Finding "Flow" In Your Family: Creating Spontaneity and Joy in Your Own Backyard
Flow is a “sense of effortless action [people] feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives. Athletes refer to it as ‘being in the zone,’ religious mystics as being in ‘ecstasy,’ artists and musicians as ‘aesthetic rapture.” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997).
“Flow” is about taking time to “just be” with ourselves and our families, without any external distractions invading our minds and taking us away from the spontaneous joy of living in the moment.
All too often we find our lives getting in the way of being “in the flow” with our families and loved ones. We schedule play-dates, activities, and vacations and our summertime, especially, can turn into one long season of always DOING rather than just BEING.
We forget to really enjoy those moments with our spouse and children because we are so focused on planning the next day, activity, or meeting rarely letting our phones or iPads out of our grasp.
Studies also reveal that spontaneous, creative, family time can boost kids’ self-esteem, enhance social development, as well as creating strong relational bonds.
For these weeks of summer, what can you do as a family at home in your own backyard to re-connect by being “in the flow” with each other?
What can you do spontaneously in your own neighborhood to build connection with your family and neighbors?
Here are some ideas:
Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt:
Take a walk on the wild side and stage a nature scavenger hunt. Head out to your backyard or neighborhood and see who can find everything on the list first!
Sprinklers, water balloons, blow-up pools and water slides, squirt toys…who doesn’t love that?!
Make Sidewalk Art:
Grab a bag of colorful chalk (or make your own sidewalk chalk!) and head outside. Everyone from babies to mom and dad will have a blast creating their own colorful universe.
Have a Car Wash:
You can still have fun while taking care of household chores. Head out to the garage and soap up your car with the help of the whole family. Make sure everyone wears bathing suits because this is bound to be a sudsy affair!
Camp Out in the Backyard:
Set up some tents, a fire pit, stories, and S’mores!
Have a Block Party:
Gather up your neighbors and head to the streets. Bounce houses, barbecue, music, games, outdoor movie theater… It will definitely be a summer to remember.
Build an Obstacle Course:
Do you have a bunch of old boxes and other weird things clogging up your garage? How about taking all those random items out back and staging an obstacle course for the whole family. Grab a stopwatch and see who can make it through the fastest.
Keep an eye out for those windy days. They are perfect for kite flying. For extra fun, try making your own homemade kite.
Build a Tree House:
Are the kids dying to have own tree house? How about building one together as a family? Not only will it keep everyone busy, it will be a great learning experience too!
Have a Bike Parade:
Invite the neighborhood gang over for a bike parade. Bust out the art supplies and give everyone a chance to decorate their bike with flags, streamers and more. When you are finished, parade around the neighborhood for everyone to see.
Take a Night Hike:
It’s summertime! Don’t be afraid to break curfew and live life on the edge. Grab some flashlights and take a night hike, either just around your neighborhood or, even better, at your local nature preserve. Listen for all the sounds you hear only a night and keep at eye out for interesting night critters. Make sure to bring a few blankets also. After your hike, everyone will enjoy a few moments relaxing under the stars in the open sky.
Have a Picnic:
Indoors or outdoors…making lunch together and creating fun recipes are what kids love to do!
And, most of all...just have fun!
Suggested Books/Creative Ideas:
Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life (1997) By: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
How to Make Sidewalk Chalk: