These are the dreaded words that many parents hear repeatedly by the middle of any school break. So here are 4 ways to turn popular kids’ movies into theme nights. Get the whole family involved, and your living room will be transformed in no time!
1. A Day at the Fair: Watching “Charlotte’s Web” is a must if you’ve got young kids. (Pro tip: Read it first and see if they can spot the differences.) We’ve got some resources for you if your kids need something do while watching this classic about a pig that is domesticated by a little girl and then sold at a local fair.
Setup: Lay out some picnic blankets on the living room floor, get paper plates, and ask the kids to join you in making fair food. Ideas include funnel cakes (they’re easier than you think – no fancy cooking tools required!); hotdogs; and frozen French fries served in paper cups with special dipping sauces underneath. Each child can customize her fries with the sauce and toppings. Think ketchup, mayo, BBQ sauce or honey mustard in the bottom of the paper cup, then stand up the French fries on top of the sauce, and add toppings like salt, special season blends and cheese.
2. Fish are Friends, Not Food: You might remember this mantra from “Finding Nemo” where the shark, Bruce, is trying to cut back on eating fish. The key here is to make vegetables and fruit the star of the show.
Setup: Get the pool rings and floats out of the closet and set them up as living room seating for this underwater adventure. Pre-movie games could include a round of “Go Fish” or even a homemade fishing game that the kids can work on while you prep the food. Food might be pre-cut carrot and zucchini sticks with ranch dressing, grapes and apples arranged in the shape of a fish, and pint-sized snacks like Goldfish.
3. Freezer-Friendly: While you might not want to “let it go” entirely during this seasonal break, even a short pause in the school routine can be just the respite a family needs. The film “Frozen” or “Frozen 2” works to set the stage for your best at-home musical theater.
Setup: Create a makeshift stage with a few sturdy stepstools pushed together or simply a low step in your home. Then, when the film sparks an inspirational song, each family member can take turns on stage singing. Next, fill the floor with warm and fuzzy blankets and pillows, and fill the freezer with an assortment of cooling treats. Try homemade popsicles, ice cream bars, frozen fruit (grapes are especially yummy) and frozen cookie dough.
4. In-and-out Night: While you may not have an In-N-Out Burger restaurant nearby, you can theme your evening to coincide with watching “Inside Out.”
Setup: Start by asking all the guests to wear their clothes inside out. This will make for a hilarious ice breaker if everyone keeps his or her outfit a secret until the big unveiling. Next, if you have pillows with covers, turn the covers inside out, hang up the curtains with the inside facing outward, and even set the room backwards (turn over the front rug, turn shoes upside down, and look for other ways to mix up the usual atmosphere). Tape a square around the living room floor with painter’s tape to enable moments of watching the movie “inside” the box and “outside” the box. Inside Out snacks could be inside out pizza (where the cheese and toppings are on the inside of the dough), inside out spaghetti pie or inside out burgers (where the cheese is baked inside).
Hope you’ve gotten some good ideas here for some fun family movie nights!