Ahh…the kids are finally back to school or are now settling into their remote learning routines. Maybe you now have the hang of juggling parenting while working from home or have figured out your work schedule to align best for your hectic family schedule.
No matter what your unique family situation, one thing is always constant in all our lives. When are we able to fit in quality time as a family and keep everyone engaged?
In this modern age, it is so hard to connect with your kids as many are frequently browsing through apps on their phones, or in many cases, they can be seen watching TV while also playing on their phones. Many of us are guilty of doing this to wind down or it’s become a habit in the fast-paced world we live in. It can be exhausting when you feel like your kids would rather have teeth pulled than spend time as a family or give you more than a one-word answer about their day.
Families with the ability to have dinner together each night may implement a no technology at the table rule so that you can touch base with your kids and hubby to reconnect. While I definitely recommend reconnecting over dinner each night realistically not every family has this option.
The truth is that in the time of needing to have constant stimulation we need to make our valuable time with our family FUN! You may be asking how are we going to do that with different ages of kids and their varied interests? Sure, there are the basic things people think of such as going to the movies, amusement parks, days of shopping, etc but the truth is that notably many of us don’t have the budget for these activities weekly or monthly. No worries! Try a weekly or monthly family game night that will keep everyone involved.
Throwback to the ’80s and ’90s
I think we all can agree we need a bit of time away to disconnect from the world of technology for a couple of hours. What better way than having a game night with a variety of board games. It’s time to dust off that Monopoly board in your closet or grab that deck of cards that’s been living in your junk drawer. Many of our kids don’t know how fun our childhoods were when we would pull out Twister and laugh as we all fell over and made poses that make yoga look easy.
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The good news is that board games have a variety of options for all ages from our childhood classics to the newer games that relate to the current generation. Here are some of our favorites for each age:
Ages 3 and Up
- Hungry Hungry Hippos
- Candy Land
- Chutes and Ladders
- Yeti In My Spaghetti (This game has only been out a few years and if you haven’t tried it I highly recommend it as it is like a modern-day pick-up stick but with a super cute character)
Ages 6 and Up
- Connect Four
- Mouse Trap
- Monopoly Junior ( A fun spin on the classic but easier for the littles to understand. You can get almost any theme and some do the money through a banking card to save us on cleaning up the messy and lost money that inevitably happens. That alone makes it a win for us!)
Ages 12 and Up
- Uno (Don’t forget to check out all the variations they now have. Super fun!)
- Exploding Kittens ( Rest assured no animals were harmed in the making of this game! This is a fun card game similar to Cards Against Humanity but is child-friendly. It is popular for being silly and while a little inappropriate as it has some fart-like humor is definitely family-friendly. If you are looking to avoid this type of humor, try the version called Unstable Unicorns, it has more visually appealing cards.)
Ages 15 to Adult
- Trivial Pursuit
- Monopoly (I love the classic! However, they have some great themes now to fit anyone’s specialty)
- Pandemic (Because what could be more appropriate in this day and age)
- What Do You Meme? Family Edition (We love this game! As we all know kids and adults alike love to look at and post memes. In this game, someone picks a picture while all the other players get to pick a card with the best caption. A must try to get the whole family laughing!)
The Modern Family
Maybe board games aren’t your family’s thing? No problem, video gaming can be fun but sometimes is a little self-isolating. The good news is that there are options for most gaming systems that offer multiplayer games that are family-friendly. Get in your most comfortable clothes, grab a bean bag or a pillow, and find a seat!
Here are some of the best family-friendly video games in our opinion:
- Mario Kart
- We all know Mario and most of the characters involved from our youth but this is a fun spin that allows up to 4 players on one screen to drive go-carts. You can choose a variety of different characters depending on the version and game system you own. This game is easy to play even if you are not video game savvy and appropriate for all ages. Little ones may struggle more as they are not as coordinated yet with a controller.
Con: Offered strictly on Nintendo Systems Only
- Castle Crashers
- Castle Crashers has been around for quite some time now but is still so fun for all ages. This game is in 2D, therefore, making it a little easier to navigate for those who are less than video game savvy. It allows up to 4 different knights or players to battle four villains and save the princesses along with a stolen magic crystal. It is appropriate for most ages and is rated T for small amounts of blood and cartoon violence.
Pro: Offered on PS3, PS4, Xbox One and 360, Nintendo Switch
- Fuzion Frenzy
- Fuzion Frenzy with its easy-to-navigate controls, colorful images, and challenging mini-games for all ages is perfect for the entire family. This game allows up to 4 players and includes 45 different challenges. They all require a different skill set so everyone will have challenges that they excel at!
Con: Only available for original Xbox and Xbox 360
Don’t Forget the Snacks!
Let’s face it one of our favorite parts of family gatherings is all the good food! Take this opportunity to start a tradition that everyone loves. Get creative and do whatever your unique family loves. Here are some suggestions to try:
- Make everyone’s favorite junk food
While none of us want to feed our kids junk all the time, use this opportunity to let them indulge. Get their favorite chips, pizza, cheese sticks, cookies, etc. Make a signup sheet each week where everyone can request their favorite goodies.
- Cereal Night
Maybe you want to make the game night the one low-key night that you’re not expected to cook! (Which we fully support by the way) Have each person have a designated favorite cereal box, grab a bowl, and get comfy. Another fun spin that you can do is to get a new cereal each week that no one has tried and go for it as a family. Just this week I’ve seen new fun flavors such as Sour Patch Kids cereal and new Dunkin Donuts cereal. Just remember if you don’t like it to have a backup plan.
- Charcuterie Boards
Everywhere I turn lately charcuterie boards are popping up as fun meal ideas! If you haven’t heard of these yet this is basically a tray of different types of meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, etc. This gives a variety of different foods for everyone. Make it fun and put down a tablecloth to make a picnic in your very own house. Spice up the charcuterie to your very own liking and add things like a dessert board with marshmallows, graham crackers, peanut butter, strawberries, and whipped cream for that sweet treat after dinner.
You Know Your Family Best
At the end of the day, these ideas should help make the family bonding experience you are looking for. Remember, no one knows your family as you do and you need to adjust and customize these ideas to best fit your own uniqueness. There may be bumps along the way but just roll with the punches and laugh together. After all, this is all about having fun and creating those scrapbook-worthy moments. If you like this post please let us know.