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7 Ways for Christians to Build Family Relationships in the Great Outdoors

Is your family calendar holding you and your loved ones hostage? Many families have a full calendar that dictates every hour of every family member’s day and week. Color-coded calendars are shared between mom, dad, and the kids. And parents must figure out where everyone needs to go and get them there on time. But does the full schedule allow time to build family relationships? Often, this is the first thing to go.  

We might say… 

  • There will be time to relax with the family later in the summer. 
  • There will be time to build family relationships when I don’t have to do this or that.
  • There will be time for family bonding this fall, winter, or spring. 

Sadly, the weeks and months pass, and while many things have been marked off on the calendar, intentionally building family relationships may not have been one of them. 

This isn’t to say things weren’t done as a family, but let’s pause for a moment and think about quality over quantity—the quality of the time spent versus the number of activities on the calendar. 

  • “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…”—Colossians 3:23
  • “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”—1 Corinthians 10:31

If your family has a crazy calendar, you aren’t alone. But God is shifting families so they realign with Him, and peace flows through the home rather than a fast-paced life that causes everyone to trip up. 

Intentionally creating space for building family bonds allows for the Spirit of God to knit you together to be living proof of a loving God to a watching world.

Here are 7 ways to build family relationships that create balance, bonding, and boundaries while enjoying creation in a way that focuses on the Creator.

7 Ways to Build Family Relationships

A young mom, dad, and two daughters laughing and blowing bubbles during a park picnic.

The Bible teaches that families are a blessing from God. His design for earthly families is to be a place of protection and provision, a place of community where individuals can thrive. God’s heart for the family is to be a source of love and strength. 

Below are 7 ways to build family relationships in the outdoors. As you find balance, bond, and create boundaries for your family through these activities, see God’s design for the family. 

  1. Step outside and set aside screens. 

Set a boundary to set aside screens for a certain amount of time on a regular basis and get outside with your family. Leave phones at home and go for a walk, make smores over the firepit, or set up some yard games. The idea is to get unplugged and engage with each other. 

  1. Have a picnic. 

Have a picnic in your yard or at a park. Ask each family member to pick one of their favorite foods (that’s portable) and make a meal out of family favorites. This simple activity can serve as a great way of building family bonds.

  1. Play a game.

Play a game outside—anything from checkers on the deck to cornhole in the backyard. Let your kids pick the game or even make up the rules. This allows their creativity to come out and encourages them to solve problems.  

  1. Go on a hike. 

Choose a hiking trail your family hasn’t been on before and explore the area. This is great for different ages and activity levels. It can help you build family relationships and get in some additional exercise!

  1. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. 

You can do a nature scavenger hunt on your hike or during your picnic. There are several nature scavenger hunt printables available. There are even more sensory-focused ones that encourage you to use your senses to explore the outdoors, such as touching a pine cone or dipping your toes in running water. 

  1. Read through the creation story and find the things that were created on each day

When you’re outside, help your kids connect creation with the Creator. Read through the different days of creation and find the things God created each day, such as clouds, water, plants, land, fish, birds, and land animals. 

  1. Get into the Word outside. 

Try doing your family devotionals outside. Get some fresh air and listen to the sounds of nature as you get into the Word. 

7 Bible Verses to Study to Build Family Relationships

You can take your time outside building family relationships further by going through these verses with your loved ones and answering the questions. 

  • Genesis 1:2

“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Read through Genesis 1 and 2 as a family, then find the different created things in nature. What are some of your family’s favorite things created by the Creator?

  • Colossians 1:16

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”

As you go through the creation story, remind yourself and your family that all things were created through Him and for Him—not only the things you see in creation but also relationships, marriages, and families. What things does your family forget belong to or were created for Him?

  • Colossians 3:13

“…bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Ask your family what living out this verse in your home would look like. In what areas does your family need to practice forgiveness? Open communication can go a long way in your efforts to build family relationships.

  • Psalm 68:6

“God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”

God’s will is for families to be in solidarity and agreement. But we must be standing on the solid Rock—Jesus Christ (see Psalm 18:2) and be in agreement with Him. This brings freedom and allows us to help each other thrive as He designed. What areas in your family need to be realigned so your family can stand on the Rock? 

  • Psalm 133:1

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

It pleases God when we dwell in unity. Our unity invites the fruit of the Spirit, peace, into our homes. Ephesians 2 says that Jesus is our peace and broke down walls of separation, creating unity. This unity cultivates a culture of peace. How is your family cultivating a culture of peace?

  • Psalm 127:3-5

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

Homes are built with more than bricks. Children are a blessing but must be carefully shaped and formed, guided with skills and strength, and aimed in the right direction like an arrow. How are you equipping your children and aiming them in the right direction?

  • Romans 12:18

“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

God’s desire is not that we quarrel and argue but that we live peaceably. Often those we argue with the most are those we are closest to, our families. That’s why building family bonds can be challenging. But we are all responsible for bringing peace into the home. How do each one of your family members bring peace into your home?

Takeaway

Invite the Holy Spirit into the process of building healthy family relationships. Ask God to give you wisdom and a heart that desires to strengthen and build up those in your home. If being intentional to build family relationships isn’t something your family has been doing, that’s okay. Now is a great time to start. You can start small by picking one of the ways above but start somewhere.

If spending quality time together has been something your family has been doing for a while, consider a greater outdoor adventure designed to train, equip, challenge, and grow your family in new ways!

Want to learn more ways to build a family that lasts? Discover how to create a family culture grounded in biblical truth through our Castles parenting video series. This FREE resource has tips, tools, and insights to be the parent God designed  you to be! Take advantage of this resource today.