We try to have some kind of family-themed night just about every Friday in our house. It’s a nice way to end the week and the kids really look forward to them. They talk about them and plan them all week long. After busy weeks (and lazy days during the summer), it’s nice to be able to connect with each other for a while as a whole family. Usually, we have dinner at the kitchen table together and then we go down to the family room and let the games begin!
Sometimes we have movie nights. I pick up a movie from a Red Box or we rent one through iTunes. I have popcorn and usually a little candy treat of some kind. Sometimes, I even stop by the Publix bakery and pick up little sweet treats – petit fours, a slice or two of cheesecake, chocolate covered strawberries, etc. They aren’t very expensive at all and it makes the night feel a little more special. Their favorite treat, though, is when I bing home a few different kinds of candy and gave them small cellophane treat bags for them to fill, just like in a bulk candy store.
Chris and I normally chose the movie and we tried to pick one that they hadn’t seen and most often it was one from our own childhoods. We’ve seen:
- Swiss Family Robinson,
- The Parent Trap (the original)
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- The Wizard of Oz
- The Sound of Music
- Dr. Doolittle (the original)
- Pete’s Dragon (the original)
The kids can also use their beads to choose the movie for movie night, so they sometimes pick, too. But the rule is that it has to be something none of us have seen before.
In the past year, we have also added game night to our family nights. We have only just gotten to the point where both the kids can play board, dice, and card games with us and they actually like those more than movie nights. So do Chris and I, too! For some games, Bean and Gracie can each play on their own, but for some we team up if the game is a little more complicated. In the past month, Bean has started being able to play on his own even for the harder games and Gracie teams up with someone.
Chris and I have always loved games. We played cards all through grad school and even now have friends over for cards and dice games. So far, these are the popular ones for our family nights:
- Uno – Both the kids can play this one on their own, and we sometimes even catch them playing just the two of them!
- Farkle – This is a dice game that is super fun and totally based on chance, not skill, which makes it easy for Gracie to play, too. Although, we still partner up on this game, just because it’s more fun to have a partner. Gracie is usually my partner and she throws the dice while I do the strategy and math.
- Rummikub – This is a tile strategy game. Chris and I have played this for years, just the two of us. A few weeks ago, Chris taught Bean some of the strategy and so he has been playing with us, too. It’s a little complicated for Gracie, but she likes to sit with me and is my “tile turner” and lays all my tiles out for me.
- Yahtzee – The kids love this classic dice game. They can play on their own, but Gracie sometimes needs some assistance with strategy.
- Cranium, Disney Edition – We love this board game. It has something for everyone!
- Sorry – Nothing teaches the kids how to not get bummed out over a game more than Sorry! Ha! Your fortunes can turn in a second!
- Monopoly Card Game – Have you played the new Monopoly cards? It is super fun for kids and adults. It’s like a condensed version of Monopoly, so it doesn’t take near as long as a full game. You can play a card game in about 20 minutes. Bean can play on his own for this game, but Gracie teams up with someone. We also took this to the Keys with us a few weeks ago and the adults played it every night after the kids went to bed and had a blast!
Just like with movie night, the kids can spend beads to pick which game they want to play on game night. Their favorite right now is Farkle and we have found ourselves having spontaneous game nights on weeknights this summer just because they want to play!
What about you guys? What are your favorite family movies or games? What should we add to our rotations? What other family theme nights do you have?