Tag Archive for family fun night

A Family Activity that “Does All That”?

Would you like a great family activity filled with fun? One that gives you and your family lots of fresh air and a little fun exercise? An

The family outdoors flying kite in the skyactivity that can help your family grow more intimate and your children more mature? An afternoon activity to bring a smile to everyone’s faces and give each person a sense of pride in accomplishment? Then go fly a kite. That’s right. Flying a kite does all that…and more. Just look at these benefits of flying kites with your family.

  • Flying a kite is easy on the budget. Whether you purchase a kite or the materials to make one, flying a kite is an inexpensive activity. It also allows you to build family relationships while you look for a kite or build a kite. A family project like building a kite will always enhance family intimacy.
  • Flying a kite gets the family outside. Breathe the fresh air. Soak up some vitamin D from the sunlight. Move around and enjoy a little exercise. Being outside brings peace and calm to many who struggle with anxiety as well.
  • Flying a kite increases concentration. Visually following the kite increases your ability to focus. It also helps adults practice shifting their visual focusing between something near and something far away, a practice that can slow the progression of “old age sight.” In addition, everyone will focus on the here and now of family time as you fly a kite together.
  • Flying a kite increases the opportunities for family interaction and socialization. You can talk to one another while flying kites.
  • Flying a kite is fun. Everyone enjoys flying a kite. It adds to your family’s playfulness, creativity, and joy as you fly kites together. And, who doesn’t like to watch the pride and joy on the faces of their children holding the string of a dancing kite? (To read more about these and other benefits, check out Kite Flying for Health and Happiness or My Best Kite.com)

Whether you make your own kite or buy one from the store, flying kites is a great opportunity for family bonding and plain old-fashioned fun. What are you waiting for? Get out there. Go fly a kite!

Family Fun Without the Box Office Expense

I love to go to the movies and the theater. But, it can be expensive to take the whole family to the movies today. Maybe you have had the same thought and would like to have a family theatrical experience without the box office expense once in a while. Like me, you may be mask dramalooking for a way to have fun at family gatherings, allow your kids to use their creativity and technological skill while involving the whole family in one activity…and avoid the box office expense. If so, here is a great idea: put on a play! You may think this sounds a little crazy, but it can really be a lot of fun. Everyone in the family can participate in the play or a few can perform while everyone else participates as the audience. In our family the children often put on the play and the adults participate as audience members. You may choose to do it this way, too. If you do, encourage your children, applaud, laugh, and acknowledge their hard work. But remember, adults can put on a play as well.  I remember participating in several intergenerational plays when I was a kid, particularly funny ones. Your play can be serious (we saw children put on a play focusing on the resurrection just before our Easter dinner) or humorous (like this men’s skit). You can make it a musical or keep it a straight up play. Part of the joy of putting on a play is the preparation.You get to pick a theme everyone can enjoy, write the lines, and practice (well, at least a little) before the actual performance. Each step involves time spent together, laughter, discussion, sharing of ideas, cooperation, and fun. Then, during the performance everyone offers encouragement and applause, laughter and “call outs.” Of course it’s a good idea to recruit one of the children to record the performance so you can post it on YouTube or FaceBook (just to share the fun with others). So, why spend the money to take your family to the theatre for a fun night (although this can be fun, too) when you can stage the next box office hit right in your own living room, written by your own creative geniuses and performed by the upcoming stars in your family? Have fun!

Family Fun When it’s Blah Outside

It can be tough to find a fun family activity when it’s cold or rainy outside. But, never fear. Kids looking through magnifying glassThis idea will provide a full day of family fun for the price of going out to dinner as a family. No, it’s not dinner. It lasts longer than dinner, giving you more for your money. What is it? Your family can have a blast all day at the Children’s Museum (check out all the fun you can have at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum here). At the Children’s Museum, you and your family can experience amazing fun at the crossroads of curiosity, creativity, and hands-on experimentation. You can learn about woodworking, circuitry, stop-motion animation, and bouncy balls through hands-on activities. That’s not all either. You can witness illusions of all kinds, explore transportation that drives, flies, or rolls through space, and discover the joys of creative water play. As you can imagine, this fun family activity will fill a whole day with laughter, fun, and learning. So, when it looks like a boring day inside because of rain or bad weather, head on down to the Children’s Museum and have a family blast.

