Five ideas for family togetherness

There are an infinite number of ways to make Hawaii better, but it starts with family.

In honor of my son’s birthday this month, I want to share some ideas to strengthen our families. You’ve probably heard these ideas before, but they are worth sharing.

* Games and a movie night. One night a week, turn all your electronics off – phones, computers, and television (until you’re ready for the movie). Play card games or board games; play hide-and-seek or Charades. Then watch a movie together. Have fun – make your own movie tickets and bring your own popcorn. If it’s a movie you’ve seen before, dress up as your favorite character.

* Save together. As a family, choose something that you might not be able to afford right now, but are willing to save for. It should be something that everyone can enjoy, like a day at an amusement park, a camping trip (with gear), concert tickets, or a neighbor island trip. Then get a big jug and write your goal on the front of it. Every day, empty out your pockets, add your loose change (kids can add allowance or birthday money too), and see how long it takes you to reach your goal.

* Conversation jar. Fill a jar with conversation starters, written on colorful paper or on the back of gift wrap. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? If you were an animal, what would you be? If you could have a different job for a day, what would you do? Pick a question during dinner, or anytime that you’re not sure what to say. Friends and guests could add their own ideas too.

* Thankful tree (it’s not just for Thanksgiving). Draw a tree trunk on a large piece of cardboard (from an appliance box) or poster board; or use a real indoor tree. Cut out shapes of leaves, flowers, nuts, or fruits; use tags or even ribbons. Then at family gatherings and holidays, everyone should write down at least one thing they are thankful for, and hang it on the tree.

* Volunteer together. Once a year, choose a charity or community event that you support, whether it’s a charity walk, beach clean-up, or food drive. If it’s hard to get to events, how about creating thank-you cards for your local library, fire department, or police station at home?

Together we can make Hawaii better, one family at a time.

What are you favorite family-time suggestions?

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