My first thought was, I need to come up with some ideas for us to do in the evenings after school and dinner to help with this. That is when they seem to melt down the most. So instead of keeping these ideas to myself, I want to share them with you!
When creatively homespun first kicked off, I shared ideas for 40 at Home Date Nights… and everyone loved it!
We already have traditional family movie nights, and game nights.. but I wanted to come up with some new ideas too. I tried to come up with a list that could grow with us. So some of them can be adapted to better suite the age of kiddos you have. That way when my little ones are grown, it can become a tradition!
40 at home family nights
1. Movie NIght: With this one you can even include making homemade popcorn! Pick a good flick, and enjoy the simplicity of this one! Check out these fun HOMEMADE POPCORN SEASONINGS that evermine OCCASIONS posted.
2. Game night: This is a fun one! seriously… we hope to even bust out the old candy land when our kids are older. just for goofiness of it!
3. Cooking night: cooking with kids can be as easy or complicated as you want. pizza, grilled cheese, MACARONI and cheese, salads.. these are all great kid friendly meals that everyone can help with. As they get older, more complicated meals would be fun, and they will also be gaining some kitchen knowledge!
4. Family Painting NIght: one of my favorites!!! Family Painting night is something we enjoy in this house. Once they get older, you can even make it a challenge, for example: each has a specific color, and after 2 minutes you have to pass the canvas to your left and add to it! or you can even do portraits of each other! no matter how silly they turn out, it’s about the memories.
5. craft night: this one can be fun because the creative side of the family really can come out. collectively decide on what to make, or each pick something of their own! no matter how you do this, it is sure to be a great time. I would suggest picking up some of those pre-cut foam crafts from the craft store, and then you can make them as a service project to DISTRIBUTE DURING the upcoming holidays. shut-ins ESPECIALLY love these things!
6. s’mores night: SERIOUSLY… this one is exciting! make a fire, lay down pillows, and enjoy some inside roasted marshmallows and s’mores!
7. Sports Night: Even if you have someone in the family who isn’t crazy about sports, there are ways to make watching a game at home more fun! have each person create their own “crazy fan” costume and signs! You can even add-on a twist of bets! Make bets on scores, winners, times, etc.. and offer fun prizes like, “no dish duty for a week” or “you pick dinner ticket”. IT keeps everyone interested in the game.
8. Minute to win it game night: This is something that my youth group goes nuts over! you can find so many ideas of games on pinterest, or even just make up your own relays. Some of favorite ideas come from FRUGAL FUN 4 BOYS.
9. Dance party: Turn the lights off, add some glow sticks and strobe lights mixed with music… you have yourself a serious dance party! Now bust a move!
10. inside camping: You can make a tent, or put one of your own up. and enjoy a camping night, in the warmth of your family room! Have a camp food meal, tell spooky stories, etc.. My kids love this!!
11. Glow stick hide & seek: This one is fun, even for the older ones! You turn out the lights, each team gets specific colored glow sticks.. Ready, set, hide! If your little ones are too young for this one, then turn it into just a simple bath time fun with glow sticks! Turn out the lights in the bathroom and watch the water glow! you’ll soon see the kids EXCITEMENT with this one! (no splashing not GUARANTEED!)
12. inside snowball fight: this one is easy prep, and easy clean up! instead of daring the cold at night, enjoy an inside snowball fight with balled up white tissue paper! hide behind FURNITURE forts, and even make it a team effort! parents against kids?
13. pirate night: Dress up in pirate fashion, grab your mateys, create a make-shift ship on your sofa or bed, and have an adventurous evening! you can easily create or print out a treasure map to engage your kiddos in a scavenger hunt!
14. A trip ABROAD: has your family ever wanted to travel to some far distant land? or are you just trying to inform your children about other places far off? Well, take a trip abroad! either choose a destination, or pick a random local. Make a meal that would be served in that location: italy = SPAGHETTI, play music, make ethnic crafts, or even watch a movie filmed there, or about there? Have a good time with this one!
15. Laser tag or nerf tag: are you a COMPETITIVE family? then this one is for you! wear team shirts, or all play against each other. you can even place your AMMO on one end of the house, and your weapon on the other end… and GO!
16. family tree night: A family tree night is a great way to celebrate your families history and heritage! you can go as simple as just doing your IMMEDIATE family, or even go as detailed as you want and RESEARCH your names on ANCESTRY.COM. you can create your own tree if you wanted on canvas to display, or use some cute PRINTABLEs like these from HOME GROWN HEARTS ACADEMY.
17. Family Truth or Dare: an exciting game of truth or dare isn’t just for your flashback teenage years. a family friendly game played with fun and unique questions can make for not only some serious giggles, but also a chance for you to break out those questions you’ve wanted to ask! there are even options for apps to do all the work for you! A friend of mine and her family use this app all the time! Check it out in the ITUNES STORE.
18. Lego Night: this can be a free-for-all or a COMPETITIVE thing with challenges! this is a great way to get their minds working while using creative conversation. they even make lego building games that you can find at your local toy shop or even AMAZON.COM.
19. Scavenger hunt night: this one can be simple too! create your own scavenger hunt. if your little ones are too young for reading, then create the clues with pictures. it is a game that offers endless fun or all POSSIBILITIES and ages.
20. fondue night: a friend of mine does this with her family all the time! they mix it up with cheese, chocolate, and even broth! they all sit around the table, have conversation and enjoy the unique treat!
