Time goes by too fast! Especially during the school year. Each night is homework, dinner, sports, meetings and time spent getting ready for tomorrow. We live for the weekend, and are worn out on Sunday night from having too much fun packed into those two days! I’ve found 10 easy things that any family can do to add some “weekend” family fun to their Monday-Thursday. (This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. Read full disclosure policy here.)
1. Have a Taste It, Play It, or Watch It Night
A what, night? This is the night you will finally taste that new food you got for a gift or what you thought you had to have from the grocery store. Did your kids get a game for the holidays that hasn’t been opened? This is the night to open it up! Have you recorded a movie or is there a new DVD out that your family just hasn’t had the time to watch? This is the night.
We get all kinds of food items for gifts. Whether it’s for the holidays or a souvenir from someone’s vacation, we tend to let these food goodies pile up. Or, I’ll find something new at the grocery store and throw it into the cart with the intention to try it as soon as I get home. By declaring a Taste It Night, you finally have a reason to eat up!
Our last Taste It Night, had us drinking a few weird tasting sodas. None of them were that great, but we had fun trying them!
We never have time to watch movies together, so the kids are always happy when we finally set aside an evening to watch a new show. Cheese popcorn makes it even better! Play that new game, or put together that puzzle, and your typical weeknight is now more fun by doing something new.
2. Have a MYO (Make Your Own) Dinner
Not much is worse than preparing dinner after a busy day, and hearing the complaints start rolling in. Someone doesn’t like something…ugh! Have a MYO dinner and watch everyone clear their plate! It’s fun for the kids to prepare their own food, and they are much more likely to eat it. Some meals may require a little bit more prep work than others, but here are a few of our favorites: individual pizzas, taco or burrito bar, sandwich bar, pancake bar, and if you want a real fun night…an ice cream sundae bar with a whole bunch of toppings. Kids can be creative and have fun!
3. Let Your Kids Get Creative and Join Them
This is an easy and quiet activity. I cover the dining room table with plain white paper and get out the crayons and colored pencils. No kid can resist filling up that paper with their artwork. If you’re kids aren’t into drawing, give them a brand new school notebook or a small journal and a pen or pencil and have them do some writing.
My 11 year old has a journal that she writes one page in each night, and my 7 year old has a weekly planner that we write a couple of sentences in each night. They love reading what they wrote a few months ago and these journals will be a keepsake over the years.
4. Finally Stop At….
There are more than a few business that we drive by each day, and I think “someday we’ll have to stop there”. Well, this is the day. If you’ve been curious about a small cafe in town, stop in for a piece of pie. Is there a new store in town? Today is the day to check it out.
5. Get Out Old Photo Albums or Family Movies
My kids love, love, love looking at their baby pictures and baby book. We did all the work in putting the albums together, why not look at them! Ok, my oldest can look at her baby book…and my youngest will just have to flip through her box of pictures and empty baby book.
We’ll click thru old vacation photos from years ago and the kids enjoy reliving the fun times we had. Watch a few videos from when the kids were toddlers and everyone will be laughing in no time.
6. Cook or Bake Something Together
Most kids love to help out in the kitchen, and there is a job that almost any age can do. My youngest likes to stir and get out ingredients. My oldest likes to read the recipe and measure out what we’ll need. And surprise, surprise they both like to lick the spoons if we are making something sweet.
Some evenings when I’m making dinner, I have to remind myself to have them help. It’s usually faster to do everything myself, but how are they going to learn anything? I also ask them what they would like to have for dinner next week, so they can play a part in the planning.
When preparing dinner or baking with my kids, I always fill the kitchen sink with soapy water and let my 7 year old do the dish washing. She loves to play in the water, and I don’t have to do dishes! Win, Win!
7. Eat Dinner by Candlelight
Where are your fancy dishes and candlesticks? Way up on the top shelf like mine are? What are we waiting for? It’s time for the good stuff. Set the table, or let the kids decorate, and enjoy your dinner by candlelight. No matter what your eating, it will probably taste just a little bit better. If you want to go all out, turn on some background music. Maybe they’ll be dancing after dinner. It doesn’t hurt to dress up for dinner too.
8. Pack Up Dinner and Eat Outside
So, the exact opposite of a fancy candlelight dinner is to pack up your food and eat it outside. You can pack a basket and head to a local park or beach, or just spread a blanket out in your backyard. You can relax during this meal, because it doesn’t matter if things get a little messy. Maybe a squirrel or sea gull will try to join you?
9. Do a Treasure or Scavenger Hunt
Set up a scavenger or treasure hunt for the family. No one can resist this! You can do this indoors or outdoors, and make it as simple or hard as you want. We like to do treasure hunts at the kid’s birthday parties. The kids work as a team and solve various problems, complete some tasks, and then the treasure is their goodie bags. What’s tonight’s treasure? Maybe a make your own sundae bar? We’ll be right over!
10. Stand on Eggs for Some Potentially Messy Family Fun
Yes, that’s right. Stand on eggs. Not hard-boiled, but raw eggs. You’re going to combine a little science lesson with your fun. All you need is two dozen eggs. (I do this outside and also cover the eggs with plastic wrap.) Take turns carefully standing on the eggs, no shoes though. Do the kids think the eggs will break? Why aren’t they cracking? The kids will be amazed that mommy can stand on a fragile egg and it doesn’t break!
There are a lot of science projects that are just like magic and will put a little fun into your weeknight. The best book that I’ve found for this is Kitchen Science Lab for Kids.
Have a fun weeknight every once and a while. It may help time slow down just a little bit, and create some fun memories for your family. Enjoy!