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November 2014
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Family Fun Night Ideas
Happy, healthy families have one thing in common: They have fun together

Work, laundry, chores…that’s no fun. However, if you’re the typical parent or spouse, that’s probably what most of your days consist of — none of which allows you to spend time with your family. The best way to pencil in time with your loved ones? Designate one night a week for a “Family Fun Night.”
 “So often we’re involved in the logistics and planning of life — who’s driving the kids to practice and who’s doing what — and there’s no enjoyment in that,” says Philip Rainer, director of clinical services at Family and Children’s Service of the Capital Region. “[Game night] creates an opportunity for fun interaction.”
“Among the benefits is bringing people together to share an activity that they have a mutual interest in and that’s not overly serious,” Rainer continues. “It allows you to interact in a friendly, lighthearted way, but is engaging enough to keep everyone at the table.” Not only does Family Fun Night give everyone something to look forward to throughout the week, it’s the best way get everyone together for a fun, quality evening spent with your favorite people.
One caveat: Don’t exhaust the same option over and over (i.e. watching a movie or playing the same board game). Here are a host of innovative Family Fun Night ideas that the whole fam will love. Get ready to become inspired — some of your favorite nights have yet to come.
Camp in the yard
In the warmer months, go camping — in your own backyard. You can do all the things you’d do at a typical camp site, except from the convenience of your own home. So for example, pitch a tent, light a fire to roast some tasty s’mores (what kid doesn’t love that?), and share your spookiest ghost stories. You could also bring flashlights out and make puppet shows with the shadows of the tents. It’s a great way to bond with the family, plus it’s budget-friendly to boot (and showers are much closer by then they’d be if you really went camping).
Host a scavenger hunt
Split the family into teams and then have a designated member hide an assortment of objects so the participants can go search for them. Or, have the scavenger hunt be just between the kids as you hand them a list of items they need to seek out inside and outside the house. Either way, this gives the family time to converse, laugh and be silly — all while having fun. A prize for the winner makes for even greater incentive.

Plan a family carnival
Assign each member of your family to create a carnival-like station (games, face painting, etc.). Of course, the little ones can partner with their older siblings for help. Parents can also be in charge of getting some prizes (nothing fancy; you can even make some). You could also consider renting a cotton candy or popcorn machine, if your budget allows for it. And don’t forget to have corn dogs for dinner and funnel cake for dessert. The kids will appreciate the extra special touches for years to come.
Get in touch with your inner artist
Easels, paint brushes, and craft supplies galore. Get all the supplies you need for a night of family creativity. You could offer a real-life painting to recreate (or any still-life object) or just let everyone use their imagination to create their own masterpiece. Bonus: If they come out nice enough, the art could even be hung around the house. What better way to decorate the house than with family originals?

Put on a play
A quick Google search and you’ll find a ton of classic fairytale scripts that could easily be acted out by the family. Or if you’re feeling extra inventive, get everyone together and create your very own script. Then have everyone act it out wearing appropriate costumes and jewelry. To make it more realistic, set up some stuffed animals, Barbies, dolls, etc., as the audience. The kids will have so much fun getting to be someone else for a night.

Get fancy
Create the atmosphere of a formal etiquette night. For example, have everyone get dressed in their best and break out the fancy China and linens. You could even use this as an opportunity to teach your children about table manners or how to set a table properly. If you were up to it, only allow everyone to talk in British accents.
Feel free to tweak any of these ideas as it pertains to your family. The point is to have fun and forget about all the mundane activities that many have a tendency to get caught up with throughout the week.
This article is presented by Kundert Volvo in Hasbrouck Heights and Englewood, NJ.


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