Department of Family Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7500 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Michael A. Becketts

Connect with Your Children: Ideas for Quick and Fun Family Activities

(Posted 2020 September)

Summer is coming to a close, but that doesn’t have to mean an end to family fun. Now more than ever, as students begin to transition back to school, it is important for families to carve out positive ways to connect with each other, because it can lead to stronger relationships.

father dancing with two children in living roomGiven the way that screens dominate our lives now, from online schooling to extracurricular activities via zoom, it is a good idea to make time for more joyful activities that families can share in the real world. The Parenting Education Programs’ (PEP) staff suggests that parents look for ways to engage in the positive. The more happy moments shared with child(ren) of any age, the easier it will be to manage the moments of challenge and disconnection that are sure to come.

If you are looking for ways to connect, PEP staff suggests that parents:

  • Find, explore, and try to share your child(ren)’s interests.
  • Look for opportunities for one-to-one time and for whole family experiences.
  • Make sure each day includes at least five minutes of positive connection.

It’s easier than you think to find 5-10 minutes a day for a quick joy activity to share with your child. Here are some examples of simple activities for a variety of ages that don’t require much planning.

Indoor Activities

parent sitting with child using tabletQuiet

  • Solving Puzzles
  • Painting or Crafting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Reading/Storytelling
  • Baking Cookies

parent playing guitar for babyActive

  • Having a Dance Party
  • Playing Charades
  • Singing or Making Music
  • Enjoying Card or Board Games
  • Playing Hide and Seek

Outdoor Activities

mother and two daughters playful outdoorsQuiet

  • Taking a Walk
  • Playing I-spy
  • Stargazing
  • Making Sidewalk Art
  • Gardening

father and son walking and running on roadActive

  • Riding Bikes
  • Water Play
  • Blowing Bubbles
  • Shooting Hoops/Playing Catch
  • Playing 4-Square or Horse
  • Playing Follow the Leader

Based on materials in the Arc Reflections Curriculum, produced by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, Maryland 2017.

For more practical parenting advice like this, the Parenting Education Programs welcomes you to our classes. The Parenting Education Programs is now enrolling for classes that begin in Fall 2020. Join us for more information about positive and effective ways parents can interact with their children at every age and stage of development. We would love to hear from you. If you have questions or feedback about the topic in this article, send an email to us.

This posting is part of the Department of Family Services' Community Corner where you’ll find timely information about upcoming events, parenting and wellness tips, programs and services, and more! Share these helpful posts with your friends and family. Don't miss out on future postings; sign-up today!

For media inquiries, contact Department of Family Services' Public Information Officer Amy Carlini by email, office phone 703-324-7758 or mobile phone 571-355-6672.

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