We’ve heard repeatedly how important it is to have family dinners. While we agree wholeheartedly, it turns out there are many more ways to include food, family and fun! We asked our staff for fun ideas and food is a favourite! Here are some different ideas from our staff:

Faye’s family has this great homework/food combination.

Family, Food and Fun: Tips from the FamilyLife Staff

During the homework stage with our kids, we all stop at 10:30 p.m. every night. I ring a bell and shout “ten thirty!”  They all come to the dining table for fruits and snacks. We talk and just enjoy our time. After that, everyone is off to bed. Now, when home as adults, they still ask, “Is it 10:30 yet?”


Lisa’s family has a fun birthday tradition. “The Pike Starbucks Surprise” –  coffee, treats and family – invade the bedroom on birthday morning of the celebrant.
Woodard’s host a weekly family dinner with adult children and grandkids.

Family, Food and Fun: Tips from the FamilyLife Staff

Neil says, “Food is a big deal for us too – Sharol will invite the family for dinner on Sunday and just hang out…it helps that she is a great cook.”


Ella buys a special cheese (the one on sale) and saves it for “Next time we are all together” – a special time with young adults in the house.

Family, Food and Fun: Tips from the FamilyLife Staff

Alicia’s inlaws have cheese night – everyone brings a unique cheese.


Brad makes Finnish coffee bread for Christmas……the recipe, baking board and tradition – handed down from his grandmother, to his mother, to Brad and him to his daughters. Each Christmas, he continues to make enough to share with each generation.

Family, Food and Fun: Tips from the FamilyLife Staff

Several staff members take the family to pick favourite local fruits as a way to spend time together, get outside, and stock up the fridge and freezer.

Family, Food and Fun: Tips from the FamilyLife Staff

Canning together. The Weck kids know that Salsa day is an annual tradition, grab a knife and a cutting board, all ready for a loooong day! Salsa day is shared with another family and has a revolving door of 12 people coming and going. Fun and productive. Ella’s son also does salsa day at his fiance’s house, twice the connection time!


As we reviewed our staff ideas for connecting around food, fun with food is captured in the good natured complaints (let’s be honest, there may be plenty of whining, too) humour, or the memories of past times together. Upon reading our staff ideas, we realize food not only nourishes our families bodies, but also provides emotional nourishment through connecting together. Whether a regular mealtime, or an annual tradition, food is a central connection, lets ensure we utilize these meaningful opportunities – together. Oh, and have fun in the process!

Written by FamilyLife Canada