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Parenting Tips

Upgrade Your Next Family Movie Night with 7 Fun Ideas

Haley Zapal  |  April 17, 2024

Gone are the days of loading up the whole family in the minivan on Friday nights to head to Blockbuster to pick out a VHS tape to watch. But on the plus side, we can now stream almost every movie ever made right from the comfort of our living rooms! 

To make family movie nights a little more interesting, we’ve come up with some fun ideas to keep them fresh and interactive. We hope it helps your family reinvigorate not only their love for films but also for spending quality time together!

Get pumped with at-home promo

Half the fun of almost any activity is anticipating it, and family movie night is no exception! There are a ton of ways to get excited for an upcoming feature. Here are just a few ideas to ramp up the feel-good vibes for the week:

  • You can watch the trailer together on YouTube (bonus points if it’s an older movie and the trailer is delightfully old-fashioned)
  • Print out a poster of it and stick it on the fridge. Or, if you’re like most of us and don’t have a printer, write it on the dry-erase or chalkboard (get the kids to help with illustrations).
  • Have your children create custom movie tickets for entry.
  • Listen to the movie’s soundtrack on Spotify ahead of time.

Go on a culinary adventure

One of the most fun things you can do with family movie night is to match a movie to food or snacks! You can use this opportunity to branch out and try something brand new (like actual French ratatouille for Ratatouille) or keep it easy and familiar (like ordering cheesy, gooey pizza for Ninja Turtles). Dinner and movie is always a winning combo, and kids will especially appreciate seeing their favorite characters indulge in what they’re eating in real life. Older kids will also be able to help out in the kitchen as they work on their burgeoning culinary skills. 

Take it someplace new

Sometimes you just need a slight change of scenery to make movie night a little more special. Whether it’s on the porch, in the backyard, or just in a different room, consider changing up the usual location. If moving around isn’t an option, mix up the room! Dim the lights, build a fort with tons of pillows and blankets, and change up the seating. 

Dress the part for family movies

Halloween may come only once a year, but the fun of dressing up can happen no matter the season! Here are just a few examples of how to make a movie night more fun with a change of clothes:

  • Themed costumes: Choose a movie theme and encourage everyone to dress up like a character. For example, if you're watching a pirate movie, dress as pirates with eye patches, bandanas, and makeshift swords.
  • Character cosplay: Assign each family member a character from the movie and see what they come up with! This could be superheroes, wizards, or even classic movie characters like Indiana Jones or Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
  • Pajama party: Keep it cozy and simple by having everyone wear their favorite pajamas or comfy loungewear.
  • Decade-themed duds: Pick a specific decade that matches the era of the movie you're watching. For example, if you're watching a movie set in the 1950s, dress in '50s-style clothing with polka dots and slicked-back hair.

Read the book first

Get excited for family movie night by reading the book together before watching the movie version! For example, if you're planning to watch Charlotte's Web, reading the book beforehand (whether aloud together or separately) allows everyone to imagine the characters and scenes in their own unique way. As you read, discuss your favorite parts and predictions about how they might appear on screen. This shared experience will make the movie even more enjoyable and spark fun conversations about storytelling.

Institute a 10-minute intermission

It’s a good idea to give kids — and parents — a break for a few moments. One of the best things about at-home family movies is that you can press pause and give folks a rest. This way, no one misses key scenes when the inevitable bathroom break is needed. You can also refill snacks, shake out those legs, and look up who that movie star is on IMDB. (It goes without saying, of course, that the best family movie nights are screen-free for all involved.)

Start a movie journal for family movie night

Whether you use pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or even a movie-tracking app like Letterboxd, starting a journal can help you keep track of your favorite films! Each family member can jot down their thoughts, favorite quotes, or memorable moments from the movies you watch together. This creates a wonderful keepsake and fosters deeper connections as you share your hot takes on the films. Over time, you'll have a personalized collection of memories that reflect your family movie night adventures.

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