Last-Minute Gifts to Promote Family Wellness (and Togetherness)

It seems like parents spend a lot of time thinking about gifts for each of their kids individually, but we have found a ton of value in giving at least one whole-family gift: something that promotes time together doing something we enjoy. Last year, we bundled some soccer balls, a soccer goal, a skateboard, baseball mitts and balls, and the slack line materials into the family gift, and we’ve been using the heck out of all of them. With time running out for holiday shopping, here are some great gifts to encourage your family to spend time together doing something fun! Family Outings

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area by Steve Harwood

Guarantee more family hikes and tree hugging in 2015 with a membership to Stone Mountain Park or the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Not only do your memberships grant you unlimited access to hiking trails and park attractions, but you’ll also get tons of discounts on special events, and there are reciprocal programs throughout the country. Pair these tickets with some fun hiking gear or a bug catcher and set aside the last weekend of each month to hit the trails together. If indoor action is more your speed, check out the express passes for Leapin’ Lizards, Jumpin’ Joe’s, Atlanta Rocks!, or the South Cobb Aquatic Center, which is like a mini indoor water park. Pair these passes with some fun socks (for the jumpy places), equipment to strengthen those climbing skills, or cute goggles for the aquatic center, and your whole family will be set for indoor quality exercise time. Fun & Games 61nOaDqIMoLEnsure quality family time each week with a designated game night. We play HedBanz without the timer or scoring chips to keep it fun and easy for the smaller kids. Uno is big fun for the older kids and great for teaching younger kids colors and numbers. One of my all-time favorite gifts has been Structures, which encourages creative thinking and problem solving. And my 17-month-old plays with them just as much my 7-year-old. Score! Another fun activity that the whole family participates in is creating contraptions and racing marbles with Marble Run. Family Foodies If your family likes to cook together (or if it’s something you’d like to try), gift some real-food cookbooks that encourage kid participation. Eat Like a Dinosaur is a paleo cookbook specifically designed for cooking with kids. The recipes have fun names and great icons to indicate which steps the kids can help complete. Another cookbook that I’m super excited about is Landria Voight’s Super Paleo Snacks. Landria has been dishing out the delicious recipes on the Eat Well page, and she graciously allowed me to try some recipes from her cookbook. They’re quick, easy, and very kid-helper-friendly! (Keep your eyes open for a giveaway!). Bundle the cookbook(s) with a kid-sized cooking set and an adorable apron then get cooking! Do you have other ideas for gifts that bring the family together? Share them in the comments!

Erin is gratefully living and learning from her adventures with five small children and husband in Decatur, Georgia. A former teacher, Erin now devotes nearly all of her time to trying to figure out how to raise a happy, healthy family. With her husband Josh, she helped start FitWit and The FitWit Foundation.