I partnered with A&W to bring you fun unplugged alternatives to movie night & share the news about their Family Fun Night Pledge. All opinions are my own.

Want to break away from the screens and really spend time bonding with your kids this summer? Take the A&W Family Fun Night Pledge and vow to spend one hour each Friday night totally unplugged! Don't worry, with these fun alternatives your kids won't even miss zoning out in front of the TV!

Want to break away from the screens and really spend time bonding with your kids this summer? Take the A&W Family Fun Night Pledge and vow to spend one hour each Friday night totally unplugged! Don’t worry, with these fun alternatives your kids won’t even miss zoning out in front of the TV! Even your teens will be on board with them!

10 Family Activities to Do on a Friday Night (Besides Watch Movies)

While my unplugged activities are geared towards moms of teenage kids (since I have a teen myself), they’re fairly all-age-friendly! You can also do most (if not all) of them right at home.

1. Family paint night!

Forget crowded classes and adults-only wine/painting parties, throw your own family paint night right at home. You don’t need much, just some cheap canvases and enough paints for everyone.

family paint night 10 Totally Unplugged Alternatives to Family Movie Night

Make it a themed paint night by choosing an “inspiration word” (like Hope, Love, Peace, etc), a “Paint Off” contest to see who can come up with the wackiest artwork, or just a free-for-all session where everyone paints whatever they want.

2. Epic Water Balloon Fight

Nothing cools you down on a hot summer night faster than being pelted with water balloons. Plus, this activity is about as cheap as you can get, since you just need to buy a package of the balloons.

water balloons 10 Totally Unplugged Alternatives to Family Movie Night

Just make sure everyone sticks around to clean up after. You don’t want the birdies to accidentally eat the popped balloons. Of course, you can always swap them out for water blasters instead, too!

3. Backyard Obstacle Course

Design a backyard obstacle course and see who can run it the fastest. Make it as involved or simple as you want. For example, if you want something you can use all summer long, go ahead and set up rope swings, hurdles, and so on. Don’t feel like getting that crazy with it? Just use sidewalk chalk. Easy peasy!

Pool noodles also work great! Check out this video for how to use them:

4. Make and play giant board games

Everyone’s heard about giant Jenga, but you can also play other ginormous versions of your favorite games. How about Scrabble, for example? It’s easy to make XL Scrabble tiles with pieces of scrap wood or cardboard (just bring then in before it rains if you want to reuse them).

5. Visit a local tourist attraction

I bet there are a few places in your town that you’ve never visited because they’re “for the tourists.” For example, we have a local history museum right up the road that I’ve never even stepped foot into. Make a list and check out a new one every Friday night.

6. Take a trip down memory lane

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Break out the family photo albums and share memories and stories. Even better, break out your own childhood album and tell them about your favorite memories from when you were there age. In the picture above, I’m the adorable little one with the curly hair, and that dog is my son’s namesake. True story! His name was Jake!

7. Invent something together

Even if it’s just a theoretical invention (versus a working prototype), it’s fun to come up with new ways to solve old problems. Who knows, you might just come up with a billion dollar idea!

8. Play glow-in-the-dark games

Pretty much every outdoor game can be turned into a glow-in-the-dark version. Want to start with something easy? Try glow bowling! Just stick glow sticks into 2-Liter bottles (like your empty A&W Root Beer bottles) to make pins, then use a lightweight ball (like a Wiffle ball) to knock them down.

9. Camp out in your yard

I’m not much of a camper, so a weekend trip is pretty much out of the question for me, but I have a great tent and do like to use it. So, Jake and I pitch it in the yard!

Wenzel Camping Gear 3 of 11 10 Totally Unplugged Alternatives to Family Movie Night

Even if we only spend a few hours out there chilling in it, we get a taste of the camping experience and spend some time totally unplugged. Plus, it’s a good way to hang out outdoors without getting eaten alive by bugs. 😀

10. Make Old-Fashioned Root Beer Floats!

Can you believe that I never had a root beer float until last year? I don’t know how I managed to go my entire life so far without one. Now, I’m completely addicted to them!

AW Root beer float 3 10 Totally Unplugged Alternatives to Family Movie Night

They’re so easy to make that even your youngest kids can help out. Just put two scoops of premium vanilla ice-cream in a tall mug and cover it with A&W Root Beer. Top with whipped cream if you want!

AW Root beer float 1 10 Totally Unplugged Alternatives to Family Movie Night

Don’t cut corners on the root beer and the ice-cream. With only two ingredients, you can definitely tell when you use generic stuff! Nothing tastes quite like sweet, creamy A&W. My son won’t even drink any other brand. Same goes for the ice-cream. Get the real stuff, not “frozen dairy dessert.” Otherwise, it gets all icy in your float.

If you want something a little more exotic, check out A&W’s Float Recipes. They have a Salted Caramel Root Beer Float recipe that sounds insane, so I’ll give that a try next!


About A&W’s 100th Anniversary and Family Fun Night Pledge

A&W Root Beer is celebrating 100 years of helping create sweet family moments by encouraging all of us to break away from the tech and create new unplugged family memories! They’ll even give you a free 2 liter bottle of root beer to do it! The rules are simple:

  • Take the pledge to go technology-free for 1 hour on Friday nights.
  • Fill in the required info (name, address, etc).
  • Get a printable coupon for a FREE 2 liter of A&W Root Beer. Don’t have a printer? You can also opt to have it mailed to you. Just keep in mind it will take longer to arrive.

Need some more inspiration? To help give you everything they need to jumpstart their Family Fun Nights this summer, A&W created a first-of-its-kind Family Fun Night box, featuring a carefully curated selection of novelty items and essentials for creating root beer floats at home. The box includes things like

  • Plastic A&W Root Beer Mugs
  • Spoons & Straws
  • A branded A&W Ice Cream Scoop
  • Float toppings
  • Family Fun Inspiration Cards
  • and more

Look, even if your kids grumble about putting away their phones now, they’ll look back as adults and be happy that they got to spend that hour with your undivided attention each week. I know that as an adult I never once think to myself, “I should have watched more movies as a teenager!”

Take the Pledge Now! 



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