The time spent with your family is often the most rewarding time of the day. Make the most of the time you spend with your spouse and kids by having fun together. This doesn't mean you have to splurge on amusement parks and pizza nights. Instead, try having a little fun right in your own backyard.
Outdoor movie night: Get the whole family together for a movie night under the stars. Spread some blankets out on the lawn, pop some popcorn, and project your favorite family movie onto a screen or exterior wall. Make it more fun for younger children and have them decorate cardboard boxes to look like cars for a homemade drive-in movie.
Backyard camping: Pull out some sleeping bags and a tent, roast some hot dogs, make s'mores over the fire pit, and have a great time without spending a dime on gas. If you have older kids, you can even tell a few ghost stories around the fire.
Obstacle course: Let the kids run and play outdoors, all while having some friendly competition. Set up obstacles throughout your yard, using everything from old tires to hula hoops and anything else you can find around your home. Mark the course and have kids and adults race to the end.
Homemade water park: Embrace the dog days of summer with some fun in the water. Turn your backyard into a homemade water park. Hook some lawn sprinklers up to hoses and fill up some kiddie pools. You can even make your own waterslide with a long sheet of plastic and a hose, or buy an inflatable slide to splash and bounce on.
Pet show: Get the whole family involved, even your pets. Set up a backyard pet show where you and your kids can show off your cats, dogs, hamsters, birds, or lizards. Set up obstacles for the animals to run through, and give away ribbons for best in show.
Lawn hockey: A couple brooms and a beach ball are all you need for a rousing game of lawn hockey. A soft ball makes sure no one gets hurt. Make sure there's an equal number of kids and adults on each team, and sweep the ball to the goal on the opposite side of the yard.
Read-a-thon: Everyone needs a little time to relax and read. Why not make it a family activity? Spread some blankets out on the lawn, pack a few snacks, and head to the backyard for a family read-a-thon. Spend the afternoon reading books together. You can even plan prizes for whoever reads the most pages.
Backyard nature walk: There's a lot to discover in your own backyard, from different kinds of plants to a variety of insects, birds, and other creatures. Take your kids on a nature walk through your own backyard and see how many bugs they can spot or how many types of flowers they can name.
Treasure hunt: Set up clues throughout your yard; follow one clue to the next until you finally reach the treasure. See how well your kids can follow the clues. Be creative: The treasure can be candy, small toys, or a coupon they can trade in for everything from skipping chores to going out for ice cream.
Painting: Let your kids go crazy with the colors. You won't have to worry about the mess when they're painting on the back lawn. Spread out a large sheet of butcher paper and several colors of finger paints. Once the masterpiece is finished, hang it in the sun to dry.