Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Making Family Home Evening More Fun

Every week (mostly on Monday nights) we hold Family Home Evening (FHE). It's a time for all of us (and there are 7 of us not counting the cat) to spend some time together as a family without electronics. Recently Cheryl and I have discussed making FHE 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.

So yesterday as I was thinking about what we would do for FHE it hit me: Minute To Win It. This activity is:

  1. Quick - games last only a minute and everyone can try them
  2. Purposeful - You have to think quickly how you're going to complete the task in a minute. 
  3. Entertaining - The activities can lead to much laughter
  4. 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, and yes if you're keeping track that is "five 9's") this is a perfect way to keep them attentive without "dragging on". So we implemented the plan and had two Minute to Win It activities last night.

The first was "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 was "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.

Of course after the activities we had to have a treat. Cheryl had made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies earlier in the day (you can ask her for the recipe). We broke those out and of course in my infinite knowledge of all things pumpkin had to break out the whipped cream to top the cookies. For some strange reason all but Grace (age 6) and Lia (age 6) were the only ones who thought that was a good idea.

Anyways, it was one of the more enjoyable FHEs that we have ever had. Even our almost teenager appeared to enjoy it and that is saying something.

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