10 great PLAYDATES for parents and their kids

I know scheduling a little time with your kid is a lot easier said than done and even when I get that time in; my 14 year-old daughter and 10-year-old son are a bit hard to impress. It feels like it is increasingly getting that much tougher for us parents to compete for our kids’ attention having to keep up with the excitement of a fast-paced movie or television show for their affections. And of course it takes a bit of coaxing to get your kid away from their electronic devices- especially girls and their iPad minis- but in those moments where you’re together- sharing an activity and being present in the moment- well- at least for me- those are the precious minutes I cherish.

I recently took a routine car ride with my 14 year old and we had such a touching conversation- it was an opportunity for me to bond with her- on an organic level- there was nothing forced or artificial about it. And rather than just that mom- who likes to surprise her by sneaking some ice cream money into her book bag or trying to pry information out of her about her latest crush– we listened to the radio and she just started talking…about what high school will be like- how she really feels about the pressures-how difficult it is to navigate what often feels like a minefield when to comes to friendships and yes I even got some insider info about a boy. Hanging with her, makes me feel less apprehensive about sharing experiences with my son who at teen-years-old is on the cusp-of tweendom…

And so if you are looking for some great ways to bond with a kid in your life here are 10 fab ways to spend time hangin’ with your kid-or HAVING A PLAYDATE- courtesy of Mary E. DeMuth, who is the author of Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture.  For the record they are TOTALLY Swoonworthy!

1. A trip to a museum, complete with a scavenger hunt (list one abstract painting, what painting had the greenest leaves, write down four artists whose names you might name your own children, etc.)

2. Train for an athletic event as families…a 5k run, a sprint triathlon, and a walkathon.

3. Take a cooking class as a group of families, learn how to feed a crowd, and then host a party with what you’ve learned together.

4. Take a ceramic painting class, and paint your upcoming holiday gifts.

5. Attend non-mainstream movies (or stream them), then discuss them afterwards, asking questions like: What is the worldview of the director? Which character is most like you and why? What kind of world does this movie represent?

6. Take dance classes together, something way out of your comfort zone: salsa, hip hop, square dancing, etc.

7. Discover new parks together, driving outside your city to find new, unexplored places.

8. Go letterboxing. (There are trails throughout the US that have letterboxes. Go here for details: http://www.letterboxing.org/)

9. Volunteer together. Work at a local library, thrift store, or food pantry.

10. Spend a year planning an affordable, yet fun, vacation together. Each family can take on one aspect of the vacation: food, travel, hotel, outings, etc.

Most important of all-have fun!



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