16 Friday Night Traditions Perfect for Family Time

A mom, dad and their two kids laugh as they eat popcorn together during movie night, which is one of their favorite family traditions iStock

Evenings with your kids should be one of the best times of the day, in theory. But if you’re spending more time in the kitchen than with your family, it’s time to shake things up. Recently, we covered the country’s best meal delivery kit services that’ll cut down on your time meal planning and cooking, and allow you to spend more time where it counts: with your family.

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Once you have the meal figured out you can spend more quality time with your kids by starting a new family tradition that makes the end of the week the best part of the week. From game nights to awesome family activities, here are our favorite ways to give TGIF a whole new outlook.

1. Hold a family meeting

A family meets together on a Friday night as part of a new family tradition

Let Friday night be the night the whole family sits down to discuss the ups and downs of the week. You can focus on what went well, what goals were reached and which rewards or consequences need to be doled out. In just 20 minutes, you can get everyone on the same page as far as family expectations are concerned, and then be sure to add a little fun on the end. Ice cream sundae, anyone?

2. Make pizza

A close up on a homemade pizza, which can become a family tradition to make at home
Masimo Grabar via Unsplash

Grab your favorite toppings and whip out your homemade dough recipe––it's pizza night! Let the entire fam concoct their personal pies in this activity-turned-meal that makes Friday night an entertaining family tradition. Check out our roundup of 15 delicious pizza recipes to get you started!

3. Watch the sun set

A family starts a new tradition of watching the sunset together at the beach

Autumn means the days are shorter, and sunsets come earlier so there's plenty of time to start a new family tradition of catching one before bed. 

Related: 8 Creative Ways To Build Family Time Through Traditions

4. Build a fort

A mom and two children read in a fort that they made on the floor

There's so much more to building a fort than pillows and blankets in the family room. Creating a rad reading nook, cardboard castle or cozy spot is a great Friday night activity. If you need some fort-building inspiration, here are 18 epic indoor forts you'll want to live in.

5. Have a reading night

A Dallas cowboy starts the family tradition of reading to his grandchildren

Reading is always a great activity and one of our favorite family traditions. Instead of movie night, cozy up on the couch with blankets and books. Whether every family member has their own book or you're reading a novel together, there are tons of great choices. Check out the best books of 2022 (so far) for a great reading list for all ages and stages. 

6. Set up an ice cream sundae bar

David Calavera

It's Friday after all! Why not incorporate dessert into one of your sweet new family traditions with an ice cream sundae bar? You can add just about any toppings you can imagine, and it's perfect right before you start the weekly movie. Check out our some of our favorite sundae bar ideas

7. Camp out at home

A mom, dad, son and daughter lay in front of a tent, starting the family tradition of camping out in their backyard

Camping isn't just about pitching a tent in the wilderness. Change up Friday night by camping in the living room, or pitch a tent in the backyard. These camping activities will give your family a ton of wilderness inspiration without leaving home.

8. Create a comic strip

a boy draws and writes to create his own comic strip
Melissa Heckscher

Encourage your little ones to share their creative storytelling in the form of a comic book. Parents can get in on the creativity by creating a comic strip, too. This fun and simple DIY comic strip tutorial will help you get started. Make this one of your monthly family traditions, so you create a new story strip each month.


Related: 5 Simple Ways to Maximize Family Time During the Weekdays

9. Start a family band

A boy plays guitar as he's watched by other children

Rock out as a family during your own Friday night concert. Your kids can start by creating any of these handmade instruments that actually play music. Then, get your smartphone or tablet ready for concert time—there are many music-making apps that will record your tunes and help make making music together a melodic family tradition.

10. Make it a movie night

A mom, dad and their two kids laugh as they eat popcorn together during movie night, which is one of their favorite family traditions

Unwind from your busy week with authorized screen time. Make sure to make it a cozy situation with plenty of blankies and rotate shows or movie picks. Or get super creative and go drive-in style. Here’s our list of the latest kid’s stuff to hit Netflix.

11. Take a stroll

A mom and daughter walk through their neighborhood, making after-dinner strolls a family tradition
Sue Zen via Unsplash

An after-dinner stroll might not sound like much of a family tradition but the act of being together, even if you are only walking around the block, can be extremely bonding for children (and fun for you). To make it a little more adventurous, try a simple I-Spy or spotting walk. You can also have each member of the family silently observe something on the walk. When you get home, take turns sharing your observations. Fall is a wonderful time to do this because of the changing leaves and plants. Plus you get a chance to get a few steps in to start your weekend off on the right foot!

12. Have a family game night

a mom, dad, daughter and grandparent lay on a wooden floor playing a game together

Teach the kids a new card game or play an old classic. It doesn’t matter if it’s Gin Rummy or Candy Land, as long as everyone in the family participates. Draw straws to see who picks the first traditional Friday night game and take turns picking a game that everyone will love. And don't forget Charades! It's the easiest form of low-fi entertainment around. 

13. Set up a scavenger hunt

Elisabeth Wales via Unsplash

Stage an elaborate scavenger hunt before bedtime with little more than a pen and paper. Just write out the clues (each one a hint of the location of the next clue) and make sure the kiddos are distracted while you hide them around. Number the clues in case one is found “accidentally” too early. Hide something simple at the end, like a treat or even just an IOU for a Saturday afternoon of playground run. 

Related: How Mindfulness Helped Me Outsmart My Smartphone and Regain Time With My Family

14. Have a family Top Chef competition

A mother and son smile over a pan on the stove in the kitchen as they cook together as one of their family traditions
Brooke Lark via Unsplash

Make dinner a fun tradition by having each family member create a dish, or team up to make different dishes. There are tons of easy recipes that even the youngest chef can make (with a little help from a sibling or parent). Three-ingredient recipes such as grilled cheese roll-ups and PB&B quesadillas are simple and delicious choices for mealtime.

15. Have an artistic happy hour

A mom uses watercolors to paint flowers with her family
Joshua Ness via UNsplash

Set aside a little time to create something together. It could be clay sculpting or homemade play-doh or you could try and recreate Vincent van Gogh’s masterpiece Starry Night. Try drawing an outline of a scene or an object in black (or have older siblings do this) and then let the kids color in the original creation.

16. Get lit

A boy writes a poem in his workbook as part of a new family tradition
Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Make it an evening fit for the coolest literati by setting up a writing session. You try your hand at writing a haiku. We love these poetry mad libs for getting the kids in on the verse without fuss. Have the family stage a traditional poetry reading after to share what everyone has written.



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