Good quality time with the family can strengthen bonds and bring everyone closer together. However, it’s important to remember that “quality time” isn’t the same thing as “Netflix time.” So what to do with the kids? Here are some ideas for fun with the family.
For kids under five
Toronto dad Christopher Cowan and his three sons are geocachers, an activity that’s part outdoor nature walk, part treasure hunt. Cowan’s family started by downloading a geocaching app, which helped guide them to hidden caches around their neighbourhood. “Within the day, we couldn’t believe how many geocaches were in our immediate neighbourhood and how fun it was to pursue them and solve the clues,” said Cowan. “Along with our own neighbourhood, we geocache whenever we are out travelling too.”
Danielle Smith Parney of Waterdown, Ont. caught onto searching for waterfalls with her family after discovering a beautiful one right behind their home. “When we moved here, we realized that Hamilton is known for their awesome waterfalls,” said the mom of three kids. “We really just love the adventure and getting active as a family. We pack up snacks, a ton of water and head out. We have also been known to bring a few rocks home and paint a favourite memory on them to keep.” No waterfalls near you? Try searching for mountains, caves and other natural wonders instead.
For kids 6-10 years old
Walking high amongst the trees is a new way to explore nature that appeals to both kids and parents alike. At the Toronto Zoo, for example, the Gorilla Climb Ropes Course lets visitors make their way through a 33-foot-high climb, which they can swing and crawl their way through. In Revelstoke, B.C., the SkyTrek Adventure Park offers a number of courses and climbs for the whole family to tackle.
Playing Pokémon GO
Forget the naysayers — this handheld device game is a great way to get out and walk with the family. Heather Makin and her 12-year-old son, Ryan, have used the app in two cities and regularly do five-kilometre walks trying to catch Pokémon including Charmander and Snorlax. “We look at the map before we head out to see where the specific gyms are that Ryan wants go to,” said Makin. “And we’ve ended up in stores, for example, that I never knew existed.”
For kids 11 years and up
While Robin Stevenson and her family regularly golf, this year they’ve been trying disc golfing, a game that, in essence, uses Frisbees instead of balls. “It takes some skill and practice to play, but we’re getting there,” said the Etobicoke mom. “We have a friendly competition and my daughter is thrilled when her disc passes ours. We’ve met some friendly people on the courses and love that we can play this as a family.”
Starting a pick-up game
Like to be active as a family? Keep a bin of extra sports equipment in the car — think tennis rackets, soccer balls, baseball gloves and balls — and head to an empty diamond or field to play as a family. Better yet, invite some other families along to make it a real game.
This story originally appeared on thestar.com.