Break out of your weekend routine with fresh ideas.

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief when the weekend rolls around; even if you love your job, it’s nice to get a bit of a break. Whether you fill your weekend with errands or relaxing, it’s always a good idea to set aside a few hours to spend with your kids — no matter how old they are! We know from experience how hard it can be to come up with new activities to do with your kids, so here are 10 ideas you can try out.

1. Visit a museum with your kids.

Museums might have a reputation for being stuffy, but they can actually be incredibly fun for you and your kids. Even young kids can have a blast in modern, hands-on exhibits that encourage them to learn by experiencing, touching, and playing. If you choose a museum centered around a topic your children love, like a natural history museum for kids who love animals or dinosaurs, your family will be able to enjoy an entire afternoon of fun — with the added bonus of tricking your children into learning and exercising all in a single trip! You’ll probably need to make reservations in advance, so be sure to check out the requirements before showing up at the museum.

2. Take your kids camping.

If the weather is nice and you have the weekend off, camping is a great opportunity to spend time as a family with fewer intrusions from technology. You can spend a day hiking or relaxing with a little fishing and your kids will love roasting marshmallows, making smores, and seeing wildlife. Even creatures as seemingly simple as chipmunks or leaf bugs can make a kid’s day! If your schedule is a little tight for a full camping trip, there are plenty of trails close by that you can go on for an afternoon hike as a family instead.

3. Read a book together.

This is a great way to transform your children into lifelong readers — just make sure you find a book that matches their interests. If you find a book that sparks a love of reading in each of your children, they’ll move onto deeper or more complex books when they’re ready. On the other hand, pushing kids to read books they’ll find difficult or boring will usually just make them resistant to reading. Reading the book aloud together tends to work great for younger kids, as it makes the activity more enjoyable and feel like less work, while slightly older kids might want to read the book individually and then come together to discuss it later. Either way, this is a good, low-energy activity that can improve your children’s reading ability, grow their creativity, and develop into a lifelong passion!

4. Make a birdhouse with your kids.

If your kids love animals, they might enjoy providing a home for the local birds. You can let your little ones paint an inexpensive premade birdhouse or you can make a simple birdhouse together using popsicle sticks or an old milk carton. This provides an hour or two of entertainment for your kids. Plus, it can turn into a great learning experience as you check up on the house throughout the spring to see if any birds have moved in and had chicks!

5. Go to a water park.

When the weather starts warming up, a water park is a great place to go for an afternoon of fun. It’s a rare treat, so your kids will love getting to swim, rush down water slides, and float along in a lazy river. It makes for an exhausting but incredibly fun afternoon — and you’ll have a quiet house in the evening when you get home!

6. See a movie.

If you need a fun but relatively low-energy afternoon out, try taking your kids to the movies. You’ll get to spend time with your kids, but it’s much more relaxed and passive than exploring a museum or playing at a water park all day, so you don’t have to expend too much energy if you’ve had a busy week. Your kids will probably be excited to see the latest movie, so they won’t mind the change of pace. Just be sure to check your local theaters for their requirements around masks and social distancing.

7. Try an escape room.

If your family loves solving riddles and mysteries, an escape room might make the perfect family outing! Escape rooms generally have a unique story, such as an explorer looking for a way out of a booby-trapped chamber, and require you to find and solve all of the hints to escape the room before the timer runs out. You can even choose different difficulty levels to match the needs of your family! It’s not an ideal activity for younger kids, however, since most companies set a minimum age requirement of 10 years old to ensure that everyone can follow the rules of the game. Most escape rooms are currently allowing families and related parties to enter together.

8. Have a game night with your kids.

Game nights are a great way to get everyone together for a healthy dose of family bonding time. There are so many unique games out there nowadays that you’ll be able to find something for everyone, from games that rely on bluffing or strategy to games of cooperation or pure luck. It’s a great way to get your kids engaged and entertained — plus everyone will have a blast.

9. Make splatter painting masterpieces with your kids.

Splatter painting is exactly what it sounds like; you take your kids outside, give them a brush and their choice of watered-down washable paint, and let them loose to create a masterpiece on their paper. We’ll be honest — this is messy, but it’s super easy to set up. Doing it outside lets you hose off collateral damage, like your fence, your kids, and yourself, making clean-up easier, but your little ones will likely still need a bath when they come inside. It’s worth it, though, because they’ll love this activity. Alternatively, you can do outdoor finger painting to cut down on the mess.

10. Plan a picnic.

When the weather warms up, you might want to try going on a picnic at your favorite local park. Picnics can be pretty simple, so they don’t take too much prep work. Pack an easy lunch, plenty of water, and few game items, like a frisbee or soccer ball, and voila! You have everything you need for an afternoon of fun. If you have a dog, you can bring them along too!

It can be difficult to come up with fresh ideas to keep your little ones entertained, but spending time with your kids is definitely worth the extra effort. It helps you stay close as a family and even the most active, exhausting activities will leave you feeling happy and mentally refreshed, ready to take on the next week.

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