Wanting to make memories and build connection as a family? Try these family fun night ideas you can do at home or out and about – there’s one idea for each week of the year!
My kids might be grown now, but one of my treasured memories from when they were younger was family fun night.
I was a single mom on a low income but every Saturday night we would watch the Colgate Saturday Feature, which would be a family movie played on one of New Zealand’s free-to-air tv channels.
TVs were big but portable and I would lug mine up the stairs and put on the wooden laundry hamper. Then the kids and I would snuggle in bed with potato chips or popcorn and watch whatever was on.
I loved connecting with them in this way.
While the world may be a little more sophisticated since those days, spending time as a family is still so important.
These family fun night ideas are designed to get the whole family involved and are suitable for a variety of ages – some better for younger children and others better for families with teens.
Not only will they create a fun, engaging experience right now, but they’ll also create memories that you’ll look back on with fondness in years to come.
You might also like: Mother daughter date ideas for you and your teen.
Family fun night ideas at home
Family fun night at home tonight? There’s 25 ideas here for you to choose from.
- Backyard camping. Your backyard can become a magical place with a simple addition of a tent. Set up your own backyard campsite and snuggle in for the night
- Backyard games: Put the lights on in the backyard and try old school games like kubb and cornhole
- Backyard movie night: While you’re at it, why not catch up with a movie or two? You can set up your own backyard movie night with an inflatable screen and an impressive sound system to rival your local drive through – or not – depending on the proximity of the neighbors! Check out backyard movie night ideas for the best equipment and accessories
- Bird feeder: One of the fun things about making a bird feeder is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Once you have your bird feeder hung up in your favorite tree, you can spend many a happy hour as a family watching the birds (and learning to identify them) that come to land on it to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Just ensure to clean it regularly to keep the birds healthy
- Cook off: Even super young children can make fun things in the kitchen. You can create a challenge focused on a theme or on using a particular ingredient or color. Another version of the cook off is for each member of the family to create a dish for each stage or part of the evening meal
- Create a family cook book. Every family has special family meals. My son still jokes about the yellow meals that were common in the same era as the movie nights mentioned above. These are when I would cook frozen corn, shoestring fries, and chicken nuggets. Write down all your family favorites and then craft your own family recipe book. There are even websites that you can use like to create a physical copy to treasure
- DIY Pizza night: Every family member can create their own pizza in this fun family activity. You can choose to go all out and make it from scratch or simply experiment with your favorite toppings. Grab some ideas at DIY pizza night
- Family date box: If you’re short on ideas and want something fun and original then why not try a family date box? Many “date night in” boxes work for families. You simply need to check the contents and activities to make sure there are sufficient supplies for all family members and also that they are appropriate. I recommend Night in boxes.
- Family time capsule: Another option for family date night is to create a family time capsule. each member of the family can contribute an item to the time capsule. It should be something that represents the state of your family right now. Check out this time capsule that will last longer than you will!
- Formal night: Get out your formal clothes and do your hair and makeup. Set the table as fancy as your dinnerware allows! Make place cards, use candles and play classical music, while enjoying a gourmet meal (hopefully delivered!).
- Game night: It’s an oldie and a goodie. Grab all your favorite family games and settle in for a fun time. You can tally up the points of each game’s winner and see who is the overall grand champion
- Garden: Well not gardening per se as it is family fun night. Rather, research vegetables that you’d like to grow in your garden and various facts about them such as time to harvest. Then make a list of what to buy so you can create your own family vege patch
- Home video night: All those videos you made and never sat down to watch? Well now is the time! Snuggle up in some blankets and take a trip down memory lane by watching the video of all those special family events
- Interview the parents: Many children have the belief their parents did not have a life before they were born. Your “past life” can become be quite a source of fascination. Get the kids to ask you these questions to ask married couples about their relationship so they can get all the deets on your marriage (or swap it around with these 100 would you rather questions for teens or 150 questions for teens).
- Murder mystery box: This is a great family fun night activity if you have older children. In this game, you’re the detectives. You get all the evidence, and you go at your own pace to figure out who the killer is. Check out Hunt a killer here.
- Make something: Those that make together stay together or at least that’s what I think it says! Consider creating something as a family. This could be anything from a cake to restoring furniture
- Mocktail contest: Test out your drink making skills with a mocktail contest. Select your chosen recipe from these easy summer mocktails and see who’s got what it takes
- Photo album night: Along the same lines as home video night, photo album night gives you the opportunity to look back on your lives as a family together. Grab those photo albums stretching as far back as you can and enjoy talking through the stories of each photo
- Plan a vacation: As well as looking at the past, it can be even more fun to look at the future – in this instance by planning a family vacation together. Where would you like to go? What would you like to do? How long would you like to stay? What would be the one “bucket list” item for each family member? How could this trip be made possible?
