Winter is a wonderful time to cozy up with your children and stay in to enjoy a family movie night. Break out the blankets, get on your comfy socks and jammies, and set up the twinkle lights because family movie nights are not only fun and exciting, but also beneficial for children and adults.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the importance of spending time with family and how family movie nights can be a great way to bond and create lasting memories. Then, we’ll review our favorite family movie night ideas and dinner ideas as well as the best family movies that everyone can enjoy.

Why is spending time with family important?

Spending time together with your family watching movies, building blanket forts, and making delicious dinners is more than just fun bonding time. These types of experiences are actually extremely important to your child’s growth and development. Research shows that there are many benefits of spending time with family.

  • Improved mental health. Spending time together with family face-to-face reduces instances of anxiety and depression for both children and adults. 
  • Increased emotional support. Family time means more opportunities for children to receive important emotional support from their loved ones.
  • Decreased behavioral issues. Children who spend time with their families regularly have less risk of behavioral problems like substance abuse and violence. 
  • More opportunities for advice. When children spend time with their families frequently, they are more likely to turn to their parents and caregivers for advice (and take it!).
  • Stronger academic performance. Spending time with family helps children understand the value of education and get more opportunities for academic support from their parents, caregivers, and even older siblings.
  • Better communication skills. Family time is generally low risk and lets children practice communicating and expressing themselves without worrying.
  • Boosted confidence and self esteem. Positive experiences with family help children feel more confident in their own skin and in their relationships. Knowing they are valued and respected by their families helps boost self esteem.
  • Increased problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Not all family time is golden. When issues arise, children who regularly spend time with their families can learn useful conflict resolution skills and practice solving problems in a healthy way.
  • Decreased stress. Positive family bonding experiences reduce stress levels for children and adults. 
Photo of family

Family movie night ideas

Now that you know about some of the many benefits of spending time together as a family, you can start planning your next family movie night! Family movie nights are a great way to bond and enjoy time together while having fun. Try some of these family movie night ideas to get started.

Get comfortable with matching PJs

Make the night special by getting comfortable in matching pajamas! Whether you can find perfect matches or just similar colors or patterns, your children will love having the opportunity to match with you. Break out the camera and take a few snaps, you might just find your next holiday family photo!

Build a blanket fort

Before you hit play on the movie, you need to make your space as comfy as possible. That sounds like the perfect place for a blanket fort! But, did you know that building blanket forts is more than just fun and games? Children also learn problem solving skills, practice collaboration, and develop stronger fine and gross motor skills. Check out our step-by-step guide to building blanket forts with your family.

Make a delicious dinner

Gathering with your family for a movie night does not mean you can only have snacks and dessert. Instead, start the movie night by working together to make a delicious dinner. There are so many benefits of cooking with kids, including stronger math and communication skills, better hand eye coordination, more patience, and increased open-mindedness. 

Family movie night dinner ideas

Cooking together with your family has many benefits. Start your movie night with a delicious and nutritious meal that everyone will enjoy. Try adding one of our favorite family movie night dinner ideas to your menu.

  • Homemade pizza. Whether you choose to make your own dough or buy it from the store, family pizza night is a winner. Work with your child to roll out the dough, top it with sauce and cheese, and choose the rest of the toppings. Everyone will enjoy the finished product, especially after working together to make it happen!
  • Pigs in a blanket. Your child will love wrapping little hotdogs (or carrots!) in puff pastry and putting them in the oven to watch them grow. Then, everyone will love their tasty movie night dinner treat.
  • Grilled cheese and tomato soup. A cozy winter night calls for a warm and familiar dinner. What can be better than the old classic grilled cheese and tomato soup? Give your child lots of options for cheeses and bread and watch them make and enjoy their own creations.
  • Mac & cheese. Another cozy and easy meal for everyone. Coat your noodles in a warm blanket of cheese and maybe you can sneak some veggies in there, too! Broccoli, tomatoes, and spinach are great additions to mac & cheese and if you blend them up, your child might not even notice!
  • Tacos. Interactive dinners are fun for everyone! Not only will your child enjoy helping you make all of the elements for tacos, but also they will love being able to build their own taco themselves. This is also a great opportunity to encourage your child to eat more veggies.

Best family movies

Ultimately, the best movie for your family is one you will all enjoy. You know your children best, so you should be able to choose a movie that appeals to their interests. Or, depending on their age, just ask them what they want to watch! To get the list started, we’ve provided some of our favorite family movies that hopefully everyone will love. 

  • Finding Nemo
  • The Incredibles
  • Frozen
  • The Lion King
  • Encanto
  • The Parent Trap
  • Moana
  • The LEGO Movie
  • Toy Story
  • Matilda

We hope this guide has provided you with inspiration for your next family movie night. Remember: The important thing is spending time together as a family and creating positive experiences and memories. Whether you actually watch the movie or not, we hope you and your family enjoy the time together.

If you are looking for enriching activities for your child to explore, check out what our educators are offering on Sawyer. With wonderful camps, after school activities, weekend classes, and more, you will never hear, “I’m bored!” again.

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