Parents, it is already July and that means summer is here in full force! July makes us think of being outside, beach balls, and fun-in-the-sun. How can we make common summer activities become family bonding time? Below are some ideas to help you:
- Beach Ball Bonding: Get a beach ball and a sharpie marker. On the ball, write questions in each stripe. Have the family stand in a circle and pass the ball to each other. When you catch the ball, answer the question your hand lands on. Answer the question aloud for the entire family to hear. Suggested questions include: What is your favorite color and why? If you could have any super power what would it be and why? What is your favorite thing about yourself and why? What is your favorite thing about summer and why? When you woke up this morning what was the first thing you thought about and why? What is your favorite family memory and why? There is no limit to the questions you can ask.
- Bubbles With Baby: Blow bubbles with your baby nearby and encourage him/her to reach for them, and crawl or toddle after the bubbles. In between blows, encourage your baby to look at you and engage in joint eye contact and smiling. But be cautious about blowing into your baby’s eyes or face. While keeping eye contact, enunciate the word “bub-ble.” When repeating the word, touch your baby gently while talking and your child will learn the word quicker. You could also make silly faces or stick out your tongue and have your baby copy you.
- Balloon Toss Tango: Make some water balloons and play some lively music in the background. Before the typical balloon toss begins, choose a partner to dance with. Instead of holding hands, you and your partner both hold onto the balloon but try not to pop it! Get creative about where to place the balloon while dancing such as back-to-back, hip-to-hip, etc. While dancing, see who can go the longest without laughing. In pairs, race with your balloon to a designated spot. For the typical balloon toss, yell out some of your favorite things when it is your turn to toss, or say one thing you love about your partner.
Several of the ideas above can be used to enhance family bonding for other routine activities such as while riding in the car or sitting around the dinner table.
For more fun summer ideas visit: https://www.familyeducation.com/activities-crafts/the-ultimate-summer-bucket-list-for-kids-and-families
Nina Solomon, Development of Living Skills Instructor, Ohio State University, Extension, Butler County