Who says family movie night must be an indoor activity? Sure, it is easy to load a movie on your television, put on some comfy pajamas, and curl up on the couch with a big bowl of buttery popcorn….and if it is a cold, rainy night, go for it! But as the weather warms, your backyard beckons. There are so many ways to enjoy the fresh air of spring and warm nights of summer..
Did you know you can transform your backyard into an outdoor theater? With a few simple steps, you can create the ultimate outdoor movie experience for your family. Here’s how:
Step 1: Determine the best location in your backyard.
Before you move your equipment outside, you need to determine where to set it up. Is there an electrical outlet nearby? Will the reflection of a street light or porch light make it hard to see the movie screen? Is there enough room for comfortable seating with enough distance from the screen? These are things to consider and work out before you begin setting up your movie screen.
Step 2: Set everything up.
Once you’ve determined where to set up, you can turn this idea into reality. You’ll need a projector, DVD player, speakers, and a movie screen. For the movie screen, you can look for a good deal on a retractable projector screen, or you can make one yourself. The best DIY screen is one made with a crisp white sheet attached to a dark fabric backing. This provides clear, sharp images. For seating, you can use outdoor lawn or reclining chairs, inflatable mattresses, or even simply lay some comfortable blankets on the ground.
Step 3: Create your ultimate movie night menu.
A movie is much more fun with good food. For anyone with kids, hot buttery popcorn, movie-sized sodas, and candy bars are really all you need to create the perfect outdoor movie menu. But, if you want to incorporate dinner into the movie experience, grill up some hot dogs, burgers, or whatever your family enjoys. Just keep it simple and try to stick with finger foods.
Step 4: Choose a movie to watch.
Now, this may be the easy or not-so-easy part. That depends on how agreeable your family is on movies. Of course, it is really great if you all agree, but if you don’t, there are other ways to decide on one. You can write your choices on pieces of paper, put them all in a jar and draw one. Do rock, paper, scissors or some other “fair” way to choose the movie. And don’t worry, even if your kids fuss a little about losing, it will soon be forgotten because this is more about the experience than the actual movie anyways.
Step 5: Put on your favorite PJs, head out back, and enjoy the ultimate movie experience.
Finally, once you’ve got it all setup, in the best outdoor location and have chosen your movie and food, it is time to enjoy. So, everybody put on your favorite PJs (and for a real treat, go with matching family pajamas – your little ones will love it), grab some blankets and pillows, and head out back for a magical night of family entertainment.
And remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. As you set up your ultimate movie experience, there may be some challenges such as finding the extension cord…or the dog eating your little one’s hot dog when she isn’t looking. But take heart, it is all a part of the experience. When your children grow up, and they will, precious memories like these are the ones they will remember, laugh about, and cherish for many years to come.