“Kick off the dinner hour with informal but creative activities that everyone can enjoy. … What’s more, you’re also giving your kids vital social skills education while having fun together as a family.”
1. Unplug Your Devices
As soon as you announce dinner is ready, unplug all devices (even the TV). As much as possible, put away any work-related items like laptops and phones – they aren’t allowed at the table either!
That way, when it’s time to eat all eyes will be on each other instead of what could be happening elsewhere in the house or even online via social media. …
2. Get Your Kids Involved In The Kitchen
There’s nothing better than a delicious meal that everyone helped to make. From prepping ingredients to setting the table, it’s a great family activity and also the perfect time for the kids to learn new skills that they can then take into their own kitchens someday. …
3. Make Mealtime A Game
Get your kids in on making up games using mealtime as an opportunity to practice math skills such as measuring, counting and fractions. See who can create the biggest portion or add ingredients together so they total 100 percent of their plate [or bowl]. …
[Also] let them play with chopsticks in their non-dominant hand or even bendy straws instead of regular utensils.
4. Unplug One Night A Week And Have Movie Night
If you’re all feeling overwhelmed by the end of the week, set aside one night to watch a family-friendly movie together or even let your kids pick something they want to see via video on demand (VOD).
Then enjoy some popcorn and candy while you cuddle on the couch! … It’s also a good idea to designate specific days where screen time is allowed, perhaps only 30 minutes per day for younger children or 1 hour per day for everyone else in the family. …
[Also] make it a rule that cellphones stay off and out of sight during family mealtime and movies. … Pick designated times (such as dinner) where you sit down together and everyone is on equal footing.
5. Do A Puzzle Together At Dinnertime
When your kids are pre-kindergarten age, get them involved with putting together a puzzle of their favorite characters during family mealtime.
It’s fun for younger kids to see all the pieces come together into one big picture, while older children can put more focus on problem-solving skills by figuring out which piece goes where. …
This activity can bring lots of laughs when someone grabs the right piece but it doesn’t quite fit!
6. Read Aloud To Each Other While You Eat A Meal Or Snack
Studies show that reading aloud boosts vocabulary development in even young children, so make it a habit at mealtime to take turns with one person reading out loud while the others are eating.
It’s especially fun for everyone to eat together when you do this activity that incorporates educational enrichment, too. …
If you have younger kids that can’t read yet, look for books with few words per page or even pick up an audiobook during your next trip to the library.
7. Do A Mystery Bag Challenge
Fill a brown paper lunch sack with several items including food products, kitchen utensils and gadgets – anything goes! Have each person draw their choice from the bag without looking inside so they don’t know what they’re getting until it is in their hands.
Then, have them figure out how to use these items as they cook a meal for everyone. … Older kids will be excited to help create the recipes and younger ones can assist with measuring, pouring and stirring.
8. Have Kids Compete To Build The Best Fort/Play House/Sandcastle At Beachside
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you’re at – let the kids “get creative” by having them compete to build the best sandcastle, fort or playhouse!
This is an exciting activity that’s not only fun but also brings old memories to life for parents who might remember building these structures in their own childhoods aside their siblings or friends.
All it takes is some hot summer sun and wet sand to get things started! … Of course, beachside isn’t the only place where kids can build structures and compete.
You could also do this activity during an overcast day at the park, in the backyard or even inside if it’s raining outside.
9. Get Creative With Camping Trips
If you want to teach your family members about team building, pitching a tent together is the perfect way to get everyone involved (and active) while enjoying some time outdoors as well.
It might seem like a daunting task for younger children but … there are ways to make it fun for them such as having them help with setting up sleeping bags or marshmallow roasting sticks, too!
When camping trips aren’t possible because of weather or other circumstances, create a family fort out of couch cushions or dining room chairs to simulate the coziness of camping inside.
10. Have A Cookie-Cupboard Building Contest
For kids who are learning to bake, let them create their own cookies by first measuring out all the ingredients together and then having fun with making dough.
Let everyone roll out their own portions of cookie dough on a flat surface before picking favorite shapes for each other’s cookies (elephant! heart! flower!) …
Younger children can even help make chocolate chips eyes and/or smiley faces for these cookies once they’re baked and cooled. The parents will be proud as well when everyone gets a chance to sample the finished results! 🙂
Designate specific days where screen time is allowed, perhaps only on the weekends. This way, everyone knows what to expect and can enjoy some “digital detox” time during the week as a family.