FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT OUTDOORS – Week 3 of 52 Weeks of Toddler Experiences

Sharing is caring!

If you haven’t joined our 52 Weeks of Toddler/Preschooler Experiences and explored all the ways you can have fun together, check out this post and then this post.


To see all our experiences, click here

This last week we technically completed quite a few things off the list.

We went to a county fair and rode a pony and visited a petting zoo, had a picnic during the St Patrick’s parade, went to the zoo,  had a movie night with snacks,  and almost rode a rollercoaster (yes it was a busy week), but ONLY one activity was intentional. Since the 52 weeks of experiences isn’t about crossing stuff off your check list, but CREATING experiences, I do not count any of these but the movie night. The rest just happened on their own. We didn’t talk about it, we didn’t discuss the activity, they just kind of happened as a part of something else. I want to do all those things again focusing on that activity alone.


So this week was a movie night (among other things). One of the days when Lexi went down for a nap late and woke up late, I decided that since it was already dark out, and we couldn’t go out and do anything fun, we would stay in and watch a movie on our porch. I dug out the only two kid movies I had in my DVD library, our old portable projector and a screen that haven’t seen the light of day for years and, instead of watching a movie in the comfort of our dedicated movie room, we braved the mosquitoes and “the cold” and watched a movie outside.



It was the Tigger movie, pasta with veggies and almond milk while snuggling and covered under a down comforter. Lexi lasted maybe 20-30 minutes before she was done and wanted to go in. She did like the movie and the experience, though. We’ve never watched a movie with her, especially like that, so this was something new. She was pretty upset that Eeyore was so sad 🙂 lol

This was fun, but not sure if we are going to repeat it any time soon. She is still too little to sit through longer movies. Maybe if I get her something more familiar like the Cat in the Hat movie or something along those lines.


Next time, we’ll do s’mores and light a fire and maybe finish the evening with a similar experience if the time allows.


If you participated during Week #3, enter your photo/post link below in the linky tool for others to see:

[inlinkz_linkup id=389420 mode=1]

More on this project, additional lists and to join, click here!

Divider Main


  1. Backwards Day
    (Daniel Tiger episode tie in, Backwards Day book tie in)
  2. Ride a pony/horse
    (Berenstain bears book tie-in)
  3. Go to the airport and watch the planes land.
    (Curious George episode tie-in, Curious George book)
  4. Go to a music shop and explore the instruments
    (Daniel Tiger episode tie in)
  5. Go to a train museum SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  6. Jump in Puddles (Weather contingent) (Hello, Fiends book) SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  7. Feed ducks at the park (Curious George book)
  8. Dance in the rain (Weather contingent) (Olivia book )
  9. Plant something from seed and watch it grow OR plant a garden
    (Curious George episode tie in,  Little Critter bookCurious George book)
  10. Climb a tree
  11. Gather shells (Berenstain Bears book)
  12. Ride a trolley (Daniel Tiger themed)
  13. Go to the lake to look for tadpoles
    (Curious George episode tie-in, Curious George book tie in)
  14. Go on a scavenger hunt in the woods
    (Curious George episode tie in, another Curious George episode tie-in Berenstain bears: nature’s guide (this is a great book for a scavenger hunt and it rhymes)
  15. Fly a kite SEE OUR WEEK HERE
    (a great rhyming Berenstain bears book, Curious George episodeLittle Critter book)
  16. Roast marshmallows by the fire
    (OLIVIA tie in)
  17. Play in the snow (Location contingent)
  18. Go to an aquarium
    (Berenstain Bears bookLittle Critter book, Curious George book)
  19. Have a picnic – complete with basket and red checkered blanket. (Berenstain Bears book – another great funny rhyming book)
  20. Lay out and look at stars (Curious George episode tie-in)
  21. Go camping unplugged (phones turned off)
    (Daniel Tiger episode tie in, Curious George episode tie in, Little Critter book tie in, Curious George book tie-in,  OLIVIA book tie in other camping books)
  22. First movie theater movie (Curious George book)
  23. Go to a petting zoo!
  24. Listen to a thunderstorm (Weather contingent.)
    (Daniel Tiger Episode tie in, Little Critter book tie in)
  25. Have a Family Movie Night with snacks  SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  26. Run around the grass in a park, barefoot, as a family
  27. Pick fruit at a farm SEE OUR WEEK HERE
    (Daniel Tiger episode , Curious George book)
  28. Make Snow/Sand Angels
  29. Make pinecone and peanut butter bird feeders and hang them in the yard
    (Curious George tie-in)
  30. Draw with chalk on the driveway/sidewalk
  31. paddle a canoe down the river
    (Curious George episode tie-in)
  32. visit a tidepool  (Weather contingent)
  33. Egg Dying (Curious  George book)
  34. Go to see a boat show (at Christmas)
  35. Go on a sunset cruise on a boat
    (Curious George episode tie in)
  36. Make giant bubbles in the yard SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  37. go to a waterpark
  38. go to  Botanical gardens
  39. Go bowling
    (Curious George episode , Curious George book)
  40. Jump on the bed/couch/furniture together (5 Little Monkeys bookSEE OUR WEEK HERE
  41. Get long newsprint/butcher’s  paper and trace/color your hands, feet and bodies!
  42. Make cookies together
  43. Play Hide and Seek
  44. Build a fort out of blankets and pillows (The Fort that Jack Built book)  SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  45. Go to the Zoo
    (Curious George episode, Curious George book)
  46. Go on a family bike ride through the woods
  47. Make newspaper planes
  48. Get a few giant cardboard boxes play pretend with them!
  49. play tennis
  50. play miniature golf
    (Curious George book)
  51. Ride a roller coaster SEE OUR WEEK HERE
    (Curious George episode , Curious George book)
  52. Ride a train
    (Berenstain Bears book tie-in)


