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Oh No!  Not….

Family Night!



Are your kids and spouse growing up and away from you?  Do you have to introduce yourselves every day?  Have a Family Night of get together fun! 


Not everyone will always want to do the same activity.  No problem.  They can choose next week!  Remember participation is key and the smiles will follow eventually…


Some ideas:


Who Brought the Ants? – have a picnic in your yard, at the park, in the car, or even the family room!  Pack up a tarp or blanket, some food & an activity and VOILA!  Can even be done inside on the rainiest or coldest of days.  Remember a picnic doesn’t have to be lunch food.  Try something new & different by having a breakfast picnic or even a dinner one!.


My Turn! – Have everyone pick their most favorite game and teach the other family members how it’s played.  Take turns learning and teaching the family favorites.


Now Playing – at the theatre (matinee is cheaper), at the drive in, rent some for home (classic black & whites for a twist), watch them in the car (pretend drive in), view home movies, make home movies!  Don’t forget the popcorn, sticky, gooey candy and the soda!  Down in front!


Yummy, Yummy, Yummy – cook together, try a new meal where everyone makes one dish each (salad, appetizer, entrée, dessert, etc), grill out, play restaurant catering to the usual meal preparer, pick one snack per person and “taste test”, FOOD FIGHT (outside, preferably)!


Take a Hike – walk around the neighborhood together, walk around a local track, hit the park trails, or even just your own yard – don’t forget, wherever you go, stop and smell the roses TOGETHER!  Bring along some guide books and learn names & characteristics of rocks, animals, plants, insects, birds, or make up your own names & characteristics!


Poker Nite – no need to gamble, just grab some cards or card games, snacks, drinks, and playing chips or pencil and paper (if required) and play some cards!


Dance ‘Till You Drop – gather music for everyone’s tastes (be fair and take turns or just grab some party classics) and just shake your groove thang!


No Kiddin’? – tell some jokes!  Take turns telling jokes.  Don’t know any?  Get some off the net or read some from a joke book (just remember to think age appropriate).  Throw in a few tickles to get “Ol’ Bah Humbug” grinnin’!


He’s Crafty – make a craft together.  Gather a few items, such as paper, scissors, glue, markers, etc. and everyone make something.  Throw in a few condiments, such as sparkles, pom poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, yarn, felt, buttons or whatever & just go WILD!


Dicey – Craps?  Maybe, but there are plenty of other games out there that can be played with dice and just keeping score, or not!


Now You See It – put on a magic show!  Have everyone learn one or two magic tricks (off the net or from a kit or book) and have everyone perform!  You’ll be amazed!


Say Cheese! – Pictures can really bring a family together.  View family albums from years gone by, make an album if you don’t have one or just haven’t organized the latest pictures, or pass the camera around so everyone can snap off a few shots of your family night!  You’ll make memories to cherish!  Now’s also a good time to document and talk about the family tree.


Groovy, Man.  Cool, Dude.  – Blast from the past!  Find out what language your kids are speaking these days and offer some insight on what phrases were “hip” when you were their age.  This could lead to discussions on trends in fashion, hang-outs, vehicles, etc.  Can you dig it?


Yee-Haw, Old Chap – Have a theme night!  Pick a theme from time (medieval, pilgrims, 1920’s), place (China, Australia, Mexico) or maybe profession (sports, art, theater) and become one with your theme.  If you don’t all have clothes that would fit your theme, try speaking with an accent or eating a typical meal, watching a movie about your theme, playing a typical game, using mannerisms, or making up a play to act out.  Huzzahl!


Tag!  You’re It! – play a sporting game of Frisbee, go bike riding, play some touch football, hopscotch, kick the can, or climb a mountain or even just the hill in your backyard.  Don’t forget to hit the showers afterward, though!  Tennis anyone?


Safety First – Get everyone to gather up items for a family first aid and safety kit.  Then talk about an evacuation plan in case of fire or other disaster.  Discuss general first aid and safety tips on “What to do if…”.  Maybe, one day, you will be VERY glad you did this activity together!


