16 Friday Night Traditions Perfect for Family Time

Here’s how you plan a Friday night for the kids

You’ve yet again survived the delicate trifecta of work, household duties, and figuring out the summer camp schedules, and (Congrats!) made it to Friday. In theory, this is an evening that should revolve around QT with the family, but more often than not, parents are left wondering how to plan a Friday night for their kids. If you want to get creative with your family weekend tradition, here’s how to shake things up. From game nights to awesome family activities, here are our favorite ideas for what to do on a Friday night.

1. Hold a family meeting.

a family meeting, an idea for planning a Friday night for kids.

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 at 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 personal pies in this activity-turned-meal that makes Friday night an entertaining family tradition. 

3. Watch the sun go down.

what to do on a Friday night: watch the sun go down

Make it a late night (it's Friday, after all), and set up outside with the kids to watch the sun go down. The kids can play games at dusk, and you can catch up with your partner while you wait. 

Related: 8 Creative Ways To Build Family Time Through Traditions

4. Build a fort.


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 13 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 2023 (so far) for a great reading list for all ages and stages. 

6. Set up an ice cream sundae bar.

making ice cream sundaes is fun when you need ideas for what to do on a Friday night

Here's a great idea when planning a Friday night for kids. 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 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

Change up Friday night by camping in the living room, or pitching a tent in the backyard. These camping activities will give your family a ton of wilderness inspiration without leaving home. Don't forget the s'mores

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.

kids playing music at home

Rock out as a family during your own Friday night concert. Organize a karaoke session or use a music-making app that will record your tunes and help make making music together a melodic family tradition.

10. Take a stroll.

A mom and daughter walk through their neighborhood on a Friday
Sue Zen via Unsplash

An after-dinner walk brings the family together. Even if you are only walking around the block, it can be a great bonding experience for children (and fun for you). For more adventures, try a simple I-Spy or spotting walk. You can also have each family member silently observe something on the walk. When you get home, take turns sharing your observations. Plus, you get a chance to get a few steps in to start your weekend off on the right foot!

11. 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. 

12. Set up a scavenger hunt.

Elisabeth Wales via Unsplash

Stage an elaborate scavenger hunt before bedtime. 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 games and fun. 

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

13. Have a family Top Chef competition.

mother and son cooking, something fun on a Friday night for kids
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.

14. 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 playdough 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.

15. Get literary.

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. Have the family stage a traditional poetry reading after to share what everyone has written.

16. Have a family movie night.


If you want to plan a Friday night for the kids, but just don't have the energy to do much, a family movie night is always the answer. Pick a movie that'll please your whole crowd and don't forget the popcorn

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