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Inside: An epic list of 45 Fun Family Night Ideas so you never have to wonder how to connect with your family again!
In this digitally distracted era, it’s completely normal to feel like you aren’t connecting with your kids.
But the fact remains:
There is still NO better way to build a happy family than to spend quality time together.
Let’s all put the devices away for a few hours and connect.
I mean, REALLY connect.
One awesome tradition to ensure your family is getting enough quality connection time together is to plan a fun weekly family night.
Pick one night per week and fill your schedule with one activity for a family night from the giant list of ideas below.
This easy (and fun) habit will bring your family closer together (for now and always) and help you create lasting memories.
Benefits of a Family Night
In our digitally distracted era, it is imperative we find a way to connect with our families.
Kids who feel connected (and given attention) are better behaved and develop sounder emotional intelligence.
Think of this connection as a big hug; your family can feel like a safe and secure embrace to your child.
We often get so bogged down with life and think, “I’ll get to that one of these days.”
But then, one of these days never comes, or you wake up, and suddenly your kids are teenagers, and you can’t even get them to sit in the same room with you, let alone try to plan a weekly family fun night.
Take the time now; make family time a priority.
If you make it a priority, you are modeling this to your kids, and it will become a priority to them as well.
These precious memories will stay etched in their heads, it will help ease the disconnect during the teenage years, AND they will likely even carry these traditions down to their kids.
Good, let’s get to it; 45 fun family night ideas are below.
45 Fun Family Night Ideas
- First: Set the day of the week, consistency is important when trying to set new habits.
- Second: Put the devices away.
- Third: Have fun and really live in the moment.
Note: Family night activities don’t need to be expensive. Family bonding activities can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make them.
1. Backyard Camping (Rated A+ For Fun Family Night Ideas)
Who says you need to hike hours into the Rocky wilderness to enjoy the connection and adventure that camping provides. Pitch a tent in the backyard and create your own adventure. (Without all the travel).
Remember your flashlights to tell spooky ghost stories.
2. Cooking Class
This is a great way to have your cake and eat it, too….combine dinner prep with a fun family night.
Decide on a dish, gather the ingredients, prep the bowls and utensils (for everyone), put on some fun aprons, and begin your class.
An excellent idea for a family cooking class is to make your own pizzas; you can each prepare how you like.
3. Nature Walk (Watchful Walk)
This is personally one of my favorites. Go for a walk outside, and during this walk, designate 5-minutes to discuss what you see, feel, hear and smell.
Zone into all your senses.
If you want some super detailed instructions on how to turn a simple walk with your child into an exciting safari adventure, go here now.
Idea’s, look at the trees, dandelions, butterflies. Try to find bugs, ants, and other creepy crawlies. Listen for birds, lawnmowers, and woodpeckers; feel the weather and the sensations in your body. Smell the flowers and spring scents.
The Watchful Walk is included in our bestselling exercise book Mighty Mindful Kids.
Give your child the gift of life-long coping skills with our best-selling Mindfulness activity guide for kids — Mighty Mindful Kids. This guide includes 40 fun and engaging mindfulness exercises to help children improve focus, create calm, and foster relationships!
4. Dance Party
Dance is out! You CAN dance sober, trust me!
A dance party is a great way to connect, have fun, get some physical exercise, and it’s a bonafide method to relieve anxiety and tension.
Take turns picking songs and dance your hearts out. My son and I love to blare the Kids Bops on YouTube and practice our “moves.”
To make it more fun, decorate the house first. Get streamers, fun party hats and make it a true celebration. Perhaps even share a toast with juice in champagne glasses.
5. Make Kindness Rocks (Rated A+ For Fun Family Night Ideas)
How would you feel if you stumbled upon a beautifully painted rock with an inspirational message?
Well, you and your kids can be that kindness spreader, and it’s a wonderful and creative exercise to do for your family fun night. It’s pretty simple:
- Gather rocks
- Clean rocks
- Paint your rocks
- Distribute your rocks
See here for six smart ways to raise kind kids and also detailed instructions on the kindness rocks family night.
6. Build Lego
The proof is in the pudding, (consumer empire) building Lego is F.U.N.
