I love to parade Summer through the door for the kids. One summer I even made a busy bin for them; it was filled with water toys, crafts, chalk, a book series… I want them to feel excited! It’s always fun to have a few other Extra Mom’s throw out some fun neighborhood ideas to celebrate summertime, too… and thus, the box car drive-in idea was born.
A group of my fellow spouse-mom’s presented the idea and I leaped at the opportunity to host. Already having the outdoor movie screen and projector set up made my contribution an easy one.
This boxcar theme was a hit with the kids! I for sure can’t take the credit on all these details – a few other Extra Mom’s really tied this fun theme together with cute signs and fun movie snacks.
Movie night themes are decently easy to pull off, which makes them one of my favorite themes to host. The Dollar Tree has those super cute movie popcorn buckets and concession stand candies for $1/each; they even sell movie-themed photo props in the party section. We load up on their concession style snacks before going to the real movie theater all the time and I usually keep some on hand for our family movie nights at home. I also loved how one mom made her snacks individualized in those plastic cups typically used for jello-shots. It helped the kids serve themselves and reduced the mess.
Any outdoor movie night requires two things: a projector and a screen of some sort. It’s worth the money to get one with good picture quality. I swear by this projector because the image quality is awesome and I can hook my Amazon Firestick up to it for easy setup. As far as movie screens, I’ve used everything from a white sheet against a wall to an actual pull-down movie screen… eventually we invested in a 14ft inflatable movie screen that I love for portability purposes.
The building of my son’s cardboard car was a bit tricky… Finding a box big enough for him to sit comfortably in for the length of a movie, plus the learning curve of decorating the box based on his fancy tastes… My craftiness has limits! Luckily, my teenager was available to help and with some trial and error we pulled off a Pikachu boxcar. It was such good quality time to work on this with them. I only wish I had used yellow duct tape instead of spray paint… my life could of been a little easier (and less smelly).
My Extra Mom Verdict? Moderate effort on the boxcar part but the actual movie fun was easily doable with a few friends to chip in on the concession stands and details. Kids had a great time and it gave them a fun summer activity. It’s a little more high maintenance with the younger kids (keeping them away from the equipment, managing the mess) but older kids who can sit and enjoy a movie seemed to love it. Cleanup was a bit of a pain (because, kids lol) but with some help it was done quickly. Definitely worth doing!