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Channel Guide 2017
Family Fun Night
 Games, Activities, Toys and Fun
 
Let's face it, family schedules just aren't what they used to be. Kids trickle in each evening from sports practice, scouts or music lessons.  Parents work long hours.  Family members eat at different times.  Computers, texting and television keep us isolated, even in the hours that we're together.  Sound familiar?  Well, you can break the bands of boredom and reunite your family.  We've come up with a few ideas to help you do so.
 
December - Must See TV
Make sure to watch Welcome Home's coverage of our Family Fun Products Awards.
 
Movie Night
Set this up once and you've got a whole slew of family movie nights ready to roll. Here's how:

•Create a theme. Is it Western flicks, spy movies, Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, classic musicals or family favorites? Create your tickets -- and a ticket booth -- to fit your theme.
 
•Build a concession stand. A few pieces of cardboard, a handful of Monopoly money and you're ready to start the night right. "Sell" -- with the game dollars -- popcorn, boxed candy and sodas to your family members (many party supply stores now offer movie theater-style popcorn bags for just a few cents each).
 
•Add some competition to the mix. Have a quick trivia game or history lesson about some aspects of the movie you'll be seeing. Superhero knowledge, facts about special effects, sketches of your favorite characters, these can all make for a fun intro to the flick that include a bit of education, too.
 
Board Games
Board and card games are the original interactive entertainment, but instead of playing with a computer, your kids will be engaging with you. The classics are always good choices, but there are new games and updated versions of old ones that give great entertainment value while giving kids' eyes a break from video screens.  And there are bonuses:  These games mix in some free lessons with the fun.
 
Board games help kids develop strategy (Battleship and Checkers), spelling and vocabulary (Scrabble, Boggle and Bethump'd with Words) and money skills (Monopoly or Payday). Card games such as Cribbage teach math skills, while Euchre, Rook and Spades teach how to work with a partner. And unlike a computer, board and card games are great for camping and when the power goes out.
 
Campfire Cookout
Let everyone show off their scouting skills with a campfire cookout. The first step, of course, is making a crackling campfire. Will you use a teepee or stack configuration? If you've got a Cub Scout or Brownie in your family, have the kid (with adult supervision) build the fire to test his or her skills. While the fire burns down for cooking, everyone can whittle their own stick to make kabobs. Wrap some ears of corn in heavy foil to cook over the coals, and then thread chunks of meat, sweet peppers, onions and pineapple on the sticks to roast.
 
For dessert, scoop the middle out of bananas and fill the canals with chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, shredded coconut or other morsels to make banana boats -- or stick with the traditional yet always-delicious s'mores.   Wrap up the evening with your favorite campfire songs and ghost stories told by firelight.
 
Family Cooking Competition
This fun family activity has some practical aspects: It gets dinner on the table and builds cooking skills for the whole family. To get started, assign or have everyone choose a meal element (salad, main dish, bread, sides, or appetizers). The person in charge of the dish has complete control over preparing (parents can still supervise young kids) and serving it. Have the family judge the appearance and taste of each food. At the end of the meal, award prizes for best presentation, best effort, most creative, most likely to be requested again or other fun categories. Then you can move to the main event: the bake-off!
 
For this part of the evening, prepare a box cake mix and divide the batter between family members. Everyone adds their own secret ingredients to their portion. Bake the enhanced cakes in mini cake pans or a muffin pan. After the cakes cool, hold a decorating party. Offer up frosting, tubes of icing, fruit, nuts and candy toppings. If you're using white frosting, put out some food coloring, too. Vote on which cake looks best and which tastes best.
 
Family fun nights help bond the family together and build happy memories that last.  Give these ideas a try and start building your own memories.