How Offbeat Interests Unite Families [Insider Story]
For many families, part of the joy of being together is pursuing the same offbeat interests together, not just food or movies, but something a bit more unusual. At Sleep Number, we love this—we’re all about recognizing that everyone’s a little bit different, with their own needs and interests (and mattress-firmness preferences!). So we thought we’d showcase a few unexpected ways that Insiders share their passions with loved ones; we’ve also included tips for similar things to try yourself.
A few years back, Marine Westbrooks and her husband gave mud bogging—off-road driving through deep mud—a try, and quickly found a new hobby to try together. “I was raised everywhere,” Marine says, “so I’ve always had an open mind, but I never thought this would be something I would have fun doing. But, boy, have I ever fallen in love with it.” Now they each have a mud-bogging vehicle, so that they can both get in on the fun at the same time.
Tip: Driving in bogs not your thing? Find another way to get the adrenaline up together, whether it’s exercise or watching a movie with hair-raising adventure.
Jeff Martin has loved building with Lego since he was a kid, and how he’s passed his passion on to his own three children. He recalls building with his youngest, then six years old: “I’d find the pieces and queue them up for him and then he’d build. If he had a problem, I’d help, but mostly I’d just watch and he’d build.” Recently, he and his son completed a 7,500-piece Millennium Falcon, one of the largest models Lego has ever released for retail sale. The two worked on it together for months, and now has pride of place in their family room. Jeff calls it “probably the coolest set I’ve ever owned.”
Tip: There are lots of options for collaborative building: puzzles, models, or woodworking. If you want to get kids involved, figure out how they can help at their skill level, and make sure they feel like they have a say in the overall project.
Michele Sandifer and her family, including four kids, have a long-standing love of getting outside together—but the way they do it has changed over the years. Twenty years ago, when the kids were young, it was standard tent camping. Then there was a pop-camper. Now, they explore by way of a travel trailer—“Glamping,” as Michele puts it. “We’re keeping up the tradition, but I’m doing less of the work,” she says. “We can still go on little hikes and have a campfire but then we get to come inside to a kitchen.” And with new grandchildren, Michele is looking forward to keeping this updated family tradition going with the next generation.
Tip: If traveling afar isn’t viable, find another way to get outside—even if it’s just in the back yard or a local greenspace—whether it’s gardening or doing a scavenger hunt with kids.
When his kids were young, Dan Stegner sometimes brought them along on the road to Grateful Dead shows, where they learned to make friendship bracelets and tie-dye T-shirts. Today, his kids are in their twenties, and the music and memories go on: “Whenever I can get tickets, we go together—that’s kind of Dad’s thing to do,” Dan says with a laugh.
Tip: You can share your love right at home. Dig out old CDs or records and have everyone pick out their favorite deep cuts for a listening party.
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