You made it through the hard part, so give yourself a break. Don’t worry about unpacking right away. It will get done eventually. Instead, use this time to enjoy some fun family activities and get to know your new city.
Take a mini-vacation during the limbo stage
If you moved long-distance, you may be in limbo while the movers make their way to your home. So, make the most of it! Book a hotel downtown and check out the tourist attractions for a weekend, or sleep out in the backyard until your furniture arrives.
Create a scavenger hunt
Depending on your child’s age or the number of people in your family, you can make the hunt competitive or cooperative. It’s up to you if you want to make parent-child teams, kids versus adults or one hunt for the entire family. Set a time limit and go through the rules. For example, if you’re taking photos of people, you should ask permission first. Download the free Art of Happy Moving Scavenger Hunt or create your own.
Plan fun family activities around your “family thing”
Every family has a “thing”. For our family, it’s ice cream and donuts. Maybe your family is healthier and your “thing” is going on bike rides or doing yoga together. Figure out what you love to do together and then write down your plan. You might decide to visit one new ice cream shop every Wednesday night or try out ten different bike paths in the next month. Make your way through a list of yoga studios or bookstores in town.
Let your child be the tour guide for a day
One of the toughest parts about moving for a kid is the lack of control she feels about the situation. So, give her control . . . and a budget. Let her decide what fun family activities you could do over the weekend. Check out a guidebook from the library and show her TripAdvisor’s “Things to Do.” If she plans on doing touristy activities, tell her about online coupons or mention “off-season” or weekday rates. Then, let her plan your day.
Go on a listening walk
Our family loves to read The Listening Walk by Paul Showers. The idea is to live in the moment and to appreciate the sounds around you. Go on a listening walk with your kids. See how many sounds you can hear – birds chirping, cars driving by, squirrels chasing one another, recycling bins being emptied, sprinklers watering lawns. At the end of each block, share what you’ve heard. Try to find different sounds each time.
Play Pokémon Go as a family
At first I was skeptical about Pokémon Go because I’m not a huge fan of screens, especially when the point is to go outside for a walk and enjoy nature. However, as far as fun family activities go, this one will get the kids excited to walk around and it will lead you to unusual places. When our family played Pokémon Go, we discovered a bench we had never noticed before even though we had lived around the corner from it for years.
Schedule a date night with your child
The thing your child wants most after a move is time with you. So, go on a date night. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. It just needs to be alone time with one parent. You could go out for ice cream, go bowling, or finger paint in your backyard. If you have more than one child, schedule an individual date night with each child.
Sign up for a library card
The library is our first stop after we move. You can stock up on books, movies and video games to keep the kids entertained while you finish unpacking. Even better, you can learn about the free fun family activities that the library offers. Stop by these events to get to know other families in the community. (Before you go: call the library to see what documents you’ll need to get your own library card).
Set up a lemonade stand
Your moving boxes make the perfect lemonade stand. Now all you need are plastic cups and a pitcher of lemonade to entice the neighborhood kids to come over. Hang out with your kids outside, even if you sit in the background. This is a good opportunity to meet your neighbors and make some friends.
What’s your favorite way to explore a city after you move somewhere new?