7 Ideas for TV-Free Family Nights

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After a long day of homeschool, it’s nice to wind down after dinner with a family-friendly flick. The kids swiftly change into their pajamas at the anticipation of watching a favorite movie. Extra blankets and pillows are brought to the living room as we snuggle to get a little more comfortable. The lights are turned down to usher in the ambiance of a luxury theater. The scent of buttery popcorn is in the air, and a chorus of “hushes” begin as the first opening credits appear on the screen.

Even though I’m likely to fall asleep within the first 30 minutes of the film, Movie Nights still remain a favorite and memorable time for our family. However, it’s also nice to give our eyes a break from the screen and spend some good quality family time that encourage a little more interaction than passing the giant tub of popcorn to the next person.

1. Games


From the colorful Candy Land to the classic Scrabble, family game nights are a surefire way to develop relationships, practice teamwork, take turns, and learn the valuable lesson of good sportsmanship. Some of our go-to games that can be played by a wide range of ages are Spot It, Jenga, Dominoes, HedBanz, and Charades. [affiliate links]

2. Show and Tell

It started out as a way for my kids to rehearse for their class presentations. But it quickly became a favorite activity as we explored thought-provoking questions like “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or “If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?” Not only did we share a lot of laughs, but it was a great way to get to know each other better.

3. Glow Stick Dance Party


We always have a plethora of leftover glow sticks after Halloween and 4th of July. These are so inexpensive at the dollar store. Turn off the lights, turn on some fun music, and have a dance partay!

Here’s what we did …

4. Watch Home Movies

(I’m not counting this as TV, more like a live-action photo album.) Their baby videos won’t break records on YouTube, but they will always have a special place in our hearts. Watching them take their first steps or happily closing their eyes on the swing … well, those things only get sweeter as our kids get older. Never mind the sobbing mess of Mama on the couch.

5. Make a Movie

Instead of watching a movie, why not make a movie? Haul out the costumes in storage and let their imaginations run wild. Or to make it simple, have them do a little talent show and proudly film your budding entertainer.

6. Painting


We’ve always looked forward to art as part of our homeschool day, but when we fell increasingly behind our other subjects, art seemed to take a back seat. So one night after dinner, I decided to clear out the dishes to make room for our brushes and paints. Our kids didn’t mind at all that we were still “doing school” after hours. It became such a memorable time for us that this will definitely be added to our list of family fun activities!

7. Teach, Share, and Pray

For us, an important time is family devotions and prayer when we sit in the living room, and my husband teaches something from the Bible. I’m so amazed at some of the insightful questions and comments that have come from my kids, including my 5-year-old. We can’t underestimate the capacity of our children to learn.

What does your family like to do?


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16 thoughts on “7 Ideas for TV-Free Family Nights

  1. we love doing board game nights and I love that glow stick idea.. since we also like dance parties!

    1. Awesome ideas!

      I think these are posts we need to see more of if we are going to really rebuild families and get back to something special and intimate with our loved ones 🙂

  2. As a family, we will remember those screen free nights far more fondly than the hours spent watching a screen. We have family game nights but we have not had a Glow Stick Dancing Party. That sounds like a lot of fun!

  3. Glow stick dance parties sound fab!! My kids would love that! I’m trying to introduce some more games into our evenings rather than vegetating in front of the TV. I just bought UNO and Exploding Cats to try out. I hope I can remember how to play UNO!!! LOL

  4. Ooh, the glow stick idea is so cool! These are some great ideas for family bonding in the evening. Right now we usually get my daughter ready for bed right after dinner so there isn’t much time to hang out afterwards, but occasionally we do something fun with her.

  5. These are wonderful ideas! We love game nights when we have them and we’ve found some favorites at our house are Candyland and Seasme Street Phase Ten.
    The boys love watching videos of themselves as smaller people, but I’ve never thought of making that a family/evening activity.

    1. We enjoy the home video watching! But it’s so challenging to keep track of where all the videos are. Some are in the computer, some on the phone. Just recently started putting some on YouTube, but just marking them as private, so we’re the only ones who can watch them.

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