Purchase a fun and enticing Lego kit, pair it with delicious snacks and fun drinks and park yourselves at the table to make a creation together.
If your kids are Lego masters then perhaps instead of doing one altogether you each complete your own.
7. Movie night
Stuck coming up with cool family night ideas? Well, don’t think that movie night isn’t a creative or clever idea, because a family movie night can be as fun as you want it to be. There is no shame in choosing a simple movie night.
Fun alternative: How about you build a fort in the living room and cozy up? Maybe even camp out there ALL night! (Young kids will love this).
A fun alternative for older kids: Have a movie marathon and stay up as late as you possibly can.
Get the popcorn popping and get ready to unwind.
Does this sound anything like the dinner conversation at your house? Eager mom to non-engaged son, “How was your day.” Yawning son replies to quickly deflating mom, “Fine.”
Introducing 120+ engaging (and fun) conversation starters for families. Pull one of these cards each night at dinner and let the convo flow!
8. Fort Building
Building forts doesn’t have to be reserved as a rainy day distraction.
Because kids LOVE forts, tree houses, and play tents. It ignites their sense of adventure and imagination.
So make your little one’s eyes sparkle with a fun family fort-building night.
Ideas: Make a pillow fort, or set up a special play tent area in a playroom.
And don’t fret, you don’t need to be a master fort builder, we simply drape a large blanket over four chairs, and voila, you have a fort. Add pillows and blankets inside, pop some popcorn and settle in for a movie.
9. Craft Night
What do they say? “Happiness is homemade”
Check out Pinterest, you’re sure to be bombarded with amazing ideas. Is it winter? Perhaps a snowman craft. Summer? What about a Felt flower bookmark?
Or, consider a dino pop-up card or a paper plate penguin craft.
I suggest these cool websites for awesome crafts:
10. Charades or Pictionary
Let’s find out who the artist of the family is!
We just played Pictionary with our 5 and 13 year old and it went off fabulously. We purchased this one here with the erasable viewer.
If Pictionary isn’t your thing, or you don’t want to invest in the game, consider Charades.
Kids love acting scenes out and guessing, and Charades is fun for the entire family. (I swear you will have fun too)
…And, you don’t need ANYTHING.
Write people, places, animals, or things to act out on paper, put them in a hat, and draw from the hat. If you have a big family, split up into teams, but you can also play with only 2 people.
11. Time Capsule
How cool is it to remember your current self when you are older? Well, we can’t save time in a bottle, but a fun time capsule is the next best thing.
I love this idea to create lasting family memories.
Put photos, letters, newspaper clippings, small items, (think socks, favorite items, etc.) into a box, seal it, and write a date on it that you will be allowed to open it. For even more fun bury it!
12. No rules night
No rules nights has a certain mystique to it, doesn’t it?
I mean, who doesn’t want a no rules night. Ummm, sign me up.
Still, as exciting as this is, you need to warn your kids before playing this, that the activities chosen need to be safe and age-appropriate.
If on no rules night your kids choose to wake up at 3 am to go for a bike ride, well, not the safest idea, so perhaps you compromise and spend an hour playing on the deck and looking at the stars.
13. $10 Shopping Night
“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” Bo Derek.
Head out to the dollar store, Target, or Walmart and give each child $10. The idea is to see who can buy the best items for $10.
They could buy stickers, pencils crayons, candy, etc.)
14. Formal Night
Many claim that the elegant tradition of formal dinner night is in its final death throes.
We can revive it!
Prepare formal invitations and invite each member of your family to formal dinner night. Decorate the table with candles and your best china. Here’s the kicker, everyone must dress up.
Fun variation – If your kids are older you might want to turn your dinner party into a murder mystery night. SUPER FUN.
15. Bowling Night
If bowling is right up your alley then this one’s for you!
Bowling is one of those activities that’s fun for the entire family. Make it even more exciting by going to glow-in-the-dark bowling or adding some friendly competitions.
If bowling isn’t your thing, how about fishing, or kayaking, or picking a bouquet of wildflowers.
16. Scavenger Hunt
If you want to get really creative, plan a fun scavenger hunt around your house or around the neighborhood. A scavenger hunt is a game where the players compete to see who can obtain the most items from a list.