21.science lab night: i think my son would have the best time with this one, so i can’t wait to try it! (I’m not sure where he gets his “nerdiness”!?) the resources for science EXPERIMENTS are endless. your local library will have tons of ideas, as well as pinterest. if you want to make a theme of it, choose a specific topic and then watch some BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY episodes! (They are on netflix) depending on the age, you could make these as difficult as you want!
22. Tie Dye Night: tie dye night could be fun for all ages, seeing how the colors change and create something amazing. but i think it is best suited for older kiddos. you could tie dye so many things, shirts, bags, shoe laces, etc… There are many options!
23. baking cookies: are you a family who realizes 2 days before christmas that you forgot to bake the cookies? Well, if you have one or two family baking nights, then you could freeze some cookies and never have that problem again! genius!
24. karaoke night: “Let it go!” anyone? I’m sure we can all think of some family friendly songs to sing karaoke with… Disney songs are rockin’ for this! And the best part is, even if you don’t have a karaoke machine, you can just look up the songs on YouTube, and it will play the music instrumentals And show the lyrics! What a fun night!
25. indoor obstacle course: There are all sorts of fun ways to create an obstacle course depending on the age of the children. for the younger ones, objects to walk around, or jump over are great, sometimes even a small plastic slide works great! For the older ones, making it more DIFFICULT may be time-consuming.. but so worth it! Check out this idea from ALL FOR THE BOYS.
26. sundae party: set up a buffet of different toppings and ice cream flavors! If everyone has a small dish, then they can create all sorts of different combinations. This is a great option to do combined with another event, like movie night or game night!
27.inside picnic: we really enjoy doing this. the kids get a kick out of packing lunches and setting out a blanket. it makes for an OPPORTUNITY to have conversation while eating, and a change of scenery than the USUAL dining room.
28. mad lib night: mad libs are a fun way to get giggles and creativity flowing. it’s amazing how many different outcomes can come out of the same mad lib. I wonder how different EVERYONE’S will be? You can find a sorts of printables that a free, make up your own, or purchase a book of different ones. (pretty REASONABLY priced too)
29. time capsule: wouldn’t it be neat to start this family night in tradition by creating a time CAPSULE, hide it in the ATTIC.. and in 5 years or so, open it up! I’m sure you’ll get some laughs and “momma sighs” with this one. SENTIMENTAL goes a long way!
30. sand art: this activity can be messy, so be prepared to set up some drop cloths or relocating the family into the garage. Sand art is a fun way for little ones to create something, and yet the other kids really enjoy it as well. as long as there are enough color choices, the possibilities are endless!
31.indoor drive inn’s: put up a sheet on the wall, let them decorate their own “cars” (boxes), pop the popcorn, and use a projector to show a movie! This is a fun unique way to make the kids get their creative side out, but also enjoy some down time.
32. homemade cards: everyone can say that they have forgotten to get a card once in a while. and what better way to give a card than a homemade one?! exactly! So this activity would be great to create some cards for christmas, or even occasions to keep on hand throughout the year. For example: birthday, get well, thinking of you, etc…
33. make your own movie night: so this may come as a surprise, but it’s actually really easy to take videos on a smart phone now. the quality can be pretty great. So instead of just watching a movie, why not make one? Dress in costume, choose a plot, and be the goofball that you know you want to be! afterwards, pop some popcorn and snuggle up.
34. taco night: who doesn’t love tacos and pinatas? exactly. so set up a taco bar, full of all kinds of options: SHRIMP, chicken, beef, black beans, all sorts of options… and then enjoy creating some amazing new combos! afterwards, you each take a turn to pull the tabs off a pinata! it takes away the danger since inside is close quarters. but yet, you can still really enjoy YOURSELVES!
35.HOliday decorations: I always loved the TRANSITION from fall to winter, because that meant that as a family we would decorate for the upcoming holiday! This would make for a great family night at home! you could even be ambitious and create your own handmade decorations!
36. wall painting: another friend of mind suggested doing this. i was a little nervous at choosing this one at first, but after thinking about it, it could be fun! you give each person a cup of primer, and a paintbrush. after the room as been prepped, you can go to town creating GRAFFITI or gorgeous masterpieces right on the walls in the room of choice. afterwards, the parents have a primed room and can just paint right over the primer! this one is DEFINITELY for older kids, but i think it sounds fun! I wonder what room we can use?
37. snack taste testing challenges: whether you line up a bunch of different pringles flavors, or set out different types of food, you’re sure to have a crunching good time! all you need are some snacks and the use of a blindfold.
38. would you rather: this is a great game to play anytime… in the car, at dinner, etc… but to make a game night out of this… BOOM! I am all about giving parents to OPPORTUNITY to have a conversation with their kids. extra points if they can give a reason why they chose that response!
39.america’s got talent: each and every person in your family brings a unique talent to the table. it could be touching their nose with their tongue, or singing their favorite tune while tap dancing… this is their chance to shine and show off those hidden talents! be sure to applaud everyone, and please Simon.. no x’s. if you’re daring enough.. record it!
40.costume party: depending on the enthusiasm of the kids, you might need to alter this one a bit. smaller kids may just have a grand time dressing up and seeing you do the same, maybe even have a parade for the parents. However, older kids might need some encouragement. by making a game out of it, the night can be endless. each person creates the most crazy costume they can come up with in a matter of 10 minutes. then each family member votes on who came up with the craziest! keep playing different rounds, until you have an ultimate champion crazy costume!
I don’t know about your kids, but mine always behave better when their little bodies have a task at hand. I have a feeling with this awesome list, we will be exploding with ideas and excitement! I can’t wait to get started!
If you have an idea that isn’t listed here, I’d loooove to hear it! Please share in the comments below! Thanks!!