With summer a distant memory and the hustle and bustle of the school year in full effect, it's easy to forget about planning for family fun. But taking time to unwind and spend quality time together is the best way to keep everybody connected. Here, we offer 7 fresh ideas for keeping your clan entertained on otherwise ho-hum nights at home.
If you ask me, a party is any get-together that's filled with food, drink, and lots of fun — and these ideas certainly qualify. Plus, planning one of these parties is a whole lot more enjoyable than planning, say, that kid's birthday party or a dinner party for couples. You don’t have to spend time on invitations, costly decorations, or put on your heels.
To get you started, we've shared seven of our favorite ways to shake up an ordinary night at home with family. Movie night is an old favorite, but add new flavor to a night on the couch by issuing tickets whenever the kids complete their chores on time and setting up a concession stand with delicious popcorn and a candy "shop" where kids can choose what they want in their bags. Or invite over close family friends for a competition of sports — paddle, bowling, ping pong, even Twister — before sitting down to a spread of chili and cornbread.
One of my children's favorites? The night when they cook for my husband and I. The menu isn't fancy (we're talking grilled cheese or spaghetti and meatballs), but they love being in charge of setting the menu and cooking while my husband and I lounge on the couch, cocktails in hand. Here are some more ideas friendly for families of all ages and sizes.
1. Family Movie Night
When it's cold outside, nothing beats a low-key movie night at home. Create your own concession stand with popcorn, jars of candy, and a mix-your-own healthy soda bar (juices, sparkling water, and fruit for garnishing). Pick out a few of your favorite movies — make sure the kids choose first — and turn those cellphones off for a night that beats the theater, and will have the whole family clambering for a spot on the sofa.
2. Little Chef Dinner Party
Mom and Dad cook for their crew every night — so why not change places for once? Assuming your kids are old enough to navigate the kitchen on their own, put your feet up, order up a drink, then let the children cook dinner.
Request a simple menu like grilled cheese sandwiches or spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and ice cream to keep the cooking challenge at a minimum but the enjoyment level high. Young ones will love taking charge of the kitchen and showing off their culinary prowess over a family-style dinner.
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