Invite another family to participate to make it even more fun.
We have a free Outdoor Scavenger Hunt bundle here you might be interested in (includes 4 Scavenger Hunt variations with clues)
If you just love Scavenger Hunt clues as much as I do, you can grab even more clever scavenger hunt clues here.
17. Dinner Night Out
In a pickle for an idea?
Well, you can always default to the traditional dinner out.
What are your favorite restaurants? It gives you a break from cooking and what kid doesn’t love eating out? WIN-WIN.
18. Baking Night
A pinch of family time together with a dash of flour makes for a tasty treat. After all, all you really need is love…and cupcakes!
And remember a known rule of baking, it’s almost impossible to make an inedible batch of cookies.
Pick out a recipe that you’d like to try and bond over the mixer. (And remember, life is better with sprinkles on top).
This one might take some convincing, but why not volunteer somewhere? It gives you all a sense of accomplishment because you are making a difference.
This also helps to build a strong moral compass in kids.
Consider volunteering at the local nursing home, participate in a local food drive, or walk some dogs from the dog shelter.
Does your child ever get angry?
If your kiddo suffers from BIG emotions, you’ve just gotta check out this life-saving tool, the Anger Rescue Kit for Kids. With over 60 pages this will quickly become your new go-to for helping your child develop appropriate coping strategies.
20. Sports Game
You don’t need to pack the entire family up and hit up a pro sporting event, because we know that can be super expensive. (Unless you want to splurge)
Find a local baseball game (perhaps college, high school, or even peewee) and enjoy an evening in the park.
21. Surprise Overnight Stay
This one requires a little more planning and investment, but if you’ve been thinking of surprising the kids with a fun night away, then add this to the family night schedule.
My kids love staying at the waterpark hotels or heading to a cabin rental.
But the truth is, you don’t even need to leave your city, find any hotel with a pool and your kiddo will be over the moon.
22. Go fruit picking (Rated A+ For Fun Family Night Ideas)
I once spent a stint banana picking in Cairns Australia, and let me tell you, that grueling banana assembly line (with spiders and other unknown insects jumping out at me) isn’t what I’m referring to here.
Most communities have a local market, hopefully with fields loaded with raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, and pumpkins. Enjoy the fresh country air and peaceful scenery.
In the fall season, most cities have fall pumpkin yards with tons of fall activities.
23. Go to the library
The library has many fun and free programs, inviting spaces, and carefully chosen collections for you and your child to explore.
Believe it or not, there are always cool things going on at the library. Head over as a family and partake in one of the activities or simply pick out a new book to read.
Reading is super important for all people, and especially for children during the developmental years.
So read, relax and explore.
24. Plan a trip together
If your family is one that travels often, why not sit down and start planning your next trip.
Give everyone a specific job, someone can be in charge of researching hotels, car rentals, destinations, fun activities to do.
Present your ideas to the family (take turns) and give lots of feedback.
Kids love being included in the BIG people decisions, so give them that respect and that chance.
25. Visit your local community center
Most communities have affordable community centers with a slew of activities available.
Everything from skating, swimming, basketball, and activity rooms.
Getting active is NEVER a bad idea.
Keep reading, we’ve got 20 more fun family night ideas for you below!
26. Put on a talent show
“And the crowd goes wild…”
For those families who have natural performers or even newbies who want to be performers consider a family talent show.
You can grab some neat ideas here for talent shows. (Think music, comedy, magic.)
27. Puzzle night
Piece your family back together with a fun puzzle night.
After all, who doesn’t love doing puzzles?
Putting together a jigsaw puzzle is an activity that is both fun and educational.
Puzzles range anywhere from medium to hard, so go ahead and pick out something the entire family will love (be mindful of younger kids’ ability levels).
Don’t forget some fun music in the background.
Pro tip: Set your puzzle on a separate card table so you can continue to work on it at a later date. Complex puzzles are often unable to be completed in one sitting.
28. Laser tag
Laser tag is an exhilarating game that can add a whole new level of fun to your child’s playtime.
It’s actually renowned for being one of the most popular games that a kid can play.
