When family theater night revolves around your kids' film favorites, you can make the evening more special, using a theme that encompasses everything from what you watch to what you eat. Instead of just dinner and a movie, create a genuine event that your children can’t wait to enjoy again. Shared entertainment gives families reasons, not just excuses, to spend time together enjoying one another's company.
Way Back When
You knew you'd reached adulthood when you heard yourself tell a youngster something about "when I was your age." Bring that past alive with a movie night featuring the films of your youth. Don't be surprised if they seem less enchanting to you now than they did in your teens—or if your children chuckle over the hair styles and clothing. For fun, dress up in an outfit from those days and let your kids take your picture with your digital camera or shoot camcorder footage of you doing your high school dance routine. For a more historical perspective, show a silent movie and encourage your children to think about the differences in social behaviors and attitudes between the ways they act and the actions they see in the film.
Screen a double feature including two films with the same actor, one in a starring role and one in a lesser capacity from the actor's early career. Your kids may be surprised to see the fresh-faced younger version of an actor they know in "wise-man" roles or "grandmother" parts. To make a dramatic contrast, build your movie-night fare around two films that star an actor with a career that began in child stardom and progressed to grown-up roles. Talk with your kids about how different their lives would be if they went to school on a movie set and didn't attend regular classes. Encourage them to research the biographies of some of their favorite actors on your computer or tablet.
At the Drive-In
To delight young children, transform your TV room into a drive-in theater with handmade "cars" crafted from cardboard boxes. Build the vehicles yourself to provide your kids with a surprise or turn the early part of theater night into a family craft session. You can use paper plates and plastic jar lids to simulate wheels and headlights. Set a pillow in each box as a car seat and line up the roadsters in front of the sofa. If you mount your HDTV on a wall using adjustable hardware, check your children's view of the screen before the movie starts.
Theater night demands popcorn. Whether you prepare it in a microwave oven or on your range top, offer a selection of flavors to give everyone a choice. Home goods stores offer popcorn baskets or boxes that look like movie-theater containers, enabling you to serve up snacks in authentic style. If you're not fond of offering your kids candy, stash a tray of enticingly sliced vegetable snacks in a temperature-controlled refrigerator drawer and set it on the coffee table for everyone to share. Instead of sodas, a refrigerator with through-the-door service of carbonated water provides the basis for flavored bubbly drinks.
Photo Credits: Pamela Follett/Demand Media
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