Hide-N-Seek with a Twist

What do you get when you cross hide-n-seek with a treasure hunt? A fun family activity entitled “Hide-N-Seek with a Twist.” (I know the title is not all that exciting, but the activity is a blast!) This family activity involves hiding, finding, and the treasure of affirmations. Here is how it works.

  1. male and female children playing hide and seekEach family member writes 2-4 affirmations (one sentence long) for each family member. You may have to help younger children with this step. Mom can help young children write for Dad and Dad can help them write for Mom. Keeps these affirmations a secret, a surprise. Affirmations may include statements like: “You are beautiful.” “I appreciate your helpfulness around the house.” “You’re effort in learning piano is really paying off. I love to listen to you.” “I appreciate your work with the children at church.” You get the idea.


  1. Each family member spends the evening hiding their affirmation notes. Be creative in your hiding places. Slip some into lunch boxes, school books, pack backs, purses, or briefcases. You can even hide some among the cereal, the silverware, in the car, or under their pillow. Be creative.


  1. Label an envelope for each family member. Pick a common area in your house and place each family member’s envelope in that area. You may choose to put the envelopes in front of each person’s dinner seat around the table…or on the refrigerator…or in the living room. Just be sure it is an area each family member frequents. And, be sure each family member has their own personal envelope.


  1. Over the next week, family members will find their affirmations as they go about their daily routine. Each time someone finds an affirmation, they read it, smile, bring it to the common area, and put it in their envelope.


  1. At the end of the week, gather your family in the common area and share affirmations with one another over some “gourmet hot chocolate” or homemade cookies. Tell family stories that exemplify the various affirmations. Enjoy one another’s company and encouragement.


I hope you enjoy this family fun night. And, as I often tell my family and friends…”have fun!”

A Family Fun Night with Amazing Health Benefits

Did you know…

  • Homemade Peppermint Hot ChocolateDrinkable chocolate was used in France during the 17th century to fight against fits of anger? Today, research has confirmed that chocolate reduces the level of stress hormones in people highly stressed, which may reduce anger in such situations.
  • Antioxidants in hot cocoa are almost twice as strong as red wine, two to three times stronger than green tea, and four to five times stronger than black tea. And, more antioxidants get released when we drink “hot” cocoa as opposed to cold things. Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which translates to reducing the chance of cancer and heart disease among other things.
  • Hot cocoa contains flavonoids which can help improve blood flow, help lower blood pressure, and improve overall heart health.
  • Drinking hot cocoa can also help you think better by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain. (Read more about these four benefits on the Mature Mother Network)
  • Hot cocoa contains phenethylamine. This chemical will stimulate the nervous system and trigger the release of endorphins and increases the positive effect of the neurotransmitter dopamine (which is part of our reward system). Dopamine and endorphins help us feel good, relieved, and satisfied.
  • Hot cocoa can also increase brain levels of serotonin, boosting a sense of well-being. (Read Cocoa, The Health Miracle for more details of these benefits)


As you can see, hot cocoa carries more than just a punch of good taste. It brings added health benefits, too. And, hot cocoa can make for a great family fun night. Who doesn’t like to gather with loved ones and sip some hot chocolate while sitting in a comfy room sharing conversation and games? Of course, to really make a great Family Fun Night, don’t have any old hot cocoa. Make it a home-made cocoa or gourmet cocoa. Check out Something Swanky or Our Best Bites for a few ideas. Add to the fun with a “hot cocoa bar” filled with candy canes, whip cream, marshmallows, and more. What are you waiting for! Get out there and enjoy the health benefits of a Family Fun Night with hot cocoa!

