Pick a Theme, Any Theme

From gifts to parties, everything is more fun with a theme! Why should family activities be any different?

There’s just something about a theme. From decorations to activities to food, tying it all together with a common element just makes things a little more interesting. Try planning a themed day with your family!

PICKING A THEME

There’s no right or wrong way to pick a theme. You can just go with an idea you like, you can select something seasonal or related to the current weather, or you can take one of the “daily holidays” and run with it. (I’ve shared them before, but here are the links again to two sites I use for daily holidays: National Day Calendar, Holiday Insights.) You will be able to find material for whatever theme you pick, though some will definitely be easier than others. You may want to try something common to start (since it’s February, for example, you would have no problem finding things for a Valentine’s Day or general hearts theme). Really the only criteria is to select something your family would enjoy and appreciate.

DECORATIONS

Decorations can set the tone and really kick the day off with festive flair. If you’d like to make the theme of the day a surprise, consider decorating your home prior to the kids waking up. They will be bombarded by pictures, colors, decorations – anything that will get them in the mood for the activities of the day. If you want to get them involved in the decorating to get them excited, set out all the supplies you’ll need prior to beginning, then let them go to town.

Decorations can be as simple as some pictures printed out and hung up, or as elaborate as a room designed to look like a scene from a favorite show or movie. You can limit the theme to one central room, or you can scatter it around your entire home. If you have related plush or toys, you can put them out, too. Balloons, streamers, throw blankets, even clothing can be put out in colors that coordinate with your theme. Get creative!

If you’re at a loss as to how to decorate, you can try searching online for your theme name plus the words theme and party (i.e. “cats theme party”). Even just searching for images can offer inspiration. For example, using my sample “cats” search, I came across ideas to turn balloons into cat heads, print out cat faces to string together to make a banner, and some cute sayings that are cat-related puns.

Your family can even be part of the decorations! Raid your closets to look for ways to dress up in a way that’s related to theme. Can you put together costumes? Dress in related colors? Even accessories (like cat ears) can make things more fun.

There’s no right or wrong way to decorate. Remember, this is just for fun!

GAMES AND ACTIVITIES

As with decorations, games and activities your family participates in throughout the day can be linked to the theme, and what you do is entirely up to you. Anything from a themed scavenger hunt to related craft projects is fair game.

To set up a scavenger hunt, hide related items or pictures around your home. Make a list of what to look for, then let your kids go hunting. If you’d like to make it more elaborate, you can give your kids clues in the form of riddles to help them locate the hidden objects.

Another simple game, if your family has at least four people in it, is pictionary. Make a stack of cards that each have a word related to your theme written on it. Then divide your family into teams and take turns trying to draw a word at a time. If you’ve never played pictionary before, this site teaches you how to play.

If your theme involves an animal, you can put together a “pin the tail on the donkey” style game. Just draw or print a large image of the animal, without a tail. Then draw or print several images of just the tail. Tape the large animal picture to a wall. Blindfold the participants, spin them a couple of times, then challenge them to tape a tail to the animal. The person who gets closest to where it actually goes, wins. Depending on your theme, you may be able to get this game to work, even if it’s not an animal – for example, pin the wand on the wizard’s hand, etc.

Other possible activities will depend on your theme. With my sample cat theme, for example, I know that cats like yarn, so I could set up a yarn obstacle course in my hallway. As you’re searching for decorations, keep an eye out for possible activities, as well. Or just use your imagination! You can also ask the kids what they think the animal or characters would do. Depending on their ages, simple pretend play can keep them entertained for a while.

With the internet and the large number of people who regularly maintain craft blogs, you will likely be able to find craft projects for just about any theme you could think of. Do some searching to locate projects that utilize supplies you have on hand and are appropriate for your children’s ages. You can try something as simple as coloring pages, or as elaborate as intricate craft or art activities. Remember: the point of the theme is to have fun, so don’t go crazy trying to find a million activities to complete. Just look for something your children would enjoy. If you don’t have any luck, move on.

Don’t underestimate the appeal of watching a TV show or movie related to your theme. Make it a family movie night to wind down your themed day, or put it on whenever you are so inclined. If you don’t own a related movie or have access to streaming services, utilize your local library. They are sure to have a variety of DVDs that will fit the bill.

FOOD

Whenever possible, incorporate the theme into food your family enjoys during the day. Again, searching online can bring up lots of great ideas. Using my sample “cats” search, I came across ways to decorate cookies and cakes to look like cats, and an idea to arrange a fruit platter into a cat face.

Depending on your theme, you can also simply eat things that characters or animals would normally eat, or that somehow remind you of that theme.

The most important thing when planning your themed day is to have fun with it! It doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy, but it can be if you want it to be. Enjoy the time together with your family, being silly and creative. Have fun!

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