You may remember Alfalfa, Spanky, Darla, and Buckwheat from the Our Gang Series... If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about—um, not only do I feel ancient right now—thank you, but it’s worth a trip to your library DVD collection, or a search on youtube to find out what you’re missing, young'un.
There’s a pretty famous Little Rascals episode where Spanky, a youngster himself, is in charge of watching a bunch of toddlers. First off, this would never fly today, but man, does it make for hilarious black & white old-timey hi-jinks! Not surprisingly, the rambunctious little ones give Spanky a run for his money, trying to escape while creating a path of destruction, broken lamps and furniture, and flooding tubs. In the end, the quick-witted boy resorts to gluing a couple of the kids’ diapers to the floor, and trapping another in a big bird cage. Mission accomplished.
Not sure about you, but my family’s weekends can echo a bit of that chaos. A bunch of people moving in a million different directions, rushing to and fro. We’re all so different and it really comes out when we have to decide how to spend our time together. Suddenly everyone’s got an agenda and is angling for control, exerting their preference, while others are shouting down the proposed suggestions. “We did that last week! You’re not getting your way again.” Let’s just say, it can get more political than a presidential debate. So, what’s a mom or dad to do?
A little prep work and setting aside time specifically for family makes all the difference. The key is making family time a weekly priority. We’ve got you covered with a bucket list of inexpensive activities that will get you through the next couple of months so you can really enjoy the fall weather while bonding as a family.
10 Fun Fall Activities To Strengthen the Family Bond:
- Do random acts of kindness together. This can happen anywhere. Get in the car and start trolling for ways to help your fellow man. Mom blogger, Kristina Kuzmic talks about the fun missions she and her family go on. They like to hit grocery stores and secretly collect and return carts for the workers. Once they’ve spread plenty of goodness, they reward themselves with ice cream cones. There are countless opportunities to secretly help your neighbors—rake leaves without being asked, make small gift bags to place on doorsteps, paint and place kindness rocks with heartfelt messages.
- Go Star-Gazing Together. Drive out of town so the city lights won’t eclipse nature’s fantastic light display. Throw a blanket down and tap into some hot chocolate. It’s so important to stop seeking information and just wonder together as a family!
- Volunteer as a Family. This will require a little bit of prep work because not all charities can have small children around. Maybe help tidy a nearby park, or work at a diaper or food bank. Generosity really increases endorphins. This means everybody gets a rush from being together.
- Spend a Day Reminiscing. Set aside a couple of hours to go through old photos and videos from favorite memories. Indulge one another in listening and laughter. Tell the amazing stories of each child’s birth. Add a snack and it’s a fun party. This would be a great activity to include grandma and grandpa. Let’s face it, everyone else would be bored to tears.
- Decorate the House for Fall. Rake leaves and stuff those jack-o-lantern trash bags. Make fun displays using corn, homemade scarecrows, and hay bales. You don’t need to live on a farm to add some fun rustic charm. Head to your local craft store for inspiration. Make it fall themed by serving apple cider, or candied apples.
- Plan, Shop For, and Cook a Homemade Gourmet Meal. BTW, pizza counts as gourmet! There’s nothing that creates more solidarity than when everyone has a job working towards a common goal. Sit down with your whole family and plan out a delicious meal—then give everyone their marching orders. Don’t skimp on the decorations. Put someone in charge of the table decor—candles, placemats, a centerpiece. Go all out!
- Go On a Scavenger Hunt at a Flea Market or Antique Mall. Before you go, come up with a list of 15 hard-to-find items. Then, as a team, search high and low. As an added bonus, bring along $5 for each family member so they can buy some special treasure. When you get home, show and tell time!
- Take a Family Nature Hike. Enjoying the great outdoors together doesn’t mean you have to rough it and climb a fourteener. Pick a scenic spot and hit the trail. You could also plan a scavenger hunt ahead of time, but often it is just nice to marvel at the quiet of nature so you can hear the birds and the wind. If the weather’s nice, pack a picnic lunch.
- Get Your Craft On with Homemade Halloween Costumes. Help your kids add some homemade flair to their Halloween costumes. Look for inspo pictures and then head to the local thrift store. Glue gun in hand, you’re gonna make lasting memories for your whole family.
- Visit a Farm. Nothing says fall fun like a hay ride, pumpkin/apple picking, and a corn maze. If there aren’t any affordable options, try a farmer’s market. Peruse all the fall harvest has to offer while getting some fresh air with one another.
We all have obligations that threaten to interfere with sacred family time, so it’s important to be intentional about setting aside time each week. Once you get into a habit, your whole family will be eager to take part. Otherwise, the alternative is pulling a “spanky,” but beware, the glue’s not so good for hardwoods or carpet.
One of our core tenets for Families of Character is the Family Huddle. With over 150 collective years of experience in parenting and grandparenting, we’ve witnessed the power of coming together each week as a family and seen how crucial it is to growing in character. And strength of character is the glue that binds us.
Looking for ways to incorporate the family huddle into your family’s weekly routine?—it’s all made super easy in our Adventure into Character subscription box. Not only do we provide you with the talking points, your family will be engaged in prompts and activities designed to bring everyone closer together and longing for more!
If you have an issue you’d like our help with, drop us a line at Hello@FamiliesofCharacter.com. If you’re experiencing a problem, chances are thousands of other families are in the same boat. We’re ALL in this parenting boat together!
Remember to tap into our Thrive Community on Facebook. It’s free and our team’s very own clinical counselor offers helpful tips and encouragement to parents who are adventuring together.