25: Balancing the Serious with the Serendipitous, Part 1

     As a parent, I had to work at having regular family devotions. I dislike routine and schedules. My helpmeet enjoys structure and sought to maintain a regular schedule for our children. My nature was to go canoeing on a sunny day instead of following through with their schooling. I recognize now that we need balance between the serious and the serendipitous.

     So when I received the following request via email a few weeks ago, it struck a chord with me. Having just completed a contest to encourage the serious side of discipleship—regular family worship—perhaps it is time for some fun.

     “I was wondering if you could help with some suggestions for family time fun. We are a family of 9 and do have evening devotions around the table and are so thankful to The Lord that it has just become like breathing to our family, but we fall down on good old plain fun times. I seem to lack fun ideas and don’t want to fall into the trap of always watching movies or for the children to play on the computer. Not that these things in and of themselves are wrong, but I really want to build strong relationships with my children before they all leave home. I want them to remember home as a fun place to be around, not a sterile environment, even if we do have devotions.”

     Here are a bunch of activities that I pulled together to give you some ideas. I have grouped the ideas in several categories, which are underlined. If you have a family activity that you could recommend, please send it along.

Here’s hoping that your family will experience a joy-filled summer and make memories that will last a lifetime!


Active Activities for Inside

  • Hide and seek
  • Rubber band wars
  • Moose*
  • Viking*
  • Family Ping Pong*
  • Darts
  • Charades

Subdued Ideas for Inside

  • Assemble a puzzle
  • Card games: Dutch Blitz, Set, Uno
  • Board games: Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble, Clue, Life, Parcheesi, Sorry
  • Dominoes
  • Bingo
  • Yahtzee

Food is Fun

  • Make homemade ice cream
  • Make hot pretzels
  • Have a campfire with smores

Evening Excursions

  • Miniature golf
  • Bowling
  • Stargazing on a dark night

For a Weekend or Weekday

  • Bike ride
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Overnight camping
  • Find a bird watcher who could take you on a hike to identify birds
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen

Some Suggested Read-Aloud Books

  • Little Britches
  • Summer of the Monkeys
  • Cheaper by the Dozen
  • Narnia Books

Other Ideas

  • Invite friends over to share in a family game night
  • Put all the activities on cards and have someone pick one randomly. Insist beforetime that there is to be no grumbling and that all will congratulate the winners and say, “Good game!”
  • Take turns selecting the activity or game among different members of the family. Each person in the family could rotate hosting the activity with all the materials gathered and the refreshments prepared ahead of time. You might want to set aside a certain budgeted amount

Summer Contests

These might seem a lot like school. In Cheaper by the Dozen, the children learned the Morse Code on summer holiday.