Skip to main content

How To Find Enjoyable Family Hobbies


It's Time To Get Everybody Going with Some Fun Family Activities!

Snapshot of the modern family: dad reading the news online, mom checking emails, older kids texting friends, younger kids playing video games, little kids watching TV. Yikes!

OK, so maybe your family's not quite this bad, but it's arguably the trend in this high-tech age we live in. Add to this the packed schedules that we all lead, kids and adults, and it becomes harder than ever to find quality time to spend together as a family.

But help is at hand! Here are some great ideas for a variety of easy fun activities, indoor and outdoor, for the whole family. And they cost nothing but a little slice of your time!

Outdoor activities

A Geocache Hike: We purchased a GPS device in order to get our kids excited about family walks (now you can use your smart-phone). It worked! Who doesn't like a treasure hunt, after all? Geocaches are all over the world. It is essentially a hunt-hike based on following coordinates and directional assistance from your smart-phone (or GPS device), to find a box of assorted small trinkets and novelties hidden deep in Mother Nature.

Simply log on to and search for geocaches in your area, then choose level of difficulty and distance according to the hardiness and ages in your family group. Enter the destination coordinates (where the treasure is hidden), drive to the starting point indicated on the website and get started!

It really adds a fun and exciting edge to a hike, and teaches children how to follow directions and estimate distance. And it's easy! Even young children can take a turn guiding the group with the help of the simple graphics. When you find the "treasure", you choose something from the box to keep, and leave some small trinket of your own. There will also be a logbook and pen for you to note your name, the date and comments if you wish.

Found it!

Found it!

Check out more info on how to go geocaching!

Suggestions for obstacle course:

  • stopwatch
  • chalk
  • balls
  • hula hoops
  • cones
  • swingset/slide/basketball hoop (if available)
  • bikes and trikes
  • jump rope
  • broom (for limbo)
  • silly hat or big wellie boots!
Everyone enjoys having a turn designing the "course".

Everyone enjoys having a turn designing the "course".

All ages enjoy the challenge of an obstacle course.

All ages enjoy the challenge of an obstacle course.

Family obstacle course: Another fun thing to do right in your own back yard is an obstacle course with multiple stations. This gets everybody up and moving and is really fun to set up too. You could divide your family into two or three teams and take turns setting up a course. Just about anything can be in this activity, just look around your yard and garage. (Some suggestions are to the right)

Sample course (time each participant if you wish)

  1. from starting line, bike to the mail-box
  2. pick up ball from mail box and dribble to hoop (or bucket), make a shot
  3. 10 skips with a jump rope
  4. run along a funny wavy line drawn with chalk on driveway
  5. put on dad's wellie boots and jump into 3 hula hoops lying on ground
  6. pick up a stick waiting for you and limbo under the broomstick to a designated tree
  7. put the stick in a bucket waiting at the tree. Done!

You can see that anything goes...make is as challenging, or easy, as silly or competitive as your family would like. We used to do silly, but with three teenage boys, it's all about competition in this house now!!

Fantastic star-gazing app:

  • App Store - Star Walk - 5 Stars Astronomy Guide
    Read reviews, get customer ratings, see screenshots, and learn more about Star Walk - 5 Stars Astronomy Guide on the App Store. Download Star Walk - 5 Stars Astronomy Guide and enjoy it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Other suggestions for outdoor activities:

Scavenger hunt: Again, divide the family into two teams, each team writes up a list of what the other team has to find (eg. a feather, something red, a twig shaped like a Y, three small rocks, a wild flower), then set off in your neighborhood, each team with a bag to collect treasures in, and arrange a meeting spot and time, preferably somewhere you can all share a snack and cold drink, bought or brought!

Scroll to Continue

Good ol'-fashioned picnic: Funny how even PB&J tastes better eaten outdoors sitting on a blanket. Add to this some time spent analyzing cloud shapes (you do know there are crocodiles, whales and ships in the clouds, right?) and you have a perfect lazy summer afternoon.

