Fun and Frugal Family Night Ideas

a family of four fishing.

Fun and frugal family night ideas. My kids love having family night. I think just the name makes them excited and they don’t even care exactly what we do. 🙂 Sometimes we get stuck in the rut with doing the same things (movies, games, pizza, and parks are our go tos) but the kids love when we switch things up!

We did a 2 night backyard campout last month and the kids thought it was the best thing ever and can’t wait to do it again.

All of the kids provided input on this list to help get us thinking outside the box – there are so many fun ideas.

And as a bonus, except for a movie night, all these family night ideas are screen free!

Don’t stress about trying to do them all. Make it simple. Do your standard family night activities most weeks and then just one day a month let the kids rotate selecting an activity from the list. They will love it and you won’t have to stress about doing something different every week.

A lot of the family night ideas on this list are free! Always a win. The others are all still super frugal – you can do this on any budget!

four pictures: a family fishing, a family baking, an open book, and art supplies

Fun and Frugal Family Night Ideas

  • Game and pajamas night. Let everyone select their favorite game have a game marathon. Wearing PJs (and some sort of fun snack, of course) will make it even more fun.
  • Movie and popcorn night. I’m sure you’ve done this before but you can’t go wrong with it!
  • Puzzle night. Pull out a new puzzle and a treat to eat and see how much you can get done it one night. You could also use some fun conversation starters.
  • A long walk. Of course you need to let the kids pick which direction to go at each intersection.
  • Homemade personal pizza night. Pizza happens weekly in our house, but I don’t often do the personal sized ones. They are always a hit!
  • DIY ice cream sundae bar. Another favorite! We normally eat ice cream without toppings, so having all the extra goodies to choose from are greatly looked forward to.
  • Picnic. Pack up your dinner and find a new location to picnic.
  • Fishing. This would be by son’s favorite family night activity.
  • Living room camp out. Perfect to do in the winter! Pull out pillows and blankets and books and have a family campout inside!
  • Backyard camp out. Doing this makes my crew so excited! The perfect idea when the weather is nice.
  • Meandering car drive. Load up the car (and pack a few snacks or grab a treat at a restaurant) and just go on a long drive exploring where you haven’t been before.
  • Bowling. I feel like a bad mom. My kids have never gone bowling. We’ll have to remedy this, but I remember bowling outings when I was a kid.
  • Service project. Go out with your family and rake leaves, paint, or do another project to help someone else.
  • International Dinner. Select a country and then find recipes from there to make for supper, play music from the country, and maybe even make a little quiz.
  • Go play tennis. We’ve done this and the kids have enjoyed it even if we chase a lot of balls. As the kids get older, I think we’ll find ourselves doing this more.
  • Progressive dinner. If could even be a dinner of snacks and then dessert, but the idea is to going around to several restaurants and get something different from each.
  • Bake off challenge. My three all love spending time in the kitchen. You could try dividing into two teams and have a dessert or entree challenge of each teams choice. Or switch things up and put together a basket of random ingredients like on chopped!
  • Art. This is one that my daughter is most excited about. Gather (or buy) the supplies and do a family painting or drawing night. Try using a video on YouTube to help guide you.
  • Poetry. Spend the evening going around the room reading poems aloud. If you don’t have any poetry books, check some out of the library. Make this even better by making/buying each persons favorite snack.
  • Star gazing. This is so much fun, especially if you plan it for a meteorite shower. Gather up blankets to lay on, astronomy books (or an app on your phone), snacks (seeing a theme here – food makes anything more special for the kids), and plan for a late night.
  • Goody Baskets. Spend some time putting together baskets of homemade bread, cookies, cinnamon rolls, or treat you bought. Then go deliver them to friends’ front doors, ring the door bell, and sneak away!
  • Water balloon fight. Honestly, this isn’t something I normally participate in with the kids. Beyond filling up balloons anyway. I know they’d love to have an epic family water balloon fight.
  • Beach, pool, or park. Take an evening trip and have fun playing as a family.
  • Bike. Take the bikes out for a ride or go to a local skate park for a fun evening!
  • Twilight hike. You will hear different sounds and see different sights. Perfect ending to the day if you ask me.

a family at a kitchen table baking

There are 26 family night ideas to get you started! When you’ve gone through this list, I’m sure your kids will have even more creative ideas to keep you going!

Sometimes going through the work to do something a little different, even when it’s still inexpensive and fairly simple, can make such special memories they’ll be talked about for a long time.

Go and make a fun memory and tell me how it went!

a family outside holding a fishing pole

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