728 x 90

Four Cheap Ideas for Family Night

Four Cheap Ideas for Family Night

One podcaster I listen to frequently likes to emphasize that, just as authors write stories, we write stories with our lives, and parents write stories for their kids.

But in an age where the average family spends less than an hour of quality time together each day, are parents creating the memories that serve as those foundational stories for their kids?

Of course, inflation may make an extra family trip or pricey day out too expensive, but there are plenty of cheap or free ways we can bring the whole family together for a few more hours each week. Here are four ways to get started.

1. Board and Card Games

This one is not very revolutionary, but it needs a place on the list. Board and card games have been a staple in my house for years. Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and (if you can make it to the end) Monopoly are some wonderful family-friendly options. A single deck of cards, too, can facilitate a wide array of card games (Scum is one of my family’s favorites).

And if you’re tired of the same old games, pay a visit to your local library! Some library systems have begun to stock board and card games as part of their standard checkout items, meaning you can experiment with new games without the hefty price tag!

2. Dollar Tree Challenge

For an activity that both facilitates family time and encourages a spirit of giving, try spending a night at your local Dollar Tree or Dollar General. Each kid receives both a dollar and the name of another family member (preferably drawn randomly), and the kids go through the store looking for something the other person might like.

Little kids, especially, would enjoy this: There’s a unique delight to navigating stores with a secret bundle beneath your arm, and receiving gifts—no matter how small—is always a treat.

3. Library Challenge

For a fun (and free!) twist on the Dollar Tree challenge, visit a local library and have each family member pick one of their top books for another family member to enjoy.

This activity serves a double purpose: First, each parent or child will have to consciously put themselves in another person’s shoes (“What would this family member enjoy reading?”), reinforcing the spirit of gift-giving. Beyond that, it gives parents and kids the opportunity to talk about the books they like (“I enjoy this book because… and I think so-and-so would enjoy it because…”). At least in my experience, even inter-family reading habits can be quite diverse, and reading someone else’s favorite book can give further opportunities for conversation and family bonding.

4. Minute-to-Win-Its

One of my family’s favorite yearly traditions is Minute-to-Win-It games: short activities that require us to do abnormal things in the space of a minute or less. Once, for example, we tried transferring mini marshmallows between two bowls to another using only a pair of chopsticks (the winner was the one who got the most moved in a minute); another time, we held a popsicle stick with our teeth and tried to see how many dice we could stack at the popsicle’s end within a minute.

The charm of Minute-to-Win-Its is that they can often be done using standard household items (meaning they’re cheap), and they usually involve ridiculous tasks (meaning they’re pretty hilarious). Often, they make for some fun family competition.

Of course, the focus of these games is not only to have fun but to also facilitate family bonding. Each of these activities builds memories for the children, and they allow families to spend time together creating their own stories.

Image credit: Pexels

1 comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

1 Comment

Posts Carousel

Latest Posts

Frequent Contributors