“Pointers for Parents: A Change of Place for a Change of Pace,” Ensign, Oct. 1973, 84
It is important to have fun together as a family, and holding family home evening in a structured, classroom fashion is a “loser” in our family. We feel it should contain the elements of variety and surprise to keep seven active minds involved.
So, we have added to our family home evening variety: variety as to location, time, teaching methods, games, and other activities, all of which add up to a good guessing game on the part of the family members every week and some creative thinking on the part of whoever is in charge. Of course, we don’t vary everything every week, but one or two variables do help create new experience and interest.
Looking back over the past years of our getting together with our children for family home evening (we began when our oldest was three years old), we’ve held family home evenings in a number of places. Most often we gather in the living room, but for variety we have met in the children’s circus tent, outside in a tree fort, on the patio, in the kitchen, on the back lawn, or even on a bed in one of the bedrooms (or occasionally under it!). And sometimes we just turn off all the lights and sit on the floor for our discussion.
We’ve found that there is enough variety in different rooms of the home to keep up the interest of even the older teenagers. Sometimes it’s “wall-to-wall people” in a small utility room or hallways—and that leaves very little room for moving or wiggling around during the discussion. Sometimes we’ve only been able to have a laugh session under such circumstances, but we’ll never forget that feeling of togetherness. Even the smallest of homes has four different corners and an inside and an outside that can be used for variety.
Our newest venture is to be guests in the children’s bedrooms. They play host by cleaning up the room as if expecting company, providing chairs, cushions, or seating space, taking charge of welcoming us, conducting the program, thanking those who have assisted, and, while we’re eating refreshments, holding a show-and-tell time of their personal interests or hobbies.
New surroundings for family home evening help us remember enjoyable times spent together while we are planning for our eternal lives together.