52 Fun Ways to Bond in Your Stepfamily

52 Fun Ways to Bond in Your Stepfamily

The thought of bonding in a stepfamily can sometimes seem impossible — or at least challenging.  Step-parents sometimes fear rejection and  bio-parents might anticipate lots of stress or pressure.

But the truth is, bonding can be light-hearted and even fun.  Building strong bonds in a stepfamily is all about small steps.  It's the culmination of hundreds of little moments all added up that creates secure relationships.  It's all about patience and persistence — bonding takes time!

As you think about how you can 'blend' your stepfamily by building close bonds, consider 2 different perspectives. 

First, pay attention to all the 1-on-1 relationships.  Everyone in your family needs focused time with each individual.  For bio-relationships that may mean a couple of hours connecting in a way that is meaningful.  For step-relationships it could be a 15 minute activity.  And for couples it could be a fun date night activity.  Whatever stage you're in, be creative about your intentionality as you support the individual connections in your home.

Second, make some time for everyone to be together.  But keep in mind that tensions are often highest when everyone in the family is together.  Be strategic with family time based on your unique level of connection as a family.  If you notice lots of stress for yourself or others when you're all together — then keep that time short and have an activity like the ones below that holds everyone's attention.  If stress is low and connection is high in your family, great!  You may want to enjoy more extended time and choose activities that allow for lots of interaction.

With those two thoughts in mind, consider how your stepfamily can enjoy some of the suggestions we've gathered together that can make bonding fun:

  1. Have a Movie Night (at the theater or at home)

  2. Go for a Picnic

  3. Visit a Water Park or Waterslides

  4. Hang out at the local Park or Playground (bring a frisbee for the older kids)

  5. Enjoy a Hike

  6. Go for a Bike Ride

  7. Visit the Beach, Lake or River — see if you can spot some fish or other water creatures

  8. Visit a Museum — Children's, Art or Historical

  9. Cook a Meal or Bake Some Goodies!

  10. Visit the Zoo, Aquarium or Wildlife Refuge

  11. Fly Kites

  12. Do some Crafts, Art or Sidewalk Chalk

  13. Play Hide & Seek

  14. Play Video Games — Interactive Dance or Sports Games are fun for families

  15. Go for an Ice Cream or other Treats

  16. Hang out with older kids at your local Coffee Shop

  17. Play a Board Game or Card Game (We like Ticket to Ride and Skip-Bo)

  18. Go to your local Arcade or Skating Rink

  19. Play Tag

  20. Go Bowling

  21. Go Mini-Golfing

  22. Ride Go-Karts

  23. Do a Community Service Project Together

  24. Go Camping — in the Wilderness or just in your Back Yard!

  25. Have a Water Gun Fight

  26. Go Kayaking or Canoeing

  27. Have a Water Balloon Fight

  28. Hook up the Slip 'n Slide (Careful Adults…don't hurt yourself! :-)

  29. Arrange a Neighborhood Baseball or Softball Game

  30. Play Kickball

  31. Have a 4-Square Tournament in the Driveway

  32. Build a Blanket Fort in the Living Room

  33. Have Snowball Fight (sorry if you don't get snow where you live)

  34. Go for a Walk Together

  35. Go Jogging or Running

  36. Put on a Puppet Show or Family Play

  37. Play Dress-up (You too Dads & Step-Dads!)

  38. Play with Dolls or Action Figures — or Yo-yo's, Jacks or Pick-up-Stix (yes…we're old school!)

  39. Read a Book Together

  40. Learn to Play a Musical Instrument Together

  41. Have a Tea Party

  42. Build a Tree House

  43. Fix up an Old Car Together (teach kids the lost art of changing their own oil!)

  44. Go Shopping — at the Mall or your favorite Consignment Stores

  45. Hunt for Treasures at Garage Sales

  46. Take a Class Together (cooking/art/crafts/life skills)

  47. Take a Road Trip or Day Trip

  48. Have a Dance Party

  49. Do some Bug Collecting (like butterflies - but let them go :-)

  50. Leaf or Flower Pressing

  51. Spend some time Star Gazing

  52. Explore whatever Nature is Near You

There's so many ways you can be intentional about building strong bonds in your stepfamily.  Think about one thing you can do this week to connect either as a family or 1-on-1.

QUESTION:  What other ways do you like to bond in your stepfamily?  Leave a comment below…

How to Positively Impact Your Stepfamily's 'Long Game'

How to Positively Impact Your Stepfamily's 'Long Game'