When I first started making my list of activities on this site, 50 seemed far off. In no time at all here we are. I encourage you to think about how fast time flies as you spend your days with your family over the next few weeks. Time will go fast though it seems to take forever right now. Make these moments you are spending together count in authentic meaningful ways and cherish each one of them.


When I was 13 years old I received my first camera from my father. It was a Kodak Disc Camera – for those who can remember that ‘latest technology.’ I loved it. Recently I gathered the equipment from my father’s Canon and my old 35mm Yashica cameras and pieced together enough parts to make two cameras for my kids complete with telephoto lenses too. They had so much fun walking around the neighborhood taking pictures of beautiful scenery, buildings, and famous sites much like I did around the same age. Luckily, these days you don’t need the latest technology or professional equipment to facilitate a love of photography. Far from it. Today, we are all by default amateur photographers with our cell phones. Indeed, the quality of the camera on a cell phone is one of the main features I look for when choosing a new phone these days. So, nurture that photographer in every member of your household. Go outdoors or stay inside but take lots of pictures. Photography is less expensive than ever before. No need to spend money on fancy equipment, film, or developing pictures any longer. There are a few versions of this activity. In one version you would look up tutorials online that emphasize technique or you could buy one of the many available books. I used Designing A Photograph with my kids because it itemizes each element of photographic design as its own two page chapter with dramatic pictures to bring the point home (Amazon lets you take a peek inside the book so you can see for yourself). Then try those techniques out. This helps to transition the photographer from taking-pictures-of-friends mode to artist mode! Another version of this activity – one that does not require a book – would be to pick a theme and have everyone take pictures in that theme: flowers, architecture, or so forth. The possible themes are endless. For example, photoblog.com offers 359 of them. Yet, another version is too add humor by having everyone try to take the funniest photos. You can turn any of those three versions of the activity into contests too. One last thing, remember to create your digital and hard copy photo albums for holiday gifts.


If your family has the wiggles, help them get the wiggles out and get a little exercise by leading a game of Simon Says. The instructions are easy just check out Big Happy Backyard. The hardest part is coming up with things to say. Empowered Parents has 70 ideas for you to use and Survival Tech Shop has another 123 to choose from. With almost 200 ideas at your disposal, you can’t go wrong! Incorporate friends and family offsite as well through a video chat.


The game of Risk was invented in the late 1950’s and has been a family fun staple for years. For those of you who haven’t played, the game takes forever! That’s why it’s perfect when you are stuck at home with the same people for long periods of time. It’s a great game for older kids in particular including all those college-aged kids back home from school. The first time I played it with my family my 11 year old daughter won! The second time we played it my 10 year old son won! BTW- my spouse and I are very good Risk players so that was pretty impressive and unexpected. You may be surprised too. It’s a great way to teach kids rudimentary lessons about geography, strategy, war, history, patience, and unexpected related things like NOT SHAKING THE BOARD (lest all the tiny soldiers fall down and you can’t remember how many were in which territory-ARGH!!!!). Playing online is fun (and you won’t have to worry about the table shaking), but I still prefer feeling the pieces in my hand. If you are like me, you can purchase the standard version or invest in any of the alternate 27 Best Risk Board Game Versions.


Trust me. If you want to escape the hum-drum of the everyday, take a virtual tour of the Galapagos Islands. Learn some facts and history about them. Afterwards, I wouldn’t be surprised if you start planning a trip there. I always thought because they were a World Heritage Site it meant you couldn’t go there but it turns out you can and I did. It was a few years ago and our tour guide Jorge Munoz was excellent. Going to Galapagos and walking where Darwin walked is a once in a lifetime experience. In the meantime, though, enjoy a virtual tour!


Many of the fairytales we are ever so familiar with today, mostly due to Disney movies, originated in rather different versions. The original authors of these, mostly the Grimm Brothers ironically, had a slightly darker tone when telling these tales. Though I wouldn’t recommend this as an activity for younger children, older children can have a lot of fun reading the original versions as a family. Read the classic fairytale in its original form, remember to use different voices for each character, and then discuss the differences. As an activity in literary and media analysis talk about the choices the Grimm brothers made versus the ones Disney made in their versions. Chat about why different audiences and media require different adaptations in story telling. You can read many of the original fairytales that Disney adapted here and elsewhere online including this site that has all 209 Grimm stories (in simple text form).


For more great activities check out the forty-five ideas we posted yesterday! Read the full post here.


Let us know what you’ve tried, and share some stories with us!