Family dinners can get a little boring. (I think I heard your jaw drop from here that I would ever say such a thing out loud.) The thing is, I bet you feel it sometimes too. It’s the same ole thing every single day. What took hours to plan, shop for, and cook is devoured in minutes by little people who possibly complained about the veggies. Or even if your family isn’t the complaining type, there is still the monotony of doing this dinner thing EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
Around this single mom home, dinner could use a little excitement. Sure, a little more fun will provide valuable family bonding and life-long memories for the kids, but there’s more. Creating a simple and fun dinner changes mom’s attitude as well. No longer is it a chore that must be done. It’s a task with meaningful purpose that we know promises a bunch of smiles and hugs. I don’t know about you, but we could use a lot of that around here!
But don’t worry. I know that your first thought is the same as mine. When am I going to have time for that? A meaningful and fun family dinner doesn’t have to be something elaborate and time consuming all the time. Perhaps sometimes, but most of the time, it can be very simple and FRUGAL! Here are some of the best ideas that I could find from my friends around the web.
Do a little something different—>
Have a progressive dinner. Starting with appetizers on the front porch, move to the main dish at the dining table, followed by dessert on a picnic blanket in the family room. Try any combination of rooms.
Get out the china and cloth napkins and have a “fancy” dinner.
Play a game like Family Time Fun Dinner Games and Activities
Have a scavenger hunt for your food.
Have a fun conversation using Conversation Starters
Create a Theme—>
Historical themes: Create a dinner theme around a period of time in history. Have a Medieval Times Night or Viking Night. Come to dinner with helmets, shields, and swords. And of course, eat with your hands. Or study geography through your meal.
Ethnic themes: Base the night around a particular type of ethnic food. Try Italian night, Mexican night, or grab some chopsticks and have a Chinese night.
Kid’s book themes: I love the idea of reading a book together and creating a dinner theme around that book. Here are just a few ideas: Stone Soup, Green Eggs and Ham, Dragons Love Tacos, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Very Hungry Caterpillar. Have a pasta night for Strega Nona or just have a children’s book night and throw many different books in like they did for this baby shower.
Other Theme Ideas:
Have a backwards dinner night.
Make the food fun
Make Your Own Pizza Buffet…we always use english muffins, then add sauce and toppings as desired. Bake in toaster oven or regular oven at 350 for about 10 minutes.
Have a Fondue party
Serve up dinner in muffin tins. I do mine a little bit differently and serve it family style. Most people use a 6 Cup Muffin Pan as an individual serving tray. You can also get reusable cupcake liners and set them on plates. My kids love that. Although I really think that just about anything fits in a muffin tin, you can find lots of savory recipes for Muffin Tin Dinners here.
Make some Foodimals (ya know, food that looks like animals)