They get to run around and burn off steam and have fun at the same time.
We have these laser guns and oh, what a hoot we have.
Yes, the drive-in is still a thing.
Drive-in movies were another one of my favorite things to do when I was a child.
Pack the blankets, pillow, bug spray, comfy clothes, lawn chairs, and snacks, and go see an outdoor movie.
30. Make slime
Grab one of these handy nontoxic DIY slime-making recipes and get slimed while bonding with your kiddo.
P.S – This is a wonderful sensory activity for kids too. Bonus. Check, check, check.
31. Hide and Seek in the dark
This is an old kid’s favorite and adding the element of playing in the dark make this classic even more fun.
It’s pretty self-explanatory, you play hide n go seed with the lights off.
This is spooky and kids love spooky things.
32. Hula-Hoop Contest
I’d pay to see just about every one of you in the hula-hoop contest.
But, even though you have tons of games and activities to choose from, something as simple as a hula-hoop has tons of promise.
You don’t need power, they are inexpensive, burn energy, strengthen muscles, and improve coordination.
Plus, your kid’s eyes are gonna light up watching you relive your hula-ing days.
33. Dress Up Photoshoot
Maybe let your kids rummage through your closet?
You can get in on the fun a pull out those jeans from 1975 (do they still fit?!)
Then, do a family photo shoot.
Alternative ideas would be to make your photoshoot a theme…think country night, surf night, pilgrim days.
34. Squirt gun water fight.
Ok mom, don’t be afraid to get a little wet here.
Let go of all your inhibitions and join in on the fun. Create teams and add a point scoring system to make it more challenging.
35. Plant a tree
Plant a good seed of karma and also plant a cherished memory for your kiddo.
Here you can teach your kids the importance of the environment, get outside and do something valuable.
Spread the love and teach kids to respect and care for the one earth they’ve got.
Space is full of mind-boggling mysteries and gorgeous spectacles.
Inspire your child’s scientific mind, with an appreciation for the natural world by stargazing.
Make it even more exciting by purchasing a starter telescope and getting your hands on a book about constellations and make it a learning experience.
“The universe said, “Let me show you something beautiful.” Aberjhani
This is an old go-to, but also a good one.
There is no shame in just taking a simple bike ride through a trail or around your neighborhood.
In fact, it’s one of my favorite ways to connect.
38. Fly a kite
Why not partake in this classic activity that’s perfect for bonding and spending time together.
I can’t think of anything better than watching a kite soar through the air with your little one trailing excitably behind you.
And remember: Think about how high your kite will fly, not when it will fall.
Is the snow flying in your parts? Stuck on what to do?
Perhaps go for a day of tubing or snowshoeing. Bundle up appropriately. Winter activities can be a hoot as long as you are dressed properly.
40. Feed the ducks
I was obsessed with spending a Sunday feeding the ducks when I was a child.
We had an amazing park with TONS of critters. Find a great spot and bring along some wildlife-safe food (make sure it’s appropriate food ducks can digest.)
41. Make playdough sculpture
Squishing, rolling, sculpting, molding, what kid doesn’t love to play with playdough?
Have a playdough building content. Who can build the best playdough structure?
You can make your own playdough for very cheap or buy some fun kits from amazon.
42. Create Popsicle stick houses
Save your Popsicle sticks over the summer and at the end of summer create birdhouses.
Get some paints and paint the birdhouses.
43. Make sock puppets and put on a show
Move over Muppets and make room for (insert your family name here)
This one is fabulous for younger kids.
Draw faces on socks and then host a puppet show.
Simply decorate a large cardboard box for the stage.
44. Make family videos (or watch family videos)
Most everyone has a phone, so making family videos is easier than ever, and a GREAT family memory.
Who doesn’t love to see themselves when they were young and reflect on life?
45. Drive to a different neighborhood and take a walk
Variety is the spice of life right?
Head out to a different neighborhood and take a stroll.
Incorporate your five senses game from above here.
Well, you’ve got enough family night ideas here to set up a weekly fun family night for almost an entire year. I’d love to hear your favorite idea or share a personal story in the comments below of your favorite family bonding tradition.
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