18 Ideas for Family Fun Night That Won’t Break the Bank

18 Ideas for Family Fun Night

The other day I gave you 15 Date Night Ideas That Don’t Break the Bank, and since it went over so well, I got to thinking… we need some ideas for family fun night too! Now I know that some of you don’t have children, but you might be able to grab a few of these ideas for when friends come over, or enjoy a few with your husband. At least the ones that are age appropriate for you! 😉

My kids are all in their teens now, so some of these ideas might be a little mature for your family, but I’ll try to give you a good mix.

I like to think that we’re a fun family. But let me tell you, I can’t take credit for this. My 22-year-old is a blast. He comes over about five nights/week and hangs out with us. I also have a 12, 14, and 16 year old that absolutely LOVE hanging out with him. He’s always making us laugh until our bellies hurt and comes up with the craziest ideas for fun.

Here are eighteen of them:

1. Funny Videos. Get an HDMI cord at Walmart if you don’t have one. This way you can hook up your computer to the TV so everyone can see it. We like to watch funny youtube videos. Brendan will get a bunch of them together for us. He’ll sit down in the livingroom without warning and just start playing them.

2. Have a Jam Session. Everyone in my family is a musician, except me. I’m a singer. Before we set up a music area in the basement, we used to  push the livingroom furniture aside, set up the drums, the amps, the keyboard, and get the guitars out. Madison plays the cello and the violin which is an extra special touch! Nathaniel is the youngest and the least experienced, but he tries the drums and he’s coming along. I’ve seen some cute videos where a group of people all sit down and play children’s toys. That looks like a lot of fun, it’s a cute idea if your kids are young too.

3. Watch the cringiest movie you can find. This is more for the older kids. The ones who have seen all of the great movies already. Brendan rarely puts on a good movie for us to watch. He’ll put on the worst movie he can find. At Christmas time we got together to watch a movie. I was expecting Home Alone or a classic like that, but we landed up watching Santa Clause vs. the Martians. And on New Years Eve? We watched the ball drop in Times Square, marking the year 2,000. It was horrible, great fun. We won’t soon forget those nights.

4. Go Skating. My kids love it. We used to go skating on Sunday afternoons. Haven’t done it for a while, but just tonight, my kids were saying, “Yes–let’s do that right now!” We actually didn’t, but will probably go again soon.

5. Serve people in need. Cook a meal together for a family who’s going through a tough time or help out at a soup kitchen. When we sent food to our friends, my daughter insisted that we make them the best meal we could, and so we spent the evening making perogies together. It was a lot of fun to cook and to bless others in the process!

6. Roller Skating. People still do this! This past week I’ve seen a few photos online of my friends at roller skating rinks. I didn’t know they were still around. Fun! I looked into the prices out here because I figured this would be too pricey for families, but here’s the thing: look for the specials. For example, we have Toonie Tuesdays (that’s 2 dollars for you non Canadians out there). Skate rentals are an extra $3.50, but you can bring your own roller blades if you have them. It’s worth checking into. 🙂

7. Play a board game. Keep your eyes open at garage sales and thrift stores. Some readers have mentioned that they see games there a lot, but you have to check the box for missing pieces. When you have kids of all ages, choosing a game that everyone will like can be a challenge. Brendan’s 22 and Nathaniel is 12, so four years ago they were at very different levels when it came to playing games. Our solution has been that we often play in teams of two. An older person teams up with a younger person for games like Trivial Pursuit. That’s a difficult game even for someone my age, but they absolutely LOVE it because they feel grown up and enjoy the interaction with a partner. And besides that game playing is all about the chips and dip isn’t it? They’ve come to love games like Settlers of Catan. We play younger games too, but for some reason they’ve been drawn to the ones for older kids.

8. Play a game on the iPhone or iPad like Catch Phrase. My kids started playing this the other day and I wanted in on it. So last night we played catch phrase for about an hour. Graham got the app on his iphone and he passes it around to us when it’s our turn. With that game, you have to describe the phrase without using a word from the phrase. It’s a lot of fun!  You can also get games like The Family Fued, which is another favorite of ours.

9. Pick up a few small prizes and play bingo. Years ago we used to play Bingo all the time. The kids enjoyed it a lot.  My husband would pick up a few treats from the store and hand them out as prizes. We have an old woman friend who’s a grandma. She collects McDonalds toys and small things like that all year round. Every year she celebrates her birthday by playing Bingo with the grandkids. My kids have been invited to a few of her parties and they love her! She has a table set up with all kind of prizes and the kids get to choose when they win. Sweetest woman ever.

10. Camp out in the backyard. Brendan took an extension cord out to the tent so that he and the boys could watch a movie on his laptop before falling asleep. They had a blast out there. In the winter time, the kids set up a tent in our basement and hung white lights around it to create a starry night.

11. Have a campfire. A campfire is ALWAYS my favorite thing to do in the summer. Pick up some wieners and marshmallows for an extra special treat. We’ve combined this with #10 in the past. We start with a backyard fire and then the boys sleep in the tent while Michael and I sleep in the house. Wait–why am I sleeping in the house? I’m typing this and realizing that I’ve missed out on fun. That’s it–I’m staying out in the yard with the kids this summer. 😉

12. Go out for french fries. This is one of their favorite things to do. Just last night Nathaniel mentioned how he wants to go out for fries again this summer. I always wait until it’s dark and then we get into the car, put on some awesome tunes and drive about 15 minutes away to this place that has the best homemade fries. We sing in the car, tell jokes, and laugh. I wouldn’t change it for a steak dinner at the best restaurant in town. If my kids remember anything about their youth, it will probably be the summer night drives that we take. Of course you don’t have to have french fries–I’m sure an ice cream would do!

13. Watch some fireworks. Where I live, we have fireworks often. Community clubs have them with their summer carnivals, and our city puts them on a few times a year. You can see them from far, and some people watch from across the river, but Michael likes to take us right up close so we’re almost under them. I appreciate the extra effort he takes to get us there early. It’s so much fun!

14. Join in church activities. When I was growing up, I loved going to Sunday night services with my parents. Going to church is a great thing to do together, whether you’re attending a regular service or participating in a family fun night.

15. Serve grandma and grandpa a dinner. Plan to have a beautiful dinner for a couple like grandma and grandpa. Assign someone to take their coats, another to pour the drinks, a waitress to deliver their meals… you can have a lot of fun with this idea! The kids will enjoy making it special.

16. Bible charades. Growing up we had Bible charades all the time. Write down things from the Bible that you have to act out and take turns drawing suggestions from a hat. You and your husband both have to write down suggestions so you don’t know which ones that your team is drawing and vice versa.

17. Go for a walk or a bike ride. My kids love cycling through the riverbanks with us. We call the paths monkey trails. The trails are also great for walking through when the mosquitoes aren’t out. Someone out here has carved interesting faces into the trees, which makes for a beautiful nature walk. While you might not have the same trails that we do, there’s always someplace where you can walk.

18. Go on a picnic. When my kids were younger they wanted to have a picnic all of the time. I’d often put a blanket outside in the backyard and we’d eat there. Now that they’re grown up a bit, they still love to go on picnics. My husband and I have a favorite little park that we like to take them too. You have to cross a small bridge to get to it, which is the very spot where Michael and I had our fist kiss. It will always be our special place, even 26 years, four kids, and two dogs later.

I hope you enjoyed these simple ideas. If you have an idea that I haven’t shared here, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht


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