If your family members seem to be going in different directions, consider setting aside some time every week or so for special family fun nights. Here are some ideas for those special nights that your family will enjoy even if your family members don't have super busy schedules.
Different families have different interests, but every family should find one or more of these activities fun. Of course, any of these activites can be done anytime, but if you find one your family enjoys and make it a regular special family night, you will create a tradition that bonds the family together and leads to fond memories.
1. Reading Dinners
All you need for a reading dinner is dinner and something to read! Instead of the usual table conversation, the family reads. Reading dinners can be done two ways:
- Each family member brings his or her own material to read during dinner. Reading required for work or school is not allowed!
- The family agrees on something to read together. It should be something everyone can enjoy, which can be challenging! Then everyone takes turns reading, even if it's just a page or paragraph. Plays can be fun to read together since each person can take a different role.
These dinners help stress the importance and joy of reading.
2. Game Night
Set aside a night every week or every two weeks to play one or more games. It may require some effort for some families to make the time for regular game nights, but it's worth the effort. Just be sure to have games that the kids will find fun and challenging. Many popular games may not hold the interest of gifted kids for a whole evening and not all games can be played by the whole family. You'll also want games for gifted kids
that the whole family can play.
3. Movie Night
Movie watching is another activity the family can enjoy together. All you need is a movie and some popcorn. If you can plan ahead a bit, the kids can make posters and tickets. If you rent a movie on Friday and plan to watch it on Saturday night, the kids will have time to make a poster. It may be difficult to find movies the whole family will enjoy, but Sharon O'Brian, Guide to Senior Living, has some suggestions for movies that both young and old can enjoy
. Some animated movies are perfect for gifted kids
. You might even consider educational videos on their favorite subject, volcanoes or space, for example.
4. Music NightWhether your family is particularly musical or not, you can set aside one evening every two weeks or so for music night. You can watch children's music DVDs or videos, such as KidSongs, and play instruments or just sing along, you can listen to CDs and play along, or you can create your own music. If no one in the family is a musician, toy instruments or anything that makes music, even homemade kazoos and pots and wooden spoons, will work just fine. Not only is this a good family activity, but it's also a good way to introduce children to music. Musicians in the family can "jam" with their instruments.
5. Art NightIf your family prefers art to music, you can have an art night,during which the whole family paints or draws or creates some work of art. Each night can have a theme, "nature," for example, so that whether someone wants to paint, draw or work with clay, he or she will create something related to nature. Or the family could choose to work with one medium, paint, for example, on each of their art evenings. You can explore different techniques with brushes, paints, and colors. The youngest can work with finger paints, or the whole family might work with finger paints.
6. Science Night
For the family who enjoys science, a couple nights a week can be set aside for conducting simple experiments. A great source for fun and easy experiments is Robert Kampf's The Happy Scientist Web Site
. There is a wealth of information there and quite a few videos of experiments. He also has an Experiment of the Week newsletter. You simply subscribe to the email list
and each week you will find a new experiment in your email inbox. Most of them are cheap and easy and all of them are fascinating. You can also find numerous books with simple science experiments at your local library.
7. Drama Night
If your family loves acting and theater, then a drama night might be your special family night. You can find plays for children in books like 12 Fabulously Funny Fairy Tale Plays
. You can also find some scripts for children's theater on Aaron Shepard's Web site
. As your children get older, you can work with more difficult dramatic material. With the shorter, easier plays, your goal can be to come up with costuming and sets, and then rehearse and perform the play in one evening. With longer and more difficult works, you can do just a reading one week and then work on production the next week.