We’ve started a new tradition at our house. Once a month we invite other families over to our house for Game Night. Everybody always looks forward to it!
I send out Evite invitations a couple weeks before (although pretty much everyone knows to reserve the last Saturday of the month for us). If people can make it, great. If not, we’ll see you next month. It’s very low key. We ask that each family brings an appetizer or dessert and $1.50 per kid per hour for the babysitter.
By the way, I found my babysitter through one of the gyms I used to belong to. She ran the child care there, and since the gym was too cheap to hire enough staff to achieve the proper caregiver/child ratio, she became well versed in watching way too many kids at once. There was one day where I went in to pick up my girls and-I kid you not-there were over 20 kids in that room. But here’s the thing: it was completely under control and organized! She sat with the babies and young toddlers, there was a group of kids watching TV, a second doing puzzles, and a third group coloring, all while a group of boys was roughhousing in the middle of the floor. The big kids were helping the little ones, and while it was crowded and noisy, she was completely in control. The woman’s incredible!
Anyway, our babysitter for the evening stays upstairs (on our main floor; kitchen and family room) while the adults convene downstairs in our finished basement to play a few games, catch up, and of course, eat. The kids watch TiVo or movies and play and eat. There’s a standing invitation for the kids to wear pajamas, and in October, the kids wear their Halloween costumes. We’ve been told more than one time by more than one kid that the kids have WAY more fun than the adults.
We usually average 2-3 other families coming to Game Night each month, though it’s been as low as 1 and as high as 6 (which was too much, IMHO, because we had to split the adults into groups instead of all playing together).
Some of our recent games include Catchphrase (a great warm-up game, though some nights it’s all we play), Cranium, Apples to Apples, Scene It, Clue, and of course, the Wii and Wii Fit. One of my most memorable Game Nights was when friends brought over two more Wii remotes and I watched 4 people play Wii tennis in my basement. It was hilarious: four adults swinging their arms through the air at nothing and cursing.
We start at 6:00 pm, and things usually wrap up around 10:30 or so. We used to take a break for the months of November and December, but (this month anyway) we rescheduled it a couple weeks before the holiday so we’d still get it in.
Game Night is one get-together that definitely works for us. For more great ideas and tips, Check out Rocks in my Dryer.