Not sure what to do with your child on weekends? Don’t worry. Let me share with you what we do when adults and children are free from the usual commitments.
It’s not easy but we will try to keep weekend classes to the minimum or squeeze in classes on weekdays so that we have free time on weekends.
With the free time we have on weekends, we can do anything together as a family.
The activities we do on weekends are inexpensive or even free. The main expenses would be on food when we eat out or tickets when we attend live shows.
When deciding what to do on weekends, I stick to a few guidelines:
- social interaction: I want to let the kids to talk, play, and have fun with other people rather than with iStuff. That way my kids can learn healthy ways to interact, react, and deal with all types of people.
- back to nature: I want them to enjoy and appreciate what Mother Nature has given us.
- fun and funny: Activities that are fun to do or funny to watch. Why? So that we can all have a good laugh together. After all, life should not be so serious, right?
- free or cheap: Not really. But if an activity calls for some spending, we will consider the relevance of it. If it sounds okay, we don’t mind forking out the money. With that said, cheap activities are not necessarily bad too. We usually don’t splash on weekend activities except for some live shows and decent dinners.
Below are the activities we normally do on weekends.
1. Visit friends and relatives: Food brings people together. When we meet up with friends or relatives, we always meet over lunch or dinner. Preferably, I want to catch up with friends who have children who are in the same age group as J and K. First, they can play with my friend’s children. Second, we parents can exchange notes and catch up on the latest gossip in town.
For example, we went to Seremban last Sunday to meet up with an old couple we met during our Japan trip last year. Besides meeting up, we make full use of this trip: both from the perspectives of educational (for the kids) as well as gastronomical (for us parents).
2. Hiking: Once a month, we join hiking trip organized by a local junior hash. It is a great way for J and K to be in the great outdoors and become one with nature. Plus, it is an excellent opportunity for them to mingle with other like-minded children – not to mention the exercise they get from the walking. We go to a different trail every month. If you are interested in this healthy activity, you can email me for more information.
3. Shopping: I know this is the most favored activity for most people. We hardly go shopping and my children will not ask for it. Provided we have something to buy (grocery or gifts) or to celebrate a special occasion, we don’t normally go to a shopping mall to kill time. If we do, bookstores and toy shops are our main targets.
4. Park or playground: If we don’t have any ideas, we usually just drop by at a park or playground in the neighborhood. It can be fun too to see the kids run or cycle around. An excellent way to get their butt off the couch.
5. Road trips: This is my favorite. So far we have done quite a number of road trips, mostly on weekends. To name a few: Lumut, Sekinchan, Tanjung Sepat, Pahang. I like it because I can explore new, unexplored places. And also I can hunt for popular foods of a particular town. For the kids, they learn the history of the town and how people live in that area – live geography lessons. For road trips, we just can’t pack our bags and leave as it requires some research to be done on places to visit and food to eat.
As I write this, we are planning to go to East Coast, Malaysia in the coming school holidays.
7. Baking: I don’t do this. My wife is wholly responsible for all our baking at home. When she has an inspiration to bake, she will get the children to help. Of course, ingredients must adhere to our newly formulated healthy family diet.
8. Art and craft: We do art at home or visit an art gallery. Kids for some reason love arts. We can make use of garbage to make art pieces. For example, we made an aquarium using empty tissue box, strings, and some paper.
9. Movies: As much as we want to help keep the movie industry alive, J and K are not crazy over movies. My wife and I have to motivate them to go to cinema. When they agree, we will bring them to silver screen for an animated movie. You can say we are lucky to have kids like this. But recently, K asked me to bring him to watch Rio but I couldn’t get my butt off from our daily commitments to fulfill his wish. My bad.
10. Play board games or computer games: As you may already know, I encourage playing traditional games because they engage the players to a certain degree that computer games can’t. I support face-to-face games as the children can learn how to interact and deal with other players while playing.
For computer games, I try to expose them to educational games (with exception to Angry Birds which we play just for fun and to have a good laugh). As an example, I play Hangman with them. When we run out of ideas guessing the word, I will be sneakily googling for the word. Once we got the word correct, we will give each other a high five. I’ll show them what the word means by looking up in an online dictionary. For a pictorial word (from categories like animals or human body), I will show them images of that word to give them an idea what the word looks like. Super fun, interactive, and educational.
11. Do nothing: Who says you need to do something with the kids on weekends? If you are running out of ideas, just do nothing. You and your child can just laze around in the house admiring the roses in the garden, watching the rain, listening to chirping birds, feeling the wind touching your skin, and so on. As long as you are spending time with the child, they are very happy and they will tell their friends you are the best daddy (or mommy) in the world.