Family Play Night Ideas

Family Play Night Ideas

Young family is playing board-game

I’ve tried really hard to stick to the family goals I created last month and was met with mixed success. One of my goals was to create a family game night to bring my family together and create memories. Surprisingly, game night has been one of the toughest goals to implement in the way I had imagined. Most board games have a clear-cut winner, and my kids are still working on learning how to lose gracefully. And after the school day, it’s difficult for my kids to sit still and wait their turn. I’ve found a mixed play approach, in which we combine physical activity with games, has yielded more family fun and less “are we done?” comments. So we’re renaming Family Game Night in our house to Family Play Night. Here’s what’s worked well for us so far:


1. Lights Out

We’ve had tremendous success turning the lights out and letting the kids get creative with glow sticks. They have great deals on glow sticks in the dollar sections of discount stores and my kids have loved making hats, faces, having sword battles, etc. We also bought a game that projects “ghosts” on the wall and they fire at them using a red laser dot. Great for redirecting their energy when they start to fight with each other!


2. Twister

Mastering right from left? Check. Making silly poses? Check. Burning off before-bed energy? Check. My kids would play this every night if they could. We try to save this one for weekends as it tends to wind them up instead of calming them down.


3. Puzzles

Puzzles are the equivalent of mental yoga for my kids. Something about concentrating on the pieces seems to calm and center them. We usually have two puzzles going at once so each kid has one appropriate for their skill level.


4. Building Creations

My boys love to build with imagination. Legos, blocks, Magna-Tiles —if you can stack it they’ll come up with an idea. Currently, my four year old’s favorite evening game with daddy is building a “garage” together out of Lincoln Logs and filling it with vehicles from the train set.


5. Sorry!

For some reason, Sorry! has been a big hit with my kids. We make it silly by making funny noises when we land on each other’s spaces or some one gets sent back to the start. Although someone always wins first, the silliness factor seems to lessen the usual “I wanted to win!” whine.


6. Dance Party

On nights when the energy level is high but the hour is getting late my husband and I YouTube some videos on our phones and let the dance party begin! Usually after dancing their way through two or three songs they start to peter out and we can move on to bedtime books.


What games to do play with your kids? Tell us in the comments.


By Robin Saks Frankel 


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