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31 Simple Family Pleasures and Why They're All That Matter

leoBabauta Leo Babauta Friday, July 20th 2012.

There’s a feeling a lot of people get that in order to enjoy life, they have to *do something*.

Go to the movies, go shopping, go drinking or dancing or clubbing, go to a concert, drive, eat and spend. The list could go on, but think of anything involves dressing up or spending money, and you get the picture.

Unfortunately, this view forgets some of the best pleasures in life: the simple ones. It also costs a lot, which means we must spend much of our lives earning the money to support having all this expensive fun.

Our family lives don’t need the pressure of doing something exciting. We don’t need to go to amusement parks or events or spend a lot of money in order to spend time with our loved ones.

Instead, focus on the simple pleasures with your family. These are the best moments anyway — and they cost almost nothing.

This takes a switch in mindset — any moment is an opportunity to spend time with someone you love — your spouse, your child, or the whole family. Any activity, no matter how simple, can be a joy, if you truly focus on being in the moment and fully experience that moment.

Once you have the right mindset, there’s no limit on the kinds of pleasures you can find with your family. Just a few examples to get you started:

  1. Take a walk and have a nice talk.
  2. Pack a simple picnic and go outdoors.
  3. Get outside and toss around a ball or Frisbee.
  4. Ride bikes or jog.
  5. Rent a movie (or get out one of your old DVDs) and make some popcorn.
  6. Bake cookies.
  7. Play boardgames.
  8. Make tents out of blankets.
  9. Read a book together.
  10. Tell stories.
  11. Look for bugs outside.
  12. Make paper airplanes.
  13. Go to the library.
  14. Take a hike.
  15. Camp in your backyard.
  16. Go to the beach or a lake or river.
  17. Take a stroll in the park or go to a playground.
  18. Read a book of tongue twisters and make up your own.
  19. Play loud music and dance.
  20. Just snuggle.
  21. Hide, and go seek.
  22. Thumb wrestle.
  23. Watch a sunrise.
  24. Count the stars and find constellations (or make up your own).
  25. Have a good hug.
  26. Eat chocolate. Slowly.
  27. Banana split.
  28. Root beer float.
  29. Make pancakes for dinner.
  30. Tell jokes.
  31. Be lazy together.