Whether you’re an adoptive family planning a visit to see birth family, or a birth family brainstorming fun activities for everyone to do during an upcoming visit, you may feel a little nervous about your open adoption visit. Emotions are sometimes a little heightened for everyone during visits, especially early on, but there’s no need to be anxious!

Having a couple ideas for fun things to do during your visit will ensure that the kid(s) aren’t too restless, but that you’ll all still have some quality time to catch up and relax together.

Remember not to over-plan. It’s good to have some loose structure. Aim for activities that can work as an ice-breaker, but not a distraction! The point of these visits is for everyone to spend some time with one another, and most importantly, with the child that you all love.

These five ideas for birth family visits will get you planning for your next get-together:

1. Visit the zoo:

Who doesn’t love the zoo? You can walk around and take your time looking at the animals, allowing birth and adoptive families some time to catch up without having to feel like you’re stuck sitting around. Chances are your kids will be educating everyone with plenty of zoological facts by the end of the day!

You can find local zoos and aquariums here.

2. Take a picnic to the park:

Pack up a special-occasion meal that your kids love (check in with the birth or adoptive family ahead of time in case there are allergies or dietary needs to consider) or one of these fun picnic snacks and head to a park with a playground! The grown-ups can sit and chat, or get in on the games, too.

This can be a great option if there’s an infant who needs to be held and fed while older kids play.

3. Go out to eat (bonus points if it has a play area):

Never underestimate the appeal of a McDonald’s or Chuck E. Cheese to the younger crowd. Everyone can eat, talk, and play. It may seem a little loud or chaotic, but that’s kids for you, right? If the kids are having fun, everyone will have fun! Plus, there’s one of these types of restaurants just about everywhere, which makes planning for travel a breeze.

4. Have a board game session:

Break out your family’s favorite game or test out some of these. Not everyone loves certain types of games like trivia or charades games, so try to play something light and fun that everyone can enjoy the leaves plenty of time to talk before and after your game.

5. Take on a project together:

Let your child’s interests be your guide! Build a new Lego set together, decorate your own birdhouses, put together a puzzle, or bake and decorate something delicious.

Helping your child with a project together gets everyone involved and talking, but it’s also fun for kids. Keep it simple — no need to tackle something overly complicated or time-consuming.

Have Fun!

Sure, birth family visits are important and beneficial for your child. But they’re also just a great opportunity for birth and adoptive parents to get to know each other better and have fun together with your child. Life is busy, especially with a child! Enjoy these moments together.