Tell me mama, do you ever go through this annoying cycle…

You do the bulk of your work through the week so that you can have downtime with fun family activities at the weekend but then you end up doing all the boring stuff at the weekend?

For us, we would do the cleaning laundry and shopping, you know, all the boring family shizzle that you have to do but don’t want to. And then the weekend would be over, we’d miss the opportunity for family fun and it was as it was back to the grindstone.

I was SO FED UP.

Fed up that we never seemed to have time for the fun things and that we were wasting our weekends. You know what I mean?

This is how we fixed it…

Create Time For Family Fun At The Weekend

No cleaning at the weekend.

This was our first self-imposed rule, I created a schedule so we would break the cleaning into bite-sized jobs and spread them over the course of the week, this freed up a big chunk of the weekend.

We do, as a rule still do the grocery shopping at the weekend but we have that down so it doesn’t take up too much time.

Now you have the time, what next?

The Annual Fun Family Bucket List

One of the problems we had was that when we did have time to do something we’d waste half of it trying to decide what to do! 

Enter… the bucket list!

At the end of the year, usually over the New Years Holidays, we all throw in ideas for our family bucket list (this is great if you are into manifesting too). It started as 15 for 15, 15 things to do in 2015. We are now working through our 19 for 19, remember to include local events that you might want to attend, the city fireworks show or festivals etc.

Here are some of this year’s bucket items:

  • Watch 6 films at the cinema
  • Visit a new country
  • Visit the Yayoi Kusama museum
  • Go to a music festival/concert
  • Visit a new prefecture
  • Try a new recipe every month
  • Go to Universal Studios Japan
  • Take an online course in something we are all interested in

Now the key to making this happen is not to wait for a fairy godmother to drop flight tickets in your lap but to plan it! And as it is a family list, you can get everyone in on the act. 

Get the kids googling info for you, film times or whatever!

So far from the list we have done 4 films, visited Taiwan (new country), done the recipes (way more than one a month!), visited a new prefecture and taken several courses.

We have got USJ pencilled in for September and a trip to Fukui which is another new prefecture to boot. Yayoi is trickier than we hoped, the tickets are like gold dust! But you get the gist.

By having a list of things that we want to do collectively, we all make more of an effort to make it happen. 

And because we are making it happen there is no more wasted weekend guilt or arguments over what we could have done.

family fun activities, a merry-go round, the beach, a concert, pizza party, kids jumping on the beach, camping and kids swimming in the pool

Schedule In Your Family Fun Times

Having a bucket list is great but, if you are not doing anything with it there is no point of having it.

Get your plans on the schedule.

Look at when you have time off, when specific events are happening, film releases, festival dates etc. If it’s not on the schedule it’s not going to happen.

This works because it’s a constant reminder, it is really easy to forget or overlook an event, especially with our busy schedules, so having it on the schedule keeps it at the forefront of your mind, which is a constant reminder to actually organise what you need for it.

Which brings me onto…

Delegating The Organising

Just because you are the mom it doesn’t mean you have to do all the donkey work!

Delegation is the name of the game…

If your kids are old enough, get them researching ticket prices, public transport times, opening times etc. This will give them something to do if they declare they are bored! Or try these other tactics for boredom.

The budget might be an issue so brainstorm ways you, collectively as a family could get the money together to do a big trip. If you have a ball mark idea of costs you could set up a target, if you reach X amount then you can do this if you hit Y amount you can do that.

This is great for the kids to get a better understanding of money, so they realise that plastic card in your wallet isn’t actually a magic money machine!

It great for the family because you are all pitching in together with a family fun activity as the outcome.

And it’s brilliant for kids to be able to learn about what it takes to organise something, whether it’s finding out the train times to go to the local dinosaur museum or working out a budget for a week’s stay somewhere.


If you are asking the kids to do the research, you will need to be involved to a degree and it helps if you give them very specific things to look up. Give them a vague job to do and you’ll get vague results. You could do this as a family brainstorm, what information do you need to plan the activity?

starfish and shells on a beach

Don’t Wait Until The Start Of The Year

You can also make a bucket list for the holidays, this really helps if you need to work but you want to do some fun family things too. 

Get together as a family and all toss in ideas for things you want to do, it can be a simple or silly as try 5 new types of ice-cream before school starts again or a few days camping or a trip to Disney!

If time and budget are tight, check out local listings for free activities that are on places like libraries and sports centres often run fun family-centric activities.

Keep It Simple

If you are super busy, keep it as simple as possible, less planning and organising for the win!

A simple list of things to do that are local works, bucket list bingo could add an extra layer of fun.

Create a 5×5 grid and write 25 things to do over the holidays. From visiting a local museum to reading a new book to family games night.

Come up with a prize if you collectively complete the whole sheet.

This idea well if you are working around the kids over the holidays, the kids can see you are making an effort too and will be less frustrated with mom having to work.

I read recently that we only have 18 summers with our kids, a sobering thought, let’s make them count!


To have “family fun” as one of of your core family values, be intentional about it.

  1. Decide what you want to do, make it a family decision.
  2. Get it in the schedule, take the time to make it happen.
  3. Plan it out, times and costs, work as a family to work out the details

Then Go And Have Fun!