Post contains affiliate links. If you buy something after following my links, I get a small commission, but you don’t pay anything extra. Thanks for supporting Boxy Colonial!
Back when my older kids were little, doing a bunch of themed movie nights in preparation for our Disney trips always sounded like a fabulous, superfun idea. But I had so many little kids! I think one year I managed a paper chain countdown to Disney thing and felt like a superhero.
Don’t feel too sorry for them, though, because they did get the actual trips to Disney World.
Unlike Abe, who hasn’t been since he was four months old. He’s okay, too, though. He’s done lots of other cool stuff.
So now we have a trip to Disney World all booked for September, and I’m VERY excited about it. And I still think Disney movie nights to hype up the trip sound really fun AND these days I have but one smaller child. And also a blog.
Until recently, Abe (who just turned five) hasn’t been willing to sit still for an entire feature length movie. He wasn’t much into TV at all, really. This is a blessing and a curse. But over the past few months, his attention span has made great strides. My kid who couldn’t sit through an episode of Sesame Street a few months ago was suddenly hanging in there, riveted, for 2 1/2 hours of 1978 Superman.
Owing to his previous aversion to watching things, he hasn’t seen many Disney movies, so everything’s kind of coming together perfectly to make this lead up to our September trip the right time to familiarize him with some of the characters and stories he’s going to encounter in the parks.
Here’s how things went down. We started with Snow White because…..I don’t remember why. Because it was the first full length animated movie? And because there’s a ride about it. I did a bunch of googling for Disney movie night ideas for inspiration, and most of them are full of food and/or craft ideas. I didn’t really want to do a full scale themed meal, because that sounds hard, so we ended up with one dessert instead (for the main course we had grilled cheese sandwiches. So magical!). And we might do crafts for some of our movie nights, but I try to limit useless crafts that will clutter up my house for weeks until Abe finally forgets about them and I can sneak them into the trash, so we went with recyclable activity type things instead. Too many activities, in fact–we could have done a whole week of Snow White unit study or something.
a bunch of sprinkles or chocolate chips or crushed nuts for decorating
Oddly, I don’t think we’ve ever had caramel apples before. What with apples playing such a prominent role in Snow White and all, now seemed like the time to correct this oversight. I followed the instructions on this site, but there’s a not whole lot to it: you melt caramel candies on the stove and add a little cream, then you dip apples in and break out the sprinkles to roll them around in. Ideally you don’t let the caramel puddle around the bottoms of the apples quite so much as we did.
Incidentally, I found sticking the popsicle sticks in the apples very satisfying.
We had this lovely translation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs already, but Abe had never heard it before. The Disney interpretations of fairy tales are, of course, pretty different from the originals, so I wanted to expose him to the original story and spend a little time casually talking about the differences after we watched the movie. Be aware that the original story is a little gruesome (at the end, the evil queen is forced to put on red hot iron slippers and dance until she’s dead. For example).
Fairy Tale STEM:
There are a ton of fun fairy tale themed STEM activities out there, so I went hunting for a Snow White themed one for our movie night. I found this fun one involving building a table and coming up with a seating arrangement for Snow White and the Dwarfs. I think the big kids were more into this than Abe was. Bonus is that you end up with a cute little Snow White, Prince, and Dwarfs playset when you’re finished.
This is another pack I bought from Teachers Pay Teachers, and it was a surprisingly big hit with kids big and small. There’s TONS of stuff in here, and it’s mostly logical and creative thinking skills type activities rather than just mindless worksheets. We all had a lot of fun with Snow White categories where you make lists like “Good Names for Dwarfs” and “Words that Rhyme with Queen.” Just today Abe did the sudoku page we didn’t get to on movie night.
The main event! We signed up for DVDs from Netflix this year specifically to facilitate movie nights, since Disney movies can be tricky to find on streaming services. Of course you can also buy the Blu Ray and DVD or buy the movie to stream on Amazon.
I think our basement movie room and projector set up is one of the best things we’ve done for our family. We all love watching movies down there. We upgraded to an HD projector (and made a bigger screen) last Christmas, and that was money well spent as well. I’m trying to convince Dave that we need to figure out a more portable set up to bring in the trailer for our road trip this summer, but so far he’s not that into it.
*We made this printable Snow White, and it’s cute, but–honestly–it was a lot of trouble to cut out and put together.
*Might be overkill for part of a series of movie nights, but I think this little playset is downright adorable. Maybe for a Snow White themed party or for a kid who’s REALLY into Snow White?
*We avoided going the crafts route for this particular movie night, but if we had done one, I like the idea of decorating real mirrors, because you end up with something you don’t throw away a week later. And mirrors are surprisingly affordable on Amazon….again, would be a great activity that doubles as a party favor if you’re doing a Snow White party.
….our first Disney movie night was a HUGE hit (especially with Abe, but even the older kids had fun). Abe keeps asking when we’re going to do another one (I’m shooting for at least once a month, twice a month when we have time). It was interesting watching Snow White for the first time in years; it’s striking how very different the pacing is compared to more recent kids’ movies. There’s a whole scene, 15 or 20 minutes long, that’s just the dwarfs washing their hands. But Abe was mesmerized anyway. The other morning he woke up and the first thing he said was, “but wait–how did the animals KNOW that the queen was going to hurt Snow White?” It’s sticking with him. We just ordered him a lanyard and pins for pin trading at Disney and he picked out a Snow White one.
Next up: Mary Poppins, I think! Or maybe Beauty and the Beast. I have both DVDs ready to go.
Maybe you would like to pin this?