Up your game for your next family movie night and make it a drive-in theater. Your littles will love the view from the seat of their own tiny car (or tricycle or scooter) in your living room or back yard parking lot. Ready to ride? Scroll down to get everything you need to throw your own Drive-In Movie Night.


Sweet Daisy Designs

Don't let your kids sneak into the theater without a ticket, so make one up or use this easy printable.  To make things even more authentic, be sure to punch their tickets with a hole-puncher before starting the movie.

A Set of Wheels

photo: Holly Hopson

You can't have a drive-in movie without something to drive. So let your little cruisers bring their wheels inside. That's right: Line up the big wheels, the trikes, and the push-cars in front of your movie screen and let your kids watch the movie while they scoot back and forth in their "seats." (This idea is especially amazing for kids who aren't normally allowed to bring their wheels indoors).

 Or, Make Some Wheels of Your Own

photo: Kara/ Simplistically Sassy

Want something even cooler (and more Pinterest-worthy)? Gather up cardboard boxes and make mini cars for your guests. Let your kids paint and decorate their cars themselves, and you've got a full day's worth of activities! Get the instructions from Kara at Simplistically Sassy.

A Projector (DIY Your Own if You Don't Have One)

An outdoor movie screen and decorations are set up as part of an outdoor movie theme birthday party idea for kids

Sure, you could just pull up a movie on your flat-screen TV and call it a day. But if you want to really wow your kids, give them an even bigger screen by projecting the movie on your wall (or on a sheet tied up on the wall). Don't have a projector on hand? Try this awesome way to turn your smartphone into a projector for under $1!. It's true, you won't get as good of a picture as you do on your plasma, but who cares? Your kids will be sufficiently amazed at your homemade movie magic.

Essential Snacks


Movies are nothing without popcorn and other goodies, so don't forget to stock the concession stand with all their favorite eats and treats. Make this custom cardboard snack tray for your kids to hold their items (or just use plastic shower caddies from the Dollar Store!). To make sure they don't go totally overboard and grab four pounds of peanut M&Ms, give them tickets or coins so they can only "buy" a certain number of items. Also, try a unique popcorn recipe instead of the microwave version. 

Last, But Not Least, the Movie


There are tons of great family movies to choose from, and we've got a few great roundups to help you make a choice. We've got 17 family movies that celebrate diversity, the ultimate list of films kids need to see before they're 12, the best movies of 2020 (so far), and even a great list of educational movies for kids.

Melissa Heckscher


21 Ways to Host an Outdoor Movie Night

This Is How You Host a Movie Night for Kids

17 Family Movies That Celebrate Diversity

The Best Movies of 2020 (So Far)

Warning: These Classic Movies Include Racist Stereotypes

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