Look, we all know how hard it can be to get kids to want to participate in family activities — especially when they hit that very special tween age. But the truth of the matter is, when they reach adulthood, family nights are the times they are going to remember fondly. So how do you get your kids to to not only take part in family nights, but actually look forward to them? By planning events that are actually worth doing.
And while we love Netflix (who doesn't, right?) plopping down for a binge with the fam doesn't exactly bring y'all closer. But the right activities can encourage your family to interact with one another more — instead of being attached to a screen.
Whether you need one good idea or 50, we've got dozens of creative activities to keep you and your kids entertained.
1. Crafts. Bet you didn't know there were at least 16 things your kids could make with a plain paper plate.
2. Family mailboxes. Paint and decorate the family mailbox.
3. Vacation jar. Decorate a Family Vacation Jar in which you save change.
4. Newsletter. Create a family newsletter to send out to family and friends. This can be a monthly project.
5. Movie night. Have family movie night and watch old family videos together.
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.
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.
8. Volunteering. Volunteer as a family. Help out at a school fundraiser or serve meals at the local soup kitchen.
9. Baking. Bake together. Take turns picking favorite recipes out of a cookbook and let the kids and dad join in on the fun.
10. Playground. Go to the local playground and swing together or climb the monkey bars. Kids love it when parents play like they do.
Next Up: Lock your kids in a room together
Originally published October 2011. Updated August 2017.
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