolors, and markers. If you are really brave, pull out the glitter and glue. Never mind… don’t do that. This is just a rainy day, it’s not the apocalypse, no reason to get crazy.

Check out our list of “Fun Summer Art Projects to Keep Your Kids Entertained” for some specific art ideas that are sure to be a big hit!

3. Throw a dance party!

Create a playlist of your favorite old songs (the ones that you are cool with kids hearing that is). Heck, go way back and bring in some swing dancing, disco, and jive. Turn on youtube and search for tutorials on old dances. If you really want to go all out, have each child choose an era and see if you can create a costume for your dance party from what have at home.

4. Head to the trampoline park.

Inside doesn’t have to mean inside your house. Hop in the car and head for the local trampoline park! Let your kiddos get out some energy without destroying the sofa or requiring you to clean up paint.

5. Build an obstacle course.

One of the most fun activities for preschoolers is competing in an obstacle course. They are very easy to build from what you have at home, especially for little bodies. Plus, they are a great learning-while-playing opportunity. Walking across a balance beam made of books, crawling under dining chairs, hopping on one foot down the hall, and jumping over pillow walls are all fun ways to increase agility and work on problem-solving. Make sure to record your adventures, as you will definitely want to look back on them later.

6. Take an online cooking class.

Your house is going to be a mess by the end of a rainy day anyway, so you might as well get a tasty treat out of it. Gather the kids in the kitchen, and sign up for a class on Outsource. They have hundreds of cooking classes for kids of all ages!

Alternatively, if you are a master chef yourself, then today is the perfect day to teach them your favorite recipe, or a family heirloom one. Make great-grandma’s chocolate cake, and be sure to send her a photo while you’re at it! To waste a little more time, you can have older children search online for a recipe that they would like to make. Hit up the grocery store, and then create! Why not? You’ve got all day, right?

7. Escape Room

If you have a crew of older kids, sign up for an escape room! There are many popping up throughout the world, and each adventure is unique. The premise is that you’re trapped, using your noggins to decipher clues and observe what’s around you and how to use it, you need to figure out how to escape! It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours with the kids to see how well you can handle the unexpected together.

8. Grocery Store Treasure Hunt

If your kids are old enough to be trusted (semi) alone in the grocery store, give each a list and a small basket, and send them on a wild-goose chase. Not only do you get your grocery shopping done, but you kill a little time too. If setting your kids loose in the store is too much adventure for you, then just do it aisle by aisle. As you enter an aisle, send each child on a treasure hunt for items you need in that aisle. You gotta get food, might as well make it fun.

9. Old-Fashioned Card Games

Playing cards is a timeless activity that never gets old. Cards don’t take up much space. They are easy to clean up, and there are literally hundreds of games you can play with a regular deck of cards. Not to mention, old maid, Uno, Exploding kittens, and a million other specially-made games. Play matching games with preschoolers. Teach your older kids how to play Texas Hold’em, or grab some utensils and compete in a rousing game of Spoons.

10. Have a Movie Marathon.

When older kids are stuck at home, pop some popcorn and settle in for a movie marathon. Pick a theme, like movies with “rain” in the title, and snuggle up. It’s simple, keeps the house clean, and allows you to spend quality snuggle time with your bigs.

11. Visit your local history museums.

If you live in a city with great museums, they make the perfect rainy day escape. Join one of the guided tours, a special exhibit, or just set out on your own self-guided tour. It’s a wonderful chance to let your kids explore in a contained space and teach them to use a map. Like the grocery store, natural history museums are also a great place for kids to do a treasure hunt. Hop online before your trip and make a list of things that are in the museum. Then, when you enter the room, give each child something to find. Once they find it, give them a trivia question to answer about the item!

12. Virtual Smithsonian Tour

If you don’t live anywhere near an awesome museum, you can still play along. The Smithsonian Institute now has virtual tours of most of their museums, and they are an awesome way to explore a new world from the comfort of your couch…. or rainy day pillow fort!

