When Friday rolls around, every family is ready for the weekend. But just because your nights of partying and bar-hopping may be over doesn’t mean your family can’t party all night long (or at least until bedtime). Start a new family tradition that makes Friday nights the best part of the week. From game nights to awesome family activities, here are 15 sweet ideas to make traditions in your home starting now.
1. Have a family Top Chef competition
Make dinner a fun event by having each family member create a dish, or team up to make different dishes. There are tons of easy recipes that even the youngest chef can make (with a little help from a sibling or parent). Three-ingredient recipes such as grilled cheese roll-ups and PB&B quesadillas are simple and delicious choices for mealtime.
2. Build a fort
There’s so much more to building a fort than pillows and blankets in the family room. Creating a rad reading nook, cardboard castle or a cozy spot is a great Friday night activity. If you need some fort-building inspiration, here are 20 epic indoor forts you’ll want to live in.
3. Have a reading night
Reading is always a great family activity. Instead of movie night, cozy up on the couch with blankets and books. Whether every family member has their own book or you’re reading a novel together as a family, there are tons of great reading choices. Any of these classic kids’ books are a great choice and we’ve got 100 books to read before your kiddo turns 12.
photo: Erica’s Sweet Tooth
4. Make homemade popcorn
Kick up your snack game by making fun and delicious homemade popcorn. Keep it simple by popping kernels on the stove, or jazz up a bag of microwave popcorn with sprinkles and spices. How about taco-spiced flavor or cookies and cream popcorn?
5. Camp out at home
Camping isn’t just about pitching a tent in the wilderness. Change up Friday night by having family camping in the living room, or pitch a tent in the backyard. These camping activities will give your family a ton of wilderness inspiration without leaving home.
6. Create a comic strip
Encourage your little ones to share their creative storytelling in the form of a comic book. Encourage your little writers to use words, while the preschool-aged kids can create a comic strip with drawings. Parents can get in on the creativity by creating a comic strip too. This fun and simple DIY comic strip tutorial will help you get started. Make this a monthly tradition so you create a new story strip each month.
7. Start a family band
Rock out as a family in your own Friday night concert. You don’t even need to own a piano or guitar. Your kids can start by creating any of these handmade instruments that actually play music. Then, get your smartphone or tablet ready for concert time. There are many music-making apps that will record the sounds from your family ensemble. Before you know it, this family tradition may turn into a YouTube gig!
8. Cuddles & a Movie
Unwind from your busy week with some authorized screen time. Make sure to make it a cozy situation with plenty of blankies and rotate show or movie picks. Or get super creative and go drive-in style. Here’s our list of the latest kid’s stuff to hit Netflix.
photo: laterjay via pixabay
9. Cook dinner together
Most nights of the week you are rushing to get dinner on the table before the bedtime routine. While you don’t have to push bedtime back, you can make a few advance preparations during the week to make sure you can pull off a meal together. Here are a few tips to get young kids in on the meal prep.
photo: candoyi via pixabay
10. Take a stroll
An after-dinner stroll might not sound like much of an event but the act of being together, even if you are only walking around the block, can be extremely bonding for children (and super fun for you!). To make it a little more adventurous, try a simple I-Spy or spotting walk. You can also have each member of the family silently observe something on the walk. When you get home, take turns sharing your observation. Plus you get a chance to get a few steps in to start your weekend off on the right foot!
11. Family game night
Teach the kids a new card game or play an old favorite. It doesn’t matter if it’s Gin Rummy or Candy Land, as long as everyone in the family participates. Draw straws to see who picks the first Friday night game and take turns picking a game that everyone will love. And don’t forget Charades! It’s the easiest form of low-fi entertainment around.
photo: LiviuCostache via pixabay
12. Friday night scavenger hunt
Stage an elaborate scavenger hunt before bedtime with little more than a pen and paper. Just write out the clues (each one a hint of the location of the next clue) and make sure the kiddos are distracted while you hide them around. Number the clues in case one is found “accidentally” too early. Hide something simple at the end, like a treat or even just an IOU for a Saturday afternoon playground run.
photo: In the Playroom
13. Artistic Happy Hour
Set aside a little time tonight to create something together. It could be clay sculpting or homemade play-doh or you could try and recreate Vincent van Gogh’s masterpiece Starry Night. Try drawing an outline of a scene or an object in black (or have older siblings do this) and then let the kids color in the original creation. Tell a story in crayons. Get crazy!
14. Songwriter’s circle
Being creative comes in many forms and making music is one of our favorites. Make up a goofy song about your week, your day or the meal you are making and take turns having each family member add a lyric. Not inclined to write a song? Create a handmade instrument to shake it up all weekend long. And of course, when in doubt, crank up a playlist and just dance.
photo: ND Strupler via flickr
15. Get lit
Make it an evening fit for the coolest literati by setting up a writing session. You can read a story from one of your favorite books, or try your hand at writing a haiku. We love these poetry mad libs for getting the kids in on the verse without fuss. Stage a poetry reading after to share what everyone has written.
What is your favorite Friday night tradition? Tell us your ideas in a comment below.
—Leah Singer with Amber Guetebier
featured image by Pexels via flickr