Living in a time when technology has invaded nearly every aspect of our lives, finding ways to interact directly with one another can be a challenge. Even just a decade ago, families lived together as one unit. Now, with all of the digital devices available, it may seem that we are more like single units sharing the same address. In order to make your family feel more connected to each other, engage these ideas that will bring you all closer together.

Scavenger hunts provide multiple benefits that include getting fresh air and exercise while helping to clean up the environment. Take your family to a nearby beach or park, give each member a list of items to find, garbage bag and pair of gloves. Great incentives for the first person to find all of the items on the list include choosing what movie to watch that evening or what to have for dinner. Item suggestions include: plastic straw, cup and bag, glass bottle, can, feather, rope or string, fishing line, piece of metal, smooth rock, pine cone, piece of paper, candy wrapper and napkin.

Volunteering as a family gives back to your community and builds valuable social skills. Some opportunities include serving meals at a shelter, walking dogs at an animal shelter and visiting seniors in nursing homes.

Your local visitor’s guide is a valuable asset as they contain dates and times for most events in your area in addition to coupons.

Of course, your home provides the perfect location for activities you can do as a family. Charades and classic board games get everyone involved and can be adapted to any age group. You can go camping in the living room by building a tent using furniture and blankets. Stock your tent with snacks, flashlights and sleeping bags. A pretend camp fire using cardboard paper rolls for the wood and orange tissue paper as flames is a place for everyone to sit around. Have fun creating your own tale where each person adds one word to the story. Family members can also make up funny names for themselves using things such as their favourite vegetable coupled with their favourite movie character or their favourite animal coupled with their favourite food. Imagine the laughter when someone says “Cucumber Harry Potter” or “Zebra Spaghetti”.

If a wall in your home needs some sprucing up, let the whole family participate. First, have the adults prepare the wall with a fresh coat of white paint then let everyone have a paint brush and a selection of colours to work with. This is a way for family members to express themselves artistically and provides a lasting tribute to your time spent together. You could also purchase canvases that are ready to paint and let everyone create their own masterpiece.

Attending high school sporting events such as hockey or basketball supports local teams and there is often a canteen with reasonable prices. Add some extra fun by dressing up in the team colours and even using face paint to show your support!

Having dinner together whenever possible is one way to ensure your family stays in touch with each other. As a ‘no tech time’, you can employ conversation starters such as asking everyone to share their first memory and what they wish they could invent.

With the cooler weather upon us, there are even more chances for your family to garner some together time. Bubbles are fun even on cold winter days when you can watch them freeze in the air. Many golf courses offer super hills that are open for sledding. Visiting the zoo in the fall or even the winter will allow you to see animals more active as they tend to sleep in the shade during the summer months.

An exciting way to spend an afternoon is to get together with other family and friends and chip-in to rent ice time for a lively game of hockey.

While advances in technology have provided more ways to communicate include staying in touch from almost anywhere in the world, putting down the smart phones and tablets is the best way to keep your family close. It is important to remember that video chats and text messages will never replace hugs or that feeling you get when you see a loved one smile at you in person.

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