Simple Family Theme Nights That Work

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I believe that the magic of childhood is wrapped up in the simple.  One way we’ve created some lasting memories in our house is by making everyday moments special.  Some days are special just because they are Tuesday.  {Or Wednesday, or Friday…OK, you get the idea}

You see, too often in our families we settle for mundane.  Weeks and months are lost in the hustle and bustle of dance classes and sports practices.  What I’ve learned is that it really doesn’t take much to make an average day special.  With a little effort and some out of the ordinary plans- any day can become a memory that your kids will never forget.

My kids love family theme nights.  The entire idea is really basic. We pick a theme and come up with extremely simple ideas for a family dinner with a few special touches.  Involving the kids in the plans is so fun for them.  The anticipation mounts throughout the afternoon and when dad walks in the door they can hardly wait for our night to begin. Some nights are no-frills with just a simple idea or thought, some nights are educational and some full of surprises and adventure.

Here are a few ideas we’ve done:

  • Prince and Princess Night:  Fancy clothes, homemade crowns, and lots of practice using manners.
  • Italy Night: Homemade Italian flag placemats, spaghetti, a trip to the Hyatt at Gainey for a Gondola ride, topped off with Gelato at our favorite spot.
  • Farm Night: Farm animal charades, pin the tail on the pig.
  • Baseball Night: Hot dogs, soft pretzels, and a friendly game of catch.

A couple tips to ensure success:

Don’t expect perfection. The night we did our elaborate Italy night, complete with a gondola ride, my youngest son cried the whole time.  Brad and I looked at each other with terse grins, wanting to call it quits.  Years later, the kids have no memory of their baby brother ruining the night with his tears, they just have the wide-eyed memory of a night of adventure.  Things will not go perfect. Don’t expect them to. 

Don’t over-do it.  It is fun to add creative ideas and small touches, but if preparing for the evening wears you out, you won’t want to do it again.  Keep it simple.

Involve others: One fun night we put on our PJ’s, invited our closest friends over and had a giant pancake breakfast/dinner. The kids loved having someone else join in on the fun.  Call grandma and grandpa or invite the neighbors over!  

I certainly didn’t invent this idea, I just dumbed it down for us not-so-crafty mamas.

I’m always looking for new inspiration, SO do you have any ideas for a theme night?  Please share in the comments below, so we can share in your creativity!

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