Inexpensive Ideas for Family Fun Night
Much has been said about the lack of cohesiveness in families today. More often than not, both parents work, so kids are not met by milk, cookies, and Mom at the end of the school day. Younger children attend after school daycare and older kids either crash in front of television or video games or are involved in every possible extracurricular activity under the sun, from gymnastics, to dance, to football. Parents live in a hectic, work-oriented world and come home exhausted, little inclined to chat, much less toss a Frisbee around in the yard. The result is a disjointed family unit that lacks the basics of communication. One of the solutions that is becoming popular is the incorporation of Family Night into a family’s regular weekly schedule. Family night can reintroduce a family to fun, relax family tension, and lead to increased communication between parents and children.
There are countless activities in which a family can participate, but in today’s economy, many parents just don’t have the spare change for expensive family nights. Taking the kids to the movies every week could really add up. But there are a number of cost-effective ways to incorporate a Family Fun Night into your week. Here are some ideas about where to start.
Classic Board Games
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Take a walk down memory lane.
- Kick it up in the kitchen! Something as simple as preparing a meal together can be an excellent bonding experience, and since you have to eat anyway, you aren’t out any extra money. Choose something fun that the kids enjoy eating and work from there. In my family, two of the most popular Family Fun Night entrees are pizza and tacos. There is something therapeutic about pounding out dough and shredding a block of cheese, and even small children can sprinkle cheese or wrap tortillas. The kids see these as “fun foods” that are out of the regular routine, which adds to their appeal. Just make sure they wash their hands first!
- Invest in a few classic board games. These games tend to be low price, and you can often find them on sale pretty cheaply. Your children may be shocked to find out that there was a life before video games. Yes, at one time dice was an actual physical cube that was rolled by hand! In all seriousness, pick some games that were your favorite as a kid and share them. Or, pick out a game you always wanted when you were a child and try it out together. This is a great way to share with your children as well as thrill your own inner child!
- Try out a modern board game that targets your or your child’s interests. When my son was younger he read all the Harry Potter books. After all the family watched the Harry Potter movies, I got him a Harry Potter Trivia game, which became his pick, over the Nintendo Wii, no less, for months! There are lots of board games out there based on popular entertainment, everything from Star Wars to Scooby Doo. Other games are based on pets, trivia, travel, and even science. Some of these games can be pretty expensive, but if you look closely, you will find these are often sale items.
- Explore your local parks. You can always have a Family Fun Afternoon or Evening, instead of a Family Fun Night, and I have never met a kid that didn’t love a playground. A visit to the park can thrill your kids, help all of you get in some healthy exercise, and best of all, it won’t make a dent in your wallet. There is something peaceful about pushing a five year old on a swing or spinning the children on a merry-go-round. Parks can appeal to a wide age of children, from toddler to teen. If you have a teenage girl, she might be the exception, but with a bit of encouragement, even she might try out the monkey bars!
- Have an in-home movie night. The new Red Box and Blockbuster movie dispensers popping up in grocery stores and outside of fast food restaurants charge a dollar to rent a recently released movie. If you rent the movie and return it the next day, this is a very reasonable alternative to hitting the movie theater. Of course, if you have an account with Netflix, you can just stream a movie. Pop up a massive amount of popcorn, pop open a bottle of the kid’s favorite drink, turn off the lights, and let the children stay up a little bit late.
Introducing a family fun night into your weekly routine can be a fun, bonding experience for you and your children. For more tips on successfully starting this tradition, feel free to read my article, Tips for Family Fun Night.
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