13 family movie night ideas that are better than the babysitter


Through middle school and high school, I was one of those decidedly uninterested kids who’d rather hang out with my dad than go to parties. (I know, I know.) While I should have been living it up and throwing caution to the wind, my pre-teen love affair was indulged Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton movies Every Saturday night. In my defense, I grew up in rural New England, so “parties” sounded like five or fewer kids playing drinking games in their parents’ basement—no, thanks. The result of this routine? I’ve seen almost everything Oscar nominated movie between 2008 and 2013. So, when I was tasked with sharing my family night ideas, I was of course up for the challenge.

Family movie nights are fun for all ages. Is there anything more comforting than popcorn and brewing Steaming cups of cocoa, getting ready to settle down for a few hours of entertainment? At the end of a long and busy work week, there is nothing more enticing. So skip the theater (and expensive tickets) and get ready to enjoy yourself in the comfort of your living room. These are the best family movie night ideas for starting the weekend off on the right foot.

Featured image by Bellathe Photography.

photo by Andrea Posadas

13 family movie night ideas to get the weekend started

1. Research your movie in advance

Is there anything worse — or more frustrating — than spending all night scrolling through Netflix, unable to find something that looks good for everyone? I can’t stress this enough: choose your movie in advance. Kick it old school and visit your local library to see what’s available on DVD. Alternatively, many libraries provide access to online broadcasting platforms such as canopywhich has endless options for classics, independent films, and documentaries.

Ask everyone to bring in their top two favorite movies and vote for them. (If you have older kids or are having a movie night with friends, google forms makes this easier). Looking for ideas? These are some of our favourites:

If you want to go the movie marathon route, make sure you build some variety with movies. The choice of comedies, feel-good movies, something animated, and an adventure movie all make for family-friendly movie choices.

Michelle Nash’s photo

2. Invest in a projector

Projects are one of the easiest ways to give your living room a cinematic feel. If you are worried about your whole family being able to watch on your small TV or you don’t want to invest in a bigger screen, this is the solution for you. Simply attach a blank sheet of paper and set up the projector. Prices certainly vary, but there are affordable options available that won’t break the bank.

Michelle Nash’s photo

3. Have prepared snacks

Can you really call it movie night if there are no snacks to eat? The classic, of course, is popcorn. Step things up by purchasing a bundle of brown paper lunch bags And set the top layer for everyone to choose from. Melted butter, honey, sugar, cinnamon, nutritional yeast, and even This spice is turmeric They are all solid choices.

For adventurous adults and kids, make a charcuterie bar that you can snack on throughout the movie. Or turn on the oven and bake a batch of our (and soon to be yours) batch. Favorite cookies. See also: skillet cookie Everyone can dig it into the spoon first.

4. Get comfortable

change your out Solid pants And slip into your sweat. Whatever you can do to get into the relaxed mood and create the right atmosphere, make it happen. Start with your wardrobe, because the weekend has officially begun — and it’s time to dress like it.

photo by Jane Rose Smith

5. Pile on the blankets

…and pillows. Growing up, I loved making blankets and forts with my parents and sisters and carried that love into my babysitting career. Really, nothing beats falling between the layers of your favorite cozy throws. To make your fort even more special, turn on some powered twinkling lights, styled Holiday.

6. Weather permitting, have an outdoor movie night

If you live in a warmer climate or are looking for family movie ideas for the summer, there’s no better way to spend a weekend evening than with an outdoor movie night. Set it up on your deck or find a dry space in your backyard. Divide the projector, mount sheets (see above), and set up several sturdy outdoor blankets and grass chairs. Since movie nights can never have enough twinkle lights, take your string lights outdoors and use them for extra ambience.

Pro tip: To give the kids the full camping experience, put up a tent they can spend the night in (and to ensure you get the best sleep of your life, indoors).

photo by Christine Kilpatrick

7. Take a break with board games

If you find yourself falling asleep in the middle of a movie, give yourself a break! I like to mix things up and spend 20-30 minutes playing backgammon. Because movies and pizza? They go together like PB & J. Seriously — there’s no better set-up than a weekend getaway. For ideas on what to run, See our favorites here.

8. Invite other families

While quality family time is definitely top of mind when it comes to family movie night ideas, you’re always welcome to make it a family affair. If you have family friends with children around the same age, this can be a great way to keep everyone occupied while you enjoy yourselves.

photo by Jane Rose Smith

9. Have a pajamas-only dress code

I can’t say enough: This is a no jeans occasion. If you want to go beyond your sweatpants, put them on in your nicest pajamas! I am obsessed With All of these washable silk options. And for children, maybe too Matching pajamas to the movie.

10. Mix up fun mocktails

It’s January, suffice to say many of us are enjoying a month away from alcohol. But since movie nights deserve something a little special, it’s the perfect opportunity to crack the bar cart and your favorite Non-alcoholic strains. For kids, try sparkling applesauce or mix sparkling water with a little juice (add a little Ice cubes filled with fruits and flowers to make their drinks more enjoyable).

photo by Bellathée Photography

11. Set the mood

Light your candlesTurn on the fire, turn off the lights. This is movie night, after all! Even the best movies could benefit from some extra flare.

12. Make a special dinner

Dinner and a movie are a classic pairing—and it’s not just for nights out. Take a cue from Lady and the Tramp Serve a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs for all to enjoy. Or get inspired by dwarf (Because it isn’t Just Christmas movie) and make These are “Buddy the Elf” cookies.– Yes, it includes dried pasta. For more menu ideas, See this comprehensive list.

photo by Emma Basil

13. Don’t forget to take a break!

When viewers need a drink refill, more snacks, or a bathroom break. Schedule a break so that no one has to miss a single minute of the movie.

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