Families can be dynamic, insightful, and comforting. But you know what? They can also be boring. Given all of that history, it's understandable. You were actually there for those entertaining childhood stories your brother likes to tell new friends. You know your sister's habits and preferences as good as your own. You're incredibly aware of what your parents are up to, because they insist on telling you through the bitmojis they just discovered. It's fine, you love them, but family isn't always who you choose to have your fun with because it can routinely get boring.
That is, unless you try something new.
The familiarity of family can actually work in your favor when you switch up the go-to routines for a fresh experience. Perhaps your family has never done an escape room together, or maybe it's been years since you've all gathered around a table for breakfast. We put together 27 things to do with your family when bored—whether you have an hour, a chunk of time, or a whole day—so that you can beat a ho-hum schedule and have fun with these loved ones. Hopefully, these ideas will help you reconnect so that new memories can form.
Because even if family can be boring at times, they're also your original social circle. No one else can compete with that.
IN AN HOUR
Sit at a bar during happy hour. Cheers to discounted appetizers, tasty cocktails, and fun conversation.
Play a prank on a sibling. It shouldn't be malicious, just something that will make everyone laugh.
Watch the first episode of a show no one has seen yet. If everyone likes it, it can be the show you all watch together.
Go for a walk. This will always feel refreshing, and it may also involve some window shopping, too. Win, win.
Page through scrapbooks. Because it's always fun to see your mom's old haircuts.
IN A MORNING
Cook breakfast together. When was the last time everyone had breakfast together? If it was sometime around when you were late for homeroom, then bring it back for this special occasion. Bring over ingredients for pancakes or waffles so that your parent doesn't need to worry about it, and dig in around the table.
Work on a big puzzle. There's something about puzzles that are calming. So if it's been a while since you've spent time with family, break out a puzzle to put your mind to something as you catch up. Add in muffins and coffee, and you have a solid plan.
Head out on a boat. If you live near water, starting the day on a boat is always fun. See about booking an architectural tour, or a whale watching cruise, or even just a ferry down the river.
Tackle a home improvement project. Let's say that you've needed a new faucet for weeks, or you've been meaning to install window boxes for ages. Parents always want to be helpful, so see about doing this together.
Wander through a museum. Pick out your favorite pieces, and then get lunch together somewhere.
IN AN AFTERNOON
Clean out your childhood bedroom. Ok, we know that this suggestion isn't actually something you want to do, which is why Teen Bop magazines are still stacked in your childhood bedroom. Make a deal with your family that everyone is going to take a few hours to clear personal and common spaces of old things, and then grab dinner after.
Plan a hike. Choose an easy enough trial that everyone in the family can do, and take your time. This is a chance to chat while also focusing on the view.
Take a cooking class. Put on matching aprons and attempt a recipe no one in your family has tried before. You can help each other make sure that the measurements—and flavors!—are just right.
Go wine tasting. Long gone are the days when mom and dad would call alcohol an "adult beverage," right? Check out a local winery, or take a short road trip to one, so that you can enjoy drinks together.
Head to a sporting event. It doesn't have to be a professional game, as long as there's a concession stand.
See a matinee. This can either mean getting tickets to a movie or watching a play. Whichever your family decides, plan for eating together after to discuss your thoughts on how it went.
IN AN EVENING
Try a new restaurant. Maybe a buzzed-about eatery just opened downtown, or there's been a longstanding popular place nearby that hasn't made it into your family's regular rotation.
Watch a movie that was a family favorite growing up. We all had films that we watched on repeat as kids—like Home Alone, The Lion King, or Back to the Future. Gather the family to rewatch it, this time without using VHS, and make sure popcorn is involved.
Better yet, watch family movies. Maybe your parents have old tapes of your birthday parties, or soccer games, or recitals. See if you can set them up on a projector, and welcome the laughs that are bound to happen.
Host a dinner party. If the kids of the family rarely act as hosts, use this opportunity to create a casual event. Choose a home to host the dinner in, and decide on a menu together. It'd be even nicer if you decided to cook a family recipe.
Book an escape room. Has there always been someone in your family who is seen as the calm and collected one? Now is their chance to prove it.
Go to a concert. Perhaps a throwback headliner is having a reunion tour, or there's a chance your parents like what you've been listening to. Get tickets to see the music live.
IN A DAY
Head to an amusement park. And shamelessly take cheesy photos together.
Check out a historic site. If you live in Los Angeles, for instance, this can include the Griffith Observatory. New York City? Try Ellis Island. Look for something that tourists might want to check out in your hometown.
Spend time outdoors. See about getting day passes to a national park or campground and set up a place to gather. Everyone can go tubing, hiking, fishing, or swimming together, or maybe someone just wants to nap in a hammock under the trees. When night falls, make s'mores.
Rent an Airbnb. Host a barbecue at a house with a pool, or have a home base in the mountains for when everyone goes skiing. Since this could be used for more than a day, you can either invite your family for a 24-hour period or share the Airbnb for a whole weekend together.
Schedule a spa day. Everyone can do things together, like go for a swim or relax in the sauna, and they can also do things apart.
Use these items as you spend time with family:
Up next: Better Together—34 Things to Do With Your Friends When You're Bored