It's nice to set new goals at this time of year and plan activities together as a family. These are just a few suggestions, but I'd love to hear your ideas too!
- Get Active Together
After all those chocolates, we all need to burn off the bulk in January, so how about working out as a family? Many gyms and leisure centres offer a discount if you book family membership for the year NOW. If the weather is poor, you have always got the option of a family swim at Wyre Forest Leisure Centre or Crystal Leisure Centre.
You could set aside some time each weekend for a family stomp in your local park. Or see how many hills you can climb in a month! We have Clent Hills and Lickey Hills nearby, or the wonderful Malvern Hills - perfect for kite flying.
Buy an Annual Pass
Many of our local attractions offer annual passes and there are so many benefits to be had. Once you've paid for a pass, then even short visits seem worthwhile - you can pop along whenever you have last minute time to fill. English Heritage or National Trust pass holders are often invited to special events, or 'behind the scenes' exclusive access. It's also nice to set a family target of seeing how many of their locations you can tick off in a year. Some attractions, which are registered charities, offer free annual entry if you sign up for Gift Aid. Many annual passes give you additional benefits. E.g. Hatton's pass gives you money off birthday parties, a West Midland Safari Park pass gives 25% off multi-ride wristbands, an Ironbridge pass gets you a discount off their Victorian Christmas events and Dudley Zoo membership gets you entry to member-only tours of the zoo.
Join a Club
Many of our local children's clubs also offer adult classes or opportunities to train together or learn a new skill together. Martial arts can be enjoyed by all ages and you're never too old to start. At Wyre Forest Taekwondo families are encouraged to train together. If you've always dreamed of tap dancing on stage, there's no better time to learn. Join your local dance or drama club and you and your child could be performing in the spot lights together at the end of the year! Lots of local clubs offer free taster sessions so you can 'try before you buy'. Have a look at our feature on the Raring2go! website, to discover participating clubs.
Did you play an instrument as a child and you wish you could play it now? It’s never too late! YouTube is full of instructional videos to help start you off with an instrument. You and your child could learn together. See who can play the guitar the best! Join a choir: Lyric Call is a new choir in Stourbridge for both children and adults. It doesn’t matter how good you are – just have fun. If you do want music lessons Load Street Studios in Kidderminster can support all abilities and C Sharp Music in Stourbridge offer piano and guitar lessons
Support a Charity
Volunteering for a charity is a rewarding way to support your local community. You could help out with PTA events at your local school, volunteer as school governor, or litter pick as a family. Children can assist the RSPB by counting birds this January as part of the Big Garden Birdwatch. How about a group challenge? Take part as a family in Race for Life in support of Cancer Research or fundraise for KEMP Hospice or Mary Stevens Hospice.
Gain another family member and do your bit for wildlife conservation by adopting an animal! Opportunities are available at Dudley Zoo, All Things Wild and West Midland Safari Park.
Reading is a great way to help develop your child’s vocabulary, well-being and imagination but often it’s not the first priority in a busy family home. Perhaps just find 10 sacred minutes a day that are reserved for reading together. Bedtime often works well for the reading time slot as it is a an easy way to calm the children down and is a good excuse for cuddles. Reading together is also a lovely way for grandparents to connect with their grandchildren - even if they have to read over Zoom.
Hands up if you’re addicted to your phone? As parents, we are probably as guilty as our children of always looking at our devices, so when it comes to nagging children to have less screen time, we need to be setting a good example. Perhaps the way forward is by together agreeing a time when phones are put down, and XBoxes are turned off. How about ‘Switch Off Sunday’? Take turns to decide upon an afternoon activity instead.
Start a Memory Jar
Start the year with an empty jar (like those giant jars that come packed with pickled onions at Christmas!) and whenever your child has enjoyed a day out, tried a new activity, or achieved a goal, get them to write it on a little piece of paper, fold it up and drop it in the jar. Next New Year's Eve you will enjoy a special moment, opening up that full jar and recalling all the wonderful memories you've made together.
What resolutions have your family have this year?
I'd love to hear from you.
Editor of Raring2go! Kidderminster & Stourbridge since 2008. Local font of knowledge. Mother of two and wife of one.