Tag Archive for family fun night

Families Unite for Family Fun

When I was young, my family enjoyed “get-togethers” with another family every Friday night. The adults would play cards in one room while the “kids” played together in another room. These were great evenings. We had such fun. The evening began by ordering pizza. We would eat, laugh, and enjoy one another’s company. Then the adults would play cards and talk about…well, I don’t know what they talked about because I was upstairs enjoying time with the other kids without any parent watching over our shoulder. Our relationship with the other family grew as we enjoyed one another’s company. Interestingly, the relationships within our family also grew more secure.


As an adult, I still enjoy getting together with other families for activities. We might get together with a family to go to an amusement park…or to play games at church…or to simply go out to eat…or, well, you get the idea. I find great benefit in these “get-togethers.” I grow closer to the other adults, forming deeper friendships. Couples who have grown children share stories of raising their children, giving me hope that my wife and I can survive, even succeed in the child-rearing years. When we are stumped by some parenting task, we can get advice and encouragement. When I struggle with some aspect of my marriage, a close friend can give insight and advice. All the while, we have fun. Our children play, sometimes with us and sometimes with one another. We laugh, play games, joke around, and eat. Whether with one other family or a group of families, we have a blast. We leave feeling as though we have connected with another family and with each other. We discover that mutual support between families helps each family grow stronger, more secure, and healthier. And, in an obvious way, we leave such activities with a smile on our face and a new lightness in our heart…even if we are exhausted by all the fun.


So, have a great family fun night. Call your friends and come together for a night of laughter, games, and conversation. You will have a great time…and you will be surprised at the subtle benefits you receive!

Unplug for a Family Fun Night

Social media on SmartphoneI enjoy technology as much as the next guy; but, sometimes technology can interfere with a good family fun night. So, unplug and enjoy your family. Turn off the computers, I-Pads, I-Phones, I-Pods (ai yai yai), X-Boxes, TV’s, and any other electronic distractions. Pull out some good old-fashioned board games and have some fun.


My friend discovered the joys of an Unplugged Family Fun Night by accident. His electricity went out in a storm. So, his family pulled out the candles and gathered in the living room. They ate some snacks, told some stories, played some games, laughed, and had fun. The next day their electricity was back on. But, when evening came, my friend’s young son said, “Aye, let’s turn off the lights and play games by candlelight again!” He had learned the joy of an Unplugged Family Fun Night.


You can enjoy an Unplugged Family Fun Night, too…even if the electricity doesn’t go out. Just turn off the electrical devices, bring out the snacks, and gather in one room to play some games. Depending on the ages and interests of your children, you can enjoy anything from Operation (one of my daughter’s favorites), Monopoly (a family stand-by), Apples to Apples (one of my other daughter’s favorites), Uno, Scattergories (I like to make up words in this game), or any other game your family might enjoy. The beauty of an Unplugged Family Fun Night is it can happen anytime! You don’t have to wait until the lights go out in your house. Just make it happen. Pull the switch, unplug, gather in the living room, and have some fun!

Family Fun Night is for the Birds

Yellow Billed HornbillSome people believe “this Family Fun Night stuff” is for the birds. Well…I agree. It’s a great idea. Head out to your local aviary and share a Family Fun Night with the birds. Now I know this may sound like a bird-brained idea, but you only need to check out your local aviary to see how much fun you can have with this flight of fancy. The National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA (my hometown, btw) is celebrating “Owl-O-Ween” on October 18 and 25. Every day, you can watch the birds get fed…and, even participate in feeding them. To satisfy your artistic flair, you might pick your favorite colors for the penguins to use in creating an artistic masterpiece…and take the picture home! You can also celebrate your child’s birthday (“bird-day”) at the Aviary. To add soaring heights of fun to your flight, listen to “The Birds” as you migrate to and from the Aviary. Would it be too much to devour chicken sandwiches for lunch beforehand? Better not, stick with a burger. (My apology to the cows.) At any rate, Family Fun Night is now for the birds…and the ornithologist (bird-lover) in your family. Fly on over to the Aviary to see the unusual, the colorful, the graceful, and the bizarre (hey, that sounds like my family…I’m just saying!) and discover how a great Family Fun Night is for the birds.

