5 top ways to spend time together as a family
Admit it. Sometimes the idea of organising a ‘family night’ can bring on more stress that a two mile traffic jam when you have five minutes to get your appointment.
I’m all for quality over quantity. I do cherish the idea of eating together but it’s not always possible (cue-the endless after School clubs, Quran classes, homework, housework, prep for work etc etc). So instead of telling you the only way to be a strong family is to eat together everyday I thought I would share my top 5 family night ideas.
If you have your own ideas do leave them in the comments section.
1) The classic-Movie Night
With the rise of on demand services Movie Nights just don’t have the same allure; unless you put some oomph into it. If you organise a Movie Night for the weekend you can encorporate the following activities into it:
Decorate your own pizzas
Pop some corn (or make other snacks)
Make your own cinema tickets or posters
If you are doing this on a weekend I would leave out the majority of creative activities (the only one I recommend is the pizza decorating as the majority of this prep work can be done in advance or even shop bought).
Make it extra special: pick a theme. And if everyone cannot agree on the movies to be watched then plan additional nights to accommodate everyone. This is FAMILY time after all.
Turn off phones & other technology that will distract attention.
Dim the lights, get out the cosy blankets, open the packets of snack and enjoy.
NOTE: I’m not recommending this every night of the week so snacks like chocolate are more than welcome as a treat (you’d buy a pack at the cinema wouldn’t you?).
1) Board Games Night
I love Monopoly. I’m competitive and love a good session of Buckaroo, Pop up Pirate, Connect 4, Ludo and beyond. I am an 80s baby and we know the true meaning of board games!
It’s hard to picture children cherishing board games the way my generation did. However that shouldn’t put you off. Dust off the board games in the attic and create a bit of friendly competitive spirit amongst the family.
Of course if you don’t own any board games and you want to try this you have options:
Ask friends and family if you can borrow their games
Check out carboots/flea markets/eBay/Gumtree for a bargain or three
Purchase new versions of the classics (more money so make sure your family are actually going to participate).
Get some snacks (food you can eat with your fingers and not need to sit down as a table work best) and some fizzy beverages (or still if that’s more suitable) and turn off your phones. Reconnect with your own childhood and share the magic of pre-technology life.
My top recommended games for children under 9:
Pop up pirate
Older children may enjoy:
Game of Life
NOTE: cheaper versions of famous classics can be purchased for nearly half the price of new games in UK stores such as Home Bargains.
Digital Games Night
Now it’s 2017; avoiding technology as a family is impossible. If you have access to a games console the why not organise a family games tournament?
You’ll need some games (ideally ones that get you up and moving about. My personal favourites are the Just Dance games). Draw up a table and get playing.
For this to work you’ll need to ensure you have enough space to move around (so you don’t end up smacking little ones in the face with remotes-it’s painful trust me).
You’ll need your drinks and snacks as before.
If you you a console but not many games eBay have some great second hands going for less than a fiver. Check out Amazons market place too. And don’t forget your own local charity shops.
Family Cooking Night (ideal for Weekends)
No I have not lost the plot. Just hear me out. If you want your children to get into the habit of eating fresh food, be able to cook and prepare it and clean up after themselves who do you expect to actually teach your offspring these KEY SKILLS?
Exactly. No one else will do it for you so if your children are old enough get them into the kitchen to help.
Here are some of the task younger children can help with:
Planning the meal
Cutting up spring onions/bacon/lettuce using safety scissors
Whisking (cream/eggs etc)
Making salads & dressings (screw top lidded bottle or jar would be useful).
Wiping down surfaces
Clearing away tables
If you are keen to encourage cooking habits maybe you can invite family over to join you (how about treating Gran?).
Pick a menu that is easy to prepare and cook. Save five star mitchelin meals for when you are trying to impress the in-laws. Don’t expect perfection from day one. This is about the time you spend together just as much as developing your children’s skills. Enjoy the time together. Children grow so fast (kinda like mint….).
Indoor Camping Adventure (ideal for weekends)
So if you have adventurous souls in your family but they don’t like the idea of creepy crawlies in their sleeping bag this idea is for you.
Create an indoor camping adventure.
You’ll need duvets, blankets, sleeping bags, torches, and a CD/Mp3 player/Tablet. If you have fairy lights dig them out and decorate the room with them too. Younger children may wish to bring a ‘guest’ in the form of a teddy bear.
Food wise here are my suggestions:
Sausage and beans
Jacket potatoes/potato wedges
Chili con carne
-anything that is connected with the outdoor camping experience
This one is all about imagination. So you’ll making up stories, or telling stories you already know. There’s also shadow puppet making, urban legend stories you can look into and even building a tent from bedsheets.
If the night is clear you could even go star spotting.
Why do we need a CD/Mp3 player/tablet?
To create an atmosphere. You can save/download woodland sounds which you can play in the background of your adventure.
So that’s my top 5. There are plenty of ideas out there (check out Pinterest for more inspiration). The most important thing to remember is you are spending time together as a family. It’s about quality of the time spent. It’s about creating memories. You are not in competition with anyone else to give your family the best of you.
So what is your families favourite way of spending the evening TOGETHER?