Making the Most Out of Family Nights!

TGIF!  The enthusiastic, celebratory message that offers time at home with the family!  And, of course, well-wishers state the expression to family, friends, and colleagues. What makes Friday so enjoyable is the time spent with loved ones.  For families, TGIF may be what defines togetherness, laughing, great food, and games!  Beyond creating handmade tickets for movie night, which includes popcorn and a vegetable tray, and dip with chips, each Friday evening consists of new activities and, perhaps, new movie characters!


Most families have a large container filled with a variety of Lego bricks. Without an instruction book to guide your fun, consider engaging the family in a night of original games, such as:

  • Determining who can build the tallest, stable tower, and add time restraints such as a one-minute limitation.
  • Erecting an animal that has legs, using more than 40 pieces.
  • Replicating a creation first constructed by Dad and Mom.
  • Reinventing the game of Pictionary to build pictures instead of drawing.

Resourceful Race Car and Run

Spirit, creativity, and quickly collecting items within the home can aid teams or individuals to build the ultimate race car!  Rather than limit the number of pieces, consider the rules in advance.  For instance, can teams use toy pieces, such as wheels or Legos?  A ramp, on the other hand, may not be necessary.  Consider using the hallway or a room with hardwood flooring to conduct races.

Board Games

Some board games go beyond the roll of dice and moving a pawn.  In the following interactive games, everyone in the family must use strategy and skill to win!

  • “Debate Masters”: The Game of Sticky Situations: After choosing a card, flip a coin to decide which topic you will debate.  Consider playing in teams!
  • “Spot It”: Up to eight players can play the memory game using cards.  Interactive and fast-paced, players must spot similarities between symbols to attain points.
  • “Catan”: Four players arrive at an uncharted island of mountains and hills, forests and pastures.  Through bartering and trading, they must collect a variety of resources; each participant’s goal is to build roads and settlements that will hopefully become cities.  Cleverness and strategy can boost the champion to reach 10 points and win the game!  Check out the Jr. version!
  • “Telestrations!”: With an erasable sketchbook, marker, and word card for each player, a roll of the die determines each player’s secret word.  After 60 seconds, participants pass their sketchbooks to the left.  The game offers each person the chance to guess what they see before the owner reveals their word. Expect unpredictable outcomes!
  • “Code Names”: Add a spy-based theme to a word game with a dash of deductive reasoning, and four to six people can play “Code Names.” Each team will need a spymaster to aid the team in secretly linking one to two words together.  The team that can identify all of their words wins.


Need a night out?  Consider planning a special outing outside the home.

  • With tents and chairs, a campfire, a small Dutch oven, and a few ingredients, families can make an evening of roasting corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, or kabobs in the fire or cast-iron pan. Why not make a cobbler, with hot cocoa for dessert!  Spending the night outdoors is optional, of course!
  • Look into the opportunities around your community and plan to invest time to help a worthy cause. Contact your church or child’s school to see how your family can help others have a great evening!
  • Why not an outdoor game of capture the flag! You’ll need at least six people and two pieces of different colored fabric for flags. The goal is for each team to devise a strategy to capture the opposing team’s flag.
  • Find a “Pick-Your-Own” farm to enjoy homegrown vegetables, fruits, or flowers.

No matter what the size of your family, whether it is two or seven members, there is a wide range of exciting activities for every Friday of the year.  Invite the grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, and make evenings in the fall, winter, spring, and summer a great time to enjoy and fondly remember!


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