Hike to a Family Fun Night

Well, this Family Fun Night is not literally a family fun “night.” It is more of a Family Fun Family in autumn parkExperience or Family Fun Event. Either way, it’s still a great family fun time…and all it involves is a little hike. Family hikes are fun and free—they cost nothing! On a hike, you and your family can get out of the house, away from the daily grind, and into nature. Together you can enjoy the trees, watch the birds, climb over some rocks, wade through streams, and maybe even see some deer, squirrel, turkey, elk, bear, or other fascinating wildlife.


To make a family hike really enjoyable, pack a small snack or lunch (small enough to put in a small back pack) and pick a scenic spot to stop for a picnic. One of my favorites in our area is a particular outcroppings of rocks on the Laurel trail. On a clear day you can sit on that outcropping while conversing with your family and enjoying some crackers, cheese, and drink while looking over the tree covered valleys and hills, through the “gaps of the Chestnut Ridge” all the way to the distant US Steel Building in downtown PGH! It’s a beautiful view of the mountains and valleys of the Laurel Highland Trail.


There really is something healing to individuals and families when you share a meal in the shade of a forest tree surrounded by a variety of plant life, listening to a babbling brook, and serenaded by a choir of birds. Shoulders relax. Walls fall down. Conversations deepen…and families connect. So enjoy a family hike for family fun! If you live in PGH, click here for a few ideas on where to take a family hike in this area. Wherever you choose to hike, have a great family fun time.

S’More Family Fun

Couple cook by bonfire romantic night countrysideI love the fall weather. The cool fall nights are perfect for a sweatshirt and a campfire. And, you can build a great family fun night right around your campfire. First, tell some stories. Tell funny stories. Reminisce about your favorite family outings and vacations. Share your favorite family stories. Tell your kids stories about your childhood and even stories about their grandparents. Share stories about family members who have overcome adversity or survived embarrassing moments. Weave together a series of stories that exemplify the strengths of various family members. Sharing these stories can lead to laughter, a greater sense of security, and a stronger identity for your children.

There is no need to limit campfire to storytelling. Bring out the graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows so you can build some s’mores to have s’more fun. What could be more fun than sharing family stories and serving one another s’mores? Oh, I know…get some hot dogs, too. I love a hot dog roasted over the open fire. Go ahead. Live it up. Hot dogs, s’mores, family stories, and great family fun!

Arghh Matey, Send Your Family on a Treasure Hunt

Pirates always seem to have fun in the movies. They search for treasure and share fun times together. (I realize the realism of the movies may be somewhat lacking, but we want families happy pirate familyto have fun not suffer scurvy or malaria.) This family fun night will allow your family to “sail the high seas” of adventure in search of the greatest family treasure of all—fun times together. Although this activity involves some planning, it will prove very “rewarding” in the end (I mean you get a treasure…how much more rewarding can it get?)! Here is what you do, step by step.

  1. Think of a simple activity your family enjoys. It can be anything from swimming, getting ice cream, having a campfire, or meeting friends at the park.


  1. Find a picture of that activity. Laminate the picture and cut it into pieces to form a puzzle.


  1. Think of different hiding places for each piece of the puzzle. You can hide the puzzle pieces in your own back yard or, to create a bigger adventure, hide them around your neighborhood or in a shopping center. (Do not hide the puzzle pieces yet. Read steps four and five before you actually hide the pieces of the puzzle.)


  1. Write a clue, on a plain piece of paper, leading to the place you plan to hide the first piece of the puzzle. Then write a clue leading from the first piece of the puzzle to the second, from the second puzzle piece to the third, and so on. When you have a clue leading to each piece of the puzzle, move on to step five.


  1. Hide the puzzle pieces. Keep the clue to the first puzzle piece wherever you plan to start the treasure hunt. Hide the other clues with the puzzle pieces. The second puzzle piece will be hidden with the clue to the third puzzle piece. The third puzzle piece will be hidden with the clue to the fourth puzzle piece and so on. Each puzzle piece will have a clue leading to the next puzzle piece hidden with the next clue.


