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    What?s Your Favorite Family Activity?
    Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
    Elaborate vacations or impromptu walks in the park -- both count as important time spent together as a family. I asked friends, patients, and my own family what their favorite family adventures are, whether indoors, outdoors, at home, or away. Here are some of their top answers and a great list you can enjoy with your family!

    1. Indoor Fun. Don't worry about rain or snow! Go bowling, visit a museum, or head to your local library. Teach your children the importance of giving back to the community by volunteering. Or simply grab your family to take care of errands or for a trip to Costco (my sister's idea).
    2. Fresh Air Adventures. Grab your sunscreen -- or your coats -- and head outdoors for some fresh air and physical activity. Take a hike, have a picnic, bike, walk on the beach, or around your neighborhood. Don't forget to look to your own yard for inspiration. Plant a garden, or wait for dark to look at the stars -- even camp out.
    3. At-Home Bonding. Morning, afternoon, or night -- there are many bonding opportunities in your own home. Prepare a meal, have family game night, play cards, read books, or tell stories. Get creative and conduct your own science experiments. Or follow my neighbor's lead and transform your dining room into an arts and crafts table. Move your muscles indoors and have a dance competition, or build a fort.
    4. Get Out Of Town! Pack a bag and take a road trip. Head to the mountains, a historic site, or a major park, be it national or amusement. If flying to an exotic or far away destination is more your style, plan your dream vacation and enjoy it. Don't forget that staying with family and friends a distance away can be a fun adventure, no matter where they live.

    These are just a few of the many opportunities that your family can enjoy. Remember what counts most -- you're together as a family. Leave your worries behind and enjoy spending time with your family, no matter what activities you choose.

    What are some favorite activities you enjoy with your whole family?
    Emmyl responded:
    My kids are so young, 19 months and 3 months, so sometimes just being able to get out of the house together at all is a big deal. My husband works half of Saturday, so I look forward to Sunday mornings all week. We're all there together, just hanging out, having fun or relaxing. (well, I take back the relaxing part, we've got a 3 month old and a 19 month old.) But my husband usually cooks waffles, or Wah-els, as my son calls them. Then it's just such a special time all being there together and not being rushed to get out the door to go to daycare, or rushed to get everyone fed, bathed and put to bed. I feel like it's the first time all week that I can take a breath and stop for a minute to just enjoy my family. I love it!
    socalsuz responded:
    Oh I LOVE this post! Here's some stuff we do that is low cost but still an "adventure" (mine are 2.5 and 5 so still pretty easy to entertain)

    Visit the exotic fish store - so many beautiful (and creepy) fish to oooohhhh and ahhhhhh over

    Whole Foods snack-a-pallooza - the new Whole Foods in my neighborhood is generous with samples of fruit, cheese, crackers, etc. We wander around then end up with our fave snack from the bakery - a GIANT pretzle.

    Local Library - Mom and dad take turns in the stacks, other parent reads to the kids. Our library has DVDs so we pick one out we can all enjoy (not easy - girls constantly want Barbie movies)

    Nursery, garden supply store - We're in SoCal. Lots of unique plant-y places. Kids can run or be loud if not crowded.

    Have a great weekend!
    Boyzmomee replied to socalsuz's response:
    We love outdoor activites and live near several national parks, nice lakes with camp grounds and we are a couple hours drive from the coast. We hike, swim, camp, fish, boogie board, walk on the beach, eat fish and chips, buy salt water taffy and shop.

    At home, we enjoy community theater and see plays as well as attend local choir and music concerts put on by local schools.

    My family loves sports so we see all of our kids games. We are very lucky to have a minor league baseball team within 5 minutes so we see most of their weekend home games. We also go to the sporting events of a nearby division I college or the two year college ( within walking distance.)

    We go to the gym together, swim (in all seasons), sit in the hot tub, steam room or sauna as well as exercise.

    When we've been gone too much, we like to stay home, BBQ, read, watch nature shows on TV and just be together.

    My family also attends religious services regularly, monthly dinners at my synagogue and social and holiday events there.
    Boyzmomee replied to socalsuz's response:

    I love your ideas. We did a lot of the same things when our kids were really young (and we needed free activities!)

    We visited the local fish store (that was so fun!) Ours had a little bridge going over a Koi fish pond and we could buy food for a dime and feed them. The Koi would come up with their mouths out of the water. We also liked looking at the puffer fishes. Visting the pet store was a hit too. The little ones enjoyed visiting the fish hatchery nearby.

    We'd go to the mall and the boys could play with the toys put out at the Disney or Sesame Street store then we'd go buy a cookie at Mrs. Fields.

    We'd park outside (to avoid the parking fee of $5.00) and walk in to the local nature center (admission was free.)

    The library across the street had all sorts of fun. Not only did we check out books, we attended story hour and checked out movies.
    seeit2 replied to socalsuz's response:
    SoCalSuz - Don't forget Lowe's! My kids are younger than 5 so we go to Lowe's and ring the doorbells, climb in and out of the bathtubs, name all of the colors in the paint sample section, pick out our favorite plants...that place is like Disneyland for us lol!

    In nicer weather we hike a lot (we also live near National Parks), swim at the local lake and visit the many museums and the zoo in our area. Some days we just walk the dog 4 or 5 times a day just to get out. And my DD loves to hunt for bugs, so we can pass lots of time wandering around doing that together.

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