52 super fun family activities for a happy 2016

December 29th, 2015 Posted by Misc No Comment yet


Maggie Downs

posted in Mom Stories

Forget resolutions. This year I’m directing that energy into super fun activities with my family.

Won’t you join me? I made this list of 52 activities, one for every week of the year. Amend as needed to suit your family and lifestyle, and make some of your own suggestions in the comments.

1. Read a classic book with your child. Here’s a great list to get you started.

2. Build an indoor fort out of pillows and blankets.

3. Sign up for a fun 5K. Whether it’s a color run, a course set with glowsticks, or a zombie theme, there’s a race for everyone. We just did a Santa-themed race and are getting geared up for a Red Carpet Run. My son loves to see everyone decked out in crazy clothes!



4. Have a library scavenger hunt. Make a list of the type of books you want to find — maybe an animal book, a sports book, and a book that features a dessert — and have your kids help seek them out.

5. Still too cold to head outside? Make an edible indoor sandbox. My son loves to scoop things or pour from one container to another.

6. Make a Valentine for someone special. Last year we dipped baby’s feet into some nontoxic paint, but this year I’d like to try potato stamps.

7. Invent a holiday. Maybe today is Mismatch Day? Dress Like a Tourist Day? Formal Day?

8. Check out a new-to-you museum.

9. Have a luau in the living room. Play tropical music, hang up a poster of Hawaii, and hand over grandpa’s ukulele to the kids. If you’re really feeling festive, you could get leis and grass skirts from a party store or make some from construction paper.

10. Bake cookies. (We make this healthy version: Mash two super ripe bananas, add one cup of quick oats, and cook for 375 for 15 minutes. Sometimes I add a spoonful of applesauce, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, or a scoop of peanut butter to the batter.)

11. Plant a garden or window box of herbs.

12. Build an obstacle course. I’m inspired by this adorable kid.

13. Go to a sporting event and root for a team you’ve never seen before. It’s even better if you’re watching an unfamiliar sport.

14. Fill the sidewalk with chalk murals. Or try this homemade liquid sidewalk chalk.

15. Check out your local animal shelter. My son is Team Kitten.

16. Have a race. If you don’t want to have a foot race, maybe trikes vs. roller skates?



17. Visit a place in your state that you’ve never been before. Our goal this year is Sequoia National Park.

18. Make a build-your-own dinner bar. Make-your-own sandwiches, build-your-own pizza or top-your-own salad.

19. Squirt gun painting! Add some paint to an old squirt gun and let your kid attack some paper, poster board or canvas.

20. Relay races. Remember those from when you were in school? Here are some terrific relay race ideas.

21. Make a nature scavenger hunt. Head to the park, forest, beach, or desert — wherever you live — and make a list of cool items for your kids to find.

22. Bubble party!

23. You’re juggling so many things at once, why not do it for real? Learn to juggle. Tutorial here.

24. Attend an outdoor festival or concert.

25. Fly a kite.

26. Have fun with a cardboard box. Our cardboard boxes are often repurposed into coloring houses, but perhaps yours will be a rocket ship.



27. Watch fireworks.

28. Take a sound scavenger hunt. Walk around your neighborhood and see what kinds of sounds you can find.

29. Make crazy crayons. Give your broken crayons new life by melting them down into crazy crayons. This is a perfect use for all those old restaurant crayons.

30. Splash in some puddles. Get really wet on purpose. Running through sprinklers works too.

31. Visit a botanical garden. 

32. Teach a child to hula hoop. Or learn together!

33. Take a hike.

34. Collect stones or shells.

35. Take a spontaneous road trip.

36. Climb rocks — real or fake.

37. Help your child write his or her name with Cheerios. (If you’re not into that idea, here are 99 other things you can do with cereal Os.)

38. Be a tourist in your own town. What are the coolest things to do where you live? Take some snapshots and make a photo album of your adventure!

39. Homemade slime. It’s a great sensory activity, but it’s also just plain fun.

40. Finger paint without the mess. Squeeze a few blobs of paint into a plastic zip-top bag, then tape it to a table, wall or easel. Your child can then move the paint around with no muss and no fuss.



41. Velcro + popsicle sticks = Easy, portable toddler toy.

42. Have a puppet show. No puppets? No problem. Paper bag puppets are super easy.

43. Take the kids to a bowling alley for their first gutter balls. Too young for that? Set up some bottles for indoor bowling. Or check out this tutorial for glow-in-the-dark bowling.

44. Make a glowing, edible spiderweb. So weird.

45. If you have yarn, glue and a paper plate, you can make this apple craft.

46. Make a batch of homemade play dough.

47. Get your stretch on with a yoga video. My son likes to follow along with my yoga DVDs, or we do the child-centric Cosmic Kids Yoga vids on YouTube.

48. Have an epic game of hide and seek. Even better than your own home is a safe space that your kids are somewhat unfamiliar with, like Great Aunt Tillie’s house.

49. Dance party! Kick out the jams with some of your child’s favorite tunes. Just pretend you’re in a music video or film your booty-shaking for a fun video to share with family.

50. Send a card to someone who could use one. Find a soldier, a children’s hospital or nursing home that has requested cards and make someone’s day.

51. Make a snow globe. Or a cool discovery bottle.

52. Celebrate the New Year — but for a different time zone. Even though we live in California, we’ll be ringing in 2016 with London! Spin the globe and see what new year you’ll be toasting (with apple juice, of course).


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