Family movie night is a staple of bonding time in the modern day household. It's where kids go to learn about classics like "Beauty and the Beast" or the brilliance that is "Finding Nemo" or a classic for the sports-inclined like "The Sandlot." But, let's be real here, sometimes getting together as a family just isn't enough to capture the attention of your kids ... or your partner.
You're asking yourself, how can I keep family movie night light and interesting? Well, there are loads of ways to do that and no, we're not talking implementing a "Hunger Games" themed competition with your kids OR inviting Great Aunt Edna. (Seriously, don't do that, she eats ALL the popcorn and leaves nothing for anyone else). Here are some real tips to help keep the fun alive on family movie night.
1. Make It a Movie-Themed Night
Spicing up your weekly, monthly, yearly family movie night is as easy as making a little bit of effort in the food and decoration department. Having a "Frozen" viewing party? Make some paper snowflakes with your kids and hang them around the TV and make some snowman cookies in honor of Olaf. If you're going to make it a "Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" theme, don't play any games, just stick to dressing in outrageous outfits like the people of the Capitol or bake bread like Peeta does for Katniss.
2. Create a Movie Wheel Full of Suggestions
Do you have trouble trying to figure out exactly WHICH movie you and your family want to watch? Do the kids want to watch "Cars" for the billionth time but as parents you want to introduce them to the brilliance of "The Sound of Music" you watched as a kid? Well, create a chart or if you're especially crafty, make one of those spinning wheels with suggestions from everyone in your family. When family movie night makes its way around, you don't have to worry about fighting over what to watch, you simply spin (or choose one of the options) and voila, your night is sorted.
3. Bring Family Movie Night Outdoors
During the summer, or an especially warm night, why not move movie night from the comfort of your couch to some blankets and lawn chairs outside. You can hang up a white sheet on your house or from a tree and set up shop in your yard. Rent, or if budget allows, buy a movie projector for the night. Now you've just got to settle on which movie you'll watch outside. Will it be "The Little Mermaid" or "Toy Story" or, well, anything you can think of.
4. Play a Game the Next Day to Talk About the Movie
Want to discuss what happened in the film with your kids? Do you want to emphasize the overarching theme of family love in "Toy Story 3" or talk about how to deal with grief a la "The Lion King" style? Well, create a trivia style game about the movie making sure to bring up the topics you really want to talk about with your kids. This way it's a fun and engaging way to bring up some tough topics with your kids in a way that doesn't make them fall asleep.
5. Create a Challenge to Do With Your Kids Beforehand
Speaking of playing games, why not create a challenge for your family to play prior to watching the movie? Create a scavenger hunt to find things around your house centering on the movie of the night. If you're planning to watch "The Lego Movie" then get some Legos and hide them around the house with clues for your kids to find them. If the movie of the night is "The Wizard of Oz" then create a 'Follow the Yellow Brick Road' challenge with the kids to get from one side of the road to the other. This will get everyone into the movie mood before you even press play.