May 15 is the International Day of Families, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 to stress the importance of the family unit and promote awareness about issues that affect families worldwide. It’s also a holiday meant to highlight how stronger families benefit society by providing security, love, and support to one another and by raising children who are self-sufficient, independent, and socially aware.
This year, celebrate International Day of Families with your own beloved kin. Here are eight fun activities that will engage the whole family and create happy memories.
Plant a Family Garden
Produce is at the heart of a healthy diet, and your family can grow its own produce this summer in a garden. Kids love watching things grow, and parents love not spending a fortune on fruits and vegetables.
Plot out the space where you’ll grow your garden, and let the kids help you decide what to plant and where to plant it. Arm the family with tools to prepare the soil, and show the children how to plant seeds and transplant seedlings. Once the garden is planted, keep the kids invested by having them water, weed, and harvest the garden.
To add a little extra fun and creativity to the activities, build a scarecrow to put in the center of the garden to scare away birds and other critters, or create garden sculptures out of items you have on hand.
Go Camping in the Back Yard
Kids go wild for backyard camping. This year, make it a family affair. Set up the tent in a sweet spot, and gather blankets or sleeping bags and pillows. Plan a meal you can cook on a camp stove, or light up the fire pit and roast hot dogs on sticks. Don’t forget the S’mores!
When it’s time to head into the tent for the night, pull out a board game or card game to play by lantern light. Once it’s lights out and you’re all settled in snugly, challenge each family member to tell a scary story. If the kids are too young for that, regale them with family stories of camping trips past, or tell their favorite bedtime stories until everyone is sound asleep. In the morning, cook up a big breakfast on the camp stove or kitchen, and let the kids spend the day playing in the tent.
Head to the Museums
Pack a picnic lunch, and head out for a day at your favorite museums. Do some investigating, and see if your area is home to a little-known, specialty museum, such as a rollerskating museum or a telephone museum. Enjoy your picnic lunch on the museum grounds, or head to your local botanical gardens or nature park for lunch. Engage the kids in a conversation about their favorite part of the museum and their favorite artifacts. Ask them what kind of museum they would start if they had the chance.
Have a Big Cook Out
Extended family is just as important as the core family unit, and hosting an epic cookout for the whole fam is just the thing to celebrate the International Day of Families. While you’re at it, invite friends who have no nearby family so they can participate in the special day, too.
Charge the kids with decorating the deck or patio with balloons and streamers. Plan fun games for the kids, such as a water balloon relay, bean bag toss, or obstacle course. Bring the wireless speakers out to the yard, and pipe in festive music to keep things lively.
Host a Game Day
If your family loves healthy competition, plan a fun-filled day chock full of games. Start the day outside. Set up the croquet set, play some badminton, and have a horseshoe competition. Head out to the local tennis court, baseball diamond, or soccer field for some ball playing. Book a spot at the laser tag center, video arcade, or escape room. If you can, score tickets to a local sporting event, and cheer on your favorite team.
Back at home in the evening, whip up some snacks, and set out the board games. Invite the neighbors or your extended family over for a night of friendly competition or an epic tournament. You can even have prizes prepared for the winners.
Spend International Day of Families giving back to the community, and teach your kids the value of service to others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, clean up a park or a stretch of roadway, or help out at the local animal shelter. Whatever your family’s interests, you can find a volunteer opportunity that’s fun and engaging.
If May 15 finds you in the process of spring cleaning, consider having a garage sale with the proceeds going to your favorite charity. You can even get extended family or the neighbors involved. Have the kids make signs for the sale, and set up a lemonade or cookie stand for them to run.
If your family is active–and even if it’s not–spend the day getting some fresh air and exercise. Head to a nearby state or national park for a hike and a picnic, or take the frisbee or football to your local city park. Rent paddle boats, kayaks, or canoes at the lake, or go on a self-guided walking tour of the historical part of town. Hit the bike trails, run a family-friendly 5K, go to the zoo, or head to the local climbing wall. The possibilities for bonding over physical activity are endless.
Have a Home Movie Night
Spend a little time going through family videos, and compile them into a home movie that will keep everyone in stitches and waxing nostalgic. Kids love watching their parents’ wedding video, and they’ll be thrilled to watch videos of you before you were married or before they came along. Watching videos will bring up all kinds of stories you can tell the kids, and they’ll keep the whole family entertained all evening long.
No matter what you do this International Day of Families, make it special, do it as a family, and celebrate the people you love best.