Summer is just around the corner, and soon the school bells will be ringing one last time for a few months. Parents all over the country will be bracing themselves for those inevitable words, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do!” Well, family vacation usually occupies only one to two weeks of the summer. Then there is the mall or amusement park which most of us can only handle so many times. That usually just leaves the movie theater to occupy a few hours in the afternoon or evening. Unfortunately, catching the latest flick may also require taking out a small loan if you attempt to take your children more than one time a week! Of course there is always the alternative of popping in a DVD and watching from your couch in your family room. But where’s the fun in that?
Summer nights are meant to be enjoyed as much as the daylight hours. No more worrying about homework or strict bedtimes. All of the neighborhood kids enjoy the extended daylight hours. They take advantage of later curfews by staying out past sunset playing. Why not take advantage of the warm summer nights and transform your backyard into an outdoor movie theater? Here are some fun and creative tips to help you cure the summertime boredom and add some excitement to movie night!
Steps to Creating a Backyard Movie Theater
1.Hang a Movie Screen
There are a few options you can try when coming up with a screen on which to display your movie. Of course a king size white sheet is the easiest option, and the one you are most likely to have at your house already. But a canvas painter’s drop cloth might be a better choice due to the fact that it’s less likely to be blown by a breezy summer evening. But if you are really serious about this outdoor theater, and want to build a more permanent viewing screen to use over and over, then you may want to build a frame from PVC, anchor the sheet or canvas on the frame, and place the legs of the frame in 5 gallon buckets filled with sand or even cement to hold it in place.
2. Showing in a Backyard Near You
You will need a video source from which to play the DVD. This is probably something you already own such as a laptop, DVD player or Blu-Ray player. You will need a way to project the movie from that source onto the screen. For this task you will need a projector. Something not everyone has lying around the house. BuyDig.com has a variety of projectors starting at $299 and above that will work perfectly. There are LCD or DLP projectors, and while either will work fine, you should try to go for one with 2000 lumens or better due to the size of your screen. 3. Can You Hear Me Now?
While this is an outdoor theater, it is just your backyard, not a fancy amphitheater. You are going to have to rely on your own sound equipment to get the job done. Again, you probably already have this equipment in your home already. It will just require moving it outdoors and hooking it up to your video source. A good set of computer speakers or a stereo amplifier like the one pictured below from Buydig.com will do the trick.4. Popcorn! Get Your Popcorn!
What’s a movie night without popcorn? And since this isn’t just an ordinary movie night, why settle for just ordinary popcorn? Set up a popcorn bar with bowls of plain popcorn. With a variety of toppings and spices to place on top. Toppings may include anything from cinnamon and sugar. As well as seasoning salt, and hot sauce to chocolate candy pieces, caramel pieces and cheese. If you really want to add some flavor to your popcorn, you can even find gourmet popcorn shops around the country. Also online where you can select from hundreds of original flavors. This including Loaded Baked Potato, Spicy Buffalo, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Birthday Cake, Green Apple, Blueberry, Grape, Watermelon, and the list goes on and on!
5. Theme Night!
The hard part is over, so now let the fun begin! If you want to get the kids even more excited about their outdoor movie night, plan it all around a theme. If you’re planning to watch “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Peter Pan”, go with a Pirate theme and have everyone “walk the plank” as they enter the backyard while wearing eye patches. Or they can walk on the “yellow brick road” you’ve created before the viewing of “The Wizard of Oz”. Coordinate some snacks to go with the theme as well. Such as “Chew Bacca Bites” or “Lite Saber Pretzels” for Star Wars night. Dirt cake served with gummy worms while watching “How to Eat Fried Worms”, or spaghetti and meatballs during the showing of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” or “Lady and the Tramp”.
6. Grand Finale!
Just because you see THE END, that doesn’t mean the party really has to end! Extend the fun by dividing up into teams. Playing a picture game with a large whiteboard and markers. Family members draw characters, places or events from the movie and have their teams try to guess who or what it is. Make your own trivia game to play with cards containing questions about the movie. Prepare the cards ahead of time. Then after the movie divide into teams and see who can answer the most questions correctly.
Outdoor movie nights will help keep your family entertained all summer long. They are a fun and inexpensive way to bring your family and even friends together while enjoying the laid-back summer nights.