Each new year marks a time for everyone to make individual resolutions; but why not extend one or two of those resolutions to your whole family? Perhaps you want to spend more time together this year? Or maybe you're interested in getting more time in outdoors? What about both? These are the perfect goals to share with your family. So gather your family together and talk about what you hope to accomplish this year. Then, see where your goals intersect and discuss potential ways you can come together to fulfill the common goal of spending more time together as a family. Here are four great outdoor ideas that will not only bring your loved ones together, but will ensure you also create lifetime memories in the process:
1. Saturday night patio dinners
Last year you finally created the backyard of your dreams. Did you use it often? This year you can start using that custom patio the moment the weather warms by hosting Saturday night dinners. We don't mean recreating those quasi-uncomfortable formal weekly dinners of your youth. Instead, this is a great chance to gather your immediate or local family to enjoy one another's company and food.
Get together with your immediate or extended family for Saturday night dinners
Make this night a potluck so everyone can contribute a dish. This will be way easier for you, the hosts, as you're not expected to create an entire meal every week! Create categories like appetizers, salad, meat, side dishes and dessert, and assign each attendee their own group. This reduces the chances of ending up with four desserts and a salad. Then, you can rotate who makes each food every week to keep things fresh and allow everyone a chance to show off their culinary skills. And if Aunt Margy is not so great in the kitchen, let her claim dish duty!
Make sure your patio is properly lit for the occasion with landscape lighting. This feature not only prevents Joe Jr. from tripping as he plays tag with his cousins, it also provides a sense of ambiance and extends the time you can spend outdoors until later in the night.
2. Sunday BBQs
What says family better than a Sunday cookout? Use your BBQ island to roast chicken, brats and hot dogs and perfectly char hamburgers. Add a wok to the burner for some tasty sauteed veggie stir-fry or fajitas. If you're a fan of s'mores, don't forget to get together graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars and peanut butter cups along with skewer sticks. Gather up your loved ones around your fire pit and get a little messy as gooey chocolate and mallows tend to do! Be sure to try out these unique three types of s'mores!
Spend time throwing a ball or playing "H-O-R-S-E" on your home court in between cooking and visiting. This is a great way to get to know your younger relatives or those who love the game! Plus, you'll all be getting active together which is another common New Year's resolution!
3. Family game night
Do your kids ever say they're bored when you're all outside together? Don't let them! Host a weekly game night where everyone spends a few hours in the backyard. If you have a huge family, have a few games going at once. Smaller groups can all agree on one or two games to try out. Go for classics like Candy Land and Life for the young ones, and one-on-one options like checkers or chess if you want to try a tournament-style night. Cards Against Humanity and Trivial Pursuit are great options for the adults. Apples to Apples and Settlers of Catan are fun if you want to get the entire family involved.
Don't forget to branch out to yard games as well! Cornhole or bags is perfect for players of all ages. Bocce ball, croquet and yard darts are also fun options. You can always get you beloved dogs involved too if you play fetch or catch as a group. Ask each family member to bring one game to this event, and you'll have a wide variety to choose from. Plus, this allows the person who brought the game to be the expert and have a chance to teach everyone else a fun new activity.
4. Ladies wine night
Sometimes the women of the family want to get together without the hustle and bustle of their kids and male relatives. Why not have a ladies wine night once a month to spend time with the matriarchs of your family tree? Dads, uncles, grandpas and kids can stay in the house playing games and doing crafts while the moms, aunties and grandmas hang out around the outdoor fireplace.
This is the perfect opportunities for the ladies in your family to spend time bonding uninterrupted - often a rare commodity in a house full of kids and constant noise! While families are a true gift, it can be a nice break to sip wine and enjoy a beautiful night with just the ladies!