Winter or evening? Wrap up and take your blanket, hot chocolate and smart phone outside for an evening of stargazing and constellation-spotting, then check the accuracy of your guesses with the iphone app StarWalk. OK, OK, I know I was campaigning against technology earlier, but in this case it can bring the family together and inspire great conversation. It can have its creative and sociable uses, I'll admit to that!

Star-gazing is a wonderful hobby for the whole family, so much to learn, and the ever-changing sky presents great opportunities for learning about planet and meteor sightings, shooting stars and more.

Making a board game based on your family is a great weekend project and keeps everyone happily busy.

Making a board game based on your family is a great weekend project and keeps everyone happily busy.

Fun Indoor Activities

Cooking: Nothing more timeless than preparing a meal together as a family. But put a fun twist on it by dividing the family into judges and chefs. Judges choose ingredients for chefs, who must complete their gourmet masterpiece in a designated time (45 minutes is good) while judges watch, and evaluate the final product. For a full description of this activity, see A Great Way To Get The Family Cooking. Great for all ages, just tailor easy safe activities, measuring, mixing and decorating, to younger kids as appropriate. Also a wonderful way to get kids experimenting with new tastes.

Make a board game of your family: Using a large piece of poster board, draw a big long curving path from one corner (the START) to the diagonally opposite corner (the FINISH). Give each person a section of the path to create (eg. a square saying "Dad took a nap, missed Tyler's soccer game. MISS A TURN!" or "Sarah learned to ride a bike. Move forward 3 spaces!"). Younger children can decorate the other parts of the boards with drawings, stickers or by gluing on family photos. Have someone make pieces to move around the board. Cut-out family photos glued onto cardboard? Don't forget the family pets!

Sardines: Squishing together in a hiding place with your family is a hoot!

Sardines: Squishing together in a hiding place with your family is a hoot!

Spur-Of-The-Moment Stuff!

My favorite kind of activities are spontaneous, requiring no planning or set-up. Just that sudden burst of fun that is sometimes needed on a rainy afternoon, or a low point on a winter's evening. Or simply make it your family Sunday night tradition.

Sardines in the dark! You just can't beat these good old Victorian parlor games. Hit all the lights in the house, this alone sets the tone for FUN! Stuff all the family into a small room like the mudroom or a small bedroom. One person goes off to hide. After a count to 30, everybody races off in different directions in the dark to try to find the hider, and if they succeed, they creep in quietly and hide with them. Eventually eveyone will be hiding in one place together (sardines!) and the last person to find the group has to hide next round. So simple, so fun, and the dark just adds to the excitement. Little kids can team up with a parent or older sibling if the dark spooks them, but otherwise you need to be "seeking' on your own.

Wooden Spoon Guessing Game: It doesn't get sillier than this, and your main challenge will be trying not to laugh and give your identity away! Blindfold one person, and give them two wooden spoons. Silently seat another family member on a chair in front of the blindfolded person. Using the spoons, the guesser gently outlines and "feels" the seated person and tries to guess who they are. Not easy, and very funny to watch!

Find more fun Victorian parlor games that cost nothing to play:

  • Parlor Games
    In the days before television, group games provided staple entertainment in Victorian homes. Many of these have been passed down to us through generations and can still be enjoyed today.


So have you spotted the flaw in this article? Yes, that's right, I recommended two activities that required a smartphone (geocaching and star-gazing). This, after starting out telling you all to UNPLUG!

The bottom line is that technology is not and should not be something we try to dodge. It has an important and essential role in all of our lives. The key is to make it work for you in ways that still enable you, in this case, to engage actively and sociably with your family. In the examples I give, technology is merely a vehicle for you to find fun ways to spend time together.

I hope you found these ideas helpful!