- Play hide and seek. Select one member to be the seeker while the others see how good a hiding space they can find. If your children are old enough for it to be safe, you can play outside
- Puzzle time: Puzzle time is a family fun night activity that can work for all ages. All you need to do is vary the difficulty of the puzzle based on the age of your children. Start off as simple as a 100 or 200 piece, and get all the way up to 5,000 or 10,000 pieces. Just don’t expect to finish those ones in one night!
- Round the world: How about a family fun night that goes around the world? Consider movies from other cultures, trivia, food… Select a variety of countries and then choose one thing from each as you journey around the world
- Slumber party: Take family bonding to the next level with a slumber party. Grab all your sleeping bags, matching pjs, and set up your beds in the living room. Watch some movies together and stay up till midnight for a midnight feast
- S’mores taste testing: How about creating a signature family s’more? Work your way through these s’mores recipes and to see which one you all can agree upon will be your new family favorite
- Story time: telling stories is a practice that has existed for thousands of years across thousands of civilizations. Enjoy this time-honored tradition by taking turns telling a story to the rest of the family
- Vision board: What’s your vision for where you’d like the family to be in five years time ?What about your husbands vision? Your children’s vision? Grab a large board, some magazines, scissors, and glue and spend time creating a vision board full of dreams that you’d like to make reality as a family (these tips on making a couple’s vision board are easily transferable to a family scenario).
- Yoga nidra: Yoga nidra is an incredible practice for relaxing the body and the mind while staying focused. Everyone in the family should get comfortable on a yoga mat with their eyes closed and then follow one of the many good yoga nidra videos available on YouTube. Don’t be surprised if one of you starts snoring.
You might also like: 50 at home family activities to do with teens.
Inexpensive family night ideas
If you’re wanting an expensive yet fun family night ideas, check these out.
- Art exhibition: Broaden your horizons with a trip to your local art gallery
- Bonfire time: Go down to the beach, light a bonfire and roast marshmallows
- Free concert: Have a look on your community Facebook page or other sources such as your local newspaper to see what free concerts are available to attend in your neighborhood. Even if it’s not something you’d normally listen to, consider it an opportunity to broaden your horizons
- Ice cream: There’s nothing nicer than grabbing an ice cream on a warm summer’s evening and taking your time to enjoy it
- Library visit: Head to the library and get out a book for yourself and for one other member of the family that you think they’ll enjoy. When you get home, you can all sit in the living room together and read
- Night picnic: Picnics aren’t just for long summer days – they’re also fun things to do at night. Assemble a picnic basket full of your favorite family treats and heat down to your local park or other appropriate picnic area to enjoy a feast under the stars
- Night walk: There’s something about taking a stroll at night time which makes a walk more intimate and cozier. Wrap yourselves up warm and see where your feet take you
- Photo scavenger hunt: Carry out a photo scavenger hunt in teams. Armed with a list of mutually agreed upon items to locate, each team should head out to see who can be the first is to find all the items and take photographic evidence. Consider things such as people wearing particular objects, street signs with particular words, items in stores or anything you can think of. Make sure you have a good prize for the winner
- Star gazing: Go your to local observatory and experience the skies in a way you never have before
- Volunteer: The act of volunteering can never fail to fill your heart with gratitude for what you have. Gratitude is so important to well-being and as such is a wonderful quality to cultivate as a family. Consider how you as a family can volunteer to make a life or space a little better and brighter.
Family fun night ideas out of the house
These family fun night ideas out of the house make a fun way to spend an evening.
- Amusement park: The amusement park at night would have to be near the top of family fun night ideas
- Arcade night: head to your local arcade to see who’s the next pinball wizard
- Bowling: get the competitive spirit going with a trip down to your local 10 pin bowling alley
- Dine out: Switch it up by letting one member of the family choose the restaurant and order for everyone else
- Dine out on dessert: Depending on the age of your children eating out can be more stress than fun. Keep the evening tight by going out for dessert only
- Escape room: Work together as a family to break free from an escape room within a set period of time
- Haunted attraction. Depending on the time of year, a haunted attraction (check out these in California, Illinois and Texas) can be a frighteningly fun family date night
- King or Queen for the night: For this family fun night activity, one person gets to be the king or queen for the day. This means that whatever they say goes- from decisions about what to do and who gets to do it. Just make sure you have some way of ensuring that everyone gets a turn
- Late night at the zoo. Head to your local zoo at twilight and enjoy
- Mini golf. Head to your indoor mini golf course for a round. Consider a handicap for the more seasoned players
- Movie night: Enjoy a night at an actual movie theatre
- Night swimming: One activity I loved as a teen was to go down to the hot water salt pools in the evening. The mist from the heated water and the darkness added to the atmosphere – plus it was a great way to relax
- Sign up for a workshop: Select something you can all participate in. Challenge each other to try new things
- Sports game: Enjoy watching your favorite sports team. Add to the occasion by wearing team colors
- Theatre. Dress up and experience a night to remember.
As they say, when you have a family the days are long but the years are short. Before you know it, you’ll be an empty nester, thinking back with fondness on all those happy family memories you created with these family fun night ideas.
You might also like: Mother-son date ideas for you and your teen.