5 Ideas to Make Family Movie Night More Fun

It’s Oscar weekend and that has me thinking about movies. Our family LOVES watching movies together! Since we have Family Movie Night so often though, I started looking for ideas to make it a little more special and shake up the routine. So, I came up with some fun ideas that don’t take a lot of time, energy, or money because when Friday night rolls around, my husband and I are usually exhausted. Most of these ideas use items you already have in your house, which makes it easy for Mom and Dad. I’ve got your back!

Here’s how to be the most fun Mom on the block with these simple tips on making Movie Night the most anticipated night of the week.

1. Shake up the seating arrangements!

Make the movie watching experience even more fun by shaking up the way you watch it. If you have a large room, set up chairs movie theater style in front of the TV so it seems like you are at the theater. Make sure you turn the lights off for full effect. We have a pull-out sofa bed in our family room, so the kids love when we pull out the couch and watch the movie in our pajamas. Set up a tent in front of the TV so all of you or just the kids can watch the movie through the tent flaps.

2. Snack it up!

Make popcorn and give everyone their own bowl and gourmet popcorn toppings like white cheddar or Cajun flavors. You can buy these shaker toppings at the grocery store. Check out these recipes for some fun movie or game night snack food. If you have more of a sweet tooth, try an ice cream sundae bar. Before the movie starts set out the ice cream and various toppings and let the kids create. For pete’s sake, don’t forget the sprinkles! If you really want to go all out, make Homemade Pizza while you watch the movie. Here’s my family’s killer pizza recipe. Finally, at the grocery store you can buy the movie theater size candy boxes. Go ahead and splurge and let the kids have their own box of Mike & Ike’s or Junior Mints.

3. Build on a theme.

If you know what movie you are going to watch ahead of time, you can have fun with the theme of the movie. If you are watching Indiana Jones – hide some rubber snakes around the family room to surprise the kids. If you are watching Madagascar, have your kids grab their zebra, hippo, giraffe, lion or penguin stuffed animals to help watch. If you are watching Cars, set up a Hot Wheels track so the kids can race while they watch. If you are watching Monsters, Inc. grab your favorite Ugly Doll or have your kids draw what they think their monster-in-the-closet looks like. Get the idea?

4. Share the fun.

Just because you are staying home to watch a movie, don’t feel like it has to be family-only event. Invite the neighbors over to watch. The adults can watch the movie, chat or play cards while the kids watch. Have your kids make some pretend tickets and hand them out to their friends in the neighborhood, so they can turn them in when they come over. Your kids will love ripping the ticket stubs when the guests arrive. You don’t need to clean the house and cook for days for this. Just invite someone over, have everyone bring snacks, and make sure there’s a place to sit. It’s all about having fun. What’s a few dust bunnies or laundry piles amongst friends?

5. The best movies star you.

If you have any home movies or Grandma and Grandpa do, what better movie to watch than one where you are the star. Kids love seeing themselves on film. My kids love watching our wedding video and seeing family they know. (I have to warn you though, when my son was young and watched the video for the first time, he got really mad that we had a big party and didn’t invite him.) Get out those vacation videos and reminisce. We found a treasure in Grandma’s attic once – movies of Grandpa when he was stationed in Iceland.

Do you do anything special to make Movie Night more fun? What are some of your family’s favorite movies?

For even more fun ideas, check out my Family Movie Night Board on Pinterest.

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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Family Movie Night

5 Easy, Inexpensive Ideas to Have Fun with the Kids This Weekend

Camp indoors

Want to do something fun with the kids this weekend but out of ideas? Here are 5 easy, inexpensive and yet incredibly fun activities to do at home with things you already have around the house. Wow the kids with your creativity this weekend!

1. Spa Night – A little pampering makes everyone smile – even Dad!
2. Movie Night – Add a little creativity to make movie night at home extra special
3. Host a Family Game Night – Raid the closet, play some games, and let the competition begin. Invite a neighbor family over to make it more fun.
4. Camp in the Great Indoors – It’s cold outside so bring the camping fun indoors. It will get the family in camping shape for summer.
5. Go on a Date … With Your Child – Spend some one-on-one time with your child. It will make their day to get you or Dad all to themselves!

