Drive-In Delight

Drive-In Delight: How To Create a Kid-Friendly Movie Experience in Your Own Backyard

In today’s digital age, where everything is just a click away, it’s easy to forget the simple pleasures of outdoor entertainment. One of the most nostalgic and enjoyable pastimes for both children and adults alike is a good old-fashioned movie night, and what better way to enjoy it than in the comfort of your own backyard?

With summer on the horizon, there’s no time better than the present to set up your own in-house movie “theater.” Fewer things create such a feeling, like the ambiance of watching a movie on a big screen, under the stars, with warm buttery popcorn while lounging in inflatable sleepover beds.

Here’s how to create a winning movie experience from the comfort of your own backyard:

Find the Perfect Location

The first step in creating a backyard movie night is finding the perfect location within your backyard. Ideally, you want a flat surface with enough space for seating and the movie screen.

A grassy area is a solid option, but you can also use a patio or deck. You should also consider the lighting and noise levels in the area, as you want to avoid distractions from neighbors or street lights.

Set Up a Screen

Next, you need to set up a movie screen. You can purchase a portable outdoor screen, or you can make your own with a white sheet or projector screen. Triple-check that the screen is secured and stable to avoid any accidents. Stay away from power lines, and make sure the wind won’t blow any tree limbs in your direction, either.

Choose the Right Projector

The quality of your movie experience depends on the projector you choose. Look for one with a high resolution and brightness to ensure that the image is clear and visible even in the dark.

Second-hand retail shops provide another option for picking up a gently used projector at a fair price. You can also easily rent one from a local electronics store if you aren’t looking to make a permanent investment.

Gather Seating

Once your screen and projector are set up, it’s time to gather seating. Provide comfortable chairs, blankets, and pillows for your guests. You might set up a few bean bags or inflatable sleepover beds for a more casual and relaxed atmosphere.

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard, blow up some inflatable inner tubes and float while enjoying the movie! Remember to keep little ones in life jackets and bring towels and dry clothes outside before the movie starts if you do go this route.

Create Ambiance

To create a true movie theater experience, you need to set the ambiance. String lights and lanterns can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. This keeps your yard dark enough so that it won’t interfere with the projector or screen but does provide the light needed to enjoy a safer environment.

A buffet table with popcorn, candy, and other snacks is another fun way to complete the movie theater feel. An ice chest with water, juice, soda, and maybe a few other beverages for the adults is also a great touch. If it’s a special occasion like a birthday or holiday, consider renting a slush machine to turn your favorite drinks into fun frozen treats.

Take Your Eats a Step Further

Barbecuing is a fantastic way to add some extra excitement to your outdoor movie night. Not only does it give you and your loved ones the opportunity to enjoy some delicious food together, but it also adds to the overall experience of a quintessential night spent under the stars.

The smell of sizzling burgers or hot dogs on the grill, combined with the crackling of the fire and the glow of the movie screen, creates a truly magical atmosphere perfect for spending time with family and friends.

Additionally, barbecuing allows for a fun and interactive experience where everyone can participate in the cooking process and customize their meals to their liking. Combined with other sides like potato salad, baked beans, or macaroni and cheese, barbecuing is a fantastic way to add some extra fun and flavor to your outdoor movie night.

Choose a Kid-Friendly Movie

The biggest tip to creating a kid-friendly movie experience is to choose a kid-friendly movie that everyone can enjoy. This doesn’t mean you need to resort to cartoons like Teletubbies — but do make sure the movie is appropriate for all ages, and don’t forget to check the runtime to ensure it won’t run too late for younger children.

Classic family movies like The Lion King, Toy Story, or E.T. are always crowd-pleasing choices. Save flicks like Saw, Gladiator, or Get Out for kid-free viewing occasions.

Create Childhood Memories To Last a Lifetime

A backyard movie night is a fun and simple way to create lasting memories with your family and friends. By following these simple steps, you can create a kid-friendly movie experience in your own backyard that everyone will enjoy. So, grab some popcorn, gather your loved ones, and enjoy the magic of outdoor entertainment!