I remember sitting anxiously in my little 1st grade chair waiting for the final bell of the day to ring. I had dreamt all day about what kind of adventure awaited me at home. I couldn’t wait to gather my things, climb on my bus and hop off that last giant step onto the hard black top road in front of my house. It was family night.
My sister was 10 years older than me. As her high school graduation drew closer my parents instituded an officail family night that I still remember to this day. At that point, my family had very little money. My memories of those times weren’t built on put put, movie theatres or fancy dinners. My memories are built on actually seeing my big sister. Making a pizza in the kitchen with my mom and helping add all the toppings. Sitting down together at the BIG table and eating. Laughing at my dad’s silliness. Having my older sister take time to read and play with me. It was the one night a week we slowed down and came together. And I loved it.
Now that I have my own child, those memories make me want start those traditions now. I don’t want to wait until he’s 7 or 8. I want to find simple things to do together that don’t involve a screen of any kind. I just want the faces, hearts and minds of my family joined in one space for one night a week. Those are the tiny joys that make my life feel full and intentional.
As a kid it didn’t matter how much money went into family night. It came down to being with people I loved in a way that was fun. Here are 5 thrifty family night ideas for you and your kids. Go ahead, start making your own memories.
1. Board Games
My son is almost 3 and we have just started playing board games as a family. My sister talked me into buying The Lady Bug Game at a consignment sale a few weeks ago and it has been the best thing! He can play it, he learns counting & numbers and we spend time together!
No matter the ages of your kids, board games bring people together. Games can be silly and fun like Taboo, Pictionary, Headbandz or Twister. They can be a little strategic like Clue, Monopoly or Risk.
Got Teens or Tweens? Check out my post on Family Game Night for Teens and Tweens for lots of ideas on getting them to the table.
Saving Money- The best places to get board games are kids consignment sales because typically you can expect all the pieces to be there and get the game between 50 and 70% off retail. Next best is around the Holidays. Hasbro and other brands put out coupons and stores reduce games significantly just in time for Christmas. Last, you could get them at thrift stores or garage sales but check them really good first. (I typically carefully remove the tape from the box and seal it back when I’m done because I don’t want to get home with a game that can’t be played.)
2. Homemade Pizza
Kim Anderson is the organized chaos loving author behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. She helps other people who thrive in organized chaos to stress less, remember more and feel in control of their time, money, and home. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, and more!