13. Nostalgia at the Skating Rink

How long has it been since you strapped on a pair of roller skates? Remember school skate nights and chasing your first crush around the rink. Introduce your kiddos to a bit of nostalgia with a skating day! You come home banged up and bruised, but they will learn a new skill, and you might just find that you are still pretty good.

14. Visit an art gallery.

If making your own living room art gallery sounded like a nightmare to you, then leave the art up to the professionals and introduce your kids to the real deal. You can use it as an educational day, or as a chance for them to increase their skills. We recommend perusing the museum and letting your kids pick their favorite piece. Then, grab a spot on a bench with the college art students and let your kiddos create their own rendition of the professional work.

15. Karaoke Contest

Got a karaoke machine collecting dust somewhere? Today is the day to revive it! If you don’t have one, that’s fine too. Just grab your little princess’s sparkly microphone and turn Youtube on the TV. Youtube has hundreds of karaoke playlists with lyrics that you can all jam out to for hours. It takes little to no planning, and you will likely create some pretty funny memories. Get into it. Show off your best moves. Dress up for the occasion. If you are into it, they will be too!

16. Pop a tent.

Ever been camping in the rain? It’s terrible, but indoor camping, on a rainy day, is loads of fun! Pop a tent in the living room. Make smores on the stove. Roll out the sleeping bags. Tell stories with “weird flashlight face.” (Yep, you know the one!) Let them bring in their own decorations and toys. Have a picnic lunch in your tent, and then transition right into nap time.

17. Take them bowling.

Bowling is one of those activities that we for some reason just forget about, but it is always fun. It’s easy, usually fairly cheap, and offers a little friendly competition. Follow it up with drive-thru ice cream, and you’ve just built the perfect day out.

18. Put on a show.

If your kids have a flair for the dramatic, put it to good use. Have them write their own story if they are able, or make their own rendition of a favorite fairy tale. Create your best costumes, and you might even make a few props. Record their performance for friends and family. You might be really surprised with how creative they get, and seeing them beam with pride while putting on their own show is worth all the effort.

For more adventures on the creative side, check out our new guide “12 Activities That Promote Creativity in Kids.”

19. Get brainy with a science experiment.

Make a volcano, a cannonball launcher, or homemade playdough. You might be surprised what you can make with what you have in the cabinet. Science is fun!

20. Make your own jewelry.

Most little ones are just as happy in a pasta shell necklace as the fanciest real pieces. Making jewelry is pretty easy. You can use string, beads, pasta, rubber bands, yarn, or whatever you have on hand. If you aren’t very creative, you can certainly stock up on a few jewelry-making kits from Amazon to have around for a rainy day.

21. Lava Floor

You remember this one right? The floor is lava, and you can’t touch it! If you are a loose parent who doesn’t mind a little jumping on the couch, then turn the floor into lava, and let the fun ensue. See if you can make it all the way through the house with fall into the lava pit!

22. Keep it Up

Another staple in childhood fun-don’t let the balloon hit the ground. It is a little less of an adventure than lava floor, but the same premise. Blow up some balloons. Turn on some music, and see how long you can go without letting it hit the floor. For an extra challenge try keeping up several balloons at one time. You could also use a beach ball if you don’t have any balloons around.

23. Make some sensory bins.

Sensory bins are a great rainy day activity. You are probably looking for something soothing right about now. Fill a few large Tupperware bins with beads, flour, sugar, rocks, colored water, and shaving cream. Get as messy as you want, or stick to clean things. It’s totally up to you.

24. Show off your gaming skills.

If you have older kids who disappear to their rooms for hours playing video games, you might as well join them. Bust out the old Nintendo or Sega and challenge your bigs to a real game! They might just find out mom is way cooler than they thought.

25. Test your engineering skills.

This one is fun! Challenge your crew to create a basket out of only paper, tape, and glue. The objective is to build something strong enough to protect an egg from a tall fall. Once your crew has created their masterpieces, set up a ladder (standing on the countertop works too) in the garage or another hard-surfaced floor. Let each child take their turn dropping their eggs to see who’s basket is built the best.

26. Get some new books.

Spend your rainy day in the public library collecting new books. Many libraries have activities throughout the day for children anyway, so it takes some of the pressure to entertain off of you. You can sit back and watch your kiddos engage with the story in an environment just for them.

