By Lisa Witherspoon

– “Family is the most important thing in the world.” – Princess Diana

– “The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.” – Thomas Jefferson

These quotes remind us of the importance of family. However, in today’s busy world, it seems the only time families spend together is in the car traveling between work, school, extracurricular activities, errands, playdates, and birthday parties. Unfortunately, QUALITY family time doesn’t just happen. It takes work, so go get your overcrowded calendar. Pick a night. Write it down – “FAMILY NIGHT.” Better yet, chisel it in so that nothing can change it. Once you have done that, here are some suggestions to help you on your way.

1. Game Night – Get out the board games and play together. You can team up to help younger ones, if needed. Monopoly, LIFE, Uno, Scrabble, & Pictionary are some classics!

2. Wii Night – Do you have a Wii?? Why not have a family bowling tournament or a Guitar Hero showdown??

3. Movie Night – Simple. Rent a movie, pop some popcorn, sit on the couch together, and enjoy!

4. Pizza Night – Don’t just order delivery; make your own. You can make one large pizza or several small, personal pizzas. Finish it off by making ice cream sundaes, too!!

5. Culture Night – Pick a country and make that your theme for the night. For example, choose Mexico and make tacos; or choose Italy and have spaghetti and Italian ice. You can also watch a movie about the country. Older kids (and younger kids with help) can Google ten fun facts about the country to share at the dinner table.

6. Do a Project Together – Gather everyone to help complete a jigsaw puzzle, build and paint a birdhouse, or plant a flower box.

7. Service Project – Use your family time to help others together. Make cards and deliver them to a nursing home. Go to the Dollar Store and purchase toiletry items to take to a homeless shelter. Go to a pet store and purchase food and toys for the animal shelter.

8. Fun Night Out – Take the family out for some fun. Go bowling, ice skating, roller skating, or to play putt-putt.

9. Go Camping in the Backyard – Start with a backyard picnic. Then, pitch a tent. Make s’mores, tell jokes or ghost stories, and watch the stars come out. (You can do this even if you don’t sleep outside overnight!)

10. Home Project – Work on a project around the house together. Have everyone pitch in to help rearrange the furniture or organize the garage. The work will go faster and it will be more fun together!

11. Go to the Park – It is Daylight Savings time, so it is light outside until 8:00 or so. Take advantage of that and go play at a local park! Be sure to check out the Favorite Park blogs right here on Triad Moms On Main.

12. Charades – You can write words on index cards, divide into teams, and play this classic game for hours!

You can also come up with something completely different and special to your family. Whatever you choose, have fun. After all, “The most precious gift you can give your children is your time.” (Anonymous)

What is your favorite thing to do as a family? We want to know! Share your comment below …