Yay--it's family fun night! But, are you all dressed up with no place to go? If you are in need of some fresh ideas for your night out on the town, look no further. The following 10 suggestions can be adapted to families of any size, with kids of any age. Best of all, they can be done on a tight budget!
1. Board Games
As the weather turns cooler and the days are shorter, board games are a great old-fashioned way to gather the family indoors for some fun. Break out the Monopoly board, try a game of Life, or improve your vocabulary with Scrabble.
Bowling is another great way to get the family together, no matter the weather. It's also a great way to get everyone active and moving.
Roller skating or ice skating--doesn't matter which you choose, as long as everyone has fun! This is another great activity that gives everyone a good workout. Many local rinks offer "family nights" or give out coupons that make this a really affordable outing.
4. Night at the Museum
Many local museums offer free nights, when they stay open later than usual and offer special activities for families. This is a great way to get acquainted with museums. It's also a great way to learn new things together as a family.
5. Free Outdoor Concerts
Check your local community calendar for concerts, given at parks or other facilities. Often you will hear anything from reggae to jazz to classical music. Bring a picnic and some folding chairs, and you are all set!
6. Dance Party
This one is so easy to do--break out your CDs or even your cassette tapes and records from back in the day. Turn up the volume and everyone dances in the living room!
7. Movie Night
It's so easy to get a cheap or free DVD these days: Redbox, Netflix, and your local public library are just a few of the places that have the latest flicks at a vastly reduced price. Check out an old-school family favorite, pop some popcorn, and curl up on the couch for a night of movie fun!
8. Dining around the World
Mealtime can be made fun and educational if the whole family chooses to explore a new culture. Select a country to focus on, research their local cuisine, and then have an International Dinner Night. Everyone can chip in with decorations, food prep, and clean up. A great way to make meals a learning experience for everyone.
9. Craft Night
This one is especially useful at holiday time. Use the evening to make crafts, cards, or gifts for an upcoming holiday season. Around Christmas, a cookie baking and decorating party is fun; at Valentine's Day, homemade valentines are a winner.
10. Star Gazing
On a nice, clear night, go outside and look up at the stars. Talk about the constellations, encourage your kids to try and trace patterns with the stars in the sky. Break out the telescope if you have one; if not, simply lay on the grass and look up at the stars together.
Family fun night doesn't need to be elaborate or expensive to be fun! The most important thing is to make it a special time to reconnect with family.______________________________
Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.