How fun are you and your family? And are you creative enough to make that fun last an entire year?
It was a challenge Alana Greene and her Buford family decided to take, and one the group -- who dubbed themselves the Greene Team -- completed a week ago. You can read about the family's daily adventures in Greene's blog -- 365daysoffunwiththegreeneteam.blogspot.com -- that details how the family came up with something fun (and new) to do every single day of the year.
Alana Greene said the blog challenge taught her and her family several things, not the least of which is: "You can get creative on a very minimal budget."
"With the blog, instead of always going to the same places we tried new things," said the mother of four. "It was just putting ourselves out there to do something different.
"There's a world of things out there to do, and you don't have to spend a lot of money to do them."
Alana, her husband John and children Makenna, 12; twin boys Jackson and Carson, 10, and 8-year-old Maddie did everything from playing board games and having shaving cream fights to planting a garden or just watching the clouds. They took trips to visit places like the State Capitol and even had a few sponsored days when they did something a little more expensive, like go to local attractions Zoo Atlanta and World of Coke. The family also had many service-oriented days, where they wrote thank-you notes to the troops and picked wild flowers that they made into bouquets to give away as gifts. They even organized their own food drive, collecting 900 items for a local food pantry.
The key was to challenge themselves to find something new for 365 straight days and do so with little to no budget.
"You can do a lot of fun things if you have the money, but for us money has been tight," Alana Greene said. "Part way in it started to get difficult. It was like: 'What are we doing to do?'
"So the day we hit 100, we brainstormed 100 more ideas. What we found is even something as simple as going to a car show can be a lot of fun."
Another fun day included touring a local RV store and checking out all the impressive motor homes. That day stuck with Maddie. "I like to dream about what it would be like to live life on the road," she said of the visit.
The idea for the challenge came from Alana watching a neighbor who tried to embarrass one of his older children by sending the school bus off in the morning by doing something silly -- like dressing as a pirate or some other character. Greene thought it was funny, but she was also impressed that the gentleman stuck to his routine during every day of the school year.
"I thought: 'How fun is that to do something for a complete year,'" she said. "Maybe I could do something for a complete year."
So last year, while her kids were at Vacation Bible School, she had a couple of hours of free time and came up with a plan. She would create a blog and chronicle a year of having fun.
The kids -- Carson attends Patrick Elementary and the others participate in an online school called Connections Academy -- were "excited" and on board from the start. It was a chance for the family to further bond, and the completion of the yearlong challenge included a trip to a nearby attraction that included rock climbing and other games.
Alana Greene said she still has about 100 ideas left over, but the daily challenge is over for now, although she hopes the blog will inspire others with ideas for fun but inexpensive ways to keep their families entertained. In the end, she said the lesson she learned is one she hopes stays with her children:
"It's neat to try something different."
Email Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.