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8  Innovative Ideas for Making Meaningful Memories and Forging Family Fun This Summer

This will go down in history as one of the most unusual July 4 weekends– the most surreal summers– in history. Here are 8 ideas to bring a little celebration and joy to your family on holidays– and any of the summer weeks ahead when many of us are still sheltering at home:

BBQ and Bake Off

Yes, you may decide the prudent choice is a family only backyard barbque, or a small gathering of a few friends or extended family—socially distanced, of curse, but you can still make it FUN. If grilling is your groove, here is a recipe for Bill’s Sizzing Turkey Burgers. An idea to bring in a splash of the patriotic, have the family bring a red, white and blue dish (I have saved some on this July 4 pinterest board)   If you’d rather bake inside rather than bake in the sun outside, put on a fun cooking show, and have a family bake off where each makes a dessert, then watch a fun family movie while you enjoy your “just desserts”

Backyard Bonaza

Yes, the Olympics were postponed, but host your own family competition! We have spoken for and enjoyed many fun family memories at Christian family camps. If you have loved going to family camps like like Forest Home, Cannon Beach, Forest Springs or Word of Life  bring some of those camp games and songs home. The “in it to win it” games like cup stacking, domino trains, the old-fashion three legged race or human barrel race are sure to create a few giggles. My friend, Mary Rice Hopkins, has posted numerous fun songs in her Camp Quarenentine series. In addition, you can use this weekend or this month as an opportunity to set your back yard up for more summer  family fun. Create a swing set fort, giant jinga (TM)  set of wooden blocks, build a corn hole bean bag toss, put up a tree swing, take a log slice and paint a tic tac toe or checkers board.  I have collected some  DIY back yard ideas on my Pinterest Boards: Fun Backyards , Out door Dates and Beautiful patios and backyards. You can also spend the day planting a vegatable garden or planting flowers to perk up your home—and your spirits—with a bit of color!


Make a Splash

In many states (including ours) the beaches and community pools are closed. But do not let that hold you back from some enjoyable water works.  I created a Pinterest Spalshpad and Water Works board: Make your own splash pad (when I was a child, my dad connected up soaker hoses and various sprinklers to create a water wonderland). Or create a “slip and slide” or fill water balloons or give each family member a water blaster and have a family competition. If you are fortunate enough to have a pool, play some water games like sharks and minos, or ring and pool toy retrevial, mermaid water ballet, Marco Polo, or deckside charades—be involved with the kids—it keeps it safer and makes a memory. Even washing the cars can be cool  when the reward at the end is water party.


Walk and Talk

There may be some back country trails open, so pack up a basket of favorite food and drinks, take a drive into the scenic countryside, then hike to a beautiful and serene place for your family picnic. On the stroll back, make it a prayer walk for the USA (and this week was also Canada Day).

Download the 40 Day Prayer guide from National Day of Prayer 2020



Arts and Crafts

Paint rocks with encouraging words (or patriotic sayings) then go on a family walk and leave them along the walking path to cheer others. Pick up (or build) birdhouses and each family member paint a birdhouse and create a little garden community. Have a backyard paint and sip celebration by putting out some canvases, paints, and brushes. Maybe add a lemonade bar and offer 4 or 5 different lemonade or ice tea options (I have collected some refreshing summer lemonade and tea options on my Pinterest board) You might be able to pick up an art kit to polish stones, make jewelry, lip balm, fingernail art or simply search Pinterest “home art projects” with the age of your child(ren). Our family are Lego lovers—if you are too, jump in and create a whole new world while having a discussion of what values, actions and choices strengthen society.


