As the old saying goes, the family that plays together stays together. Spending time connecting with your kids can help boost their self-esteem, plus you create strong bonds that last a lifetime. Shared memories are very powerful, and the more you can create with your kids, the better.

But doing things as a family means more than just hanging out on the sofa watching TV ─ although a good movie night is certainly fun. When you want to get up and go, here are a few fun activities you can all do together:

  • Plan a picnic. Pack everyone's favorite foods into a basket, grab a big blanket and head outside to enjoy a picnic. Bring a bottle of bubbles, a baseball and glove, or a playground ball to get a good game going.
  • Head to the orchard. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and more are ripe for the picking, and many local orchards are open with big fruity bounties awaiting.
  • Grab the camera. Make a family video together. Take it outside and allow the kids to be the directors. Keep an open mind and have fun!
  • Go on a treasure hunt. Come up with a series of items to collect (rocks of different colors, flowers or leaves) and send the kids outside to find them.
  • Connect with nature. A leisurely nature walk is a great way to enjoy some unstructured outdoor fun.
  • Get wet. Take the family to a water park – there are indoor and outdoor parks in the area that provide hours of entertainment.
  • Bowl them over. Take the family to the nearest bowling alley for a night of spirited competition. You don't have to have matching shirts (but it helps).
  • Look to the stars. Take an after-dinner trip to a nice open area to see the stars. Bring along a map of the sky and see how many constellations you can find.
  • Be a tourist. No matter how long you have lived in your town, there is definitely somewhere you have never been. Find somewhere to visit in your area that is entirely new to everyone.
  • Get on wheels. Get out your bikes, rollerblades or scooters and have some fun as a family. Make sure to wear your safety gear!
  • Let the kids decide. Give the kids the reins and tell them to pick an activity the whole family can enjoy.

Contributed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr., MD