How to make a cinema at home and have fun with your kids

Happy family watching TV

Make Your Own Home Cinema For a Family Movie Night

It’s family movie night, and watching a family film together provides the perfect opportunity to create all the fun of the cinema, at home!

Ok we’re not talking techy stuff here like surround sound systems, but recreating the experience of going to the movies at home.

So for your next movie evening, why not have a bit of extra fun and set up your home “cinema” with a few little fun extras?

Choose the Movie

First task is to choose the film, either using a voting system or drawing choices out of a hat. Or, perhaps the youngest child gets to choose one time, second youngest next time and so on.

Need ideas?

Enjoy 50 of the Best Family Movies of All Time

Make A Poster

Get the kids to design a poster for the movie, they can use the DVD cover or image from the streaming service for inspiration.

Make sure the movie show time is on the poster so everyone knows when it starts!

Find Blankets

Nothing better than snuggling under a cuddly blanket or throw while you are watching the movie, so make sure you have a few to hand.

Fake Some Tickets

You’ll need some tickets for the cinema for entry for everyone coming to watch the film. So ask your child or help them to create some tickets with the computer that you have to hand over when you arrive at the “cinema”.

Need ideas?

Check these free ticket templates for download.

Set Up a Box Office

You’ll also need to set up a Box Office where you “pay” and collect your ticket. This could be a chair at the table. Decide on what each ticket will cost (you could use Monopoly money) and have your child count the money they receive for the tickets to make sure it was correct.

Make your own Popcorn

How can we not start with the most quintessential movie theatre snack? You will be happy to hear that making popcorn at home is at least 800 per cent cheaper than buying it at a movie theatre.

Movie theatres make a lot of their money by selling snacks. Make your own popcorn at home by getting really creative. If you love cheese popcorn, add some finely grated cheese as soon as it comes out of the microwave. Or make your own caramel at home, simply by melting sugar with a bit of water.

Or for my very favourite, popcorn with Cheetos. Crush half a bag of Cheetosto dust and mix them with the popcorn before adding the other half of the bag as full pieces to enjoy with the popcorn.

Or Nachos ?

This one you can make better than in the movie theatre, since you will (hopefully) be using real cheese, instead the sticky stuff being pumped out.

Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spread your store bought nachos on a tray and cover with any shredded cheese that you love. I like to use a mix of mozzarella and red cheddar. Bake for 10 min or until the cheese gets all melty. Best nachos you’ll ever have.

It’s ShowTime!

Close the curtains, dim the lights in the room, hand over your ticket when you arrive and, if you have a torch or flashlight to hand, why not let your child usher you to your seat with it?

Enjoy the movie!

You May Also Enjoy 50 Fun Rainy Day Activities for Kids Have your say! Do you ever make your own home cinema for family movie night?

Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

Things To Do or Buy

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Projector and screen or HDTV?

This guide focuses on a home theater with a projector and screen set-up. It is, of course, perfectly acceptable to build your theater around a flat screen TV, especially if you have a small room.

However, once you approach the 100 inch screen size mark, you will struggle to find a decent model below $2,000. You are therefore likely to be better off opting for a mid-range projector and screen arrangement for large home theaters.

If you are determined to opt for a TV, the LG 86UM8070PUA 86 inch Smart LED TV and soundbar is worth a look.

The type of projector you choose for your home theater set up will have a huge effect on the movie experience. With its cinema quality lens, sharp colors and superb contrast, the Epson 5050UB

is one of the best projectors on the market. If you have over $3,000 available to spend, you can enjoy 4K resolution at 30 frames per second for a stunningly clear picture even on the largest screens. Even better, the 5050UB comes with an optional wireless HDMI transmitter. This means you can stream media from your mobile devices or a computer without needing to worry about finding lengthy cables.

For a mid-range alternative, you can’t go far wrong with the BenQ HT3550 . Redesigned in 2019, this projector offers 4K resolution, factory-calibrated color and optimized light output for impressive contrast. Its short throw and optical zoom enables flexible placement in your theater, saving time and hassle when setting up. The main drawback of the HT3550 is its relatively low brightness, especially when using the enhanced color filters. This means you will have to take great care with ambient light control. Still, for around $1,500 it’s a great piece of kit. If you need to project in a relatively light room, the Optoma UHD40 may be a better bet. With its 2,400 lumen output and 4K UHD resolution, this HDR compatible projector is great value for its $1,000 price tag.

For low budget set ups, the stylish Kodak Luma 150

is lightweight and flexible, suitable for a wide range of wired and wireless inputs. You have the option of projecting from a microSD memory card, a flash drive or a computer or mobile device (over HDMI or WiFi). On the downside, the image resolution isn’t a patch on the projectors above and the low brightness limits its use to very dark home theater rooms. Nevertheless, at less than $250, the Luma 150 provides very good value for money. It also has an extremely compact form factor, sitting somewhere between a pico and palmtop projector in size.

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