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5 ways to entertain the whole family this long weekend

Family watching a movie together

A favourite childhood memory is awaiting my cousins coming for a visit from the farm for Easter. We would build a large family bed in the TV room and spend all long weekend inseparable. Thinking back now, I can’t imagine how our parents kept sane with five busy children under eight ruling the roost, so to speak.

I’m sure that the promise of the wonder and excitement to be delivered by the ‘big hunt’ is what provided some calm all weekend long. But we grew up and – SPOILER ALERT – learned that the Easter bunny isn’t real. Which meant that our parents had to think of new ways to survive the weekend together.

These five activities are family favourites for some quality time together, any time.

#1 Movie night.

Who doesn’t like a good movie night?  Having trouble deciding what to watch? No problem, let each family member pick a movie, write down the names and put them in a bowl or hat and decide that way. Another fun option is to decide on a movie beforehand and create dinner and snacks to match the theme. Very adventurous families could even dress up as some characters in the chosen movie, or wear evening wear like Hollywood stars going to a screening.

#2 Game night.

Game night

Family game night can be fun any time of the year, but it is also very easy to tweak to fit any special event, holiday or celebration. Get some Easter eggs and use this as the prizes for the winning teams or members of your family.

Favourites in my family:

  • Pictionary
  • Charades
  • 30 seconds
  • Monopoly
  • Boerplaas (this is especially popular with younger family members)

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#3 Family photo booth.

I love taking photos at family events, but a homemade photo booth takes the fun to a whole new level. It’s really simple to do: Decide on a wall or area to use and decorate this with a backdrop of your choice – simply hanging a big sheet or table cloth works great in a bind.

The next step is to get props. There are tons of options available in most party, lifestyle or stationary shops but it’s a fun idea to involve the younger family members by making your own.

#4 Themed gift exchanges

Pretty gift

This idea is stolen from office party secret santas; my family has always enjoyed making a bit of an event out of big and anticipated gatherings, so we do a gift exchange for Easter.

We make turns to be organiser, that person then needs to inform each family member who their recipient is. Usually we set up a whatsapp group where each member can share what they would like. The most important thing here is to set, and stick to, a gift exchange budget.

#5 Dance parties or talent shows

Whether we opt for a relaxed and fun dance party or more serious (and slightly competitive) talent show depends on the mood of the group with every occasion. Each event is fun and guaranteed to deliver some serious laughs.

For a dance party simply move the furniture out of one room, and decorate it to resemble a school hall for a “sokkie”. Encourage everyone to dress up, set up a snacks and drinks table, and have fun with good music.

A talent show requires a bit more planning. Usually the same three or four family member will sit out performing and be judges. The rest of the family can prepare performances (in groups or alone depending on group size) and the judges will usually grade each performance on specific criteria. We like to give a small gift to the winning performance and my brother-in-law has even hinted at getting a trophy (no prizes for guessing who’s the most competitive).

I challenge all of you to embrace some of these ideas to spend some real quality time with your family while making memories and building traditions.

Words: Natassha Burrell


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