Family time is important no matter where you live. We all know how good it is for children to have positive memories of special family traditions and activities. But it seems harder to make time for it, and harder to find "fun" things to do, when you live overseas. Yet how much more important it is for your children to see you making the effort to put them first, even when it's not easy.

I was recently reading a book that had a couple great ideas, and that is the inspiration for this post. Most of these ideas are not original with me - some of these ideas come from that book and some are from other sources.

Ten Great Ideas for Family Fun:

  • Have a "brothers day" and a "sisters day" to go along with Mother's Day and Father's Day. Encourage your children to honor each other and plan a special day for each other.
  • Plan a once-a-month (or more often!) "YES day". Do you feel bad about all the times your children ask you to do an activity with them and you have to say "Not now" or "I don't have time today"? Instead, have them write those things down and put them in your "Yes day" jar. Then clear your schedule for a day (or at least an afternoon) and do as many of the things in the jar as you can.
  • Encourage your children to share their experiences and feelings with a simple supper time tradition. Go around the table having each person take a turn sharing the best thing from their day and the worst thing from their day. Make sure Mommy and Daddy share something too.
  • Use candles or a lamp to have a special candlelight supper. Children really love the atmosphere this creates! (If the electricity goes off at mealtime, don't start the generator. Make a fun night of it with candles and lanterns instead!)
  • Let your children make supper once a week - and let them plan the meal as well as prepare it!
  • Have a family talent show and/or a "show-and-tell" night. This is a great way to share in each other's interests and also learn to encourage each other. Again, make sure that Mom and Dad have something to share as well!
  • Make a family radio program. Interview different family members, read stories with dramatic sound affects, and do musical numbers. Record everything on your phone or laptop so that you can play it back later - and maybe share it with Grandma & Grandpa! :-)
  • Do a skit or play - and video it.
  • Have a family pajama party in Mom & Dad's bed. Eat a special snack while reading stories or watching a movie. OR have a family camp-out on the living room floor!
  • Celebrate strange holidays. There are all kinds of "national days" and 'holidays' that nobody knows about. You can look them up on "Days of the Year" websites like this one. Here are a few to get you started:
    • Sat. Sept 12th is Chocolate Milkshake Day. Who needs a better excuse to enjoy one?
    • Tues. Sept 15th is Make a Hat Day. Let your kids design their own headgear and photograph the results!
    • Wed. Sept 16th is Collect Rocks Day. What child doesn't love collecting rocks?
    • Tues. Sept 22nd is Elephant Appreciation Day. Make it a mini unit study if you're homeschooling.
    • Sat Sept 26th is Love Note Day. A great opportunity to write a love note to each of your family . . . and encourage them to do it too!
    • Thurs Oct 1st is Poetry Day. You can do all kinds of things with this one! Learn to write poems, memorize a poem, have a poetry reading show, or pick a favorite poem and do something around the theme of that poem.
    • Sat Oct. 10th is Cake Decorating Day. Get the whole family involved!


Do you have any family traditions or ideas for family fun nights? Please share them with us!

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  • Guest - Jodie Toews

    Fun, great ideas! Thanks for sharing, Melissa!

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  • I love the idea of a "yes" day. With language learning, it seems too often the answer is "Not right now." It helps to know that there will be a day to do some of those things they want to do, and have reminders available once that day comes.

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