Summertime is filled with fun, outdoor movies! They are a great way to spend time with your family , get some fresh air, and enjoy a free activity. Here are a few tips for making your outdoor movie experience even better.
This post was sponsored by MARS and One2One Network. As always, all opinions are 100% my own!
Growing up, I don’t think I ever went to an outdoor movie at a park. Either they just weren’t popular back then, my parents conveniently didn’t mention them, or they just didn’t exist where I grew up. However, in Utah, it seems like every city has some kind of outdoor movie at the park each week of the summer.
Before we had Jack, Forrest and I attended a couple, and it was always a fun experience. It’s generally pretty good weather past about seven o’clock, and the movies they played were always fun and family friendly. Since Jack was born, we hadn’t been to one, but this summer, we decided it was something we wanted to test the waters with. He’s still pretty little — his bedtime is 7:00 and most outdoor movies don’t start until 9 or 9:30, but when we saw a fun outdoor movie event being put on by Google Fiber, we thought it might be fun to go to.
We actually never go to movie theaters, so this was definitely a fun treat for all of us. The movie they played as the Lego Movie which I actually really, really loved. Overall, it was a lot of fun. Outdoor movies are almost always free, which is always nice for summer activities and definitely are great family activities. Here are a few tips for making it an even more enjoyable experience!
1. Know what time the movie starts
This may seem kind of silly, but it’s important! We didn’t read the fine print on the one we went to and had no idea that the movie didn’t actually start until 9ish. All we saw was that it went from 6 until 10, so we thought it was going to start then. Obviously, we were out of our outdoor movie groove, since it’s not dark at all at 6 PM! Anyways, we still had a lot of fun, but had we only wanted to attend the movie part, it could have been frustrating just waiting around, hoping for it to start. In general, most outdoor movies won’t start until it’s dark enough to see the screen, so keep that in mind.
2. Arrive early
Even if the movie doesn’t start until 9 or 9:30, you want to find a good spot! If the movie is on a hill, there are a lot more “good” spots than if it’s just on flat ground (like the one we went to.) While you will probably be able to squeeze in somewhere, if you have a large group, and you don’t want your kiddos to be disappointed because they can’t see, staking out a good spot is essential (please excuse my squinty eyes in this picture!)
3. Bring your own snacks and water
Some outdoor movies will provide complimentary snacks, others will have paid vendors, and some might not have any treats available. And let’s be real, what fun is a movie without some yummy treats to snack on?! This might seem silly, since the movie was outdoors, but we brought along some ice cream bars. We love ice cream, and since we brought it in an insulated bag with ice packs, it wasn’t even melted.
Forrest and I snacked on some MARS ice cream bars — Forrest ate the M&M® Ice Cream Cone, and I had the lighter choice — TWIX® Ice Cream Bars (under 100 calories each.) They were yummy. And, to be honest, Forrest ate one of the Twix bars, too!
Since Jack can’t eat lactose, we brought him some dairy-free bars, just so he didn’t miss out. He was in heaven!
Here are some more fun snack ideas:
- Popped popcorn, separated into individual bags
- Candy from the dollar store
- Orange slices
You also want to make sure to bring plenty of water! Summer can get a little hot, even at night, and you might be hard pressed to find cold water at a park! Maybe it’s just been my experience but water fountains at parks are always warm, or even worse, hot!
4. Pillows and blankets are a must
While, yes, you could simply go lay on the grass for the movie, I don’t recommend it. It will start to get somewhat cold as the movie goes on, and I can almost guarantee you’ll be wishing you had more than just the cold grass to lay on! We brought a couple of big blankets to lay on the ground and cuddle up in, as well as my good ol’ “boyfriend” pillow that I got back in high school (I think that’s what they are called, at least.) I really liked using this pillow because I was propped up, so I could still see the movie but feel relaxed at the same time.
5. Bug Spray and Sunscreen
Every summer, I feel like anytime I go outside, I come back in with about 10 mosquito bites. It drives me nuts. Even if you aren’t a mosquito magnet like myself, be sure to bring the bug spray, and maybe even sunscreen, if you’ll be in the sun for very long. As soon as the sun starts to set, out comes all the insects that like to bite, so trust me on this one. As much fun as the movie is, you won’t want to be staying up even later once you get home trying to find relief from insect bites!
6. Bring Entertainment
If you follow some of my previous advice, you’ll have some time to kill before the movie starts. You don’t to get super restless (especially if you have kids with you), so having some fun games to occupy yourselves is a great idea. I personally think you should leave the electronics at home and enjoy playing some games together. Card games are always fun (Phase 10 is definitely a great one) or travel editions of games are great too. Blokus, anyone?
Of course, since you are at a park, frisbee or paddle ball are great choices as well. Be creative! It’s just fun being outside and enjoying the fresh air. I personally think playing games is a great way to make fun memories with your family!
Not all outdoor movies are the same. Some simply just host the movie, while others have a huge party beforehand with games, food, and more. The one we attended was the latter, as you probably know by now. It was actually a lot of fun, and I wish I had realized beforehand how much they had to do. They had tons of activities for kids, free food and snacks (including pizza and snow cones), and more. I also wish I had realized that if we brought the flyer that came in the mail, we would have gotten even more free things. Oh well! So, just do some research before you go to see what is going to be available.
Since ice cream is definitely an essential part of any fun movie night, we are giving away FIVE full-value coupons for any MARS ice cream product. Just leave a comment saying what your favorite movie is, and I’ll pick a winner on August 7th!
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.