Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Family Fun Night ideas

The Christmastime classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was on last night; it’s one of Sean’s favorites so I thought that would make an excellent Totally Terrific Tuesday Family Fun Night (TTTFFN) activity.  As we were watching Hermey the Elf bemoan his life of toy making, (“I want to be a dentist!”) I remembered several people asked if I’d give some ideas for family nights.  So here goes:

♦ Some of our favorite TTTFFN’s have been game nights. Amy is our go-to game picker and setter-upper, and once, our rule maker-upper. She picked the game Whoonu, a game we’d recently been given. Upon assuring us she knew the rules, we spent the next hour having her tell us how to play, only to find out she most certainly had never played and did not know the official rules. I wish we’d kept track of her rules, though, because her game worked and was really fun. To this day we refer to Whoonu as Amynu.

♦ Since moving to the Lansing area we’ve occasionally taken advantage of NCG’s $5 Tuesdays. Most of the movies are $5 all day. I love going to the movies and being able to take everyone on a weeknight for $25 is a deal. We don’t do it often but it’s certainly one of my favorite TTTFFNs. (I just checked Quicken and it looks like the last time we did this for TTTFFN was in April to see How to Train Your Dragon. I know you are so, so glad to know that.)

♦ This one's a shocker: we’ve been known to walk through car lots for TTTFFN. We usually grab a $1 drink at McDonald’s or a Slurpee at 7-Eleven first (thus ensuring the girls’ participation) and walk up and down the rows of shiny sheet metal. This is a favorite TTTFFN activity for Sean and Michael.

♦ Starting next week, we’ll begin our annual Look at the Lights TTTFFNs. Last year Amy came up with a grand grading scale (for example: lights on the roof, +3, one string over four bushes, -3, Baby Jesus somewhere in the landscape, +4, “Happy Holidays” written anywhere, -2) so by the end of our drive we’d rated and ranked the houses we’d seen. One year we even baked cookies beforehand and gave them to the house that won.

♦ I am not a fan of the mall or of shopping, but occasionally, shopping for clothes has to be done. Okay, it has to be done a lot – have you seen my growing children? One way to make it more fun for me is to do it on TTTFFN. Old Navy’s a favorite; I’ll get three dressing rooms right next to each other and can whip out a shopping trip super-fast with Sean’s help. Ice cream usually follows to keep the participants happy. And by participants, I mean me.

We’ve gone on walks.  We’ve toured the fire station.  We’ve stayed home and made gingerbread houses.  We’ve cleaned the house.  We’ve gone to Amy’s volleyball or Michael’s basketball games.  We’ve gone grocery shopping.  We’ve done fun things and mundane things.  But the one constant is whatever is happening on Tuesday night is happening with the whole family.  Even when Sean and I have Bible Study on Tuesdays we get some family activity in before we go, even if it's only eating dinner and talking around the table.

We've gotten a lot wrong as parents.  But I firmly believe that we got something right when we started TTTFFN.  The kids have said they’ll continue it with their families; there’s no higher praise.

If you start a family fun night, I'd love to hear about it - we're always up for suggestions for TTTFFN!