Your guide to a fun night with your family


Noa Appelbaum

The pandemic is a great opportunity to spend quality, fun times with your family with games, movies and other activities

COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, and some social distancing standards will remain in effect throughout the summer. This lack of social connection with our peers and with the outside world can take a significant toll on our physical and mental health — according to “The Commonwealth Fund,” studies show that social isolation can increase the risk of early death by 26% (the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day). Despite this unsettling statistic, there are ways we can connect with others and have an exciting summer without even leaving the house. Spending time with our families is essential in making us feel more connected, and a fun family night is the perfect event to strengthen bonds, relax, ease boredom and enjoy hard-earned vacation time.

Activities and crafts

Option 1: Family Game Night

One option that can help strengthen bonds is to have a family game night. According to a 2013 study conducted by Hasbro Gaming, 96% of families surveyed who said they often play games together feel a close connection. No matter how you play, a game night is the perfect way to laugh with your family, use strategy and skill, and bring out a competitive fire that’s sure to boost everyone’s spirits. Below are exciting games that can also be played without purchasing them.

First, for a twist on a game of telephone, as well as a Pictionary game, play Telestrations.

Guess It! USAopoly’s “Telestrations,” a winner of nine gaming awards, includes individual books where you pick a word, draw it and pass it to the person next to you. (Noa Appelbaum)

The rules are simple: pick a word from a card, write it down and draw it on the next page. Pass it to the person next to you, who will study your drawing, try to guess what the word is and draw their interpretation. The cycle repeats for four rounds, and at the end look through everyone’s individual books and laugh at people’s drawings and guesses. If you do not have the actual game, just use regular old paper and pencils. Pass a piece of paper to everyone, fold them into eighths, and proceed as normal, only, instead of flipping the book pages to guess and draw, unfold the paper.

Other games perfect for a game night include variants of “Apples to Apples” or “Cards Against Humanity,” such as “New Phone, Who Dis?” or “Relative Insanity.” Assign a judge, pick a prompt, and players will turn in whatever card they have they think the judge will like the most based on the subject. If the judge picks their card as their favorite, they collect the prompt, and the player with the most prompt cards at the end wins. If you do not have the actual game, you and your family can always make up your own cards and responses and play a similar version.

Guess It! USAopoly’s “Telestrations,” a winner of nine gaming awards, includes individual books where you pick a word, draw it and pass it to the person next to you. (Noa Appelbaum)

Regardless of what you have in your house, a family game night is a great way to bond, laugh, and spend time with each other, and can be achieved through materials already present at home.


Option 2: Family Spa Night

Another great way to ease tension and relax with your family is to have a spa night. With 45% of American adults feeling that COVID-19 has negatively affected their mental health (according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey), relaxing, especially with family, is at the utmost importance right now. Convert your master bathroom into a relaxing, affordable getaway with just a few candles, soap and music.

While being stuck inside the house may get boring, these family bonding activities will help you get closer and help pass the time while in quarantine.



Every family activity night requires the perfect drinks and snacks in order to be complete. Not only are the snacks tasty but they also are fun to make. Here are some recommendations based on taste and convenience as well as some from long lasting family traditions.

The recipe for the dough in the video is slightly modified from the inspiration recipe but only slightly. If you would like to see the original recipe here is the pizza dough recipe and pizza sauce recipe.

Pizza is a basic but necessary inclusion in your family activity night. In fact, the process of making the dough and adding your own toppings is an activity in itself. It’s a staple in houses with picky eaters and family members with dietary restrictions as each member can make their own pizza leaving everyone satisfied and without complaints. In regards to convenience, you can make the recipe as complicated or as easy as you want. You can get premade dough and just make your own toppings or start from scratch.

In this video there two recipes for making flavored popcorn are demonstrated and explained: ranch-flavored popcorn and caramel peanut butter popcorn.

Popcorn is an obvious addition to this list as it is a staple in any movie or activity night.  Simple customizations can really make the traditional, yet still delicious, buttered popcorn just a little bit more interesting. You can add anything to your popcorn ranging from sweet to savory. Adding peanut butter and caramel to your popcorn is a sweet and simple way to accomplish this goal or to make your popcorn just a little sweeter. Another option that’s a little more savory is an additional ranch seasoning. It probably couldn’t get any easier to literally spice up your popcorn. In the video above all the ingredients used were vegan. This is proof of how easy it is to be conscious of food restrictions yet still have tasty food.

This video demonstrates and explains how to make a family favorite: frozen s’mores. Here is the link to the original frozen s’mores recipe.

S’mores represent the feeling of sitting with your friends or family by a fire singing campfire songs and bonding with the people nearest to you. The only problem with them is that if you don’t exactly have a campfire you can’t successfully or cleanly make them. Here is a simple recipe for frozen s’mores. These s’more alternatives are much more fit for the couch or the living room.

This video shows a family favorite recipe for a pineapple strawberry mocktail using this  recipe: pineapple cobbler mocktail. The page that houses this recipe also has 39 other recipes like it so if you are in need of inspiration this is a great page for you.

Making mocktails is a fun experience for you and your family. You can use any syrups or juices you want providing yet another outlet to pour your creativity into. Each member of your family can pick their own ingredients and their own mixtures but this pineapple cobbler drink is a good place to start.


Movie night

While having a stay-at-home vacation, one must-do activity is watch a movie. Easy to do alone or with friends and completely accessible, movies are a great escape from the outside world, and if done right, watching at home can be just as enjoyable as in a theater. However, picking the right movie can be challenging, as researching is time-consuming, and options are endless. For these reasons, consider these four well-received and recent movies to watch at home:

  • Knives Out,” a comedic mystery featuring Ana de Armas, Chris Evans and Daniel Craig, directed by Rian Johnson
  • Hobbs and Shaw,” an action film taking place in the Fast and Furious universe
  • Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a failing comedian disregarded by society
  • The Invisible Man,” a recent thriller film featuring Elizabeth Moss