27. Write a letter to grandma.

In this day and age, proper writing seems to be a fading art. Take a day inside to teach your kids to write a proper letter. Write to grandma, a distant aunt, or one of their friends. Let littles include some of their own artwork if they want. Then, teach them about postage, and let them drop it in the drive-through mailbox at the post office. It’s the gift that keeps giving, as the recipient is sure to write back, and there is nothing more exciting for a little kid than getting something in the mail!

28. Make mini vision boards.

It’s never too early to teach kids to dream and plan to reach their goals. Vision boards are a great way to help children build their own bucket lists. You just need a cardboard box or a small foam board. Pull out some magazines or print things online that your kids want to include on their vision boards. Have them include places they want to go, a new toy they want to work towards, or a new hobby they would like to learn. The sky is the limit. After the boards are complete, take some time to talk about their goals and make a few plans to help them get there.

29. Lego Competition

Legos are a staple in most households, and there’s a reason for that. Not only are they great for working on fine motor skills and creativity, but they’re just one of those fun things that never seem to go out of style! Have each child choose something they want to build from legos. Then you all try to build your own version of it. It’s interesting to see what each person comes up with, given the exact same directive!

30. Bust out the photo albums.

Children love to look at their own baby photos and hear stories “from when they were little.” Relive some of your happy moments with your kiddos. Tell them stories from your childhood if you have your old albums. Compare baby pictures. You could even consider making a little scrapbook together.

31. Storytime in the attic.

I don’t know about you, but the attic was always a place of wonder and mystery to me as a kid. Plan a picnic in the attic, if you have a safe, floored space. Your kids will love getting to explore the junk up there, and it is the best place in the house to listen to the rain! Bring pillows and blankets. Build a fort. Read some books, and just enjoy being in an unexplored space together. You might even take the time to look through all your old stuff and do some cleaning out.

32. Do your hair and makeup.

Playing dress-up never seems to get old with small children. If you are stuck indoors, bring out your fancy dresses. Do each other’s makeup and hair. Paint fingernails and toenails. Then, have a little mother/daughter photoshoot.

33. Teach a new skill.

Today would be a great day to teach your little ones how to plant an herb or vegetable, learn to fix their own ponytail, fold the towels properly, or even tie their shoes. If you have a toddler, today’s a good day to focus solely on potty training. For older kids, consider showing them how to balance a checkbook or create a budget. Whatever it is that you are skilled in, pass it down!

34. Hallway Hopscotch

A little masking tape and a small rock are all you need to create hours of hallway fun! Don’t remember how to play? You toss the rock onto square one, then you hop over that square and through the rest of the squares and back. You then toss the rock on the next square and go again. You can do it all on one foot, or have segments where you transition to two feet.

35. Dining Table Tennis

Clear off the dining table. Move the chairs out of the way. Grab a couple of paddles (or spatulas if you’re fancy) and whatever little ball you can find. Use the table crack as your net and get some energy out! It takes almost no setup. It’s free, and it’s a lot of fun.

36. Learn about the water cycle.

What better day to learn about the water cycle than a day full of rain showers? NASA’s Climate Kids program has tons of great information and activities to help kids understand the details. Learn about Earth’s water cycle, and then create your own Ocean Ecosystem!

37. Exercise together.

There are hundreds of free exercise routines, even some for kids, that are easily accessible on Youtube. Put on a few videos and let your kids sweat out that energy, while you burn a few calories too. It’s never too early to teach good health habits, and you might as well have a little family fun during the torture session.

Author note: When I was a child my grandmother used to convince us to do Richard Simmons’ workouts with her. We thought they were hilarious and fun then, and they are some of the fondest memories my cousins and I have. We routinely belly-laugh about it to this day!

38. Put them to work.

Sure, no kid wants to do chores, but they have to be done. They might be more willing to help out if you let them do the fun and weird stuff. They definitely do not want to pick up their toys, but they may be more than willing to help clean under the bed, organize a random closet, or even clean out the fridge. A day stuck inside is the perfect day to get a few of those odd “spring cleaning” jobs done.

