It’s those little amazing memories that become the glue that binds us together as a family. 100+ simple family bonding activities you can start today!
The sky was dark and the alarm clock taunted my sleeping body. It was just after 5am and we were on vacation. The thought was fairly understandable: Why on earth did I set that alarm?
Oh yes, I remember.
I scrambled to my feet and announced that it was time for everyone to jump in the car. All four children were startled but quickly full of excitement. We piled in the car and drove the one mile to the beach.
The morning was a little chilly for Florida, but it didn’t seem to bother anyone. We made ourselves a spot on the beach under a blanket and cuddled close. At first we sat for what seemed liked hours, just talking and praying and remembering all the wonderful things that God had given us on this special trip.
And then it finally happened. A tiny speck of light appeared out of the vast darkness and the squeals could not be contained. “There it is! The sun is coming up!” We watched on the tips of our chairs (ok the tip of the sand) as each beam peeked into the sky.
I’ll be honest, it was probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I don’t know if it was the reminder of God’s goodness or the squeezing of those excited little hands, but my heart was so full that I thought it might burst.
You see, our family worked very hard at building the unity that we needed to not just survive the storms that we were facing, but to rise victorious in the circumstances. For years we had been hanging on by a thread, or so it seemed.
But that morning on the beach, God reminded me of all His glorious works and I saw all of that and more. It didn’t come in a fancy package or an amazing activity. (In fact, that trip to the beach was completely free.)
The beauty came from a simple sacrifice of my agenda to spend time pouring into their lives.
Simple Family Bonding Ideas
Let’s face it, life can be challenging. But we can still create moments that build family unity, even in the midst of difficulty. I’ve combined a list of over 100 ideas to equip your family to build unity. I pray this list serves as a tool to inspire, not a list to make you feel overwhelmed.
Choose one. Do that one thing. Then another day, choose another thing to do together. Family unity is built one memory at a time. You’ve got this, mama!
Start and End Your Day Together
Life is busy. Once our day gets going we often don’t have time to connect with one another again until the evening. Make these two connection points a priority by establishing a SIMPLE routine that helps you come together as a family.
Morning Meeting Routine
- Greet each other kindly
- Take a few minutes to read a passage or verse in the Bible together, then discuss it
- Talk about what is going on today
- Ask for prayer requests for one another
- Pray together
- Cuddle on the couch and read together
- Talk about the day
- Pray together
Family Bonding by Reading Together
You get double for the money with this one. Reading aloud to your children is the best way to develop strong readers, intelligent thinkers, and a great vocabulary. Strive to do it daily: before bed, during lunch, or after outside playtime are great options. We also read every night on vacation, at doctor’s appointments, and even in the car. There is always a novel of some sort half way finished in our home.
Books Our Family Enjoys
- Missionary Books
- Horse Books for Kids
- These best children’s audio books
- Living history books
- Classic read-alouds
- Poetry books
- Funny children’s books
- Inspirational stories for kids
Family Bonding in Nature
Most of the time, exploring nature is completely free. Do you have a trail or creek nearby? How about a state park? Go there and just enjoy whatever you might find. Sometimes we collect various kinds of leaves. Other times we study the bugs or wildlife. My children actually love to go and draw the things they see, so we pack a little backpack for the trip. Hiking the local state park has become one of our favorite weekend activities.
Other Ways to Enjoy Nature as a Family
- 15 Tips for Hiking with Kids
- How to Go on a Nature Walk – Preschool Learning Activity
- Simple Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable
- ABC Nature Walk
- Hiking Scavenger Hunt Printable
- Pond Walk Scavenger Hunt
- Another Great Nature Hunt Printable
- Create Natural Paintbrushes
- 10 Ideas for Creating With Nature
- Neighborhood Nature Walk with Young Children
- Go on a Bug Hunt
- Sensory Nature Hunt
- Become a Nature Detective
Family Bonding with Exercise
Relax, I’m not talking Jillian Michaels boot camp here. Keep it simple, but get out there and do something physical! Take a walk. Play frisbee at the park. Have a family game of soccer in the backyard. All of these things are good for you, good for your kids, and fun!
Need some family exercise ideas?
- 10 Tips for Walking for Exercise with Young Children
- Play games like Twister Hopscotch
- 11 Ways to Make Family Bike Rides (more) Fun
- Use a Wii Fit
- Try the color run
- Family fitness when it’s freezing
- 25+ Ideas for Family Fitness with printable
- The Family Fitness Fun Book
- Make and fly a kite
- 101 Cool Pool Games
Make a Big Deal Out of It
Shh…don’t tell my kids about this. This one thing is my biggest parenting trick and it works miracles. All you have to do is make a big deal. You might be wondering what it is you are supposed to make a big deal out of. ANYTHING! I’ve found that if I call it a surprise and build it up, it’s so much more fun. If I name it something special or create a theme, my kids are certain that I am the best mom alive.
