Families are the heart of the Church, but with a range of ages — parents in their 20s, 30s, or 40s, college students, school-aged kids, toddlers, and babies — it can be a challenge to find focused events for everyone in the family.
Whether you opt for an event focusing on fun or service, look at it as an opportunity for outreach within your community. Below are a few ideas for family-centered events that everyone can enjoy.
The sky is the limit with these kinds of events and activities. A lot of it will depend on the interests of families in your parish, but Love to Know has some great suggestions to start with:
- Movie Night. Set up a projector in your gym or activity center and play a family-friendly movie. Encourage families to “camp out” and be comfy by bringing sleeping bags and pillows. Provide complimentary popcorn and drinks or ask for food donations.
- Sports Night. Have spaces set up for different sports — basketball, soccer, T-ball, or flag football — at levels appropriate for all ages in the family.
- Ice Cream Social. Offer ice cream with all the toppings. Host the event at a park with a playground so little kids can play, and consider bringing lawn games for the bigger kids. Parents can enjoy time socializing while the kids enjoy one another.
- Super Bowl Party. Have the game on a projector with an area for the adults to watch, and a nearby area where kids can toss a football or run football drills to burn energy. (Bonus if your local team is playing for the championship!)
- Have a Family Retreat. Host a speaker or lecture for the parents, as well as breakout groups based on the age of the kids. Make it a well-rounded event that parents can discuss with their kids after by tailoring their content to be an age-appropriate version of the adult’s topic.
Getting the whole family involved in service is a great way to fulfill the mission of the Church and to help our communities. Here are a few examples of ways to incorporate service into family time:
- Make Care Packages for the Homeless. Have families donate snacks, drinks, toiletries, clothes, prayer cards, and more. Make assembling the packages something the whole family can take part in. Foodlets offers more ideas for things to include.
- Clean Up the Neighborhood. Host a cleanup event in spring or fall. As a family, help those in the community with outdoor tasks like raking leaves, pulling weeds, trimming hedges and bushes, mowing grass, and more.
- Serve a Meal. Volunteer as a family at a local soup kitchen or your parish food pantry. Kids who might be too young to serve food can help with cleanup or other jobs.
- Take Part in Parish Ministry. This can be as simple as getting the whole family involved as greeters. You can also look at your existing ministries or talk to someone in the parish office for ideas or opportunities where the whole family can serve. These simple ideas are wonderful for your family, and also allow parishioners and visitors to witness dynamic and faithful families at the parish.
What are your favorite ideas in your church? What has worked for you? Let us know below!