I’ve lived in the Phoenix Metro area for more than 3 years, and every year I say the same thing – This is the year we will get out, explore, and take advantage of everything the city has to offer. But every year, like clockwork, the same thing happens: we hike one week, go to an event the next week, and then my work/volunteer-life is in shambles and the entire family spends the whole weekend alternately napping (mostly me) and watching Netflix (ok..that too is mostly me). I go into each year with the best of intentions, but find myself asking where I am falling short? Why aren’t we getting out and taking advantage of everything the city has to offer? It finally dawned on me that just like every other facet of my life (work, church, personal goals) the key is to write it down. Seriously. Even in weight loss they tell you to write down everything you eat. So, that’s what we did. My family and compiled a list of nearly 50 (mostly local) family activities to help us with our goal of getting out of the house every weekend.
Here are some helpful steps to create a list of weekend family activities!
Decide what kinds of activities you want to do.
Between our kids’ schedules, our work schedules, and our volunteer schedules, it’s tough to get out of town sometimes. So, we decided to go with nearly all local activities (though we have one card out of our 50 that specifies going on an out-of-town trip). And although many of our activities cost money, we looked to include several cheap and free family activities as well.
Write down each activity on a different piece of paper.
We used blank business cards since we had them on hand, but just about anything will work. We found it easiest to have our list compiled in advance so there weren’t any arguments about whether or not Chuck E. Cheese makes the cut or not.
Know your limits.
As much as I’d like to pretend I’d be up for Peter Piper Pizza (sigh, my compromise from the aforementioned kid idea above), or a family hike each week, there are some weekends I’d just rather not. So I built in some super-easy (one might even say lazy) activities from which to choose. One of our cards actually says “wild card,” which means we can choose anything. Think about possibly making some cards that say “go to brunch and come home and play video games.” We will probably always leave one of these types of cards in the bowl (more on “the bowl” later). We also have some super easy ideas that you can elevate to a Pinterest-level by adding a theme and menu if you so desire. For example: family game night, movie night, library trips, play date, etc. You can use these basic ideas and then make them as elaborate or keep them as basic as you want.
Make it into a game.
So, we have our list, but now what? We decided to randomly choose one of our folded up cards each week. Whatever we pick, that’s what we’ll do that weekend. Of course, there are a few caveats. For example, if we already have a specific calendar event we’d like to go to, we skip drawing a card that week and do what we’d planned instead. We put some activities in the bowl more than once (especially the free ones!) and others, like the “wild card,” we’ll put back in if and when we choose it.
Put it somewhere.
We put our activities in “the bowl.” In our house, this happens to be very fishbowl-esque, This was Michael’s find that was then decorated with rocks and stickers for the purpose of holding our weekend family activities. Again, if you’re a Pinterest mom, go all out. Etch, spray paint, stencil, add chalkboard letters. I considered doing all those things until I remembered #3 (know your limits), and realized there’s no shame in my sticker game.
So that’s it. You’re all set to create your own family activities list! To get you really started, I thought I’d include a few of the activities we included in our list.
- Family Friendly Hike (our family favorite: Papago’s Hole-in-the-Rock)
- Musical Instrument Museum
- Challenger Space Center
- Children’s Museum of Phoenix
- Phoenix Zoo
- Wildlife World Zoo
- SEA LIFE Aquarium (and the OdySea Aquarium when it opens this summer)
- Local park activities (can you say FREE?)
- Desert Botanical Garden
- Library Activities (we put several of these in the bowl!)
- DIY Pottery Class (there are several of these around town, including Color Me Mine and As You Wish)
- Jambo Park
- Movie Theater *parental side note: several Harkins Theatres offer childcare so you can watch a movie and leave the kiddos to watch their kid movies and popcorn
- Family Movie Night
- Family Game Night
- Enchanted Island
- Amazing Jake’s
- Bowling (we love Uptown Alley and Main Event)
- Dave & Buster’s
- Family Restaurant Night (our whole family will choose a menu and cook a meal together)
- Get Outdoors (do anything outside, even if that means eat a meal outside *since it’s gets so hot here, this one is obviously negotiable)
- Mystery Castle
I’d love to see what you included in your list! Comment below and give me some other great ideas to add to our bowl! Be sure to use our hashtag #nphxmoms when sharing images of your family enjoying Phoenix on Instagram! We would love to see and possibly feature your photos!