Just Drive Already! – Jump in the car, buckle up and just drive!  Bring some snacks, and some tunes and go somewhere.  Anywhere.  As long as it’s together!  Go around the block for a surprising tease, drive to a landmark in your area, drive a few hours to the mountains, beach, dessert, whatever.


The Dating Game – Dress up and have a formal night when Dad takes his daughter out to dinner, & a show.  What about Mom and son sharing and pizza and shootin’ pool?  Think age appropriate of course, but it might open doors on talking about dating and offering dating ideas, instead of “Make Out Point” or “Lover’s Leap”!


Argh, Matey! – Play pirates and have each person (or teams if preferred) each draw out a treasure map (brown paper bag torn to size and wrinkled up adds a nice touch), then have the other family members search for buried treasure!  This is a great time to throw in a scavenger hunt and an obstacle course!


Camp out – in your yard, at a park campsite, or even in the family room!  You don’t have to have commercial tents or sleeping bags, just grab some blankets and pitch your tents using the couch, cushions, chairs, etc.  No fire rule?  Nuke some S’Mores in the microwave.  Don’t forget the flashlights for the ghost stories!  BOO!


We’re Bored – pull out a board game.  Betcha forgot about those!  Set it up on the family room floor, the king size bed, or kitchen table, kick off your shoes and just play already!


Got Game?  - If you have a “game room” with billiards/pool table, darts, pinball, arcade games, etc, just gather there for a night of family fun.  Remember swap teams or play different members.


I See Stars Before My Eyes – Grab the telescope and do some gazin’.  Everyone stay up after dark, go outside and lay out on a blanket in the grass, on the roof, in the truck bed, whatever, and view our glorious heavens.


We’re Ready for Take Off, Captain – Paper airplanes can be fun and some can get quite detailed.  Make and decorate paper airplanes together, then watch them soar!


It’s My Party – Have a sleepover!  A What?  You heard right!  Everyone jump into their pj’s, pile into Mom & Dad’s bedroom and do hair all night while gossiping about who’s kissing whom!  Activities can vary, of course, but remember that everyone sleeps in the same room tonight! 


I See You! – Play a game of Hide And Seek.  Inside or outside.  Kids against the grown ups, boys against the girls, whatever!  You still remember how to play, don’t you?


You’ve Got Class – take a class together.  Learn a new hobby or trick.  Isn’t there SOMETHING you’ve always wanted to know how to do?  Check out your local Parks & Recreation for ideas.  Maybe you could start up your own class to teach, too!


Order Up! – Put together a family recipe book.  Get everyone’s favorite recipes together and put them in a binder or blank journal.  Think of meals from breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, holidays, friends’ and extended families, etc.


Bookworm, shh – in advance have everyone read the same book or different books and have a discussion on each.  Start your own family book club!


Beat That! – Gather everyone ‘round the old telly and take turns playing the resident video game.  You know there’s at least one hiding in your house!


POP! – Have a bubble blowing contest.  Teach the little ones or heckle the bigger ones.  Use gum or soap.  Just don’t forget to tie everyone’s hair back first!


Ah, To Be Young Again – Go Bowling, Go Skating, what was it that you and your friends did when you were young?  Show your kids you’re not the old Fuddy Duddy they think you’ve become.


Who Are You?  - Get to know your family better.  Everyone make up 3 personal questions to ask a family member.  Either take turns asking your own questions or throw all the questions in a hat/bowl and have everyone answer a random question.  Some easy examples are favorite color, favorite movie, where did parents meet, etc.


Whfreet Whfrew – Contestants, start your whistles!  Judge who has the highest whistle (the family dog will let you know this one), the longest whistle, loudest, etc.  What about whistling with your fingers, a blade of grass, through your teeth?


Let’s Go Fly A Kite – Go fly a kite that you’ve bought or made, grab the remote controlled vehicle too!  Just remember to check for wind that day!


