Family & Education

5 Family Challenges That Add Magic to Childhood

BY Barbara Danza TIMEJune 14, 2022 PRINT

Childhood is fleeting, but the memories of childhood can last a lifetime. What we tend to remember most fondly are shared experiences and family traditions.

One way to add the sort of magic that can be treasured and passed down is to take on fun goals or challenges as a family. Here are some ideas to inspire your own.


Family travel is one of the most impactful shared experiences a family can embark on. It takes you out of the day-to-day, encourages presence of mind, and is enriching, educational, and fun!

One way to encourage more family travel is to take on a travel challenge together. Perhaps you set out to visit all 50 states. (My family is halfway there.) Perhaps you want to visit every continent or every country in the world (quite the goal). Perhaps you want to see the Seven Wonders of the World or every baseball field in the United States. Maybe you want to try the top ice cream shops, pizza places, or three-star restaurants. The possibilities are endless—from landmarks to hotels to amusement parks to historic places.

Choose a specific focus for your family’s travel challenge and track your progress through childhood (and quite possibly beyond.)


If you have some foodies at home, a cooking challenge could be the magic you’re looking for. Not only will it inspire creativity and skill but it’ll feed the family. You could set out to try every recipe in a favorite cookbook or of a favorite chef. You could focus on a single type of food such as tacos or brownies or burgers or bread. You could explore regions of the world through food—setting a different menu for each cultural cuisine and even, perhaps, marking a map as you go.


A service challenge is sure to deeply enrich the lives of your family members. Set out to share your life’s blessing with others. Whether you decide to perform random acts of kindness once a month or once a week, deliver meals to families in need regularly or during the holidays, or you simply commit to volunteering a certain number of hours to support your local community or a cause you believe in, giving as a family is a joy and inspires lessons that will stay with you and your kids forever.


As adults and kids alike tend to spend more time sitting, getting everyone in the family to focus on fitness is greatly beneficial. A fun way to do that is, you guessed it, a family challenge. Perhaps you can aim at walking a certain distance, measured by your devices, or challenge each other to a season-long tennis tournament. You could also sign up for a 5K and train together or aim to hike all the parks in your state.

The key to making fitness a fun and regular activity that your family enjoys is to choose activities you genuinely enjoy.

Reading Challenge

A perfect challenge for summer (or anytime, really): encourage more reading in your home with a family reading challenge. You might have everyone keep a stack of books they’ve read or a simple list, and the one who reads the most gets a prize. You might set up prizes for each significant milestone—five books, 10 books, 25 books, and so on.

Perhaps you’d prefer to share books as a family, either by setting aside time to read aloud or enjoying audiobooks together. Maybe you have a list of must-reads you aim to check off together, or perhaps you wish to focus on one author or genre.

Family challenges bring the whole crew together for a memorable and joyful shared experience. Give it a try with your family.

Barbara Danza
Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart. Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.
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