Every Friday night at my house, we have family fun night. It started years ago as a way to reward the kids for good behavior. Some weeks, it seems like just making it to Friday deserves an award. Other times, we are celebrating the good things that happened during the week. Most of the time though, it is just a good way to unwind and spend time together. I hope that by the time my children are teens that this tradition will be one they still enjoy. I have heard stories about typical teens hating having family dinner. Then again, my kids are far from typical.
Most Fridays, we make something simple for dinner and watch whatever new movie has popped up on Netflix or Amazon. One afternoon, the kids were asking questions about Elvis and the 60s. We are not that old, but the kids assume we have lived through all of history sometimes. Right then, we decided that our Friday family dinner would have a theme. We watched Viva Las Vegas and ate classic diner food: burgers and fries. I even made milkshakes. Since then, we have occasionally turned our simple family fun night into a themed family dinner. It’s loads of fun and has exposed my kids to films they probably wouldn’t have even heard of otherwise.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Dinner and a movie is fun, but simple. Break out a board game or do a hands-on activity for an alternative. If you would like to put together a family dinner with a theme, here is some inspiration.
Family dinner themes
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Eat: hamburgers, french fries, milkshakes
Watch: Viva Las Vegas (1964, Rated G), Disney’s The Sword in the Stone (1963, Rated G)
Eat: Homemade pizza
Watch: The Princess Bride (1987, Rated PG), Labyrinth (1986, Rated PG)
Play: Guess Who*
Watch: Star Wars: A New Hope (1977, Rated PG), Meet the Robinsons (2007, Rated G), Flight of the Navigator (1986, Rated PG)
Play: Build a robot from recycled materials
The Old West
Eat: slow cooker chili, corn bread
Watch: McLintock! (1963, Rated Tv-14 by modern scale for shooting), An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991, Rated G)
All Things British
Eat: shepherd’s pie
Watch: Wallace and Grommit shorts (1993+, not officially rated, but I would say G), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001, Rated PG)
Day at the Beach
Eat: tuna sandwiches, pasta salad, lots of fresh fruit
Watch: Finding Nemo (2003, Rated G), Flipper (1996, Rated PG)
Play: Go Fish!
The best part of family dinner with a theme is that there are no rules. Get creative with your theme and pick something out of the ordinary. If you want to make dinner a little “fancy,” download my printable family dinner menu and fill in with the details of your plan.
If you liked these ideas, be sure to check out my 12 holiday family dinner themes.