Earlier this evening I went to Movie Night at my daughter's school, and it was one of the better family Fridays I've had in a while.
If you are interested in doing something with your child that doesn't cost much and doesn't take a lot of effort to do; look into some of the activities your child's school offers during the school year. MIB's school offers several different activities: sports, spaghetti dinners, heritage night, and movie night.
Tonight they watched "The Lorax" in the school auditorium...it was about 100 kids on the floor in pajamas wrapped up in their favorite blankets on the floor watching the movie on the auditorium's big screen. Outside, some of the older kids (MIB goes to a K-8 school) were selling popcorn, fruit snacks, waters, and homemade cupcakes (which was a treat considering her school doesn't allow sweets during the regular school day or in their lunches). An added bonus to older kids at the movie night: they watched the children in the room (with a couple of teachers who volunteered their time) while the parents were in the library doing parent stuff.
This is a perfect opportunity for parents to do several things. One is to mingle and get to know the other parents of children that are in your child's class and environment. Reason why this is great: because you can find someone to take your child for a few hours while you are trying to do other stuff. Seriously this is just an interview process for babysitters for you and other parents. If you come to enough of these events and get to know these parents, exchange numbers or emails, and create a school friendship you are able to work out some kind of arrangement between the two of you to swap carpooling, play dates, and even overnight activities.
Another good thing that came from movie night is the meeting that we had. Our school partners with Common Ground, an organization that helps schools and communities with finding solutions to problems that affect the progress we are trying to make, and they've been helping us with getting more parent involvement within the school. At the last PTO meeting at our school, we had about 10 parents that attended the meeting. Tonight's meeting: we had 40; we quadrupled the number of parents and we didn't have to pay or bribe them with anything. Our meeting actually helped us meet new parents, learn what they want within the school (school uniforms was a big discussions), and pulled more parents into attending the next PTO meeting.
And for MIB, this was a great opportunity for her to socialize with her classmates and peers, to get out and have fun, and to have an additional opportunity to be independent. She was able to sit with a couple of her classmates and talk about whatever 4 year olds talk about and watch one of her favorite movies. And I got a break. Win win for everybody.
So if you are looking for something to do with your family over the weekend and are completely stumped, take a look at what your child's school offers on their website or just call to see what kind of events are coming up that are family friendly. More often than not you will be able to find something that is fun, educational, cheap, and an all around good time for everyone.
YCMs: what did you do for your Family Friday?