Family night can be fun, but to mix it up a little bit, consider adding another family. More grown-ups and more kids may mean more chaos, but it nearly guarantees more laughs and memories in the making. Invite a family or two over for an evening (or whatever time of day works) of food and activity, and see what unfolds.
Round Robin Game Night
With one family, you might play one game. More families mean more games! With eight to twelve players, there's bound to be someone who likes playing Boggle as much as your ten-year-old or Yahtzee as much as you do. Divide up into groups based on interest, and play a few games. A new twist: Divide into teams, and set up a few board games and set a timer. Each team takes a turn playing each game for five minutes, when the time goes off, everyone rotates. At the end, see which playing piece for each game won—hopefully everyone share in the win of at least one game!
Have your friends bring over their Wii-motes (or whatever gaming system you both have) and set up a tournament. Awarding prizes might upset younger players, but letting the winners get served first or choose the next game is a fun way to add a little friendly competition.
Somethings are just more fun with more people. Seasonal and holiday decorations are things that everyone can enjoy making. If there is a large age range present, make sure there is something for the youngest members to do, such as sticking on stickers, gluing large pieces together, and so on.
Projects such as packing toiletries boxes or school boxes for people in need are more fun with more hands. Have each family bring a contribution, and set up an assembly line to get the project done.
There are few ways to do food: the hosting family can provide it all, people can be assigned to bring things, or families can split the cost of take out. There's no wrong way to do it. Some food is fun to make as a group, such as taking turns turning the crank on on old-fashioned ice cream maker, and of course it's always the more the merrier when roasting marshmallows around a campfire.
Progressive Family Night
If family night is happening with families within walking distance of each other, consider a progressive family night. Start at one house for appetizers and a craft. Move to another house for the main course and maybe a round of charades. Finish up at the last house with dessert and an outside game, whether it's basketball or just time on a jungle gym.
However you decide to spend the time together, keep it fun and keep it flexible. Dividing responsibilities—one family may coordinate food, and the other activities—is also a great way not to overwhelm one host. Don't be afraid to mix it up to keep it interesting!
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