More fun ideas for family-time:


Nare Gevorgyan on May 05, 2012:

Great Hub! I love the cooking and board game ideas! Cool!

poowool5 (author) from here in my house on April 28, 2012:

Thanks for the comments, hubbers!

Yes, do give geocaching a go, melovey, it's a blast for kids (and adults) of all ages, adds a little buzz to the family hike!

Glad you found the ideas useful summerberrie, thanks for stopping by.

BigSerious, you know it's a hoot really cos the Victorians were all playing these games 100 years ago...we just have to re-discover them. Who doesn't like hiding in the dark?!

Christen Roberts from Harrisburg, PA on April 26, 2012:

This is totally fun! I love the geocaching idea and can't wait to try, but that sardine game??? AMAZING! I love it! Sharing this one with my FB friends. Great hub!

summerberrie on April 26, 2012:

poowool5, these all sound like so much fun! Thanks for the useful ideas. Voted up and useful.

Yvonne Spence from UK on April 26, 2012:

I’ve never heard of geocaching before and I think my kids would like it, so will be looking into that! This is a very interesting hub. We do spend a lot of time on computers - I write of course and so does one of my daughters - but we also do other family activities and I think it’s so important to do that.

Great hub. Voted up and sharing.

poowool5 (author) from here in my house on April 22, 2012:

Thanks for the comments, everybody!

Yes, I tried to fight the technology thing for many years, but it's a losing battle LOL! Still, there are many ways to be creative with it and have fun as a family too. Thanks for stopping by!

Shasta Matova from USA on April 22, 2012:

All of these are great ideas - I think using technology to build relationships instead of separating them is great. This came just in time for summer vacation too!

Mmargie1966 from Gainesville, GA on April 18, 2012:

Poowool5, I love the way you used technology as a positive influence! If that doesn't attract kids, I don't know what does. This was a great read...sounds like lots of fun.

I wanted to participate in your poll, but right now, my kids are grown and its just my husband and I living at home. But when the grandchildren come along, I will definitely be using this hub!

Great job!


Dan Reed on April 09, 2012:

poowool5 - This is great. There are some really cool ideas here and with a family of 5, good ideas are always welcome. Sardines will be our first venture. Geocaching is fun too. We've recently picked up on this and the kids love it...good for all ages. Great hub. Voted up, useful and awesome.

poowool5 (author) from here in my house on April 07, 2012:

Thanks for the comments, getwellsoon and Michael!

It is fun, right, getwellsoon? Michael you've got to try it, it's really a blast.

Thanks for stopping by!

Michael J Rapp from United States on April 07, 2012:

I never heard of Geocaching, but what a great idea! I can see how kids would get into such a mysterious adventure where they aren't sure what they'll find once they reach the cache. Great Hub with a bunch of fun ideas!

getwellsoon from US on April 07, 2012:

We love to go Geocaching with our entire family!

poowool5 (author) from here in my house on April 06, 2012:

Oh good job, moms -- veggie and Liza! I find it takes a little more effort to get everybody up and moving these days (because my boys, at least, are so darn content sitting at the computer or Xbox!), but it's so worth it!

Yes, veggie-mom, letterboxing is similar but I think without the electronic device (should probably have written about this too). Anything with a wee treasure at the end is so compelling :)

Yes, Liza, take back the game night! Perhaps switching it to once a month or some interval that everyone can stick to would work? Sometimes we just have to roll with the times, take the opportunities when we can get them!

Thanks so much for commenting!

Lizam1 on April 06, 2012:

Lovely hub. My girls and I went for a nature walk today. I am excited about creating a geocache box with them. We used to have a family games night but that has stopped and I miss it - time to claim it back! Thanks.

veggie-mom on April 06, 2012:

I love this. We have tried letterboxing, but geocaching sounds great too. We also enjoy a good game of kickball or dodgeball outside. Next moment we get, we are definitely trying sardines in the dark, my boys love hide in seek outside in the dark during the summer months. What a great alternative when the temperature is cooler, thanks!

Related Articles