It’s summertime. The sun is shining, and the kids are out of school for a few months. Fun and free family activities are easy to come by, no matter what part of the country you’re in. There are free music festivals, food and dining events, cultural celebrations, and any amount of hiking, biking, kayaking, scavenger-hunting, rollerblading, surfing, you name it…

But what happens when it’s summertime…and the sun isn’t shining? And you’ve got a house full of bored kids? Or angsty teens? Or, gulp…both?

If the thought of rainy day family activities makes you immediately dread overcrowded (and overpriced) indoor trampoline parks, movie theaters, arcades or pottery painting studios, we totally get it. But family bonding activities can be just as fun—and just as free—on a rainy day as on a sunny, summer afternoon.

Here are some of our favorite at-home activities for families to explore when the weather turns sour and the kids are crying to have some fun!

Indoor Camping
Channel your inner child and get creative building a fort out of, well, just about anything you can get your hands on. Have the kids design blueprints for the fort, and then help them construct their masterpiece using blankets, chairs, pillows, couch cushions and whatever other building materials they have access to. Once the fort is built, bring in the sleeping bags and get going with the ghost stores! S’mores are optional!

Scavenger Hunt
What kid doesn’t want to hunt for buried treasure (and by “buried treasure” we mean your loose change, a few pieces of candy or any other surprise you can come up with). Make the clues a challenge based on the age of your children. Some ideas that we like: write down your clue, seal it in a Ziplock baggie, and then submerge it in water in a plastic cup and freeze it so that your child has to figure out to melt the ice to access the clue; come up with a secret code and have your child decode the clue; write the clue backwards so your child has to hold the clue up to a mirror to read it. Throw in a lesson in money management by giving your children each a dollar in quarters and tell them they can buy a hint for $.25—whatever they don’t spend they can keep!

Get Creative
Everyone loves a good book – especially a book that was written together as a family. Take turns writing each page, and then illustrate each other’s pages. This is a great family bonding activity that can also serve as a window to your child’s subconscious – what are the trends in your child’s story, and how can you tailor your parts of the story to alleviate your child’s fears or worries?

Along the same lines as writing and illustrating a book, you can have your children produce and direct and then perform a play, or create your very own family board games together!

Learn a Dance
Have you ever wanted to learn Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance? Are the kids interested in whipping and nae-naying along with Silento? From Beyonce’s Single Ladies to Madonna’s Vogue, there’s endless fodder for dancing like a fool with the whole family! Choose your dance, search YouTube for a video, and get working on those killer moves!

Bake a Famous Family Dish
Nothing brings a family closer together than food. Next time your cooped up, opt to spend quality time in the kitchen. Every family has a recipe that’s been passed down from generation to generation—cook that dish with the kids and keep the tradition alive. Nana’s meatballs, Babushka’s pierogies, grandma’s apple pie—whatever your family’s secret recipe, it’s time to share it with the kids and spend an afternoon cooking—and then, of course, enjoying your delicacies.

There’s no reason for your eyes to soon be turning red when the raindrops start falling. These family bonding activities are the perfect way to save a rainy day. You’ll have tons of fun, make memories to last a lifetime, and learn more about what makes your family members tick.

In addition to these at-home family bonding activities, we’ve also got a comprehensive list of free and affordable events in Denver—download the list and get ready to make the very most of your summer!

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Contact Creative Counseling Center

Creative Counseling Center is one of Denver’s premiere counseling centers, working with children, teens, adults, couples and families. If you feel your family could use some guidance to become closer and more cohesive, contact us using the brief form below. A family counselor will reach out to schedule a complimentary consultation, answer your questions, and help you determine is family counseling could help you!

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