Family get-togethers are a great chance to catch up with your loved ones, have quality bonding time and create special memories. There are many occasions that may warrant a family get-together – birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, or just because! – which might mean you have to play host.
Read more: Travel tips for your next trip.
Whatever the occasion, hosting your family can be stressful, especially if they’re staying for a while. If you’re short of ideas of what to do when your family comes to stay and how to keep them entertained, don’t fret – we have some great ideas below.
1. Plan fun activities
It’s important to plan ahead when you have family coming to stay, and this includes planning activities. If your family are particularly sporty, you could plan a ball game in the park or rent out bicycles so that you can go on a family bike ride. Ask your family to bring their sporting gear such as any bats or rackets, and head to the park or sports field (maybe with a picnic in tow). This is an especially good idea if you have a lot of small children in your family.
Other family-friendly activities include a trip to a museum or gallery or visiting a local market, festival or fate.
2. Plan a casual dinner
If you have family coming to stay, you may have plans to host a dinner and make a home-cooked meal, but doing this every night can be exhausting and put a drain on resources. If you have family staying for a few nights or even a week, take at least one evening off from cooking and go out to eat.
There’s no need to take your family to a fine dining restaurant, as a casual dining restaurant will have a more relaxed atmosphere and more food options, which will be better for children, too.
3. Have board games at the ready
In case of bad weather, or in case there is spare time to fill, it’s wise to have a selection of board games and a deck of cards at home as a back-up.
Board games that the whole family can enjoy include Monopoly, Scrabble, KerPlunk, Jenga, Bop-It!, Pictionary, Charades, Twister and Trivial Pursuit. The best card games for families that require little skill but are enjoyable include Uno, Go Fish, Crazy Eights and Snap.
Having some family games on standby will give you peace of mind that you can keep everyone entertained at home in case other plans fall through.
4. Book an excursion
Don’t be afraid to tread the tourist trail when your family comes to town. If they are traveling to your hometown from afar, book a day or half-day excursion to show them the local attractions and landmarks.
This could mean booking a boat trip around the harbour, going up a viewing tower to see the sights, visiting a local museum or art gallery, going on an open-top bus, visiting a famous landmark, going to a zoo and feeding the wildlife, going to a sporting match at the local stadium, or visiting a famous beach or national park.
The beauty of booking a day-trip is that they tend to fill up a whole day, they keep your guests happy and entertained and they usually involve a meal or two (meaning you don’t have to cook). Even if you’ve seen the sights a thousand times, you will get real pleasure out of seeing your family members experience them for the first time.
5. Have a movie night
Another simple yet effective idea for what to do when family comes to stay is to host a low-key movie night at your house. Simply arrange your living area so that everyone has a comfortable seat, and layout blankets, cushions, sheets and bean bags for the kids. Then, select a few family-friendly films that your guests can choose from, and if you want to go one step further, buy a projector to create a home cinema.
The last thing to do is buy a selection of snacks (popcorn, chips, chocolates, etc.) or make a sharing platter for everyone to help themselves to. A home movie night is a lovely way to spend time with the family without having to make too much effort.
Having guests to stay over isn’t always a walk in the park, but if you need the above 5 tips you and your guests will have a blast.