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How to Rock Family Fun Night

When your kids were younger, family fun took centre stage, whether that meant a riveting game of Chutes and Ladders or a backyard lightsaber duel. But now that the kids are older, how do you get your tweens and teens to want to hang out with ‘the folks’? To make ‘hanging with the family’ something tweens and teens look forward to, try these ideas to jumpstart your family fun night. 

Family dinner

To up the fun factor, try these mouthwatering ideas:

  • Declare a ‘kids in the kitchen’ night where your 
tweens and teens get to be in charge of the cooking from start to finish. Let them create the menu, shop for the ingredients, and cook the meal - with parents on cleanup duty.

  • Try to recreate a dish from your favorite restaurant at home, either by trial-and-error 
cooking or some culinary sleuth for copycat recipes.

  • Pick a different ethnic food to cook 
together, such as Mexican or Greek cuisine, as a fun way to explore other cultures. 

  • Engage in a friendly competition, with each family member making a different course (i.e., entrée, dessert, etc.). Afterward, everyone talks about which creation wins top honors. 

Movie night

Everyone loves to watch a great flick. But what can take the movie-watching experience from good to great? Consider upgrading your home theatre environment to create a space where kids want to stay home. Depending on your budget, you could hang fun movie posters, install dimmable lighting, (there are less expensive options), and purchase enormous, comfy bean bag chairs for your t(w)eens to lounge in while watching their favorite flicks.

The key is to create a media room that brings everyone together. You want to feel like you’re front and centre.

“Don’t make it the parents’ room that the kids get to use,” says David Pidgeon, CEO of Starpower and a father of three teenagers. “Make it fun for the whole family.”

Creating a fun media room yields a great side benefit, too. “I want our home to be the place that our kids want to hang out with us and their friends,” says Pidgeon. “When you provide a fun atmosphere at home, the kids gather there and you worry less about where they’re going.”

Game night

Get your game on! Good-bye Chutes and Ladders and hello strategy games, cooperative games, and party games good for a crowd. Play something fun that engages kids and stimulates their minds.

Need a few ideas? Take your cue from these moms:

  • From Betsy McMenamin (has three kids ranging in age from 14 to 22): “Pandemic is awesome! You don’t play in teams - all players work together collectively. You either all win or you all lose.”

  • From Suzan Dees (has two kids ages 13 and 21): “I brought out an old favorite game, Scattergories, and my kids loved it! It was so much fun to see what they came up with.”

  • Other family games perfect for tweens and teens: Apples to Apples, Reverse Charades, Clue, Spontuneous, and Settlers of Catan.

Whether you’re whipping up tamales in the kitchen, watching your favorite thriller on the big screen, or playing a board game, you can bring your family together - even the tweens and teens - for a night of fun.

Lisa is a freelance writer and humorist. Check out her writer’s website at and visit her humor blog at  


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