Family History Day

In recent weeks, the headlines have been a bit combative on the topic of history. Because of this, you might want to expose your children to how your family fits into halls of history.  If you live with extended family or grandma and grandpa can join you all (maybe by zoom), ask them to tell some family stories. For example, my grandfather gained hero status when at age 6, he gathered the herd of cattle in a blizzard–thus saving the family from huger and financial ruin.  Try a little research through a site like Ancestry and find something or someone to celebrate. For example, in our family tree we have some rodeo champions (so for fun we had our sons get a rope to see if they could lasso a tree trunk or sawhorse); Four  generations back, my family landed from New Zealand on the Oregon coast with their flock of sheep and walked them to their new homestead in Idaho. (In this example, maybe make shepherds’ pie for a meal), and they also became dairy farmers (so we LOVED cranking out some homemade ice cream with fresh fruit. each Independence Day Week)

Go a little further back on the family tree to explore your cultural origins. Maybe look up your family name shield, and create your own family crest. For us, on both Bill and my side of the family tree, our roots lead to Ireland and Scotland (I am a McMillian, Bill is  a McBean)  We enjoyed learning more about the faith of our forefathers from  movies by our friend Rebecca Friedlander Thin Places and Celtic Pilgrimage.  (Why not add in a meal of cultural favorite foods: Perhaps some Asian flare, authentic Mexican,  Italian comfort food, Mediterranean pita and hummus, symbolic dishes from the Holy Land, some Sunday family dinner Soul food,  or in our case, popping open a tin of buttery biscuits or Scottish shortbread and jam. Perhaps gather recipes from extended family and create a family favorites cookbook with recipes and family stories)

If tweens, teens or young adults, make up your household, or you have a “Walton’s” extended family sheltering together, buy a wooden box crate, wooden treasure box or a wooden dining room chair and each paint the story of your own lives. While painting and creating, share victories, obstacles overcome, as well as mistakes and course corrections. Talk heart to heart as you create. You might end the day watching a movie connected to your family story. For example, we just watched The Dust Bowl documentary series because Pam’s family were farmers and wheat combiners in Oklahoma during this time. We had interesting conversations after because part of the family in our history  had a strong faith in God that carried them through while others tried to drown their depression in drinking. Set your family up for some of these deeper conversations on family values, helping your community, and how to cultivate a marriage and family with Staying Power.

In my book 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman, I share:

“The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative”. In an article for New York Times, Bruce Feiler’s author of “The Secrets of Happy Families” shared some insightful revelations from the research of Dr. Marshall and Sarah Duke, and their colleague, Dr. Robyn Fivush:

“The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness”


Create a Family Business

Have a family meal and discuss your family’s strengths, talents, and resources. Living in this world of economic shutdown, we can choose to look back in history for some hope: Approximately 375 BC, Plato wrote

“Necessity is the mother of invention”.

Centuries before that, the Bible captures story of Job’s need to restart after losing EVERYTHING! Look what God did:

And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. … (Job 42:12)

Joyce Meyer comments that God gave Job “double for his trouble”

As a date, to kick off the vision of having an entrepreneurial marriage and family, watch the Power Couples By Design Marriage Conference—currently FREE and available on demand to watch at your convenience. We were one of 11 speakers equipping, encouraging, educating, and offering enrichment to couples who want strength and unity in their work and love lives as well as success in providing for their families.


Plan for a Better Tomorrow

Holiday weekends can also include home improvement projects, organizing blitzes and planning and preparation for future personal and professional success. Here are some tools and activities to prepare you for building better days ahead:

The Marriage Meet Up: His and Her Planner Set for Couples Who Want a Productive, Passionate and Purposeful Life IS NOW AVAILABLE! (If you pre-ordered already, we will be shipping your book set to you!)  If you  WANT to order this helpful marriage enrichment planner set, if you order your His and Her set  from Love-Wise by July 15, you will also get an invitation to a  live zoom with us  in the near future where we will give you tips on maximizing this powerful marriage tool.

Bill and Pam Farrel are authors of 50+ books, international speakers, and Co-Directors of  . They usually are found on their home aboard a Live Aboard boat docked in So Ca, but they are currently sequestering in a 300 Foot RV to care for Bill’s 91- year- old- parents and the Farrels find themselves communicating Loving Love Wise wisdom thru numerous virtual events.

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