Family movie night: watch this. Do that.

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Movie night is sure to be a hit with the whole family. You can take it to the next level by adding these fun and educational activities. Here are some movies for the whole family with ideas for activities, snacks, crafts, outings and books to keep the fun going. All of these movies are rated G or PG, but please use your discretion and choose movies that you feel are appropriate for your family.

Look at this: Cars

The famous race car, Lightning McQueen, gets lost on the way to the big race and ends up in the small town of Radiator Springs. His first instinct is to leave the city as soon as possible, but the longer he stays, the less he wants to leave. This movie has a great message about friendship and slowing down and appreciating what is important in life. (G rated)

  • Do this : Install your own car wash. This can be a water table with dish soap and sponges for the kids to wash their match cars, a car wash for bikes and tricycles in the driveway, or involve the kids and wash the vehicles. family.
  • Taste this: Your race car drivers will want to enjoy ‘Cars’ themed snacks. Build red lights with graham crackers. Spread icing on the cracker and add a candy coated in red, yellow and green chocolate to make a traffic light. Other ideas might include “tires” (chocolate donuts), “tractor wheels” (Oreo cookies) or “Mack” and cheese.
  • Go over there: Check Caffeine and octane auto show, which takes place on the first Sunday of every month at the Perimeter Shopping Center, or the Atlanta International Auto Show, March 16-20, at the Georgia World Congress Center. For hands-on action, try karting at Andretti Indoor Karting in Marietta or Nitro Zone in Peachtree Corners.
  • Create this: Create your own racing car using a tube of toilet paper. Cover the tube with construction paper, then add construction paper wheels, stickers, or decorate as desired.

Watch this: Charlotte’s Canvas

After learning that her friend, Wilbur the Pig, the days are numbered, Charlotte the Spider hatches a plan to save him. This film is based on the 1952 book “Charlotte’s Web” by EB White and is a story of unlikely friends and is a classic that both adults and children will enjoy. (G rated)

  • Do this : What words would you use to describe yourself? What about the other members of your family? Use a cardboard plate and tie eight legs (use construction paper) to create a spider. Write your name on the spider’s “body” (cardboard plate) and write a descriptive word on each spider leg.
  • Taste this: For a “Charlotte’s Web” themed snack, serve “farm fresh” foods such as watermelon, corn on the cob or apple pie.
  • Create this: Make a spider web craft. Cut out the center of a cardboard plate. Use a hole punch to punch holes around the remaining edge of the plate. Cut a piece of yarn and tie a knot at the end. Have the children weave the yarn through random holes on the plate to make a spider web. To make weaving easier, wrap a small piece of tape around the tip of the thread.
  • Go over there: Take a trip to the Atlanta Zoo, where you can visit and learn about pigs and spiders, as well as hundreds of animal species from around the world. Take the drive safari to North Georgia Wildlife Park and get up close with miniature farm animals in the kids’ area.

Watch this: Cloudy with a chance of meatballs

When hard times hit Swallow Falls, its residents are forced to eat sardines with every meal. Local inventor Flint Lockwood develops a machine and becomes a local hero when delicious meals start to rain from the sky. But things get out of hand and Flint and his friends must save the city. This movie will make you hungry by imagining what food you would like to see fall from the sky. (Classified PG)

  • Do this : Have the children draw a picture of their own crazy weather report. What food will fall from the sky next? Take turns pretending to be the news anchor and give their crazy weather report.
  • Taste this: Prepare a batch of spaghetti and meatballs to enjoy before the movie. As you eat, discuss which food you would like best if it fell from the sky and which food you would least like to see.
  • Create this: Make a thunderstorm with plasticine. For this activity, you will need gray, blue, and white plasticine and yellow pipe cleaners. Use the gray plasticine to make rain clouds, the blue to make raindrops, and the white to make hail. You can use the yellow pipe cleaners to add eclairs. Let your child get creative and create their own thunderstorm.
  • Go over there: The people of Swallow Falls are stuck eating only sardines. See real sardines (and many other aquatic animals) at the Georgia Aquarium. In the movie, it’s snowing ice cream. Head to your favorite local ice cream shop and imagine what it would be like if they were snowing ice cream. What’s your favorite flavor?

