Family Fun Night: on the Cheap
As a parent of six children, I have no hesitancy in saying that raising a family is a complex process. Families are filled with different personalities who have different likes and dislikes. Building a family that is cohesive and that honors individual differences pays off for the individual family members as well as the family as a whole. Planning fun family activities, on a regular basis, is an effective strategy that supports family strength and well-being.
In this time of economic challenges, it maybe has become necessary for a family to cut back on expenses. Many times the expenses that are the first to be cut back on are recreation and entertainment for the family. This is not all bad. There are hundreds of fun things a family can do that do not take a lot of money. Making a tradition to have at least one fun family night a week takes a little planning but if the family plans these together, then all family members have a chance to pick activities they enjoy. Some ideas for activities to think about when planning a fun family fun night are below.
Family Fun Night: Inside Camp Out
Camping is a great fun family activity and one that does not have to be put on hold until money is less of an issue. A fun family night can be planned around camping in the house. Cooking hot dogs on a stick over an indoor grill or a fireplace sets a camping mood. Turning off the lights after dark makes an indoor camp out more dramatic. You can sit around a campfire by making a pretend campfire out of sticks and branches and placing a flashlight underneath for the fire and light. You can sit around the pretend campfire and sing songs or tell scary stories. You can set up tents in the house, if you have room. If you don’t have tents or the room, you can always make tents out of card tables or the dinner table. To make the tents, throw a sheet over the top of the table and let it hang down to form the sides of the tent. Sleeping on sleeping bags works too.
Family Fun Night: Scavenger Hunt
Children love to have adventures and to play pretend treasure hunting. Planning a fun family night that is about treasure can be designed around the concept of a scavenger hunt. This idea is a great low cost fun family night activity. To get ready for the hunt, make a list of treasure items that are in your home. Be sure to include things that are appropriate for the ages of your children. For young kids who are not able to read, cut pictures out of magazines of the scavenger hunt ideas and glue them onto a piece of paper. To make this hunt more dramatic, turn out the lights and give each child a flashlight. Explain what they are to do and set a time-line for the hunt. The child, or team, that finds all of their items or the most items within the time-line is/are the winner(s).
Family Fun Night: Group Sleepover
Sleepovers are an exciting activity for kids. Kids love to plan what friend they are going to invite over and what kinds of fun things they are going to play all night. The “Family Fun Night Sleepover” is a twist on the “inviting a friend to spend the night.” The whole family sleeps over in the family room or wherever there is room to set up sleeping bags on the floor, watch movies, eat snacks and play games all night. To make this a family activity, be sure and include all family members in planning the sleepover.
Family Fun Night: Paper Mache’ Holiday Craft
Holding a “Paper Mache’ Holiday Craft” night takes a little planning but can be a really great time for all. There are many kind of spiritual and secular holidays distributed throughout the year which offer families an opportunity to make decorative crafts. Paper mache’ is a very cheap way to make unique, usable crafts such as holiday ornaments, masks and figures such as rabbits, turkeys, elves, snowmen and more. Flour and water make an easy and cheap glue. Chicken wire and balloons are easy ways to make the structure for paper mache’ crafts. Tempra paint and tissue paper are cheap materials to decorate the paper mache’ decorations. Add a little spray varnish or lacquer to the decoration and it is ready to adorn the holiday.
Family Fun Night: Read Your Favorite Story
A family fun night that lets everyone read or tell their favorite story is a sure fire way to hook kids. This activity is good because it let’s the younger children tell their favorite story and the older children can read their favorite story to family members. Another cool thing to add to the evening is for one or both of the parents to read to everyone from a longer book with chapters such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a Harry Potter book, Swiss Family Robinson etc. Parents can read a chapter or two at each “Read Your Favorite Story” night.
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