This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chuck E. Cheese’s. The opinions and text are all mine.
Growing up, family time was something my parents placed a lot of importance on – to the point that it became part of our family traditions, something we did weekly. I even remember being a moody teenager and not wanting to see my parents, but my brother and I would always show up to family night with a good attitude because that was the tradition, because so many good memories were made in the years before that even as rebellious teenagers we secretly loved these nights.
Family time is a great way to reconnect to your children, as a family. It’s the perfect way to solidify the bond and to show our kids that this small circle of people are the ones they can always count on – no matter what. Now, as an adult, I can see how important it was that we had family time. Our family now lives in 2 different countries, yet we are so close and talk to each other every day because we were raised to understand the importance of close family relationships. Family night taught us that our parents loved us no matter what and that we could always count on them – something I want my own children to know too!
Now that I have my own children we make it a conscious effort to spend time together as a family. Every night we have dinner together and it’s a sacred time, where no cell phones, TV’s or distractions are allowed. But family time is also about spending time together in fun ways and creating long lasting memories. Family time is about laughing together, loving each other and realizing how powerful the family bond truly is.
This is why I’ve partnered with Chuck E. Cheese’s to show you 5 fun ways to spend family time together with little kids!
5 family time activities for toddlers and beyond
Dinner and Game Night
Last year my girls went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s for the first time and they were hooked! They had so much fun running around with their friends and playing games with us that we embraced it. Recently, a Chuck E. Cheese’s near where we live (in 6637 Governor Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, MD 21061 – in case you’re local and want to check it out!) got remodeled so we were invited for a fun family night and since the grandparents were in town we made it a whole event.
What we love about Chuck E. Cheese’s it’s that it has a very relaxed atmosphere to it. The whole mission behind it is that you can come, have them take of everything, relax and just have fun. And that’s exactly what we did! We went during dinner time so we combined play and dinner. Because we have little kids, I love getting the all you can play cards. These cards just have a time limit (that you can choose when getting your card – we always get the 90 minutes cards) and it allows your kids to play all they want during that time. What’s great about this is that if my youngest walks away from a game because she didn’t like it or because it was too hard for her, we don’t really loose tickets. She can just swipe her card on the next game and keep on playing! It’s so simply that she’s only 3 and knows exactly how to use the card.
And their food is actually a lot better than we expected it to be! Our go-to is their pizza (my favorite is the vegetarian one) and salad! While I do wish their meals were organic, the reality is that 95% of the time we eat out we don’t eat organic, since it’s simply something that’s not available so I really appreciate when a restaurant has a tasty selection of FRESHLY made foods and salads with FRESH vegetables – that don’t look like they’ve been sitting around for days! At this location, with the new remodel, you can even see the pizza making process and during the week, Monday – Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., they offer a lunch buffet. So perfect for those cold winter days where you want to get out of the house!
What my girls loved about this Chuck E. Cheese’s location is that they added a giant light up dance floor where the hourly live show and birthday show will take place. My 3 year old spent a lot of time chasing around the lights and dancing! It was so fun to watch that the grandparents even joined her in some silly dancing.
The all you can play cards are definitively the way to go since there are so many games you can play together as a family! Plus, every kid has a favorite game that they end up playing more than once so these all you can play cards make it easy for them do that.
At one point we hit the jackpot and won a lot of tickets – which was hilarious because my 3 year old was in awe watching the machine shoot out over 500 tickets!
The best part was that we got to spend a really fun evening with our children and their grandparents. Everyone had so much fun and we even won some fun prizes!
The hardest part was actually leaving Chuck E. Cheese’s because the girls didn’t want to leave! I didn’t grow up in the U.S. so it wasn’t until recently that I learned that Chuck E. Cheese’s has been around for over 40 years, which makes going extra special for my husband because it reminds him of his childhood. It is simply a really great place to make fun memories and spend fun time with the family!
Home Video Night
If your kids are anything like mine, they love to see themselves on videos and pictures! And technology now-a-days makes this super easy. We love to prepare snacks together, like hummus and veggies or popcorn, and watch on our TV videos and pictures of when the girls were babies. It is such a heart-melting experience because you are taken back to the moments when the kiddos were little squishy babies and that is simply so adorable. Plus the kids get to learn about things they did as babies and toddlers that they didn’t remember doing!
You can even watch things like your wedding videos, pictures of yourself and your partner as a kid, family vacations or parties. You name it! Kids have so much fun going down memory lane with the adults and it helps them remember how much love is in our family. Plus, for some reason, they find it really interesting to see that we were once kids too.
This is probably one of our favorite things to do at home because we get to work as a team! First, as a family, we choose a craft or an activity we want to do together. Sometimes, depending on the difficulty and materials needed, the choosing has to be done a few days in advance. Then, we tackle the activity as a family!
This is a simple and fun way to bond and a great way to develop teamwork. I love having activities like this because my youngest is still not really good at sharing and working with others so we can guide her through the process, encourage sharing and show her how easy it is to make something when you work as a team. During this time we only put music and don’t allow distractions, like a TV on or cell phones near by, which makes this a great opportunity to talk about things they are going through. We have found out about things my kids didn’t like from school and other things they loved because we were making an activity together and the conversations just happened naturally.
There are a lot of giggles involved and we always end up with a craft that we display in our homes. It’s a great reminder of the importance of family time!
What we love about playing Charades is that you can adapt this game for kids all ages. Since we have small children we keep it simple and play charades where we have to guess what animal is someone pretending to be. My kids can’t read it so we let them choose whatever animal they want to act out and sometimes we pick an animal photo from a bucket.
Let me tell you, this game is not only hilarious – because half the we have no idea what the kids are trying to do, but it also boost creativity. Once the kids realize we are not getting what they’re acting out, they get even more creative. It forces them to think outside the box, which is a great skill to start developing from a young age!
This is another activity that can be adapted for kids all ages, you can use building blocks, duplo legos or regular legos. Pick a warm and cozy spot in your home, dump out all the building blocks and get to building together. You can build simple things like towers if you have small children and more complex things, like mini cities, if you have older kids.
What I love about this activity is that it’s a great way to spark up conversation, spend quality time together and develop creativity. For this activity it’s even more fun when you’re not following instructions. You can let the kids figure out how to build things hands-on, by trial and error and experimenting. This may sound very simple but these are skills that we all need in life and the younger we learn them, the better. Plus kids always learn best through play!
I also use building night as an opportunity to snuggle with my kids! Spending time together on the floor makes us all equal – the same height, and it allows for really sweet moments.
Family night doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive! You can do it at home or at a fun place like Chuck E. Cheese’s where they take care of everything and you just show up to have a good time. Family time is about spending quality time with the children, being present in the moment with them, without any distractions. Think back on your own childhood, you probably remember, more than anything else, the adventures and traditions you had with your family so why not start creating these learning opportunities, bonding opportunities and memories with your kids now?