Family fun night activities at home

10 Easy family fun night activities you’ll all love!

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I love family fun time. One of the best things about having kids who are older (currently 8 and 11) is that we get to have fun together and make good memories. And we can often do so without even leaving the house, which is another bonus! We’ve found quite a few family fun night activities that we like to do together.

The best family fun night activities don’t require a lot of planning, work or clean-up. Honestly, if something takes too much work, we are less likely to do it. So, everything on this list offers minimal effort for maximum fun.

1. Play hide-and-seek with toys.

I’m not sure what else to call this, but our kids like playing hide-and-seek with toys. It started outside because we don’t have a lot of good hiding places for people in our yard. But we have also played it inside a few times. It’s sort of like an Easter Egg hunt. Someone hides a relatively small toy and the other people try to find it. Of course, when it gets tricky, the hider can give some hints or declare the finders “hot” or “cold” as they search.

If you are playing inside, I suggest you pick one room or area in which to hide the toy or the game might go on forever! When we first started playing this game, our son was 5 or 6. So, he often paired up with an adult or his big sister to both hide and find the toy. Definitely work in pairs or groups with younger kiddos to make it fun for everyone.

2. Color.

I’m nowhere near artistic, but even I enjoy coloring. Coloring is a good family fun night activity because each person can choose what he or she wants to color and find something based on their skill and comfort level. But the best part of coloring is that while you color, you can also talk. With having a tween, I love anything that lets us just relax and chat together.

Sometimes while we color, we play music for some additional fun. We pick favorite songs or even just turn something on in the background we all like. One evening, we ended up listening to classical music while we colored. I felt very cultured! My kids’ interests have varied. My husband likes to color superhero pictures with fancy markers, shading and all sorts of stuff. I like to color Barbies or princess coloring pages with crayons and give them makeup to match their dresses. Do what you like!

3. Play with your pets.

If you have a pet who loves playtime, turn playtime into a family event. This probably won’t be your entire family fun night activity, but it’s still a good one to be part of your time. Bonding over the cuteness of a pet is good.

Our family loves playing with our beloved Pixel the Pup together. Our cheeky Lhasa Apso loves playing fetch. Sometimes we make it a family event simply by all being out with him together, even if just one of us is throwing the ball for him.

4. Take a walk.

This one easily combines with the previous one if your pet is a pooch. But even without a pooch, a family walk is a nice way to connect and spend time together. A stroll around your neighborhood together is a good way to spend time with one another and get a bit of exercise in as well. If you want to take this activity away from home, you could go to a nature area near you, but neighborhood walks are just as fun. The point is less about where you are and more about who you’re with.

One of our favorite family walks happened two years ago when Pixel was a few months old and we all walked through the neighborhood and then decided to walk a couple of blocks away to get ice cream from a nearby family restaurant that has an ice cream parlor. Thanks to the pandemic, that didn’t happen last summer and this summer the restaurant is remodeling, but I have a feeling we’ll do that again sometime. It was a spontaneous and fun treat during our walk.

5. Play board games together.

What board games you play depends on your family and what you like. My husband and I love playing games, and we’ve shared that love with our kiddos. We’ve played a variety of games with them and found our family favorites tend to be cooperative games where everyone is playing together to beat the odds. One of our favorite cooperative games is HeroQuest, which is board game from when my husband was a kiddo. A new version is coming out soon. Another cooperative board game that is similar is Marvel United, which we all have fun playing as superheroes working together to defeat bad guys.

But not all games we are play are cooperative. We’ve played lots of others that have been fun like Uno (including Harry Potter Uno and Jurassic World Uno), Uno Attack, Toilet Trouble, Dragon Snacks and Trouble.

6. Watch something together.

If you’re looking for easy family fun night activities, it doesn’t get much easier than watching a movie or show together — as long as you know what to watch. Deciding and agreeing on what to watch can definitely be the most difficult part! We like finding movies and shows to watch together that we all enjoy. Don’t go for shows just the kids will like. You might as well enjoy it, too. We usually add in pizza (homemade, frozen or delivery) or popcorn. To kick it up a notch, popcorn snack night often involves some candy as well!

