Family fun nights can help beat winter weather

As chillier weather sets in, it’s time to start a new and inexpensive tradition: family fun nights. To help families get started, author Cynthia Copeland has written Family Fun Night! Over 300 Great Nights with your kids! (, .17)

familyfunA mom of three, Copeland has found the things kids remember most are not expensive family vacations but “the times when everyone’s together and laughing and having fun, and maybe the parents being a little silly.”

Copeland’s book is filled with ideas for everything from recipes based on popular children’s books to how to make your own board game and even 18 last-minute Family Fun Night Games. She offers these tips for creating your own tradition of family fun:

  • 1. Put it on the calendar. Once it’s scheduled, it’s a little harder to put it off-it’s a way to give it importance. Not sure you’ll still stick with it? Invite another family over to ensure you keep your commitment to family fun.
  • 2. Get the kids excited about it. Buy a roll of tickets at an office supply store, and throughout the week let kids earn tickets when they do something good. Tickets can be traded in on a family fun night for snacks, drinks or inexpensive prizes.
  • 3. Don’t be frightened off by the idea of having to establish some huge, elaborate evening. “Kids can have fun with the simplest of games,” she says. Last-minute fun can be had just by hanging out longer at the dinner table and playing word or memory games.

Here’s one to get you started: Perform a skit with chin faces. Any act delivered by “chin faces” is sure to be outrageously funny. To prepare, actors lie on their backs (ideally on a large ottoman) so their heads are upside down. The designated makeup person draws eyes and a nose on each actor’s chin and then gently covers the rest of the face so that only the chin and mouth are visible. Then let the play begin.

Actors won’t be able to read anything because their eyes are covered, but they can deliver a pre-rehearsed performance or they can improvise.

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