When I was young, I spent a period of time living with my grandmother who was an expert at having fun. She took me to see my first movie at a movie theater back when I was about 5 years old (we saw My Little Pony) and I was completely in love with the experience. The tickets, the popcorn, the dimmed lights…it was so exciting I could barely stand it. Of course, after we watched the harrowing tale of those plucky little ponies, I couldn’t wait to go to the movies again. Since frequent movie theater outings were not realistic, my grandmother did the next best thing…she brought the movies to us.
She invited all the neighborhood kids over to her house and made up hand-drawn posters and tickets. She “sold” popcorn, candy, and drinks. We all had so much fun “going to the movies” that it didn’t even matter that we’d already seen Pinocchio or whatever movie she played a million times.
When I saw all my kids Halloween candy sitting on our counter a few days ago, I knew exactly what to do with it. My kids have had so much fun playing movie theater. My kindergartner loves paying for the food and tickets with real money and doesn’t seem to realize that all the adding and calculating he has to do to figure out what he can buy is math. I’m not sure he’s quite caught on exactly what it means yet, but since he now knows that 4 quarters make a dollar, he’s technically learning fractions as well.
Ordinarily I don’t let my kids watch movies and eat candy in the middle of the day, but this exception was definitely worth it.
- Paper for printing Movie Theater Pretend Play printable
- Laminating Pouches (optional)
Supplies & Tools:
- Laminator (optional, affiliate link)
- X-acto knife (for cutting slot in food labels)
- Print out the Movie Theater Pretend Play printable. Note that there are a few blank labels at the end in case you want to fill out your own, so you may or may not want to print the last page.
- Laminate everything (except the tickets) if you’d like to reuse them again later.
- Write the name of the movie you’ll be watching on the “Now Playing” sheet and hang it up at the entrance to your movie theater.
- Cut out around the food labels, removing the grey triangles on the printout.
- Cut the two sides in half.
- Cut the grey lines on the food labels to make the slot and the triangular tabs. The slot is easiest to cut with an X-acto knife, but scissors would also work.
- Fold the food label into it’s triangular shape. Fold the small triangle tabs inward and stick them through the slot.
- Set up your concession stand.
- Next, fill out the movie tickets with the name of the movie, the date, and time.
- Set up your box office.
- Give your kids a little cash (I went with $3.50) and let them buy their tickets and snacks.
- Dim the lights and enjoy your movie!
This is what it should look like completed.