Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Family Night

Photo courtesy of John-Morgan via
Several years ago, two sweet ladies drove from two states away to share tips and parenting ideas with a small group of young moms in a living room here.  One had been a mentor to a mentor of ours, and she really helped cast a vision for what godly motherhood looks like. Our families have greatly benefited from their sacrifices.

One of the ideas given was regarding a regular Family Night.  One woman said her family had pizza and a movie every Friday night, and that Friday nights were "sacred".  They never agreed to do things that would interrupt it, unless it was completely necessary.  The mentor-of-our-mentor mom shared that her family rotates ideas for Family Night, and that each time it had a different personality.

When I pitched the idea to my man, he loved it, and we've had a rotating Family Night, ever since.  Everyone in our family looks forward to it.

Here's how it works, our rotation starts with Daddy, then Mama and then kids, in their birth order.  Until a child turned 4, he or she was not allowed to choose.  And honestly, when they were younger than that, they didn't even notice!

Each person has to choose the food, the activity, and possibly dessert, and there is a $20 budget, which rolls over if we don't spend money one night.  

Here are some of the fun things we've tried:
  • Eating Out Night - My hubby's top choice, finished off with a dessert at home or no dessert at all.
  • Ice Cream Sundae Night - Create an ice cream sundae bar for dessert after a light dinner.
  • Movie Night - Rent a movie and eat taco dip, nachos, popcorn or pizza in front of the TV.
  • Family Video Night - Same as above but with home videos.
  • Themed Movie Night - Watch a movie and eat themed food with it, i.e. Ratatouille.
  • Game Night - Play board games or video games as a family, with TV snacks.
  • Scavenger Hunt - Indoors or out.
  • Park Night - Pack a picnic and visit a local park or playground.
  • Hot Cocoa Night - Create a hot chocolate bar for the winter months.
  • Pet Shopping - Take your pet to a local pet store and pick out treats for him/her.  Treat a neighbor's pet, if you don't have one.
  • Indoor Picnic - Rearrange the living room furniture, lay a picnic blanket down and roast hot dogs and marshmallows in the fireplace.
  • Play-Doh Night - Create.  You may even want to compete.  My husband won.
  • Midnight Movie - Okay, so maybe not midnight, but have a "lame family night" and once the kids are good and asleep, wake them to find a rearranged living room and buttered popcorn for a late night showing.
  • Carnival - Go to a local carnival or fair. 
  • Flashlight Tag - Indoors.
  • Train Ride - Find a train to ride.  Our local mall has one.
  • Candy Store - Eat a small dinner and then find a candy store to raid for dessert.
  • Toy Store - Go to a local toy store and window shop.  The kids can bring their money, if it's been earned.
  • Family Walk - Take a long stroll somewhere, the kids can bring their bikes.
  • High School Game Night - Go to your local high school team's home game.
  • Pool Night - Go to your neighborhood pool with a pizza for dinner.
  • Reverse Night - Allow the kids to act like parents for the night.  They can eat whatever they want, stay up as late as they want, but they have to make dinner, clean the kitchen and put the parents to bed (parents can watch a movie).  If they break anything they have to pay to replace it, just like Mama and Daddy would.
  • Thankfulness Night - Set aside a night to remember all the ways God has been faithful to you as a family. 
  • Window Shopping - Eat dinner at home and walk around downtown.  Sometimes we enjoy cupcakes from our favorite local bakery.
  • Downtown Festivals - Take advantage of seasonal events that take place in your hometown.
  • Fire Pit Roast - Roast hot dogs and marshmallows in the backyard, make S'mores.
  • Valentines Night - Create a handmade Valentine each to give a friend, and eat heart cookies for dessert.
  • Christmas Lights - Drive around after dinner and enjoy Christmas lights; don't forget the music.
  • Gingerbread Decorating - Decorate a gingerbread house or create a graham cracker nativity together.
  • Pumpkin Carving - Let everyone carve or paint a pumpkin.
  • Easter Egg Dying Party - Create all kinds of egg decor.  We love rubber bands.
These are ideas I'd like for us to try:
  • Camping - In the living room or outside.
  • Family Soccer Game - In the backyard.
  • Memory Book - Run the laptop to the TV and create a photo book together, or create one the old-fashioned way with scrapbook supplies.

What Family Night ideas do you have or have you tried as a family?

1 comment:

  1. Our kids are a bit older, but we all love Christian music. We have had numerous nights at inexpensive Christian concerts and then on the way home we talk about our experience. Also, we compete in Wii games like Just Dance (if we find older, clean songs) or Super Monkey Ball.
    We love these family nights. Thanks for new ideas. I'm excited to add these into the grab bag.