Family movie night has become a thing in our family. We have a picnic while we watch a movie, a flick’nic (pic n’flick was an unfortunate possibility), and it’s so much fun. I’m a theme queen so I like to make a picnic that relates to the movie. I feel slightly guilty watching a movie with my kiddos so I try to assuage some of that guilt with a hands-on project.
Tonight’s Flick’nic: Toy Story
Full of humor, touching scenes, good songs, and a lovely message about taking care of the things you love, Toy Story is one of my all-time favorite movies for children, and it’s now a favorite of my children, too. On a side note, on Halloween, my daughter was given a Woody figurine as an alternative to candy, and she loves it. It’s a nice reminder to reuse and recycle toys around the house instead of passing out candy, and it gives new life to a toy that no longer interests your child, which in the end follows nicely with the message of the movie. And, of course, as happens in our house, Woody disappeared on the day of our flick’nic and he missed the great photo opportunities I had in store for him.
With spaceships, cowboys, a birthday party, and a trip to Pizza Planet, Toy Story offers a lot of inspiration for picnic ideas. When my daughter was younger, she thought the play button on the DVD player was called the “pizza button” so it was an easy decision to make pizza. I opted for Pizza Rolls. I made some pizza rolls with garlic butter and pepperoni and some with mascarpone cheese, as described here. My daughters also like green olives so I spread pesto, bacon, and cheese on the pizza dough and rolled the dough around green olives. The goal was for the rolls to look like the three-eyed green space aliens from the movie, but the green rolls would also work nicely for Monsters Inc., Shrek, or a Halloween theme. There was also a snack mix made up of Trader Joe’s cheese spaceship crackers, peanuts (plain or barbecue), and Snapea crisps. When we asked my daughter what kind of pizza she wanted, she requested “pizza salad,” so we rounded out the meal with a Herb Vinaigrette Salad. Dessert was a Lemon Surprise Microwave Cake with a surprise raspberry filling. The recipe isn’t posted but here’s one for an Amazing Chocolate Mug Cake that is amazingly easy and delicious. This menu is perfect for budding chefs. My three-year-old measured the ingredients for the vinaigrette, loved using the rolling for the pizza rolls, and mixed up the mug cake practically unaided.
The Project: The cardboard box I planned to use to make a spaceship was recycled right out the door so that project is on hold until we get another spaceship-worthy box. But the kids don’t need a flashy spaceship. They’ve been content pretending to blast off with any old box they find. In lieu of making a spaceship, we spent time coloring spaceships, planets, cowboys, and potato heads.
Kid Takeaway: After watching the movie, the three-year-old has spent days pretending she’s Super Buzz Lightyear. This morning, the dots on her pajamas were “superpower buttons.” She’s also bouncing around on her horse with Woody “saving the day.” When we watched the scene where misused toys scare the neighbor kid in his backyard, Kacya said, “that’s why we go to the backyard with grown-ups.” Though she may have missed the message about taking care of toys, the imaginative play was not lost on her.
Parent Takeaway: I’ve watched the movie quite a number of times over the years and still enjoy it. It’s a creative and lighthearted movie that appeals to children and adults.