Creative Family Dining

Studies have shown that something as simple as eating dinner together as a family has a major positive impact on the happiness and well-being on children and parents.  Studies continue to suggest that while it produces routine and stability, family dinner time increases communication and social skills, is correlated to achieving better academic performance,  promotes healthier eating habits, and contributes to overall child development, including having children who are less likely to smoke, drink, or be depressed. (see here)If Dinner time is one of the family’s most important times of the day to spend together, take time once in a while to spice things up and make it special again.

  1. Light Candles and turn on special music
  2. Have the kids help make  a creative table centerpiece.
  3. Pack a picnic dinner and eat out on the lawn.
  4. Spread a blanket in the family room for an indoor picnic.
  5. Tell stories about when you were young.
  6. Add a “secret ingredient” to a favorite recipe and try to guess what it is.
  7. Make fruit smoothies and guess what fruits are inside.
  8. Have a cook off.
  9. Let each family member choose and help prepare one part of the meal — the main course, a side dish, the bread, the dessert, etc.
  10. Play a naming game, think of a food starting with each letter of the alphabet, or each color of the rainbow, etc.
  11. Make “Family Soup” with an ingredient of choice by each family member (may have to set out acceptable ingredients on the counter first).
  12. Make mini-sized items (ex: mini meatloafs, mini burgers, baked mac-n-cheese in muffin cups, mini pizza, mini clazones, etc.)
  13. Make special place setting with place mats, name place cards, or unusual dishes.
  14. Create a “Top 10” list of favorite meals and schedule them for the week.
  15. Make up wacky names for the foods on their plates.
  16. Go through the coupons and have everyone plan a meal around what’s on sale.
  17. Have Breakfast for dinner
  18. Hide a surprise note under each person’s plate –compliments, an invitation to play a game, or some clean up chores.
  19. Have a finger-food dinner, and do not serve utensils.  Amazingly fun with spaghetti.
  20. Have Backwards Day.  Have your dessert first, then dinner second.

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About Kerri

Ahh…see that smile on my face? That’s a genuine smile. I love my family. I love the 4th of July. I love the beach. I love ice-cream. And the day this picture was taken, I was getting the combination of it all. Ahhh…that’s a real smile!
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