Parents and children engage in special events and activities to have fun, learn and strengthen their relationships. When parents spend time with their children, they create time to talk, teach, guide and show love. Busy schedules often make regular involvement in parent-child activities challenging, but the occasional special event is the opportunity to clear the schedule and set aside the date for guaranteed participation.
Any event that involves parents and children switching roles, with parents on the receiving end of kids in charge, is bound to be fun for all. The annual spaghetti dinner is a favorite of youth groups. Older kids cook and serve the meal while parents sit at the tables. A United Methodist youth group in Maryland adds an entertainment program to its annual dinner for the young people to showcase their talents. The youths need adult guidance, but the youths plan the event and carry out the arrangements. The event is a fundraiser for youth activities, but it works just as well for the generations to bond and have some laughs.
A community service event is a good way to teach children about giving to others, but also allows children to see their parents in a different light. Parents can plan a community service day or participate in organized events through volunteer agencies, churches, synagogues or other community organizations. Choose an event based on the child’s interests such as joining with others to create a ballfield on an empty lot or collecting items needed by the animal shelter. Plant a vegetable garden, make welcome packages for homeless shelters or participate in a walk-a-thon. Community service events give everyone a sense of accomplishment.
Literacy and Learning
You might want to participate in parent-child events that promote literacy or learning about different subjects. A parent-child book club can make reading fun for everyone. Imagine your child explaining the plot of a book to you and discussing the motivations of the characters. Start the book club at the public library or have the meetings in your home and invite family and friends to participate. Inject excitement by having the group take field trips to heighten their experience. Instead of verbal reports and discussions, assign each parent-child partnership to act out parts of the story.
Family History and Genealogy
Work on a family history presentation with your children. An upcoming family reunion or family dinner is a good time to share your findings. While your children sharpen their research, technology and planning skills, they also learn about genealogy and their family history. Younger children can draw pictures while older kids can use the computer to perform research and make graphic presentations. Depending on the ages of the children, make this event a long-term gathering of family history or a quick and basic family tree.
The well-rounded family must add a parent-child even in sports or physical fitness. A parent-child Olympics event held by a community organization or your child’s school combines fun, competition, team work and physical activity. Plan events such as a relay race, three-legged race, dance contest and a hula hoop competition. What child doesn’t want to see a parent fast-walking across the field trying not to keep an egg on a spoon? A scavenger hunt can keep parent-child teams busy relying on each other for motivation and clues. Keep the competition light and easy and focus on teamwork and fun.
- Ohio State University Extension: Spending Time with Your Children
- Fairhaven United Methodist Church: The Fairhaven Messenger – Youth Host Spaghetti Dinner and Coffee House
- PBS.org: Tips for Volunteering With Kids
- PTO Today: Start a Parent-Child Book Club
- Archives.com: Four Ways to Interest Kids in Family History Projects
- Larry Peacock Parent-Child Tournament
- Jochen Sand/Photodisc/Getty Images