Family night ideas include fun games and activities any family can enjoy together at home or in their neighborhood. Whether you've got toddlers or grandparents to entertain, family nights are the perfect family bonding activities.
Family Night Ideas With Toddlers
When you've got little kids, learning how to have fun with your family at home is priceless. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers don't stay up too late and often get cranky at night, so finding fun in and around your home is often the best option.
Free and Cheap Family Night Ideas for Little Kids
Free and fun family activities are great for this age group because little kids already require a lot of money for necessary items. Toddlers especially enjoy things they aren't supposed to do or play with, so give them novel experiences, and they'll be thrilled.
- Play flashlight hide-and-seek in the house.
- Create an indoor drive-in movie by pushing the couch aside and sitting in pillow-lined laundry baskets to watch a show.
- Use painter's tape to map out a road around one floor of your house, then play cars together.
- Outline each family member on the floor using painter's tape. Find clothes and accessories to lay on top of the outlines to dress the people.
- Craft and serve custom drinks by giving your child small cups of a few different drinks like juice, soda, and lemonade. Each family member can make and name a new drink, then everyone votes on their favorite.
- Start a family band using items from around the house like pots and pans. Let the kids pick their favorite song, then try playing and singing it together.
- Have a playdough guessing game where you each fashion creations out of playdough and guess what each other made.
- Have a dance party using a speaker with a built-in light show or a disco ball and make up new dance moves to teach each other.
- Watch a movie somewhere weird, like while sitting in the empty bathtub together or laying in a pillow fort.
- Set up your own bowling alley using 16-ounce plastic cups or empty pop bottles as your pins and any softer toy ball.
- Play your family's favorite board games.
Elaborate Family Night Ideas for Little Kids
If you've got a little more spending money, kids who don't get too cranky in the evening, or aren't afraid to make a mess, you can try out some more elaborate family night ideas.
- Go on a holiday decoration scavenger hunt in your car by driving around town looking for great displays at Christmas or Halloween.
- Head to the nearest railroad tracks and watch for trains to pass by. Bring snacks and train-themed coloring pages to keep kids busy while you wait, then count the cars when one appears.
- Create your own indoor water park if you have one of those large walk-in showers. Throw on your bathing suits, turn off the lights, and bring glow sticks and water toys into the shower to play.
- Build a teepee out of sticks and branches in the woods, then sit inside and play a card game.
- Use snow tools like brick molds to make an igloo in the backyard.
- Fill water balloons and squirt guns with colored water and create snow art by playing with the water toys in the snow-covered yard.
- Use a kit to build a simple rocket that launches using baking soda and vinegar, then take it outside to launch again and again.
- Make your own pizzas using unique and creative ingredients.
- Go camping in the backyard. Set up tents, build a fire, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows.
Family Night Ideas With School-Aged Kids
Elementary-aged children have very definitive ideas about what they like, so look for family night ideas that play to their interests. Since they're older, you'll be able to try out activities that take up more time.
Free and Cheap Family Night Ideas for School-Aged Kids
Willing parents are pretty much all kids need to have fun as a family. Think outside the box and look for activities that are really creative and fun.
- Invent your own family board game and play it.
- Have a fun family photoshoot where each person gets the chance to create the backdrop and choose everyone's outfits.
- Make a family trip wish list in a notebook or on a map of all the places you'd like to visit together. Hop on a computer or iPad and research the top three places.
- Set up a s'mores buffet and use an outdoor fire pit to roast marshmallows. Make each other unique s'mores by replacing the chocolate bar with other candy bars and ingredients. Which one is the sweetest, the most clever, and the most delicious?
- Play a group phone game that gets you moving, like Pokémon Go or Wizards Unite.
- On warm summer evenings, have a real water war in the yard where each person has a home base, and use water balloons, squirt guns, and even buckets of water.
- Have a Nerf gun fight indoors or outside. Make sure you stock up on Nerf darts and keep them in buckets around the play area.
- Make a ninja warrior course inside or outside using furniture, kiddie pools, and other DIY obstacles.
- Break into two teams and go on the ultimate nature scavenger hunt. See which team finishes first.
- Make a family time capsule.
- Play a hilarious game of charades.
Elaborate Family Night Ideas for Older Kids
Kids in this age group like to feel independent and want a say in how they spend their free time. That said, some of their ideas won't come cheap. If you have the funds and the time to devote to making their family night dreams come true, let them take the reigns and plan your family night.
- Host a "Chicken Challenge" dinner where each person creates a dish featuring chicken and anything they can find in the pantry. Everyone will try each other's dish and vote for the best.
- Support a local sports team by attending a game or special fundraising event. Treat everyone in your gang to a matching hat or shirt with the team logo.
- Do tandem sledding at a local ski resort, or tie your inflated sleds together as you slide down a local hill in winter.
- Sleep over at a museum, aquarium, or sports stadium when they host one of these sleepover events.
