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Friday, May 2, 2008

Organizing Your Fun Time

We received a houseful of four teenage girls yesterday who will stay until next Thursday. They are part of our Shelter Care residential program (my other job) and usually reside with a permanent set of house parents. But once a month they come to our house for a week, as do two other houses of girls.

I try to offer some fun things for us to do together, so I do research. I look at a couple of websites that list activities to do in our area, the website for our park system, current movies, and a craft store that offers classes.

Then I make a list of things we would be willing to take them to, considering both location and price. I also make another list on the same page of things to do around home - crafts, cooking, games, etc.

A third area includes possible exercise options: swimming, working out, walking in the neighborhood or at a track or at a park, frisbee golf, tennis, raquetball, basketball, hikes, etc.

And finally I give an option to go out for coke/coffee with either Bob or me (or both at different times).

I put all this on a list and let each girl vote for her top two or three favorites in each area. For each top choice I give it a numerical value of 5, the second place choice gets a 4, and third place gets a 3. I add up all the votes so we can see what the majority wants to do.

Then I try to schedule in as many activities as our schedule allows and as the weather permits, trying to provide variety. We usually throw in a house project that every one pitches in to do for an hour (washing walls or windows or cars, yard work, etc.). I also try to plan some down time for people to just chill if they want to do so.

Since we have a specific time when we have each house of girls, it lends itself to such a system. But you could institute something similar just to do something different than the normal routine. I know for myself, if I have a routine schedule, I can easily get in my rut, and don't always think about seeing what's out there to shake up my life a little.

This is also a great system to put into place for summer vacation. Tweak it to fit your family's needs and schedules - it makes life interesting and fun!