The Family Fun Night I Secretly Love

Dad helping boy to decorate christmas treeI’m going to let you in on a secret. I love this family fun night…but don’t tell my family. Every year I pretend to dislike it. I pretend to begrudge the whole process even while I participate. In reality though, I have a wonderful time and love…here it is…decorating the Christmas tree. (Shhhh, don’t tell my family.) You know why I like it? We put on jazzy Christmas music, drink some hot cocoa, and work together to complete a project. We talk, joke, and laugh the whole time. Each ornament carries a story or a memory. Some ornaments speak to our individual interests. Other ornaments represent our vacations or fun activities we have enjoyed. Still others remind us of our first year of marriage, the year our daughters were born, or the special “rite of passage trip” my wife took our daughters on when they turned sixteen. We even hide a “Christmas pickle” in the tree just for fun. Each year, we have to make the “big decision” of whether an angel or a star will sit atop the tree. This opens the opportunity to talk about the birth of Jesus on Christmas day. And, we place a giant nail on the tree to remind us that the Christ child, whose birth we celebrate, is also the Savior who died for our sins. As my daughters leave home, I think my wife and I will still decorate our tree…but I will miss doing it as a whole family. I hope you enjoy this family fun night as well. In addition to the ideas mentioned above, you can…

  • String some popcorn to hang on the trees.
  • Pick a theme and decorate the tree accordingly.
  • Make paper snowflakes to put on the tree.
  • Put some cotton on the tree to look like snow balls.
  • Hang some candy canes on the tree. Take them off and eat them throughout the season.
  • Use your imagination to come up with more creative ideas for your family tree.

Go ahead and decorate your Christmas tree. Enjoy your time together. Take advantage of the opportunity to discuss the reason for the season. Take time to celebrate the joy of remembering. But, please (puh-leeeez) don’t tell my family how much I love this activity, it will ruin my reputation!

A New Christmas Tradition

African American father and mixed race son making Christmas cardsWhether we are savoring a slice of homemade cheesecake or the accomplishment of a life-long dream, we enjoy it to the fullest. When we savor something, we take the time to relish in the moment, get lost in the experience, and mindfully focus on every joyful sensation. I want to encourage you to have that same enjoyment by savoring your family this Christmas. Savoring your family builds intimacy. It establishes a family environment of safety and security. It creates joyful memories that will last a lifetime. How can you savor your family? Let me share four ways.

  1. Laugh together. You can laugh at funny stories, jokes, or even TV shows. Whatever you choose, find ways to share laughter. I don’t mean just a little chuckle now and again. Share belly busting, rip roaring, roll on the ground, bring tears to your eyes laughter. Let the laughter bring down the defenses and draw you into one another’s joy.
  2. Acknowledge your pleasure. Give voice to how much you are enjoying the family experience or activity. Talk about it. Tell your family how much fun you are having with them in the moment. Let them know how much you value your time spent with them.
  3. While you acknowledge your pleasure, label any positive emotions you experience and share them with your family. Happiness, joy, peace, calm, delight, elation, glee…name them all. If you find something beautiful, exciting, hopeful, or lovely, go ahead and state it for all to hear. Pleasure increases and positive emotions grow when we verbally share them with others.
  4. Take some pictures. Pictures keep the moment alive. After all is said and done, you can review the pictures and relive the joy. You can even put a few pictures on the fridge where everyone can see them. Every time you look at the pictures you can savor the moment of remembered joy…and repeat steps one through three for even more savoring!


Savoring family builds intimacy and establishes a family environment of joy. It builds a deeper sense of safety and security. It creates joyful memories that we will cherish throughout our life. These four ideas can get your started. Why not start today? The Christmas season presents an excellent time to build a tradition of savoring your family.

A Family Night to Share Kindness

We all want our children to learn kindness; so, we model and teach kindness every opportunity we get.

Hispanic family making Christmas cardsWe also want our family to grow stronger and more intimate. So, we share intimate times and grow stronger family ties.

This Family Fun Night activity can help you accomplish both goals (raising kind children and growing stronger family ties) while having fun! It provides an opportunity to gather the whole family together for a project utilizing everyone’s imagination and creativity. It allows the whole family an opportunity to show kindness to as many people as desired. And, all it takes is some cardstock, scissors, glue, and creativity. That’s right…this is a Family Fun Night making homemade cards. You can make cards for any occasion—thank you cards, funny cards, serious cards, thinking of you cards, encouragement cards, get well soon cards, Christmas cards, birthday cards, etc. You can even make cards for unique holidays like “Pi Day” or “I Forgot Day”.  Be as creative as you want with the cards. While you make your cards, admire your ideas. Laugh at one another’s jokes as you put them on the cards. Talk about the people who deserve a special card. When all is said and done, you will have a stack of cards to use on any occasions. People love to receive cards in the mail. So, take your stack of cards and practice kindness by mailing them out to whoever you want…at any time you like. In fact, why not send out one or two cards today? Send them out just to celebrate your family fun night of card making.