He’s Checking It Twice – Gather everyone around the kitchen table and make a list of things you’re thankful for, groceries or supplies needed at the next shopping trip, friends’ and families’ contact and birthday information (good way to learn about your kids’ friends), things that you want to do in your life (see the great Pyramids, for example), or make a list of unbelievable silly things.  Such as the silliest names you can come up with, or made up, gross recipes etc.


Is it Sundae yet?  - Have a sundae party!  Get together different kinds of ice cream (can be homemade, too), syrups, toppings and fruit and make the sweetest, gooiest sundae ever!


Life’s a Beach! – If the beach isn’t in the vicinity, bring the beach to you!  Get everyone together in their itsy, bitsy, teeny, weenie, yellow, polka dot bikinis, grab some beach towels, flops, sunscreen, hats, shades, and gather ‘round the sandbox!  A pool would be great, but some of us just don’t have that luxury.  The garden hose works well with a toddler/wading pool, water balloons, buckets/tubs, sprinklers, home water slides, etc.  Catch some waves, Dude!


Dashing Through The Snow – Maybe you’re not the beach bum family type.  Maybe Frosty’s more your style.  Bundle everyone up and go make snow angels!  Have a snowball fight.  Go sledding or ice skating.  Go skiing if the slopes are accessible.  Build an igloo, or stomp messages in the snow.  But the best is make a snow family complete with personalities!


Piece de Resistance – Find some poster board or cut up card board boxes, or use old t-shirts and paint a masterpiece.  Everyone can join in on one family collaboration or each make their own.  Use old interior paint, acrylic paint, watercolors, homemade concoctions, whatever is fun & on hand! 


If You Haven’t Got a Ha’ Penny – Have a Garage Sale!  Get everyone to gather up stuff no longer needed or wanted and sell it all one weekend.  Everyone can keep what they earn or use the pot for the next family night out!


One Time, When I Was In Band Camp – Make up a family story.  Have someone start the story and continue taking turns adding to it.  This could go on and on and on and on and on….  Remember to tape it (video or audio) and play back at a later date for some good laughs!


And the Winner Is – contests - have contests, scariest face, grossest body noise, silliest dance, wildest dance, cleanest room (cough)…  ANYTHING!  Just have fun doing it!


Tee Time – go play some miniature golf, make up your own course with things laying around the house.  Use boxes, pans, cans, towels, boots, paper bags, etc. 


At the Car Wash – whoa whoa whoa yeah.  Maybe the family taxis need a bit of sprucing up?  Everyone pitch in to hose down Dad & vacuum up the crumbled cookies.  No need to spit shine the dash, but don’t forget the windows.  What’s hidden in the seats are yours to keep – if you dare reach under there!


Hallooo Up There! – Climb a tree and watch a sunrise or sunset.  Or maybe build a tree house and have a few family nights up there!


Sit, Fido!  Stay, Boy! – grab the family pet (or pets) and give him a bath, brush him till his coat shines, play fetch all together.  Take Spot along for the family walk.  Other family pets can go on the journey too, as long as they have the proper carrier!  Imagine the fun you’ll have when people find out that Hoppers, the rabbit is in the carrier & enjoys family outings as much as the rest of you!


There Was a Young Man From Peru – poetry is fun to read and make up.  Grab a few poetry books, classics and silly ones, and take turns reading your favorites.  Have everyone grab a pencil and paper and write down a few limericks, then read the results.


Not There, Over There! – Time for a change?  Get everyone together and rearrange a room in the house.  Could be a bedroom, dining room, family room, doesn’t matter as long as everyone can pitch in.  Even if no furniture ever moves, design elements can be changed or altered.  Paint the room, swap out pictures, change fabrics, re-angle the rug.  Dance & sing to some music while making over the room.



On occasion, it might be good to invite a family friend or another family over to enjoy some together time.  Think of a family you’re close to, you’d like to know better, a friend that’s not as “family” privileged as yours, whatever.  Throwing in something new to the mix will keep family night fresh!


Remember that you are not at the office, there need not be any pretenses.  Try to remember what it was like to be a kid and LET LOOSE!  You’ll have more fun and your family will enjoy the change!


There’s no place like HOME!


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