“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name… so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to… know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…” Ephesians 3:14-19
One Tuesday evening, about three years ago, my husband and I decided to try our hand at homemade pizza. We put together the ingredients and allowed our then-one-year-old daughter to choose her own toppings. We ended up with an interesting mix of banana slices and Gerber fruit snack toppings (her favorite treats at the time). We proceeded to make a tent in the living room while the pizza baked, then we ate the pizza while watching a movie under the tent. I recall exclaiming, “This is so much fun! We should do this every Tuesday night!” Thus, Family Night in the Parks family was born. Through winter and summer, good weather and bad, we have continued the beloved Family Night activities. Some activities have been simple, such as playing board games in the living room, while others have been more involved, like going ice-skating or making ice-cream from scratch.
Family Nights can be accomplished for little or no money. Finances don’t matter—the idea is that, no matter what we’re doing, and how busy our lives are, we still take the time to have fun together. The following ideas are all activities that our family has done together multiple times and really enjoys. However, all families are different, so please use this list only as a guide for inspiration, then tailor the activities to suit the tastes of your own family.
Campout. One of our all-time favorite family activities is the family campout. We spread blankets across the living room for our tent, and set up our sleeping area underneath. We’ll pull our coffee table to one end of the tent so we can keep snacks off the floor and within easy reach. We made tie-dye shirts that we now wear as our unofficial camping gear, and we usually end our night by watching a family movie together.
Park hop. When the weather’s really nice, we’ll drive around to parks we don’t normally visit, like elementary school playgrounds, then play on the equipment with our kids. This is also a great opportunity for a picnic!
Sports. Whether it’s tossing a ball back and forth, a full-fledged game of kickball, or riding a bike around the block, being physically active together is a great way to stay fit as a family. Forget about keeping score, and just encourage togetherness and physical development—your child kicking the ball and running the bases properly for the first time is reason to celebrate!
Bake. We all love to cook. We enjoy new recipes, and we have fun trying them out together. We’ll look for recipes online to make Chinese or Mexican from scratch (forget about seasoning packets – we make our own!), and we’ll try out tasty-sounding desserts, modifying the recipes so we can be more creative and make them our own way—then we enjoy tasting the recipes.
Band. My husband will pull out his old violin, I’ll sit at the piano, and our daughter will rotate between the two. We rarely practice our instruments, so the music is less than stellar, but our daughter loves every second and thinks we sound amazing, so it’s always fun! Any instruments – even a pot and a couple of spoons to make drums – can be used for this, as long as everyone is involved in some way.
Make something. We’ve painted, made pumpkin paper lanterns, created night-lights, and made lip gloss. Making something special that we can keep brings back good memories when we’re using the items!
What does your family love to do together? Leave a comment with your Family Night ideas!
By Davonne Parks