Make your movie night part of a family reading program. Choose a film that is based off of a book for your family movie night. Read together during the day, or throughout the week, and then enjoy the movie together when you're done. Take the opportunity to discuss each person's favorite part of the book, favorite character or even the differences between the movie and the book. Not sure where to get started? Check out The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. Not only is it a classic tale that teaches several valuable lessons, but it was also just made into a full-length animated feature that your kids are bound to enjoy.
Make movie night a double-feature! Ask your kids to write and perform their own skit as part of the evening's entertainment. Record it for them and play it back, so they can enjoy the fruits of their labor along with Mom and Dad. Not only does this activity encourage creativity and storytelling, but it also teaches them how to work and problem-solve in a group setting.
Get the entire family involved with planning and preparing for the main event. Make it a dinner and a movie night, and have your family help with the menu planning — coming up with dishes that relate to the movie and asking questions like, "What do you think a Lorax would eat?" Get everyone involved in preparing the meal in the kitchen. You can create placemats with your kids by having them draw pictures that are inspired by the movie on construction paper, and then covering it with contact paper. Ask your kids to create tickets and even a homemade marquee for another way to incorporate arts and crafts into the evening
Before the movie begins, talk about themes or lessons that may be incorporated in the movie. Then ask everyone to write them down, raise their hand or point them out in some other way each time they occur. If you're watching a movie with a toddler, then point out shapes, colors, words and sounds they recognize.
Incorporate a game into the movie to get everyone moving and help keep them entertained. Play a game of movie Bingo by creating Bingo cards using characters and phrases from the movie. Movie musical chairs is another fun activity to play as a family. Play a round each time a particular song in the movie comes on or each time a character sings, removing a chair (or marking a chair out with a pillow or blanket) each time. Have bean bags and blankets handy, so the family members who do not make it to the last round can still enjoy the film.
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