10 Fun Ideas for Family Date Nights!

Remember those carefree days before kids? Late night movies and exotic dinners - remember date nights? Don't get me wrong,  I know, as parents we do have fun with our children all the time! But what if I said you could have your cake and eat it too? What if you could have that date night and have fun with your kids too? Say, what do you think of Family Date Nights? 

Many people believe that every couple needs occasional date nights to keep the flame going, especially after the kids come along. But some of my friends say, that when they do go out on these dates, they end up thinking and talking about their children all the time; while others say they feel guilty, leaving children with sitters or family members. And what with the holiday season approaching, and the need to spend quality time with children becoming ever so prominent given our hectic lifestyle, occasional Family Date Nights seem to be the need of the hour.

Now when we say a Family Date, we often think of board games or Dumb Charades; but what if I gave you a few quirky ideas that will make Family Date Nights fun?

So here goes:

1) Dated Movies:
When we think of a date, the first thing that comes to mind are movies, right? So why not watch your all-time favourites with your children? Won't that be extra special? Children are always curious to know about thier parents' childhood, what music they enjoyed, what movies they liked. And what better way there is to introduce them to your childhood and good times than watching those special movies together? You could also make it interesting by watching back to back movies that are favourites of all the adults in the family. So go ahead, make a family sized bowl of popcorn and get comfy on that sofa, watching anything from Home Alone to Andaz Apna Apna! 

2) Stargazing:
Now here's a really cool idea! Although, it seems difficult in cities; if you are lucky enough to get a relatively clear night, and have the view of a fairly large slice of the sky from a high rise or a meadow close to home; then this is one activity you will surely enjoy with family! All you need are a few mats and some super powerful binoculars, and you are set. Apart from being an amazingly calming experience for adults, stargazing is also excellent for young minds.

3) Fun Emergency Drills:
For rainy evenings or when the weather is too cold to step out of the comfort of your home; and if you are feeling a bit adventurous, then here's one activity that is fun as well as educational for the tiny tots in your home. All you have to do is write a few hypothetical situations on separate chits of paper- you can make the situations as serious or as funny as you wish - and then have family members enact what they would do in the said situation. A friend of mine plays this game in a conversation format, with her kids, on long drives too!

4) Role Play with a Twist:
We often associate role-play with children. But for a fun family night, adults can have loads of fun by having a role play session, with a twist. What's the twist? Family members play the role of each other! Yes, mom play be the youngest sibling or the oldest child can play Dad! You can have several combinations, you could even enact someone from the family who isn't necessarily present at the time. Apart from super fun, this activity also helps build tolerance among family members, as one gets to see what their behaviour looks and feels like to others.

5) Board Games and Puzzles with chores at stake:
Board games are always fun. Especially if mom, dad and children play together. But they can be even more fun when there is something serious at stake! Have simple rules - whoever loses gets to help with the dishes or the runner up has to help the winner with his school project etc. As much fun you would have playing the game together, the love and the bond the results will create will last much longer!

6) Make a Mish-mash Dish or cook dinner together:
Sounds like a lot of work, but believe me, when everyone in the family gathers in that kitchen and chips in, cooking will get done in no time! If cooking dinner seems to elaborate for you, try making a funky mish-mash dish! Pick out a recipe and let each family member suggest one acceptable replacement ingredient for the original ingredients. Then make that dish together and have it as part of your meal! What you end up with at the end of this exercise, and the fun and jokes you share around it; are exactly the things lifelong memories are made of! 

7) Watch a play or animated movie:
Watching a play is as different an experience for children as watching an animated movie is for adults. And if you are planning on having a calm and enriching family date night, then go catch a live play or watch the latest animated movie your children are excited about! The connect this experience will provide for the family members is well worth the time and effort!

8) Dr. Seuss Night:
Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss? With quirky rhyming words and hilarious story-lines, Dr.Seuss books are a must fun-read for any age. And the whole family can have a refreshingly fun experience if you have a Dr. Seuss night where each family member takes turns reading out these rib-tickling stories. A must- have experience if you wish to see your little ones rolling with laughter!

9) Midnight feast:
Remember those sleep-overs we had as youngsters when we would smuggle contraband such as cupcakes, cheese, pastries, cookies et al for a midnight snack? Well, why not relive that fun with your tiny tots over a weekend? To make the experience even more fun, you could only involve your kids in the plan, with Dad having no idea about it. The excitement and anticipation will have your kids giggling all day long; and when you wake Dad up at midnight for a feast, his reaction will be priceless!

10) Fast Food Night, complete with your favourite Ice-Cream Sundae:
We all know junk food is bad for health, even kids are taught this in school. But it is also true that it is okay to indulge oneself once in a while. So take a break one night and have a fast food night! Indulge happily in Chaats, Pav bhaji, Chole Bhature, pizzas, burgers, fries eat junk to your heart's content and finish off with your favourite ice-creams and sundaes! Of course, try not to do this too often, and generally have a healthy lifestyle otherwise, so that when you do have a fast food night, you can enjoy your time without guilt. 

We all know that the family that laughs together, stays together; so go ahead, try out some of these fun ideas and have a gala time with your family!
Happy parenting! 


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