We’ve all read about the benefits of eating dinner together as a family. Kids who eat with their families are less likely to smoke, drink, take drugs, be depressed, have eating disorders and more likely to eat well, learn manners, delay sex, and do better in school.
Family dinners are also a great time to share a verse and get your kids thinking about a topic rooted in God’s Word.
With such a long list of benefits, I thought I’d list some fun things to do at the dinner table – to make a great activity even greater.
1.Set a timer for 3-7 minutes (depending on the amount of people in your family). Give each family member opportunity to tell about his or her day. Make the rule that others have to listen respectfully — no rolling your eyes or comments from little brother when older sister talks about being teased for her acne. The person talking has the floor (or the table) and others can’t interrupt. Dad and Mom need to share, too.
2. Eat dinner backwards. Let kids have dessert first.
3. List how many “someones or somethings” in the Bible. As a family, list Bible characters with names starting with J. biblical bodies of water, Bible couples, Bible children, verses with the word “love” in them, birds in the Bible, etc. Be creative.
4.Invite a special guest. Invite someone you’ve never had to your house before. This could be someone who works at a unique job or a missionary home from another country. Or it could be someone without family in the area. Let your kids suggest people. (Sometimes kids want to invite their teachers to dinner. Hey, why not?)
5. Make the dinner all one color. Choose a color and then prepare everything you eat in that one color. Maybe the color is white: fish, rice, cauliflower, vanilla ice cream… Have fun.
6. Facetime grandparents or other relatives or friends who live out of town. Put your computer or phone in the middle of the table and have Grandpa and Grandma join the dinner conversation.
7. Learn one descriptive sentence about each book of the Bible. You will need to make this an ongoing project. You might want to do the first five books one week. Work on them a few nights and then put that project aside for awhile, come back to it, review what you’ve learned and add some more books.
8. Have kids make placemats. Laminate or cover with clear, self-adhesive paper. (Even older kids might enjoy doing this using computer graphics.)
9. Prepare a meal using only food from your garden or food purchased at a farm market or food found in the pantry after “you’re out of everything and it’s time to go to the grocery store.”
10. Make a list of family goals. What are two things each family member would like to do as a family during the year? Can you plan to do some of them?
11. Allow the kids to interview the parents. They can pretend they’re reporters having a high-powered lunch.
12.Give each person opportunity to list three reasons they’re thankful.