One of my goals this year was to be more present with my kids in the after school hours. And one piece of that was reinstating our Wednesday adventures!
Low-Key Afternoons with Kids
My 3 elementary school kiddos all have early release on Wednesdays, which means they get out of school shortly after lunch. After walking home, they’re usually in the door by about 1:15 or so.
While we used to be good about taking advantage of those open afternoons to do something fun together, we’d fallen out of the habit. It was just so easy to get caught up in other work or responsibilities. Our kids are also good at playing together or finding activities at home. They never ask for screen time on week days because it’s never been a part of our routine, and they always want more time to just chill and read or play with toys or do crafts.
Weekly After School Adventure with Kids
Still, as nice as the relaxing afternoons were, it started to feel like all the days blurred together and we were all picking on each other more. With the extra time, I wanted them to accomplish something else, while they would get more bugged with siblings. And even on the days that everything went perfectly, it just didn’t feel like we were taking advantage of the time to truly spend together.
So I decided to reinstate our Wednesday afternoon adventures this year! To help with this, I gave them the day completely off from chores – I figured for one day a week, it was more important to choose fun than to choose work. They still need to practice their instruments, but since it’s right after lunch, they don’t yet need a snack. That way, they can jump right into practice as soon as they walk in the door while the baby finishes her nap.
Then as soon as she wakes up, I step away from work and we all get ready to head out the door. It’s the best.
Getting My Kids On Board with Weekly Family Outing Ideas
Honestly, at first, a couple of my kids resisted. They’d gotten in the habit of having a relaxing, lazy afternoon one day a week. They didn’t want to give that up to go do something just Mom wanted to do. So instead of starting off with a bunch of activities that were my first preference, I brainstormed some things that they’d love to do.
I decided to start off small – just a trip to the library and a playground. It was so simple, but it was nice to have just a small thing to look forward to. Everyone was happy, everyone was tired, everyone was connected.
Other After School Outing Ideas
After the first one, my kids were much more into the idea when they realized it could just be simple things that they were into. Here are some things we’ve done already, as well as a bunch we have on our list!
- New playground
- Get ice cream (we liked trying rolled ice cream!)
- Go on a bike ride
- Visit a local bookstore or library
- Short hike
- Play basketball
- Local Egyptian museum
- Visit the Mystery Spot
- Go Geocaching
- Go on a picnic
- Visit a farmer’s market
- Browse a local plant nursery
- Visit a pet store or petting zoo
- Visit a fire station
- Children’s musical theater
- Fly kites
- Play with bubbles
- Look for street art
- Play tennis
- Pick up trash
- Walk around a university
- Visit a religious site
- Mini golf
- Skate park
- Beethoven Center at MLK Library
- Visit an ethnic grocery store
- Go see a movie
- Zipline/ropes course
- Fruit picking
- Puppet show
- Escape room
There are plenty more ideas of fun things to do for free or cheap. And we may still take some of these days at home to do fun projects there, together – science projects or baking or sidewalk chalk or board games. Once we’re in a good rhythm of setting aside that afternoon, I think it will be easier to ensure it stays connected at home, too.
And, of course, things will change with different sports schedules starting, but I love that we have this foundation of making an effort to set aside time for each other. Planning that into our week has made all the difference!
Do you have some fun family traditions? Do you do them at a certain time, or are you more flexible? I’d love to hear how it works for you!