This year we've started a new family tradition: Friday Night, Movie Night. It's been a resounding success!  TGIF for everyone. The quiet night also means we're ready for whatever adventures the weekend holds. 

The ground rules:

  • Parents decide on the movies. My kids can't agree on anything and often choose movies where all the funny parts are shown in the trailer. Believe me, 2.5 minutes of Marmaduke is all you need in this lifetime. 
  • Treats are mandatory. We grind up frozen mango in the blender and scoop it out like sorbet. A unanimous repeater treat. 
  • Jammies on before the movie starts. Teeth brushed after. 
  • No sleepovers, no friends. This is family night. Plus, it's too hard to hear the movie once the giggles start. Saturday is for slumber parties and games nights.
  • Unless it's NBA playoffs and the Raptors are playing, no other screen time on Friday nights. The kids get 40 minutes of screen time per day, weekends only. 

I admit that I'm a screen time cynic, especially when it comes to my kids, but Friday Night, Movie Night has been awesome. Together we've laughed, cried, bitten our nails, and peaked out from behind a pillow. There have been some particularly sticky issues, that have led to good discussion after the show. Once we engaged the emergency pause button after Dan (8) declared, "I hate David Attenborough!" and ran from the room. This was following a particularly traumatic scene from Planet Earth II when sea turtles hatching on the beach get confused by light pollution and mistakenly head towards city lights instead of the moon and proceed to get trapped in sewer grates and run over by cars. We're on a break from nature documentaries now, but the conversation about not shooting the messenger was good for all of us, and Sir David A has been given clemency. 

Most recently, we watched Goonies. If you haven't seen it, you must. For the younger generation, it's a classic from the 80s about a bunch of kids who search for treasure and encounter some bad guys along the way. The audio on our DVD is terrible, making it really hard to understand what the characters are saying and follow the plot. Luckily, my kids will look at any blinky lights and seemed to create their own plot from the images and sound bites that they could understand. They went to bed on Friday night mildly confused and woke up inspired. Dan started the day by brainstorming booby traps and erected a pulley system for his bedside rubbish bin. After the rubbish bin was installed, the kids moved onto designing treasure maps, complete with burnt edges. They scoured the house for treasure and then headed out into the bush to hide their maps and the treasure in different places. It was 8 hours of self-directed, cooperative, and creative play - with no fighting! Goonies is going on the Rewatch List. 

No other movie has reached such heights of inspiration, however, some other goodies were:

  • Home Alone
  • Zootopia
  • Tangled
  • Boss Baby - The kids made me put this one up. It was terrible. 
  • A Dog's Purpose
  • Given
  • Planet Earth II*
  • Our Planet*

* Watch out for that David Attenborough. You have been warned.