Mondays are a blur. On Tuesday nights, there’s something I always forget about until the last minute.
There are drama rehearsals on Wednesday night for the bigger kid, another class for the little kid on Thursday, but Friday — Friday is ours. The week is long, and there never seem to be enough hours in the day when everyone in the family isn’t spread thin. Friday nights are truly the beginning of the weekend and a great opportunity to wind down and reconnect with the crew. Spending time together strengthens the family bond and creates memories that last a lifetime.
Slow down a bit and make the most of a fun family Friday night by turning off all cellphones, tablets, and the television.
Here are 11 ideas for fun family Friday activities that all ages in your household will enjoy.
1. Let the Children Host
In a Freaky Friday-style turn of events, let the kids be the hosts for the night. They get to flex a little leadership muscle, and you get to learn a little bit more about what your kids value and prefer to do when there’s no pressure on them.
2. Have Some Healthy Competition
Put on a talent show competition, have a race, or pull out a board game. Decide in advance what the winner gets to up the stakes. Around my house, the most popular award is “skip-a-chore day.”
3. Go Bowling
Surprisingly, bowling is an activity that even the smaller kids can get into. Call around your local bowling alleys to find out which ones offer bumpers, youth-sized bowling balls, and other accommodations for little ones.
4. Pick Up The Video Game Controller
With the help of gaming consoles like Nintendo Switch, the television can become an active experience. Its versatility means you can go from the one- to two-player portable playing mode to hooking the device up to your TV and adding in the wireless controllers for up to four players. Best of all, the games are suitable and fun for the whole family so everyone can get off the couch and break a little sweat.
5. Make Homemade Play Dough
I couldn’t believe how easy and fun this one was, even for the adults! This recipe from I Heart Naptime calls for just four ingredients you can find in your cabinet, plus water and optional food coloring. We opted for flavored drink mix powder for the kids’ batch and essential oils for the adults.
6. Cook a Fun Meal Together
Pizza is always a winner. Why not make it together? These pizza recipes are so easy and customizable that each family member can put their own spin on it. Switch out the yeast ingredients for ready-made whole wheat or gluten-free dough, or add grilled veggies and various meats to make it your own.
7. Get Back to Nature
No matter the season, the outside is calling. Sometimes some unstructured time outside is called for to get the whole family back in touch with the earth. Go on a family mission to discover something, anything, and talk with your kids about what they find.
8. Visit a Record Store
When my preteen discovered a foreign object, also known as a broken CD, while cleaning out our coat closet, I had a lot of explaining to do. If you’re lucky enough to still have a local record store, plan a Friday family trip there. There’s a lot to learn and experience in a bookstore about music and the history of musical technology. Or you can use it as an opportunity to convince your kids that your music choices are cool.
9. Drive Around Town
My fondest memories with my family were driving around and discovering the neighborhoods and sights in our town. Now that there’s the internet, parents have a real opportunity to not only show their kids these sights but to plan them ahead of time with a quick Google search. Find out where the oldest homes are or where the local landmarks are and map them out. Bonus: Late-night car rides usually end with sleeping children.
10. Turn the House Into a Fort
When you’re a kid, blankets do such magical things, like turn into entire fortresses and hiding spaces. Tune back into that magic and build forts as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Invent a kingdom complete with titles for everyone in the family, or keep it simple and camp out in the living room, reading books or telling stories.
11. Create Some Family Portraits
If you’ve ever wondered how your kids or your partner see you, you’ll love this activity. Have each family member spend time drawing portraits of each other. This artsy activity gives each person in the family the opportunity to see themselves through each others’ eyes. It’s not a contest but rather a moment where everyone truly has to stop and pay attention to one another. Plus, you’re left with some adorable, funny, or cool art to hang up.