39. Create with wood.

Move out to the garage or workshop and spend your rainy afternoon creating something from wood. Birdhouses are a common project for kids, but get creative. Construct a castle. Engineer a bridge, or make a new cradle for your child’s dolls.

You can build your own masterpiece out of scrap wood, or of course, there are plenty of premade kits that you can purchase and keep hidden for such an occasion. Working with our hands is another skill that is becoming lost on the younger generations. You may find that both you and your kids enjoy getting your hands dirty every once in a while!

40. Reading Marathon

Challenge your older kids to a reading marathon. Set a goal for how many short stories, chapters in a chapter book, or words they can read for the day. If they achieve their goal, then treat them to a special treat like a trip for ice cream or a virtual game night with their friends! Who says you can’t bribe your kids to read? It’s perfectly acceptable in our book.

41. Write your own book.

Let your littles go wild with telling their own story. There is nothing funnier than the rambling and off-the-wall tales of a small child. Grab a pen and give your kiddos a start prompt, something like, “walking through the forest one day, I saw… ” Let them fill in the blank, and write down or record their responses. Then, let the next child fill in the next bit of the story, and so on.

You may need to help them along every now and then with prompts like, “well, what happened then,” or “what was it doing?” When you get to a place of boredom, finish up the story by asking them, “well, how did it end?” After your story has been written, read each page back to them and have the children illustrate their own work. Then, contact the publisher because we are sure they have probably just made millions.

42. Build a robot.

Don’t care who you are, robots are just cool! Cardboard boxes, nuts and bolts from the garage, pipe cleaners, and toilet paper rolls are all the supplies you need to create your very own robot. Most families will be able to find all kinds of supplies around the house that can be used to make arms, legs, buttons, and facial features. If you really want to get bonus points, help them construct the robot over a remote control car or truck so that it can move!

43. Ball Toss

Go really old school with a carnival or Bozo-style ball toss. Grab four or five buckets, mason jars, or pitchers from the kitchen. Line them up vertically, and put a masking tape line behind the first bucket. Start tossing the ball, aiming at the closest bucket first, and then moving one by one until you conquer the furthest one away. While an incredibly easy game to set up, it can be a challenging one to conquer!

44. Get twisted.

Twister is one of those quintessential games that should be part of every kid’s childhood. If you have a Twister board, then bring it out, but if you don’t, you can easily make your own. You need 4 colors or construction paper. Cut out 6 circles of each color and tape them to a hard floor. You should have four rows of 6 dots: 6 red dots, then six blue dots, and so on. Each family member stands on one side of the complete square, and the caller begins. “Right foot red.” “Left hand green.” You continue playing until only one person is left standing!

45. Jump in puddles

Forget it! Put on your rainboots and just resign to getting as wet and disgusting as possible. Twirl! Jump in puddles! Dance in the rain! Playing in the rain (as long as there is no lightning) is a magical experience for kids and a good reminder for parents to loosen up a little.

Closing Thoughts

A crack of thunder doesn’t have to signal dread. Keep this little list handy and pull out one of these rainy day activities when you need to burn some time. Take a deep breath and resign yourself to a dirty house today. Kids aren’t little for long, might as well enjoy every rainy day with them to the fullest!

What is your favorite indoor activity for the family? Drop your ideas in the comments!

While you’re here, stick around for some of our other advice on family fun, travel, parenting, and more! We love to help people connect, and our articles are designed to help you through good times and bad. Check them out!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are 3 good activities to do on a rainy day?

If you’re stuck inside and in need of rainy-day activities, try an in-home scavenger hunt, creating your own obstacle course, taking a virtual museum tour, or any of the exciting tasks laid out in Adventures From Scratch.

What rainy day activities are good for older kids?

Has the weather got your big kids down? Rely on some rainy day activities, like movie marathons, retro video game challenges with mom or dad, and virtual museum tours.

What can we do on a rainy day for the whole family?

Head over to for rainy day activity ideas. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition, so you’re prepared for the next day of doldrums.