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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Say goodbye to the television set and embrace family time outside the house this weekend for a whole new type of bonding. If meals are the only time you really see your other family members, you might be surprised at the engaging personalities that come out to play when you explore new locations and active pursuits together as a group. Try these ideas to get to know your kids, parents, or extended family a little better.

Geocaching for Hidden Treasures

girl leaving item in geocacheGeocaching is a popular form of treasure hunting, where participants use a GPS system to guide them to hidden containers. You can find geocaches nearly anywhere, with locations that range from easy to extremely challenging. The whole family can work together to locate  the geocache. You’ll enjoy a sense of teamwork as you carefully navigate your way to new and exciting treasures on each trip.

Goofing Around on Photo Safaris

Pick an interesting local spot and have a little photo safari. Challenge every family member to come up with creative and funny pictures. Whether you’re exploring a sculpture garden, discovering a new museum, or simply seeing your local mall in a whole new way, this activity offers many opportunities for creativity and hilarity.

Campfire Bonding

campfire burningWhether you’re backpacking into the wilderness with all your supplies on your back, or taking the cozy route in an RV, you’ll find that camping puts you in close quarters and gives you many chances to get to know your family members better. Break out the s’mores, cook up some silver turtles, and enjoy quality time around the fire at your family’s campsite.

Family Golfing Afternoons

Hitting the links is an excellent way for families with older children to bond. This game offers a lifelong hobby and helps players hone their athletic skills while getting healthy aerobic exercise. If your family golfs often, you can even invest in your own golf cart. Deck it out with custom golf cart parts, and you’ll have a trendy ride your teens love to drive as you zip around the course.

Walking the Town

A first glance, taking an afternoon walk may seem boring, but there are many ways that you can add excitement to this activity. Try taking a walk in a new neighborhood or heading to a local park or historic district for a scenic stroll. Pay attention to all the sights and sounds as you walk. Collect leaves and pinecones, examine bugs with a magnifying glass, or keep a keen eye out for birds with a set of binoculars.

Creating Sidewalk Art

You don’t need to travel far for a family afternoon creating sidewalk art. Stock up on colorful chalk and compete to see who can create the most engaging masterpiece. Give your event a new theme each time you hit the cement. You can learn a lot about your family members from their unique interpretations on each subject. Creating sidewalk art is particularly well-suited to families with small children who aren’t up to more athletic activities.

Visiting the Beach

With sun, sand, surf, and shells, the beach holds many engaging wonders for family members of all ages. If you don’t live near the ocean, look for lakes in your area that may have sandy beaches, or state parks with scenic bike and hiking paths. Many beach-side spots have dunes, nature trails, or piers as well for added entertainment. Whether your family wants to splash in the waves or sunbathe on the sand, the beach has a little something for every type of visitor.

Exploring New Picnic Spots

Kick off your family time with joint picnic prep in the kitchen. Charge each family member with bringing a special dish or set up an assembly line for putting together sandwiches and other goodies. Explore different parts of your city by having a weekly family picnic at various locations. In addition to parks, you might also try picnic tables around outlet malls or at rest stops on the way to another fun destination.

When you hit the outdoors together as a family, you’re sure to come away with new memories and discoveries that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Images via fhwrdh, Doug Beckers, and Chris via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.