One of the perks of being a homeschooling family is that we spend quite a bit of time together.
What we realized however was that while most of our day was spent schooling, we still didn’t spend a lot of time playing and investing and listening to each other as a whole family. With the majority of our evenings being taken up with activities, we were missing out on consistent “space” to intentionally laugh and play together.
So, at the insistence of our kids, we instituted a weekly family night.
The days and weeks slip by so quickly and while we don’t want to miss a moment of these sweet years, we needed a schedule to hold us to a time where we could freely create memories that would last.
Finding ideas for all of us to engage in can be a challenge, but here is a list of our Top 20 Favorites. Maybe you’ll find a few you can try out with your family!
1) Cookie Bake-Off Challenge – we divided into teams to bake chocolate chip cookies and ended it with a blind taste test!
2) Game Night – any game is up for grabs here, but some of our favorites are:
Ticket to Ride, Jenga, Suspend, Twister, Go Fish, and Monopoly
3) Family Bike Ride – it’s pretty entertaining to see us all lined up with our bikes! We usually don’t go far with all of us, but it’s definitely a favorite!
4) Volleyball Game – with a wide spread of ages, this activity works because some kids can build sandcastles while others can work on their skills. 🙂
5) Puzzle Challenge – choose a few large-piece puzzles, throw all the pieces in a big pile and see who can put their puzzle together the fastest!
6) Miniature Golfing – even our youngest competitors have a blast with a ball and club all their own!
7) Kite Flying – whether it’s everyone flying their own kites or watching daddy fly his stunt kite, this activity is a hit because we are all outside enjoying the fresh air together!
8) Chocolate Fondue – though the initial cost for a fondue set is a little more than we usually spend on a Family Night, it’s well worth it!
9) Science Experiments – this doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Some quick Google searches and household items can make for some pretty memorable and learning experiences!
10) Magic Tricks – Google comes to the rescue again with this one. Give everyone a few days to prepare their own trick and then have a show on Family Night!
10) Hide and Seek – outside on a summer night or inside on a snowy evening, this classic is one of our favorites!
11) Nerf Gun War – this was one of my personal favorites! You should have seen the drama going on during this activity!
12) Library Outing – for this activity, everyone chooses a short book from the library and then we all walk to a favorite outdoor spot, grab a blanket, and read our books out loud together.
13) Hiking – sometimes the best thing for everyone is get out of the house! Whether it’s a paved trail where we can bring scooters and roller blades or a wooded one where we can kick up the dirt, hiking is a guaranteed home run.
14) Scavenger Hunt – this one takes a bit of planning in advance, but it’s a great one for either indoor or outdoor fun. Dividing into teams adds a fun flare of friendly competition! We enjoy using the game, Scaventure, for some great pre-made lists!
15) Movie Night – we generally try to avoid screens on Family Night, but some nights, the flexibility of “pizza and a movie” is a great option!
16) Trivia Buck Night – this activity needs some pre-planning, but it can be a lot of fun to play and shop together. Hide $1 bills (5 for each kid) and make a card telling the location for each bill. Every kid gets a chance to answer a trivia question about family members (for example: what’s dad’s favorite color, what did we have for dinner last night, who sings the loudest in our family, etc). After answering the question correctly, kids draw a card and go hunt for their $1 bill. When everyone has found their money, head to a store for a spending spree. Each kid gets to pick what store they want to spend their money at (our favorites are, Target, Michaels, Old Navy, and the ice cream shop!)
17) Banana Splits – this activity starts with a family trip to the grocery where we load up on everyone’s favorite flavors and toppings. Ice cream “boats” can be purchased at local ice cream restaurants.
18) Bowling – this classic pastime is fun for all ages and provides something out of the ordinary to do together.
19) Read-A-Louds – in line with the idea of getting away from screens, finding a novel to get lost in as a family is a great alternative. Grab some popcorn just like a movie night and get carried away with the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Captain Hook, or the Chronicles of Narnia.
20) Cards of Courage – we all need encouragement and we need to learn to give it too. This activity starts in the card aisle where everyone chooses a card to give to a family member (draw names first). Each person takes time to write down (or draw pictures) of things they appreciate about the other person and then everyone exchanges cards. Ending with tickle wars or by creating a family cheer or mantra is a fun conclusion as well!
Building strong families doesn’t have to be daunting and difficult, but it does take intentionality and a willingness to let loose, be crazy, and HAVE FUN.
Here’s to Family Night!