Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fun Thematic Family Nights

I must say that considering the time at which my children start getting ready for bed, it doesn't leave that much time for family fun nights. On top of that, "daddy" is usually the entertainer after the entire dinner has been gobbled up but when he happens to be away for a while, I find myself having to fill in the void and usually try to spice things up a bit once a week or so (hey, roughhousing is sadly not my strong point...). I present you here a few activities we did not long ago. They are all simple and easy to prepare and caused a lot of excitement in this household!


I had not had a chocolate fondue in YEARS. The kids...well, I don't believe they ever had chocolate fondue. I chose to offer mine with mostly fresh fruit (a colorful array please!) and added a few mini-marshmallow (something they've never had before...unless maybe in a Rice Krispies treat once?) and some dry crackers. For the chocolate, I simply melted a good baking bar and added a little bit of milk to the mix. It was divine. Even more divine? A fondue takes a long time to eat. It's the perfect opportunity to find out what's really going on in your children's lives! It can also be a good time to convince your children to try fruits if they usually won't eat any. Next time, I most definitely will be adding fruits they've never had before! :)


Well, this one might not seem anything special for many of you but for my kids... it's a real treat. We don't premiere movies very often and screen time is accounted for. The thing is, children really enjoy watching the same feature over and over again and can actually learn from repetition too. Also, we're not one of these households where TV is on all the time. TV is on from 8p.m. until 10p.m. at which point both kids are in bed. That's right...the kids do not watch TV. At all. They do get to watch carefully selected DVDs though but only at specific time and for a specific amount of time. A new movie will usually be introduced to the house only when it's time for me to trim my son's hair (my way of preventing him to move for half an hour!) so they come by only every 6 weeks or so. Occasionally, new movies will also be gifted to the kids and I space out their introduction. To make the most out of movie premieres, I make a big deal out of every single one of them! I usually prepare a movie ticket, prepare a special snack, arrange the room differently (seats in front of the TV with snacks, dim the lights, etc. The excitement is palpable by the time the TV set turns on. By the way...if you are unsure what movie to premiere, check out Common Sense Media. They review movies and give you lots of details as to what to expect from the reviewed movie: violence?, bad language?, great role models? They cover it all. And don't forget that a lot of libraries let you borrow movies for free. Movie nights don't have to be expensive! 


By all means, if anyone has nut allergies or might, do not attempt this. And be aware that some people can react to the mere scent of a nut too! If, like us, you are blessed by having no nut and/or food allergies, then, proceed...and use caution and common sense. Technically, nuts are still pretty small and can pose a choking hazard under the age of 6. 

For our evening, I chose a sampling of as many nuts as I could and poured a few on separate plates. Each variety had a tag identifying the nuts, their point of origin and a small "fun fact" about them. You'll notice that I also included peanuts. I had too. Peanuts are practically part of every nut mix made even though they are not even a nut so I knew the children would inquire as to the peanut. I also thought it'd be a good time to explore why the peanut is not a nut!

Nutty Night Score Card

Each child had a score card with coloring pencils for the night. Each time a nut was introduced, they had to score whether they liked it, disliked it or simply didn't dare try it. Fun times! In the fall, a lot of these nuts were presented in their shells and I wish we still had some of these around but at this time of year, I couldn't find any anywhere so I stuck to the edible part only. 

Fresh peanut butter made with the kids that night

The last "nut" presented was the legume "peanut" and you'll notice the bowl was filled. We actually discussed other byproducts of nuts so when this one came up, and we smelled it and tasted it, it was no surprise that it reminded them of the beloved peanut butter! So...we made some! Using the bowl of peanuts, a few drops of canola oil and a bit of honey, we processed it in our food processor and we had own homemade peanut butter! The kids quickly made some peanut butter cracker sandwiches! :) Gone Nutty Evening had been a success. Each child had learned more about themselves and their likings, about nuts and...their favorite toast spread! :)


How traditional! Well, in many ways, board games are classic because they have been loved for so long...and still are. Maybe you won't like Candyland as much as when you were a child but it's often a child's first board game and they love that they can finally play a "grown-up" game. I remember how much Adrian loved this game at 4 years of age. He could have played non-stop for days. Get the kids moving by making a giant version if you feel bored with the traditional board. Buy or make a giant die and use construction paper taped to the floor to make a lifesize version (or colored chalk squares if you play outside).  

Adrian & Zahavah's Recommendations for Board Games:
Hi-Ho Cherry-Ho
Sequence for Kids
Chutes & Ladders

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  1. Looks like so much fun! I remember the no TV/Movie Days. They were so wonderful. We've never had cable, so that's a relief, but still. Perhaps we'll go back some day. Love the fun snack ideas!

    1. Well, kids grow up. I'm sure at some point my kids will understand how TV works too! :) I'm in no hurry to get to that point though. The tone of most shows and even movies is something I'd rather them not hear. Same goes for the wording...Here's to more food nights! LOL