  1. Now you are ready for a family fun night. Read the first clue and let the treasure hunt begin. When all the pieces are found, put the puzzle together to discover the activity pictured. Then, enjoy the activity together. (I am partial to ice cream as an ending, btw.)


Enjoy your family fun night sailing the high seas of adventure and following the clues to your family treasure.

Discover Your Inner Musician for a Family Fun Night

Everyone loves music. Whether you find the joy of music through singing, playing, dancing or cat musiclistening, we all have an inner rhythm and harmony. Really, it’s true. If your heart beats and you breathe rhythmically in and out, you have rhythm. If you can walk through a revolving door without getting hurt, you got rhythm. You experience harmony every time you interact with another person and “harmonize” your interests, pace of life, and conversation to keep everyone involved. Why not use your inner musician to have a great family fun night! Here are four “variations on the theme” of a musical family fun night.


  1. Go to a free concert. Each summer and fall, several communities offer free concerts. We enjoy the Jazz at Katz Plaza and South Park concerts in our area.
  2. Put on your favorite record at home…well, play your favorite CD…ummm, turn up your download…or just turn on Spotify. Whatever you choose, play your favorite music, grab your spouse or child, and enjoy a dance around the living room.
  3. Save up some money and purchase tickets to a concert by your favorite artist.
  4. Get together with your family (and friends if you want) and sing together. You can accompany yourself if you play the guitar, ukulele, or piano. If not, do some karaoke or sing along with the radio.


Come up with your own idea for a musical family fun night…any idea tailored to give your family a great musical fun night!

Bake Your Way to a Family Fun Night

Baking together is a great way to celebrate family.  Gather your family into the kitchen to bake a pie, a cake, cookies, bread, or all of the above. Decide ahead of time what you would like to bake and gather the ingredients. Let each family member participate in “the mixing of the ingredients” and “taste-testing” along the way (my job in the family bake off is often that of taste-tester!) When it is all put together, pop it in the oven.

Apple Pie

Let anticipation build while your masterpiece bakes. After all, the best part of this family fun night is yet to come. Enjoy the aroma of freshly baked pie. Watch the cookies melt into shape. Stand in awe as the bread rises. Let your mouth water and your stomach growl in anticipation of my favorite part of this family fun night. Finally, when everything the baking is done, slice up your treat and eat it warm, fresh out of the oven. Nothing is better than warm cookies that bend when you pick them up…or bread that steams when you slice it and melts the butter immediately…or hot pie that melts the ice cream. The anticipation of this treat is matched only by the satisfied taste buds that prompt smiling faces!


For a real adventure, double the recipe and give half of your family project away. Give a loaf of bread to a local shut-in. Take a cake to a local nursing home for the staff to enjoy. Plate up a dozen cookies for your mailman. Not only will you have a great family fun night but you will teach your children a wonderful lesson in generosity and kindness as well.  And, truth be told, nothing is more fun than giving to others as a family!

Family Night at the Movies

Movies can provide the starting point for a great family fun night. A family movie night can begin as easily as renting a movie to watch as a family. Order some pizza and pop some popcorn, turn up the sound, and turn down the house lights to get the real flavor of going to the theater.  When everything is in place, you have the makings of a great family fun night.

Toy Story Green Alien CupcakesIf you want to go all out for your movie-based family fun night, let the movie serve as a theme for a whole evening of fun. Dress up according to the movie theme. Fix dinner and snacks that fit into the movie theme. For instance, you could dress up as Vikings to watch “How to Train Your Dragon.”  While you watch “How to Train Your Dragon,” enjoy some Viking themed snacks like cheese and crackers, sausage, and berries. Or, you might enjoy watching “Toy Story.” Bring your favorite toys to the movie viewing (so they can enjoy the movie with you of course). Dress up like Woody, Buzz Lightyear, or one of the other characters (like Hamm). Enjoy some ham sandwiches (not to be confused with the character Hamm) and a dessert of “Squeeze Toy Alien” (AKA-Little Green Men) cupcakes (click here for recipe).

Use your imagination, watch a movie with your family, and, above all, have a great family fun night!

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