- Take apart an old piece of electronic equipment, like a VCR or broken DVD player, then rebuild it.
- Make homemade dog treats or accessories, like doggie scarves and tied blankets, then deliver them to a local animal shelter.
- Host a dollar store challenge where each person has the same amount to spend in the dollar store, but the goal is to buy more individual items than anyone else.
- Create a family cookbook or a family scrapbook.
- Create an at-home spa complete with a bathtub foot soak and wash-off facial masks you do while wearing big, comfy robes.
Family Night Ideas With Tweens and Teens
Teens and tweens aren't always excited about family nights, but this kind of family bonding time is crucial to their emotional and mental health. Include them in the planning to ensure they participate willingly and have a good time.
Free and Cheap Family Night Ideas for Teens
Use your interests or your kid's interests to help you decide which family nights will be most enticing. Show your tweens and teens that they're never too old for fun with free and cheap family night ideas.
- Take a night bike ride through town together. Make sure everyone has a light on their bike or is wearing reflective clothing. Have more fun by decorating your bikes with glow-in-the-dark materials.
- Upcycle clothing or jewelry together by cleaning out your closets and working together to turn the old into something new.
- Host a family ping-pong tournament complete with a poster board bracket where you can track the winners.
- Have a cemetery picnic and tell ghost stories.
- Use the pieces from your existing lawn games to invent a cool new lawn game.
- Host a themed dinner event for the family.
- Make a YouTube or TikTok video together.
- Binge-watch a favorite show of theirs with them.
- Create and share vision boards.
Elaborate Family Night Ideas for Teens
Kids in this age group will appreciate the chance to do things that might be a little more novel and sometimes more expensive. Save your pennies and give them a fun family experience they will never forget.
- Complete a ropes course together.
- Head out to a virtual reality (VR) gaming site where you can all play a cooperative VR video game together.
- Buy a couple of laser tag sets and play in your home or yard.
- Head out to the nearest trampoline park for a competitive game of dodgeball.
- Host an in-home paint night where you each create a painting that matches the next person's when they are hung side-by-side.
- Have a Pinterest challenge where everyone chooses a craft or recipe to make, shops for the items needed, and shares their masterpiece with the family.
- Spend an evening touring a local college campus. Buy a sweatshirt, grab a snack, and look toward the next stage in life.
- Host The Great Takeout. Have everyone order a dish from a different restaurant and then create the buffet of all buffets.
- Learn how to make sushi and spring rolls together.
Family Night Ideas With Mixed Age Groups
Fun family night out ideas for all ages are great for families with kids in different developmental stages. Whether you choose to go out or stay in, look for activities that will be fun and doable for everyone. If you like to include Grandma and Grandpa or your siblings and their kids in your family nights, you'll want to find great large group activities.
- Play costume charades where you have to find clothing, accessories, and costume pieces from around the house to dress up as whatever you're supposed to portray.
- Play a game of family Guess Who? where you each write down three to five things you have done that others might not know. Take turns pulling papers out of a bowl and guessing who did which thing.
- Host a family favorites TV marathon where each person can choose one show to watch an episode of with the whole family.
- Host a family craft night where you lay out all your craft supplies on one table, and everyone can create their own craft while sitting together at another table.
- Challenge each other to brain games such as logic puzzles. Set up a point system to assign each person an IQ at the end of the night.
- Play Minute to Win It style games. Pretend you're on the game show and assign one person to host.
- Gather Family Feud data by polling all family members on several Family Feud style questions, then play a DIY Family Feud game.
- Go rollerskating, ice skating, or to a family-friendly movie.
- Have a family sleepover in the basement or living room.
Family Night Ideas to Enjoy With Neighbors & Friends
Get your favorite families together at once with the following group activities. Everything from educational and creative family literacy activities to family movie nights are fair game, as long as you can host a crowd.
- Family Fitness Night: Create stations for activities like yoga, an obstacle course, and even a short walk where families can engage in physical fitness together.
- Family Movie Night: Show a movie on a large screen and include a concession stand with snacks.
- Family Baking Night: Get a local baker to volunteer to show families how to make a cupcake bouquet or decorate holiday cookies.
- Family Building Night: Set up stations that include different building materials like LEGO, fort kits, and even wood and nails for older kids.
- Family Science Experiment Night: Create a few "class" options families can opt to take where they learn about one science topic and complete a related experiment.
- Family Game Night: Invent fun group games or set up various board games and giant games.
- Family Escape Room Night: Make your own escape rooms for different age levels and have families sign up for time slots.
- Family Lock-In: Give families the chance to bring their own sleeping bags and camp out inside your church or school. Provide lots of snacks and fun activities to keep everyone entertained.
- Family Versus Family Competition: Host a fun tournament, like kickball or wiffle ball, where families can compete against each other.
Make the Most of Family Nights
Whether you're looking for summer family fun or great winter family nights, there are thousands of activities to choose from. Get creative and look for activities that will be new experiences for your kids or your entire family.