Quality Time Fun Family Activities that Make Everyone Smile

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As society becomes more and more technologically entangled, we spend less and less time interacting with one another face to face. Everyone has their own screen nowadays: we watch TV or play videogames in our rooms, surf the web or social media on our phones, do work on our computers and tablets. And all of these things are as true of our families as everyone else. So what does it take to get an entire household together in a single room—moreover, for some mutual activity that everyone will enjoy? Scientists are still working feverishly to determine the elusive formula that will someday provide the ideal pastime for an entire family unit. But while you wait, here are a few ideas that are sure to get everyone excited about spending some quality time together.


Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt. It is partly competitive, partly cooperative, and entirely addicting. If you have a smart phone and a few trinkets or gewgaws you won’t mind parting with, you have everything you need to get started. The point of geocaching is to find hidden sites called geocaches—waterproof containers of varying sizes that contain an assortment of small items. Using the geocaching app, your smart phone will lead you to the approximate location of these caches. It won’t, however, put you right on top of them, because it wouldn’t be nearly as fun if it did. Instead, you’ll get clues and hints about the cache’s exact location. Depending on the setting, you may find yourself poking around beneath hedges, park benches, the roots of trees, or any other out-of-the-way spot that could contain a secret stash. Each cache contains a roster of people who’ve found it, to which you’ll get to add your own names. Caches almost universally contain small toys, baubles, and curios, and you’ll get to select one as a souvenir. (It’s good etiquette to replace your prize with something else, so that the cache never runs dry.) There are geocaches waiting to be found literally everywhere in the world, so you’re not restricted by your current location, and there will always be fresh places to continue your search. Moreover, many geocachers leave tokens with individual tracking numbers, which lets the fun go one even at home: you can register the number online to show that it’s been found, then redeposit it in another cache later so that everyone can follow its continuing journey. In sum, geocaching is a great way to get everyone outdoors for some fresh air, exercise, and enduring memories.

Game Night

Before you lunge for the Xbox or Playstation, think again. With fewer and fewer videogames supporting local multiplayer, more and more people are turning back to analogue games. These marvelous inventions actually allow you to play with the person sitting beside you rather someone on the other side of the planet. And when it comes to pleasing a whole family, everybody loves a good game. To be sure, we’ve all played Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and the other classic games ad nauseam. Fortunately, the last few years have seen a veritable Renaissance in table top gaming thanks to renewed interest amongst consumers and the judicious use of crowdfunding by developers. This has produced a tidal wave of new, innovative offerings and revived the prominence of other long-languishing games at every complexity level and in every conceivable niche. And when I say “every,” I mean every. Do you want to lie to, bluff, ally and betray one another? Try a round or two of Coup or Munchkin. Would you rather compete over territory and resources? I’d suggest Settlers of Catan. Do you lean more toward cooperation than competition? Legendary lets you recruit your favorite superheroes to fight against villainous masterminds. Maybe you prefer something a little more freeform, in which case you should try Dixit, which challenges players to create a story based on visual cues. Or if you’re in the mood for something random and chaotic, Fluxx will keep you guessing until the very end. With the gaming industry booming right now, you and your family will undoubtedly discover new favorites that will keep everyone coming back to the table for more.  

Water Park Day

Why go to a water park, which is becoming absurdly expensive, when you can make your own, right in your own back yard. For a much less hefty—and much more enduring—investment than tickets to a commercial water park, you can get everything you need at the local department store. An inflatable pool or two will provide a place to cool off, relax, and splash around a little bit. If you have a Slip ‘N Slide along with some inflatable bowling pins (or inflatable anythings that will stand upright), you have all the ingredients for a game of human bowling, starring you and your family as the bowling balls. The only limit to your own personal water park is your imagination, so let it run wild—but whatever you do, don’t forget the water balloons. You may also want to invest in a few plastic storage bins to keep all your new toys in after you’ve dried them out. That way, they’ll be handy and ready for the next warm and sunny day. There you have it, three great ways to keep the whole family engaged and entertained. Now put down phone, close up the laptop, turn of the video games—get everyone together and start having some real fun.