We subscribe to a few streaming services, so I’ve organized the list based on where we watch them, but some of them you can find other places. Don’t forget that your local library usually offers DVD rentals as well if that works better for your family.

Netflix
The Mitchells versus the Machines (movie)
Into the Spider-verse (movie)
Animal Crackers (movie)
Hotel for Dogs (movie)
Green Eggs and Ham (series)
You versus Wild (series)
Pup Academy (series)
Camp Cretaceous (series)

Amazon Prime
The Pack (series)
World’s Toughest Race (series)

YouTube TV
Battlebots (series)
Supermarket Stake Out (series)
Food Truck Road Race (series)
The Wall (series)

Disney Plus
The Mandalorian (series — best for older children)
It’s a Dog’s Life (series)

7. Do water activities at home.

Obviously this family fun night activity is weather dependent! If it is cool or rainy, this one won’t work. But for hot summer evenings (or days) you can have some fun cooling off together as a family. Get out your sprinkler and enjoy the cool water flowing over you, have a water balloon fight or spray each other with water guns. If you have smaller kids, consider getting a water mat sprinkler. (I got one for my son last summer when he was 7 and again this summer and he loves it!)

8. Let the kids be in charge.

For a few years now, one of our kids’ favorite activities is having one-on-one parent time. With two kids, my husband and I can easily switch between them. With more than two, you’ll have to get a bit creative. Basically, we set a timer for a predetermined time (usually 20-30 minutes) and each of us spends time one-on-one with a child. We switch kiddos at the end of the time. The kiddo gets to pick what we do. Now that our daughter is getting older, her one-on-one time is usually less about playing and more about something she’s interested in that she talks to us about or shares with us.

Then other times, we switch this up to have time as a family and let each child pick what activity the entire family does. We do the same thing with setting a timer for 20-30 minutes and let them each be in charge during that time. The rules are the child deciding the activity needs to pick something we can all do, and the other child needs to participate as well.

9. Play non-board games.

We really do love playing games, so it is fitting games are on the list twice. But outside of board games, there are other games great for a family fun night activity. A long-time favorite of our kiddos is charades. You can get a charades game where you pull out a card with choices, use a free online generator or let your family pick on their own. We have played all three ways. Usually we have at least a few that the kids pick on their own. Our only rule is it has to be something we all know and can’t be a made-up creation. One of my favorites was when my son was a newspaper lying on a porch!

You can play charades with teams, timers and scores, but we play it all together. We don’t keep track of time or scores. We also just go in an order so each person gets the same amount of turns. One time we tried playing where the person with the correct guess went next, but that doesn’t work out so well for some kiddos’ sense of justice. (Trust me on this!)

Another non-board game we recently tried and liked was alphabet story-telling together. One person begins telling a story with a sentence that starts with the letter “A.” That person says a couple of sentences and the next person continues the story with a sentence that starts with “B.” The story goes that way through the entire alphabet. I think we laughed more playing this game than any other in recent memory!

Finally, video games can be good for your family as well. If you all play video games and can do so together at the same time, then go for it. For my family, video games means that one person has the controller and we all have input. Our recent favorite was playing Monopoly together on the Xbox. My husband ran the controller and we played against computer characters. Our whole family was strategizing together, celebrating together and moaning together. We spent a few evenings playing one game, and it was so fun. When our character won the game, we had a living room dance party.

10. Serve up special treats.

Of everything on the list, this one takes the most planning just because you have to have ingredients. Having a special treat can make any family fun night seem all that more special. We have roasted s’mores in the fireplace (and over our indoors s’mores maker), popped popcorn in the popcorn maker (instead of the microwave) and had an ice cream sundae bar with a variety of toppings.

Other fun food we’ve had before is a variety of appetizers or an array of finger foods like crackers, cheeses, fruit, veggies and dips. We tried fondue with the kiddos once making a mild cheddar cheese dip, but neither of them liked it. But if your kiddos are into fondue, that’s another fun, special treat option as well.

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