Please click on the video below to see a family sharing their family time.

When was the last time you hosted a family fun night with your children? Who has time for that? You do! Even with the busiest schedule, there is time for a family fun night in your life.

I am married with 3 school aged children at home, ages 15, 13, and 9. I worked part-time and attended school full-time, working towards my Bachelor Degree. One afternoon, I was doing my homework when my 9-year-old son interrupted and asked me to help him figure out his new Nerf gun set. A week or so prior, I got him the set with the vests that the foam darts stick to. He couldn’t open it until his room was clean. He cleaned his room and was ready to explore his new toy. I stopped for a short period to assist. I asked him to put the vest on so I could see if it would fit him. Once he got it over his head, I shot him with a Nerf dart and said, “It works!”. My son laughing hysterically, got the other Nerf gun and shot back. In a short moment, we were having a nerd war. It was a refreshing break for me and a few moments of quality time with my son.

A short while after, my 13-year-old daughter came home with a friend. They were in my daughter’s room talking. My son and I quietly approached…then blasted them with Nerf darts. They screamed, then laughed, we ran off laughing. The two came out of the room, asked to see the toy and began shooting each other with Nerf darts.

The whole scene lasted about 35 minutes. We laughed, we hugged, we talked, we played…..

Typically, our family fun nights are more planned like ordering in pizza while watching a movie at home, which we frequently do as well. The point is there is always time for a smile, laughter and fun. These moments with your children are so precious. One day they’re home needing you, the next moment they’re gone because most of their day is spent between school, activities, work or friends. Don’t let the good times pass you by.

Ideas for Family Fun Nights that worked in our home:

Pizza and a movie: Order pizza out or make your own together. Stop by a Red-box on the way home and select a movie or two. Push back the furniture, set out blankets, eat in front of the TV and watch a movie together.

Ice Cream Social: Buy a variety of ice cream and toppings. Go home and set up an ice cream bar. Let your children create their own masterpiece. Children can be very creative. My daughters ice cream dish looked so good, I asked if she could make mine just like hers….and she did. The children made it a contest to see whose dish looked and tasted the best. We talked about anything that came to mind and enjoyed each others company. 

Movie night: Simply popcorn and a movie. One weekend, we had a Star Wars movie-thon and watched all of the Star Wars movies. My son lasted the longest. We all waged on who would fall asleep first. The next day, we continued watching at the point where most of us fell asleep. Over the next few days, we talked about the different episodes sharing favorite scenes. 

Pajama Party: Have a pajama party in the living room. Grab the pillows, blankets and snuggies and camp out in the living room to soft music.

Spa Day: Host a spa day. Give each other a manicure or a pedicure. Let them give you a facial. It’s the best thing ever. 

Visit a theme park: My family and I have season passes for SixFlags. SixFlags has a membership option to spread payments out over time. Passholders also receive a coupon book with offers good throughout the year. Some offers allow passholders to bring a friend for free. During special times in the year, we visit SixFlags together. My younger children enjoy hanging out with their older siblings and I enjoy seeing all of us together. https://www.sixflags.com/fiestaTexas/tickets/

Visit the neighborhood park, go swimming, play a game of basketball or flag football, have a game night or a dance party.

Each family fun night listed was the idea of one of my children. See, at one point I lost sight of how fast time flies. I have two children ages 25 and 21. I missed a lot in their life working all of the time. In my second term of parenting, I vowed to value the time we have together and I did. I learned to listen to my children and make time for what’s important in all of our lives.

Family time with your child(ren) leads to positive social and emotional development. Children are able to understand more about relationship when they have something positive and meaningful to relate to. By spending time with your children, you are teaching them language, problem solving, giving them choices, allowing them to be creative and interactive in family planning. These skills will help them tremendously not only in an early childcare program, but with school readiness as well. Your child would have developed imagination skills, learned to play games with rules or conditions, and know how to follow and carry out more than one task. In short, family time seems like just playing, but there is so much more going on deep down within.

For more ideas (with and without educational content), I subscribe to various family magazines and educational websites such a Family Fun Magazine, Woo! Jr. and Education.com. Both have wonderful ideas about things you can do at home with your children.

Here are the links:

Family Fun Magazine http://www.parents.com/familyfun-magazine/

Education.com http://www.education.com/

Woo! Jr http://www.woojr.com/

I really hope you found this topic helpful.

Enjoy your Family Time,

Sophia

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