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Friday, June 24, 2011

Family Night, Do You Have One Yet?

If you don't do family night, you should definitely try it out as soon as you can. As I sit here writing this post, I know that family night is upon my family once more because it's Friday. When my darling daughter comes downstairs this morning, she'll likely ask me what she asks nearly every morning.

"What day is it?"

When I say, "Friday" with a smile, she'll jump up and down, visibly excited about the day.

Even Ian knows that there's something special about this day...once he sees the reaction from the older siblings. Lol.

So what do you DO on a family night?

There are some rules we follow:

1. Everyone needs to be there (if you have a parent deployed, someone in the hospital, etc, don't worry about this one). Family night doesn't have to be at night either. If family morning works better for your family, then do your time together in the morning.

2. Whatever you do together, it should be fun for everyone at some point so that everyone wants to repeat the experience.

3. Don't try to do things together that are above anyone in the family. If you have a two year old amongst you, odds are you can't play lazer tag. Lol.

4. Try to keep the cost down. You don't have to spend a lot to have a ton of fun.

What we like to do:

1. We always get something to eat from somewhere. And we almost always bring it back home. For us, this works best because Ian isn't all that good at restaurant dining. He's definitely improved but he tends to want to get down when he's done and we don't like to have him wandering the restaurant. So, we keep eating out to a minimum around here right now. He CAN do it, to be clear, we just prefer to bring food home for now.

2. Movies. We love renting from the library (free here), the Redbox (only $1 but you can find free codes too, lol), and even straight from our TV (we have some free options, I like to DVR various older movies for the kids like "Home Alone" or "Space Jam" for example, and we do have the option of renting on our tv as well but it's a little pricier than what I'd like to spend).

3. Playgrounds. We have loads of playgrounds all around us. The kids love to go and we love taking them.

4. Amusement parks. We have season passes to our local one so this is a free-ish option for us. We can go hang out at the park for an evening and the kids have a blast. And now that we have some older kids, my husband and I get to go on roller coasters again! Yay!

5. Community pool. If you don't have a swimming pool in your backyard (neither do we, lol), you can check out the community pool as a fun place to hang out for family time. There are lots of fun games you can play together while swimming like Marco Polo, diving for treasure (pennies, or whatever you want to toss that you won't miss if it gets "discovered" by some other swimmer), races, jumping competitions, and more.

6. Hikes and/or bike rides. This one can be a lot of fun. You could even do a scavenger hunt for things you know you'll find along the path if you're walking. Some things you might see: bugs of course, turtles, frogs, various trees and flowers, specific rock colors, different shapes you might want to search for...be creative. My kids love stuff like that.

7. Creek stomping. I don't love doing this but my kids do! They just love getting into a creek and seeing what they see. They find kray fish, newts, all sorts of things.

8. Mini golf. I'm terrible at mini golf. I lose almost every single time when we play, but it's still fun. Even Ian can do it! We just give him his own club and ball and he goes wild. Lol. He never gets it in the hole with his club but he has fun just the same.

9. Board games! My kids love Apples to Apples, Life, Disney's Scene It, and More. And yes, Ian plays too in his own way. He's usually on a "team" with someone. Lol.

Who's up for the challenge? Anyone planning on starting a family night at their house? Trust me, the years go way too fast and family night is NOT something you'll look back on and regret. It fosters friendship and togetherness and is the one time that you can count on everyone being together.

I'm off to plan our family night! Happy Friday everyone!!

*The included picture is of the 4 kids on one of our family outings that we did just last week. :)

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