Whatever you do this weekend, have a blast and make some memories!

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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Family Game Night · Family Movie Night · Friday Night Fun

How to Throw a Family Friendly Oscar Party

popcorn bags

Looking for something a little different and very fun to do this weekend with the family? Why not host an Oscar Party? Whether you invite another family over to help celebrate or keep the fun to yourselves, read my Family Friendly Oscar Party Ideas over at Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA)’s blog.

So, which movie would get your vote for Best Animated Movie this year? Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, or The Illusionist? I’m sticking with dragons.

Would you rather skip the Oscars and just watch a movie? Then check out my video on how to make movie night more fun.

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Tags: Entertaining at Home · Family Celebrations · Family Fun Ideas · Family Movie Night · Family Party Ideas

Gnomeo & Juliet Movie – A Valentine’s Day Treat

gnomeo & juliet

Looking for something special to do with the kids to celebrate Valentine’s Day today? How about going to see a Classic Love Story movie tonight? On a school night!?! I know! That’s why they will think it is so cool, a break from the norm. Of course, it’s a Classic Love Story with a twist … that doesn’t have a sad ending … and is quite funny.

We went to see Gnomeo & Juliet Friday night to kick off our Valentine’s Day weekend and it was a very cute movie. The kids loved it! Here’s why I recommend taking the family to see it:

1. It’s rated G. So many kids movies are PG these days which usually offers a cringe-moment, so it’s nice to get a movie that is truly suitable for little kids.(Toy Story 3 was rated G but even it had some intense moments and sexual innuendo).

2. A movie about Garden Gnomes is totally creative. Who doesn’t love Garden Gnomes? Then, to have these Garden Gnomes be star-crossed lovers? Now, you’ve got a cute story. The whole Garden theme and poking fun at “Garden Art” is very clever. The animation is super-cute and it’s a nice break from the “DreamWorks” and “Disney” look.

3. Shakespeare allusions. Pay attention adults! See if you can find all of the fun and sly allusions to Shakespeare in the play. Like the Stratford-on-Avon tour bus or the Rosencrantz and Gildenstern moving van.

4. Rocking Music. Elton John produced the movie so it features all Elton John songs. Nothing wrong with that! You can sing along in your head because you know the words.

5. Gnome in a Thong. While my kids loved Featherstone the Garden Flamingo as the best character, I loved the Gnome who would prance by every now and then in a “Borat”-style Euro-thong bathing suit. Fun!

For even more fun, the kids can play games at the official Gnomeo & Juliet movie site.

My kids were totally bummed when we explained that Romeo & Juliet die in the original story. They couldn’t understand why anyone would like a story like that. Come to think of it, why would they? Go see the “Feel-Good” version and have fun with your kids at the movies.

Did you see the movie? What did you think?

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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Family Movie Night · Valentine's Day Family Fun Ideas

Celebrate Groundhog’s Day with the Kids

Punxsutawney Phil

Here in Chicago we are going to celebrate Groundhog Day with 12 -20 inches of snow. Yippee! (Note to self: Get gas for the snowblower today!) I don’t foresee any Groundhogs popping out in the blizzard to look for a shadow. However, since we might be trapped indoors, I went on the hunt for some Groundhog day fun for the kids.

Cook Up Some Fun

Pure Fun

    Groundhog Day Shadow Fun
    Since the day is all about seeing a shadow, why not play shadow puppets? Set up a white sheet a few feet away from a wall. Place a lamp behind the sheet near the wall. Have your kids take turns going behind the sheet and casting shadow puppets. Here’s a post I found on making a Shadow Puppet Theater that looks super fun.

    Here are some Groundhog Day Activities to do with the kids from the official Punxatawney Phil website. I’m all over the Groundhog ornaments to print out and hang from a chandelier or indoor tree but the Word Searches and coloring pages are cute, too.

    Groundhog Day movie
    If your kids are a little older, watch the Groundhog Day movie. My kids think it is hilarious. “Don’t drive angry!”

What do you do to celebrate Groundhog Day with your kids?

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Yummy Groundhog Day Pancakes

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Family Celebrations · Family Fun Ideas · Family Movie Night · Holiday Fun · Ideas for family projects

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