The start of the new year is the perfect time to think about a few goals for your family. Is exercise a priority this year? How about finding a volunteer activity to do together? Maybe exposing your kids to the arts is on the top of your list. What about having your family connect with nature (instead of their screens)? Fortunately, our area has plenty of ways to make a resolution that is fun and easy to do. Take a look at these ideas for some inspiration!
Focus on fitness
Get your kids excited about exercise by finding an activity you can all enjoy. For example, make it a mission to visit every park in your county, or vow to hike around the city exploring new sections of town. Take the action indoors with a membership at one of the many YMCAs around town. With facilities all over the region and new programs always being added, there is sure to be some type of fitness match for every member of your family.
Find a way to give back
Is this the year you want to make volunteering a bigger priority for your family? There are many local organizations that welcome kids as volunteers. Opportunities for youth volunteers exist at the Behringer-Crawford Museum, Cincinnati Nature Center, Gorman Heritage Farm, HEARTT Animal Refuge, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful…the possibilities go on and on. (For a complete list of area volunteer opportunities, visit our guide on Cincinnati Parent at
Other ways to volunteer could involve walking or running a 5k for a cause that is meaningful to your family, picking up litter in your neighborhood or favorite park or writing letters to service members that are deployed. Kids might also enjoy making cards for hospitalized children through an organization called Cards for Hospitalized Kids.
Take in more local art
Jill Dunne, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Cincinnati Art Museum suggests planning to visit at least four times in 2016: “One visit to play with the kids in the interactive Rosenthal Education Center, one for date night at Art After Dark, one to bring the grandparents to check out the newly updated Cincinnati Wing and at least one more visit to check out our amazing traveling exhibitions.” The Art Museum also offers a rotating schedule of family-friendly programming throughout the year.
The Taft Museum of Art is another potential source for fine arts fun in 2016. Emma Caro, Director of PR and Marketing, says families can plan to attend the museum’s hands-on 3rd Sunday Funday programs throughout the year, including a superhero themed program in January.
Try another option at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Christa Skiles, Director of Marketing and Communications, says “In a world in which so many of our experiences are passive and take place on a screen of some kind, theatre remains a shared experience.” Skiles suggests including upcoming main stage programs like To Kill a Mockingbird on your family’s list of 2016 plans, and keeping an eye out for Playhouse in the Park family-friendly tours that bring Playhouse productions to local arts and community centers.
Take in more music and dance
If exposing your kids to live music is on your list of resolutions, be sure check out the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, both of which offer family-friendly performances all year long. Megan Berneking, Director of Communications for both organizations, says families should consider the Lollipops Family Concerts that take place on several Saturday mornings throughout the year. “They are the perfect way to introduce kids and grandkids to the joys of orchestral music.”
If your family has an itch to get even more involved with Cincinnati’s musical arts scene, consider Cincinnati Ballet. Ginger Johnson, Director of Academy Operations, says the whole family can get involved with Cincinnati Ballet beyond the organization’s stage productions. “We also offer a variety of dance classes for youth and adults,” Johnson explains. “Our New Year’s resolutions always involve more dancing and we aspire to help families do the same.”
Get back to nature
In 2015, The Trust for Public Land ranked Cincinnati’s sprawling park system #7 in the nation in their annual ParkScore survey, and for good reason. Most city residents are within a ten minute walk of a city park. The park district has set aside plenty of space for hiking, picnicking, kayaking, biking, frolicking and more, making it easy to set some nature-influenced goals. Resolve to visit as many city parks as you can this year with your family.
You can also rediscover the Zoo! Michelle Curley, Communications Director at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, suggests families explore the zoo in 2016 in ways they may have never thought about before. For instance, did you know the zoo has several exhibits specifically designed to inspire family learning? Set a goal to check out Jungle Trails this year, where families can “Hang Like an Orang” and challenge one another with the “Big Brains at Work” exhibit.
Making a resolution stick takes commitment from every member of your family, so get the kids together and talk about what they would find fun or interesting to do. Good luck and happy new year!