Watch this: Madagascar

Alex the lion is the New York Zoo’s most popular animal attraction. Alex and his friends, Claudia, Melman and Marty, find themselves in Madagascar where they are no longer served daily meals. Alex’s carnivorous instincts make his friends palatable, and he must learn to manage his instincts on this island full of eccentric lemurs. This film is for children but also humorous for adults. (Classified PG)

  • Do this : Organize a dance party. The characters in the movie love to dance, so why not put some music in your house and “Move it! Move it ‘into the living room.
  • Taste this: Since the four friends land on a tropical island, try serving fresh fruits like pineapples, bananas, and oranges. You can also purchase prepackaged Melman-inspired zebra cakes.
  • Create this: Draw a circle on a piece of yellow construction paper. Add a lion’s head to the circle. Use a plastic fork dipped in orange paint to create a lion’s mane around the circle.
  • Go over there: Head to Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville and spot real zebras, giraffes, lemurs and more, or hike the trails of the Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary to see spider monkeys, lemurs, and many other local and exotic residents.

Watch this: Mary Poppins

Jane and Michael, the children of the wealthy and stranded Banks family, are given a new nanny. They are delighted to see that she is full of magical surprises. The film follows their adventures with their nanny, Mary Poppins. Children try to pass some of the things they learn to their distracted parents. (G rated)

  • Do this : Chalk the step. Use sidewalk chalk to create artwork inspired by “Mary Poppins”.
  • Taste this: Just a spoonful of sugar lollipops. To make this fun snack, you’ll need cake mix, buttercream frosting, fondant candies, sugar, and plastic spoons. Bake the cake as directed. When cool, break it up and mix it with the buttercream frosting. Roll the mixture into small balls and freeze for 20 minutes. Melt candy coating according to package directions and thoroughly dip cake pops. Before the coating is dry, roll it in the sugar. Place a spoonful of the candy coating on the plastic spoon and place the cake pop on top. Place in the freezer until set.
  • Create this: Make an umbrella. You will need a round coffee filter, washable markers, and construction paper. Lay the coffee filter flat and have your child color with markers. Use a spray bottle set to moisten the coffee filter and allow it to dry. When dry, fold in half and tie a piece of construction paper into the shape of a handle. Hang on the window so the sun can shine.
  • Go over there: Try foods the Banks family would eat with authentic English treats from Taste of Brittany at Norcross, or enjoy a whimsical tea at Dr Bombay’s Underwater Tea. If the weather permits, get out there and fly a kite!

Look at this: Wall-E

Wall-E (Waste Allocation Load Earth-class) is the last remaining robot on Earth. He spends his days tidying up the planet one garbage at a time. But after 700 years, he is very lonely. When a probe named EVE arrives, he falls in love and follows her across the galaxy. This film is heartwarming and has a good message about protecting our planet. (G rated)

  • Do this : Walk around the neighborhood and clean up the trash you find in the common areas. Discuss what items can be recycled and why this is important. Consider planting a tree, plant, flowers, or taking care of a garden in your backyard.
  • Taste this: For a healthy snack, try foods that come from the Earth. Choose fruits and vegetables that your kids love and are more likely to enjoy.
  • Create this: Create your own robot. Collect empty cereal boxes, paper towel or toilet rolls, and any other found items to design and build your own robot. What jobs would your robot do?
  • Go over there: Visit WildWoods at the Fernbank Museum and get a closer look at nature through its interactive exhibits and walking trails. Learn about conservation efforts at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, or help the earth by picking up the trash at your local park or playground.

Single mother having fun at home with her little daughter.

Can’t get enough of these movies?

Check out these stories for bedtime fun as a family.

  • Fans of “Cars” will enjoy reading “If I Built a Car” by Chris Van Dusen or “My Truck is Stuck” by Kevin Lewis. There are also several books on the topic “Cars” available for more stories.
  • A reading aloud of the classic book “Charlotte’s Web” by EB White is a must before watching the movie. If you’d like to try some spider-themed picture books, check out “Be Nice to Spiders” by Margaret Bloy Graham and “I’m Trying to Love Spiders” by Bethany Barton.
  • Judi Barrett’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and the sequel “Pickles Over Pittsburgh” are obvious choices before or after enjoying the movie inspired by these books. For kid-friendly weather books, check out “A Year in the Wind” by Hanna Konola or “Tap Tap Boom Boom” by Elizabeth Bluemle.
  • “Julius: Fun Facts About Lions for Kids” by James Randall Miller is a book full of fun facts for kids interested in learning more about lions. For kids who are intrigued by zebras, check out “How the Zebra Got His Stripes” by Ron Fontes.
  • “Mary Poppins”, the movie is based on an eight book series by PL Travers. The first book in the series is called “Mary Poppins”.
  • For fans of “Wall-E”, try these books for young children: “What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet” by Jess French or “The Adventures of an Aluminum Can: A Story About Recycling” d ‘Alison Inches. Try Joseph Anthony’s “In a Nutshell” for a book on the importance of plants to our environment.

-Sarah Lyon


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