Leisure time doesn't have to take a lot of planning.

Family Leisure Activities

by Eliza Martinez

You know how nice it is to spend some time kicking back and relaxing. But with a rambunctious toddler or preschooler in the house, it can be hard to carve out time to do this. Spend time with your kids and spouse through creative family leisure activities, while also getting the down-time you need.

1. Indoor Activities

Sometimes you just don't want to go anywhere. You don't have to leave the house to spend leisure time as a family. Think beyond laying on the couch, though, because you aren't too likely to get your little one to do this for long. You can try watching a movie, but chances are, your child won't last through the whole thing. Try getting out all your stuffed animals and group them with like animals and pretend you're running a zoo. Pretend to feed the animals or put on shows with them. Get out a variety of plastic bowls and cooking utensils. Fill the bowls with warm water and lay them on a towel on the kitchen floor. Stir, scoop and transfer the water among the bowls. These indoor leisure activities don't require much energy on your part, but they're fun for you and your kids.

2. Outdoor Activities

Getting outside with your kids lets them burn off excess energy, gives you a chance to breathe some fresh air and allows you to enjoy nature as a family. Take a leisurely bike ride to the park. Use a toddler trailer or bike extension so your little one can ride, too. Take along a picnic and eat lunch in the grass. A trip to the museum or zoo is another fun way to spend time together as you stroll along looking at the exhibits. Put together a scavenger hunt before you go and challenge your kids to help you find the items on the list. Grab a bucket and take a slow walk around the block, filling the bucket with interesting rocks, pine cones and leaves. Draw with sidewalk chalk in the driveway or lay in the grass and find shapes in the clouds. Take a tour of a local farm and learn how cows are milked or how corn is harvested.

3. Benefits

Besides the fact that you'll be having a ton of fun together, family leisure activities have several benefits. Being together gives you the chance to get closer emotionally. You'll get to know each other's likes and dislikes, which makes you feel connected. Children who live in households with close communication do better in school as they get older, according to The Heritage Foundation website. If your family is like most, you enjoy spending time together. Toddlers and preschoolers still crave time with mom and dad, so doing leisure activities together, like taking a hike, splashing in a local river or cuddling on the couch with a book, increases life satisfaction -- but don't try explaining that to your little one. All he knows is that he wants to play trucks with you.

4. Finding Time

Living with a young child is chaotic, even on the best days. This can make difficult to carve out time to spend doing leisurely things, so you'll have to plan ahead and put activities on the calendar. Write down a family bike ride on Saturday morning after breakfast, for instance. Plan what time you'll leave and when you'll return home. Plan snacks, meals or drinks to bring along and decide where you'll go and how you'll get there. Planning an outing makes it much more likely that you'll do it.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images