Family Fun Night Under the Stars

Falling starWhether you want to spend a romantic night with your spouse or a relaxed evening with your whole family, stargazing fits the bill. I remember laying a blanket out in the back yard so my daughters, my wife, and I could lie back, look at the stars, and talk. We talked about the constellations (mostly them pointing constellations out to me) as well as life, beliefs, dreams, and whatever silly ideas came to mind. Stargazing is relaxing. It provides a lovely backdrop for building family intimacy as well as the perfect romantic setting after the kids go to bed.


Stargazing can also become a great family hobby—a hobby that promotes togetherness and the opportunity to stand in awe of the vastness of God and His creation…or talk about myths and romance…all while having a snack. Depending on where you live, a stargazing family could have enjoyed a lunar eclipse, a solar eclipse, Pegasus crossing the sky, and mercury peeking into the morning sky last month (October, 2014). And, this month (November, 2014) will offer a great time to see Mercury just before sunrise in the Eastern sky.


Two sites that will give more information about stargazing are StarDate and Stargazing Tonight. Check them out. Then go for a walk on a clear night and enjoy the stories of stars and constellations. Share dreams. Recall what the stars mean in your beliefs (such as Abraham being promised by God that his descendants would number like the stars of the sky). Stand in awe at the vastness of God and His creation. And, for the sake of family, enjoy one another’s company as you stargaze for a family fun night.

Family Fun Night

It started off like any other dinner. My family gathered at the table, offered a word of thanks, and began to fill our plates. Then, everything changed. My wife’s phone rang. An emergency at work, a crisis, demands her immediate attention…she has to take the call. My oldest daughter looks at the clock, “Oh, I didn’t know it was this late. I have play practice in ten minutes. Gotta go.” She wolfs down her dinner in three bites and heads for the door. My younger daughter watches her get up, then smiled hesitantly as she says, “I have youth group tonight and Hanna’s taking me. I guess I gotta go now too. She’s my ride.” She jumps up and runs after her sister. I remain sitting at the dinner table…alone…staring at empty chairs before realizing my next appointment is arriving at the office soon. So, I quickly finish my dinner and head back to the office.


Family having a big dinner at homeDo you have days like this? Circumstances may vary, but I imagine we all have days in which everyone is pulled in separate directions, caught up in the rush of schedules, running on adrenaline overload. We all feel the pull of work, sporting practices, music lessons, play practice, housework, homework, study groups, church activities…and the list goes on. We start to feel disconnected as each family member goes their own way to do their own thing. In the process, we may even lose our family identity.


There is a two-part solution to this “rush-of-life syndrome.” First, cut back on the schedule. Children need down-time to mature. They need unstructured time to relax and learn how to manage their own time. Allowing your children to have unstructured down-time encourages them to develop autonomy and creativity. They develop greater problem-solving skills when they have free time to manage. Having free-time to relax and play also helps to decrease anxiety and moodiness. So, create some space in your family schedule. Allow for some unstructured free-time.


Second, take some of that down-time and have a family fun night. Make a plan to simply having fun as a family, whether it is one or two times a month or once a week. Family fun night may be as simple as watching a DVD together and talking about it over ice cream. Or, it could be more complex, like an overnight visit to an indoor waterpark. Whatever activity you choose, a family fun night has many benefits.

  • Family fun nights allow your family to bond with one another. You’ve heard the sayings: “A family that plays together stays together.” “A family that prays together stays together.” “A family that volunteers together stays together.” Basically, a family that enjoys family fun time stays together. They grow closer together.
  • Family fun nights give your family the opportunity to talk and learn about one another’s lives, interests, joys, disappointments, and hurts. Family fun night gives you time to really get to know one another, rejoice with one another, comfort one another, and encourage one another. Family fun nights help families grow more intimate.
  • Family fun nights build a family identity that includes fun, laughter, and togetherness. They create a family that serves as a secure base and safe haven from which to explore the world.


If you have trouble coming up with ideas, here are a few family fun nights you might enjoy.


Watch for future Family Fun Night ideas at HonorGraceCelebrate. And, while you’re at it, share your ideas for a Family Fun Night on our FaceBook.

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