Every week (mostly on Monday nights) we hold Family Home Evening (FHE). It’s a time for all 7 of us not counting the dog to spend some time together as a family without electronics. Cheryl and I have discussed making Family Home Evening more like Mutual Night. For those that don’t know, Mutual Night is when the youth (ages 12 – 18) of our church get together for various activities. Some of these are just fun and some are more spiritual in nature.
Keeping the attention span of our children is difficult at times, so we need to have activities that engage them. We try to play some games that are fun, but not the same ones over and over again.
Minute To Win It
Minute To Win It was a popular game show that can be done at home. This activity is:
- Quick – games last only a minute and everyone can try them
- Purposeful – You have to think quickly how you’re going to complete the task in a minute.
- Entertaining – The activities can lead to much laughter
- Encouraging – The activities allow the non-players to root on the player and show support for completing the task.
Now if you have children with short attention spans (that should be about 99.999% of you) this is a perfect way to keep them attentive without “dragging on”. We have two Minute to Win It activities that use common items in the home, are easy to setup and fun to play.
The first is “Spoon Frog”. This involves flipping a spoon into a cup. The layout is easy. You need 3 cups and 6 spoons. You lay the spoons so that the stems are on top of each other (two spoons per cup) and then once the time starts you catapult a spoon towards a cup and try to get it to land in the cup. Hilarity ensues when the spoons start flying. For example, Grace flipped a spoon and landed it in a cup that was next to the one the spoons were lined up for. As for myself, I’m so good I got the spoon to land so that it was balanced on the cup.
The second activity is “Cup Stack”. Normally you would start with 36 plastic cups, start with one stack (all 36 together), then separate them into a pyramid (base of 8 followed by 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1), then stack them all together in one pile to finish. Now we had to improvise and changed the number from 36 to 10 in order to make it easier for the younger kids. This game also produced hilarity. It also produced creativity. Sam showed an easier way to go from the pyramid to the single stack by sliding the cups together from top to bottom. Levi showed that the perfect pyramid wasn’t in the rules and so his pyramid wasn’t triangular. Again fun had by all.
Another fun thing we have done is to create monsters. To create the monsters you fold a piece of paper into three sections. Everyone gets a piece of paper and above the first fold, you create the monster’s head and neck. Once done, you fold the paper so the head can’t be seen and pass it to the next person who draws the body. Next, fold the paper again so the body and head are hidden and pass it to the third person who draws the legs. After the paper has been passed three times, the monster has been created.
Of course, after the activities, we have to have a treat. These can be as simple as Oreo’s or as elaborate as pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Treats will, more times than not, keep the children around for a discussion of the activity and other items.
Making Family Home Evening fun keeps the family engaged, away from electronics, and builds bonds. Even our teenagers appear to enjoy it and that is saying something.