January is here and, for most of us, that means bitterly cold weather and lots of indoor time. It’s easy for families to scatter about the house, especially as kids get older, and fail to spend much quality time together. Finding a few projects that the whole family can work on is a great way to spend time together and get creative, too!

Restore

Find a piece of furniture (perhaps a pair of old stools or a little table you have in the basement) that needs touching up. If you don’t have anything, considering going to a thrift store to buy an inexpensive piece. Then get the family together to paint. I wouldn’t make it a big project with paint stripper, but rather perhaps a small table or bench that everyone can have a part in painting. My kids love to paint and, while I didn’t want them painting walls with me, I was happy to set them loose on  some cheap furniture. They were very proud of the final results.

Create

Create vision boards together. Get everyone a large piece of poster board and put out a pile of old magazines. some magazines. Encourage everyone in the family to cut out pictures that represent their dreams and aspirations. Having a clear vision of how you’d like you future to look can help make it happen. Develop family goals too, like a summer trip to a special destination, for example. Make it even more fun by putting out bowls of treats. In my house, food lures everyone together.

Clean

Family cleaning out day! Promise everyone a trip to the pizza shop or ice cream parlor when the job is done, and then clean out drawers, cubbies, and closets together. I’ve learned I have to do this with my kids, as they often make questionable choices about what they want to keep and what belongs in the trash, donation pile, or yard sale pile. It often brings about great laughs and memory-sharing moments.

Build

Build something together. You can choose a kit at a craft store or build a truly home-made project like a table, work bench, toy chest, closet shelves, etc. Doing this activity together teaches kids not only how to build and use common tools, it gives you quality time together, too. Plus having a homemade item in your house is something to be proud of.

Cook

Cook or bake (and freeze for those lazy days you don’t want to cook again). Baked goods, stews, chilis… there are so many things kids of all ages, from two through teen, love to help with. Measuring, pouring, mixing, and of course sampling is what makes it great for everyone. Pinterest is an amazing resource for recipes of all kinds.

When spending time indoors, often it’s parents who have to initiate family projects, but in the long run, the time and effort is worth it as the fun family time creates great memories. These activities also allow you to work as a cohesive unit with a common goal, teaching a life lesson without a lecture!