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How to Turn Family Movie Night (or Day!) into a Fun Educational Activity

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Since the addition of Baby Boy #4, I’ve relied a lot more on movies to help me manage our chaos. This is especially true now that schools here have been out or virtual for six months and counting. Because of this, I’ve been looking for ways to make our movie nights (or movie mornings, or movie days…) more educational. 

That’s when I came up with this Movie Night Activity Planning Packet!

Sure, you could pick an actual educational movie like a documentary, but if you involve your child (or students, if you’re using this in the classroom) in the planning, you can turn any movie into a fun educational activity. 

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Let your kids help plan the Movie Night

The first movie night activity in the packet is to have your child make a list of all the things you’ll need for movie night.

In addition to this list being a helpful reminder for you  (hello, Mom Brain!), it also lets your kid get creative. My sons added pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. to the list — whereas my list would’ve simply consisted of a movie and snacks.

movie night educational activity printable packet

Pick the best date for your Movie Night (Science AND calendar practice – cha-ching!)

The second activity has your child look at the weather forecast to determine a good movie day. My kids went throcugh the forecast and picked a day with a high chance of thunderstorms, since we wouldn’t be able to play outside. 

What movie should you watch? Make it a persuasive writing activity!

Next, have your kid make their case for their favorite movie IN WRITING. 

One of my kids really dislikes writing–something painful for me as someone who now earns a (very small) income as a freelance writer. Getting him to practice can feel like pulling teeth, so I’ve resorted to sneaking in writing practice wherever I can, usually without him really thinking of it as writing– at least not in the classroom sense. 

[*I’ve also created 30 super boy-friendly writing prompts to try to entice him into full-on writing practice. You can get those here.]

Rather than having my boys fight over what movie we’d watch, I had each of them write about the movie they wanted us to watch and why.

Movie night writing activity small version printable

For my first grader, my standards were fairly low (pick a movie and give a reason or two). For my third grader, I expected a little more “meat” in his argument in order to be convinced. Persuasive writing is an academic skill, but of course, I didn’t call it persuasive writing until after my sons were finished. 

Movie snacks (aka math and budgeting practice activities!)

Finally, you can’t have a movie without snacks. I allowed the boys, as part of the first planning step, to make the snack suggestions. Then I gave each of them $20 (in tens, fives, ones, and coins) to spend at the “concession stand” aka our kitchen island. They had to pay in exact change or calculate their own change.

To help them with this process, I gave them the final sheet of the planning packet (the snack page). They were able to write in the prices of the various snacks they wanted, including potential refills, and do the math for themselves. This is a great way to sneak in some math work along with decision-making and budgeting.

educational movie night activity - math activity printable

Last but not least, we played the movie and enjoyed the time together!

The boys really enjoyed the whole process and didn’t even complain once about being asked to do a little educational work along the way. I will definitely be reusing this packet for some of our movie festivities in the future. I hope your family finds it just as enjoyable!

You can grab your own free copy of my Movie Night Printable here.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

30 Writing Prompts for Elementary Students– Especially Boys!

Lego Challenges for Kids: Fun, Creative, & Educational Activity Ideas

 

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