A fun family movie night is a great way to have a hang out in the middle of summer vacation – but here are a few ways to make it more special!
Fun Family Movie Night Ideas
My boys love to have a movie night – when we all drop what we're doing and get off our phones and pile into the living room together. Sometimes when my 12 year old is asking for one, and I have lots of work to do or phone calls to make, I tend to put him off. But lately?
Well I spent the last year coming to terms with having one kid in college. Then this year coming to terms with my 17 year wanting to join the military. And my heart started realizing this blissful family bubble is going to end WAY sooner than I am ready for.
SO! This summer my college kid is home, all is still right with the world, and I'm trying to be a little more intentional about making time for family togetherness.
One way to do that is make a family movie night a little more special. It doesn't take much – as you can see from the picture above 🙂 (Also check out these 105 Summer Fun Ideas for Families!)
Make Your Own Movie Night Snack Bar
The day before, I like to go pick out movie theater boxes of candy that the kids will all enjoy. They can either stake their claim on a box, or share them around. Dollar Tree is a great place to find lots of cheap $1 candy – but just about anywhere has theater boxes.
Then I have my youngest decorate brown paper bags for each member of the family – it keeps him busy while I'm scrambling to finish up working on the computer and it's pretty cute to see what he comes up with for each person. Dollar Tree also has those cute little popcorn containers – but I hate trying to find storage for those things!
Right before movie time we pop a few bags of microwave popcorn to fill all the brown bags. I picked up some different spices and popcorn toppings so the kids can sprinkle some in their bag and shake it up – as spicy as they like it. The Kernel Seasonings makes a Popcorn Seasoning Variety pack that's totally unnecessary but also completely adorable 🙂 It's the little things that make it feel extra festive right?
Our BEST Family Movie Ideas
I usually have my husband be thinking up a movie (since for some reason NONE of the boys want to watch South Pacific with me…..). He'll take suggestions from the peanut gallery, but ultimately we're probably going to be watching a Western, a Super Hero movie, an Action/Adventure movie (think Indiana Jones) or an old comedy. We have learned through trial and error that a lot of the movies we watched on tv as kids and remember fondly – are NOT PG when you watch the original un-edited version (yikes!) So now we always run it by CommonSenseMedia (or even IMDB has a Parent Review section.)
The kids ages of 12, 14, 17, and 19 make it hard to find something everyone will enjoy – but not impossible!
Some family movies that we have enjoyed over the years:
(I've included the Amazon link in case you want to rent or buy one to watch tonight!)
- Nacho Libre
- ALLLLLL The Marvel Movies
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Pixar Movies (We really love just about all of them! Kung Fu Panda, Incredibles, Nemo…)
- True Grit (Pretty violent – but for teens maybe)
- The Princess Bride
- The Emperor's New Groove (I think we've watched this one 100 times)
- Harry Potter
- Ponyo (or ANY Studio Ghibli movie really!)
- Newsies (my personal fave!)
- Lord of the Rings
- Cool Runnings
- Star Wars
- The Lego Movies
- Annie (the original)
- The Sandlot
- The Neverending Story
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- What About Bob
- The Sound of Music (well they sort of liked it….)
- Indiana Jones
- Mrs. Doubtfire
- The Parent Trap
- Swiss Family Robinson
- Night at the Museum
- Evan Almighty
- The Disney Movies (when they were little)
There are hundreds of others I could add to the list – but these are the first ones that come to mind. I'd absolutely LOVE to hear your suggestions in the comments!
Keep in mind that the suggestions above are not all good for little kids, and you'll want to check it out on CommonSenseMedia to see if it's too violent, etc…. for your family 🙂
More Ways To Make Family Movie Night Special
- Let the kids build a blanket fort in the daytime that they can hang out in during the movie
- Set up an air mattress and make a giant comfy floor bed with lots of pillows for snuggles
- Set up a pop up tent for the kids with the open door facing the television
- Have your movie in the backyard with a projector and either a big sheet strung up on the fence or one of these projector screens
Share more of your family movie night ideas in the comments below!
Take your kids OUT to the movies on the cheap this summer – check out our Kids Summer Movie Programs Master List for the best deal near you!
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