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50 Family night ideas

Deanna Sletten has been writing for nearly 20 years for magazines and websites. She owns the blog Write Moms that shares information about freelance writing. Deanna is also the author of two fiction novels.

Family fun night activities

Your family has decided to set aside some time each week to have a family night, but now you aren’t sure what to do. Playing games is a good start, but you can do so many other things to keep family night interesting. Here are 50 ideas for family night.

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1

Crafts

Make a craft project.

Fun crafts for kids >>

2

Family Mailboxes

Paint and decorate the family mailbox.

How to make family mailboxes >>

3

Vacation Jar

Decorate a Family Vacation Jar in which you save change.

10 Ways to save for a family vacation >>

4

Newsletter

Create a family newsletterto send out to family and friends. This can be a monthly project.

Christmas card and newsletter etiquette >>

8

Movie Night

Have family movie night and watch old family videos together.

How to edit your family videos >>

6

Star Watching

Family star-watching night. Lay outside on a blanket in the yard and look up at the stars together. Try to map out constellations together. Afterward, look up the stories behind each constellation on the Internet.

Secrets of successful family nights >>

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7

Cookout and camping

Enjoy a cookout and campout.Pitch a tent in your yard and cook food over an open fire (or on the barbecue). Sit in a circle and tell ghost stories.

Family grilling and BBQ recipes >>

8

Volunteering

Volunteer as a family. Help out at a school fundraiser or serve meals at the local soup kitchen.

Volunteer projects to do together >>

9

Baking

Bake together.Take turns picking favorite recipes out of a cookbook and let the kids and dad join in on the fun.

Tips for baking with kids >>

10

Playground

Go to the local playground and swing together or climb the monkey bars.Kids love it when parents play like they do.

How to keep your kids safe on the playground >>

11

Hopscotch

Play hopscotch.

7 Creative playground games for kids >>

13

Musical instrument

Learn a musical instrument together. Find an instrument that every member of the family would enjoy playing and take turns learning a song. If everyone already plays an instrument, try learning a song together.

How to help your child choose a musical instrument >>

14

Obstacle course

Set up an obstacle coursein your backyard. Using things like hula hoops and jump ropes, create an outdoor obstacle course in which you can compete with each other for best time. This is not only a fun activity but also a great way to provide exercise for the whole family.

8 Backyard games to keep kids entertained >>

15

Zoo

Visit the zoo. Have each person write down which animal he liked best and what he learned about that animal.

Teaching kids respect for animals >>

16

Family photos

Take family photos.Get out the camera and have some fun taking photos of each other. Be silly, be serious and have fun.

Tips for better digital photography >>

17

Sock puppets

Make sock puppets. Gather some old socks, decorate them and then use them to put on a show.

How to make puppets >>

18

Photo album

Create a family photo album. Have the kids pick photos from a recent vacation, family gathering or other event. Together, place the photos in a scrapbook with each member adding a funny saying or description to the photo they like best.

How to organize your family photos >>

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19

Family game show

Have a game show night.Set up a stage and give each family member a part as the host, contestant, etc. Use trivia games, word games or whatever you enjoy playing as part of the game show. Play for points or fake money.

Movie trivia for the family >>

20

Make a board game

Create your own family board game.Draw up a board on a piece of cardboard, make up rules and find interesting things around the house to use for game pieces.

Board games for every age >>

21

Bowling

Take the family bowling.

Bowling at home and other rainy day fun >>

22

Mini golf

Play miniature golf.

Bring the fun of miniature golf home >>

23

Puzzle

Put a puzzle together

5 Ways to build fine motor skills in kids >>

24

Roller skating

Go roller skating.

Skate yourself fit and trim >>

25

Card game

Play card games.

5 Family card games >>

26

Build a birdhouse

Build a birdhouse together.

Birdhouses and other outdoor decorating >>

27

Genealogy

Work on a family genealogy chart together. Talk about distant relatives and family history.

How to trace your family tree >>

28

Dance DVD

Rent a dance DVD and learn a new dance together.

Why dancing is good for your child's confidence >>

29

Formal dinner

Have a formal family dinner. Set the table with your best tableware, have everyone dress up and use your best manners. Give everyone a fancy name and title -- like prince or princess -- and behave as one would. This is a fun way to teach table manners.

5 Table manners rules every kid should know >>

30

Biking

Go biking.

Why parents should wear bicycle helmets >>

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31

Nature walk

Go on a nature walk at a local park or outdoor trail – point out different types of trees and plants.

Teach your kids the value of nature >>

32

Show and tell

Play show and tell. Have each family member choose an item that is important to them and tell all about it.

3 Ways to make time for family nights >>

33

Game stations

Set up game stations. Mom and dad can each have a different game station, and each child takes turns playing a quick game like Tic-Tac-Toe or Hangman with each parent separately. After 10 minutes, everyone switches. Older siblings can have a station, too, if there are several kids in the house so everyone is playing something all the time.

How to have a family game night >>

34

Write a story

Write a story together. Decide on characters and theme, and then let each family member come up with a one-page chapter for the book. Put it together and read aloud to find out what adventures the characters encounter.

Supporting writing skills in the elementary years >>

35

Bubbles

Make your own bubble solution out of dish soap and water. Add glycerin if you have it for firmer bubbles. Go outside, blow bubbles, and chase and pop them.

Fun (and messy!) activities with your kids >>

36

Color

Color together. Bring out the pile of coloring books and bucket of crayons and have everyone sit at the dining room table and color. This is a good way to let the conversation flow while everyone is creating.

Free printable coloring pages >>

37

Take a class

Take a class together like cooking, drawing, ceramics, ballroom dancing or music lessons.

Farmers market cooking classes >>

38

Visit a piece of history

Visit a local historical site. Learn about it together, take pictures and add it to your family album or newsletter.

Cultural destinations for families >>

39

Play casual sports

Play a casual game of baseball, football or basketball.

Outdoor family activities >>

40

Ice skating

Go ice skating.

SheKnows dares you to go ice skating >>

41

Learn a language

Learn a language together.

Learn a language and culture together >>

42

Name that tune

Play Name That Tune.

Musical activities for guaranteed fun >>

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43

Make a cookbook

Make a family cookbook. Have every family member choose several of their favorite recipes and type it up. Make copies to pass out as gifts at Christmas.

Family cooking and kid-friendly recipes >>

44

Teach your dog a trick

Teach your dog some tricks. Learn how to teach simple tricks and have the entire family work with the dog on a new trick each week.

10 Amazing pet tricks >>

45

Make posters

Make collage posters. Set out a batch of old magazines to cut up, and print out some favorite family photos that can be used to create a decorative collage. Give every family member their own posterboard and let them each create a collage poster.

How to create an eye-catching photo collage >>

46

Make a centerpiece

Collect seasonal items outside, like leaves, branches, flowers, rocks or pine cones. Bring them inside to create a table centerpiece in a bowl or jar.

Themed centerpieces and decorations >>

47

Paint a mug

Paint your own mug. Buy inexpensive glass mugs and acrylic paint, and have each family member decorate a mug for their own use.

How to make a personalized coffee mug >>

48

Read under a blanket

Read under a blanket tent. Set up a huge blanket tent in the living room and have the entire family sit under it while one family member reads a favorite book out loud.

The best read aloud kids' books >>

49

Cooking

Cook together. Cook a meal that everyone agrees on and let the whole family help in preparing it.

Tips for cooking with kids >>

50

Make a movie

Make a family movie. Write up a script together, put together some costumes and film it.

How to take video with your still camera >>

More family fun

Family game night essentials
How to stock your pantry for impromptu family nights
Have a circus day at home

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