Turn any night into a family night at home. Our favorite family dinner themes include a recipe, film, and game to play together.
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Note: This post was originally written in 2014 and updated in 2020 to add more ideas.
Every Friday night at my house, we have a 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.
How to do a family night
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
Eat: hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes
Eat: Homemade pizza
Play: Build a robot from recycled materials
The Old West
Eat: slow cooker chili and cornbread
Play: Poker or another card game
All Things British
Eat: shepherd’s pie
Day at the Beach
Play: Go Fish!
Eat: medieval crockpot stew and crusty bread
Play: make a family time capsule
Eat: chicken drumsticks
Play: one of these free music games for groups
Play: make a Stitch corner bookmark
Play: Ghosts Love Candy
Play: Marvel Guess Who?
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.
Check out these other fun and creative ideas on One Mama’s Daily Drama: