When you’ve got young kids, you probably don’t get round to going out as much as you might have done when you were young, free and single. It can be much harder to get organised and make the time for you and your friends to get together. And when you tie in the fact that you have mouths to feed and nights out feel a little too self-indulgent, it’s a recipe for more nights in at home watching the box.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of ways you can devise to spend time with a few friends and there’s no imperative for that time to be out somewhere. By arranging a night ‘in’ instead, you can end up having just as good a time as you would on a night out and have the bonus of not spending a lot of money in the process.

What you do on those nights with your mates depends on who’s coming and what they like doing, but here are a few ideas.

Host a bingo night

You may think of bingo as a game that your Granny played, but if you’ve not yet played online bingo, you’re missing out! There are lots of different bingo sites to choose from such as bgo, Cheeky Bingo and 888 bingo. All of them have games running around the clock – check out the choice of bgo bingo games online and you’ll see that some games are free, others have special jackpots attached to them and there’s a whole range of differently priced games available. The online version of bingo is so much easier than the bingo hall version – you don’t have to concentrate on the game as the software marks the numbers on your cards that match the calls. So once you’ve bought a ticket, you can just sit back and watch. If you and your friends play at the same site, you can join in the same games and have the excitement of playing and seeing who’s getting close to winning at the same time as you have a chat and a glass of wine. All people need to bring with them is a mobile or tablet, so that you can all login to the same site together.

Work those vocal chords

If you’re feeling like letting loose, why not organise a DIY karaoke night? There’s no need to hire a proper karaoke machine – as long as you have access to Youtube, you’ll be able to look up instrumental versions of your favourite tunes with the lyrics printed out along the bottom (other people have gone to the bother of doing this and we can all benefit from their hard work). You can get a playlist sorted out ahead of time, or just be spontaneous when everyone has arrived.

Get cooking

You may think you’re tired of catering for the kids all day, every day, but putting a lovely meal together for people who will actually appreciate your efforts can be both fun and rewarding. If you don’t feel like doing it all, then ask someone else to bring dessert and just concentrate on the main course. Or turn it into a bit of a contest with two people providing mains and two people providing desserts, and then all getting the chance to taste and judge the cooking!

If you have kids who stay in bed after you’ve said goodnight, then great, keep them at home, but if your children will be too curious about what’s happening with Mummy and her friends, then maybe ask if they can sleep the night at the grandparents’ so that you don’t have an evening full of interruptions!