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Family Files

Tips for a fun family night in July

two childen playing a game

It’s hard to think about the 4th of July without visions of flags and fireworks appearing.  The holiday event is rich with traditions that help us celebrate our country’s heritage with pride and a sense of belonging.  Families also have a wealth of traditions that help us feel special and part of a group.

During July, you can celebrate the traditions that have been passed down in your family and also start a few new ones.  Taking a break from the summer sporting events and activities to spend some relaxed time together as a family can be a way to reconnect. Instead of going out for the evening, why not schedule a “family night in?”

What is a “family night in?”  It’s doing something together at home that everyone in the family can enjoy.  It doesn’t have to be a major event.  In fact, simple things are often the most fun and relaxing. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your July “family night in:”

  • Have a water balloon catching contest.  How many times can you toss and catch it before it breaks?
  • Go wading in a mud puddle.  Talk about how the mud feels between your toes.  Compare footprints.
  • Make a batch of homemade ice cream.
  • Set up a tent and camp out in your backyard.
  • Make red, white and blue T-shirts by carving designs in potatoes to create a paint stamp.  Dip the potato stamps into red or blue fabric paint and press the paint onto a white T-shirt.  The whole family can design their own shirts.
  • Create your own paintings on the sidewalk using plain water and paintbrushes.  Watch as the designs disappear when the water evaporates.  It’s a great no-mess way to paint!
  • If you have a chain link or picket fence, create your own family artwork by weaving colored paper through the spaces.  You can also stuff tissue paper in the holes to make designs.
  • Exercise together.  It’s fun to walk, bike, or play active games together and it’s also good for your health.
  • Build a sandcastle together if you have sand available.

Don’t get bogged down in the preparation and planning.  Spending relaxed time together with no schedule to keep or jobs to do can be wonderful.  Just make certain everyone in the family gets a chance to enjoy some special time together.  Perhaps wading in puddles will become an annual family event!

Author:  Debbie McClellan, Retired Extension Educator.

Source:  Cheri Burcham is responsible for family life programming in the counties of Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie, Shelby and other parts of east central Illinois as needed. Cheri’s emphasis is on healthy lifestyles throughout the life span which include family relationships, communication, caregiving, stress management and human development including early childhood and healthy aging. Her passion is to help people to be their best selves and to promote a healthier, independent older population. When Cheri is not engaged in Extension work, she can be found raising Monarch butterflies and spreading the word about their amazing life cycles and migration to anyone who will listen!