- Have a drive-in movie by watching a movie on the car’s DVD player in the (OPEN) garage
- Play in the rain
- Make a fort out of boxes (check out this castle)
- Have chocolate fondue for dinner
- Eat lunch UNDER the table
- Add bubbles to the kiddie pool or shaving cream to the slip n’ slide
- Put everyone to bed and then run through the house shouting “emergency ice cream run” then take everyone for ice cream in their pj’s
- Make an indoor obstacle course
Have Regular Fun Nights
I started this when my kids were really little and family night has now become the best night of the week. Pick a day that works for you. During one season of life, we did Sunday nights. Now we do Friday nights. Every week, we do something special together.
As the kids get older, they will know and cherish the importance of this day and I pray they will still love being home for it. I know many families have seen this happen, even into college! Our family nights often have a theme. I have been amazed at how I can do some of the silliest and simplest things with my kids and yet still be crowned “Best Mom in the World.”
Need more inspiration? I’ve created the ultimate list of family fun night ideas!
Family Bonding on Vacation or Day Trips
I’m well aware that not everyone has the budget to travel, but please hear me out. Vacations are memory-builders, and building memories is vital to family unity. There is nothing like getting away from all the normal distractions of life and loving on your family. Plus, you have the added benefit of experiences.
We love to take trips that are educational, historical, and/or teach you something. There are plenty of ways to make it budget-friendly, such as saving money on food and picking a frugal destination. But if you simply cannot afford a trip away from home, at least go on day trips. Grab the local papers and dig around for the fun and crazy stuff.
Family Vacation and Day Trip Ideas
- 25 Awesome Staycation Ideas
- Saving Money on Vacation (on food)
- How to Budget and Save for Vacation
- 35 Camping Tips and Tricks
- 40 Must-See Places to Take Your Kids
- 51 Mini Family Vacations
Say “Yes” More
I used to think I was the kind of mom who said yes a lot, until I was challenged to go an entire day without saying no to my kids. Don’t panic. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I learned two things that day. First, I say no A LOT. And second, my kids weren’t asking for that much.
In general, if we guide our kids toward a love of good things, we won’t find ourselves saying no nearly as much. I think the secret to this is loving those “good things” ourselves. Ahem. I think I will skip the lecture to myself (and you) on that one!
Inspiring Articles to Help us Become Yes Moms
- 10 Tips for Becoming a Yes Mom
- 40 Ways to Be Present in Your Child’s Day
- 10 Things You Should Say Yes to More Often
- The Reason I need to Say Yes More Often
Do It Yourself
There is something so amazingly rewarding in doing something yourself. Throw the whole family into the mix and you’ve got an activity that is sure to make memories. Of course, you may not be the family who is going to build their own back porch, but you could check out the local farms and pick your own produce or make your own laundry soap. Really, the choices are limitless. Do something you enjoy or do something that is needed! Either way, it’s a win.
Easy DIY Ideas
- Make a DIY Breakfast Station
- 32 Best DIY Backyard games
- Elderberry Gummy Vitamins for Cold, Flu, and Sleep
- DIY Slurpees
- 39 Coolest Kids Toys You Can Make Yourself
- 41 Cheap and Easy Backyard DIYs
- DIY Ice Cream in a Bag
Family Bonding over Fun Dinners
So you eat dinner every day and sometimes it gets boring to talk about what you did that day. Trust me, I get that. We are a homeschool family. I KNOW what my kids do all day. I find that I have to be a little more creative with dinner, both in the way I prepare it and in the dinner table discussion.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you have to spend 30 minutes a day coming up with some cool idea for dinner. Just spice it up a little every now and then. Bring out the candles and go with candlelight. Have a progressive dinner moving from one room of the house to the next. It’s really simple to make dinner fun.
Family Fun Dinner Ideas
- 35+ Fun Family Dinners
- Food Prep for the Whole Family
- Dinner Conversation Starters
- Fun Themed Dinner Nights
- Family Dinner Time Games
- How to Make Dinner More Fun
- Make your own pizza night
- Cupcake Fondue
Dear sweet mom, I hope you read this list and felt empowered, encouraged, and motivated to do something awesome with your family. But before I close, I want to remind you of one trap that we are all a little guilty of falling into. Please don’t read all of these great ideas that I shared and think that every other mom is doing these every day and you simply can’t compete. I don’t do all of these things every day, or even every month, and neither will you! That’s not even the point.
Use the ideas to inspire you to build unity in your family through simple and meaningful activities. Have a blast making memories with your family and check the mom-guilt at the door!
What other family bonding ideas do you have? Share in the comments!