Sharing is caring!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    April 2, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Wow, that projector is awesome. Hope you and your hubby continued movie night out there after Lexi went to bed (maybe not the Tigger movie though, lol. Have you seen any of the Hungar Games movies??). Seriously, what a cool spot to watch a movie, all bundled up. But alas, kids’ attention spans can be short. Maybe a shorter movie next time. There is a great documentary about baby animals (I saw it at our local IMAX. A few years ago– I’m sure you can get it from the library) — it about a baby elephant, gorilla, and (ugh, I forget the last animal) its only about 45 mins, so could keep her attention, and isn’t a cartoon.

    Did you do anyone to prep Lexi for this activity, like you did for the previous ones?
    I would have loved to see her at the fair! What a fun hands-on experience for a child.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      April 2, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      I LOVE hunger games movies. The only movies I managed to escape to the theater for when they came out since Lexi has been born. The documentary sounds great! I’ll look into it, she doesn’t sit still even for animals though, so it will be 20 minutes max probably. She’s a mover and shaker.
      Anyways, no prep here since, well, it’s a movie. And she was AMAZING at the fair. I purposely left my camera at home and regretted it every step of the way: when she was feeding baby goats, eating ice cream or walking around the fair strumming a guitar that we bought her there. It was amazing!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    I simply can not wait for you to do this next year! I’m sad that my baby is growing so fast, but seeing how much fun Lexi is makes me feel a little better.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    Perfect time for movie night, now that she has her glasses! What a doll.
    Up from a nap when it was dark– yikes! What time does she nap/go to bed? Is she on a “schedule” of napping yet? How is night nursing going- any homes of her sleeping through the night?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      April 4, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      We don’t do schedules, we do routines. I believe you can’t force a child to nap, you can also encourage them. She usually naps at the same time every day with pushing her nap later towards the evening every few days when she is not that tired by her usual 2-3pm. That’s when we can get a 5pm nap which will mean a 7 pm wake up. But it beats skipping nap completely like many kids are doing at that age. She still needs a napevery day, just some days it doesn’t happen till later.

      On STTN, she will do it when ready, I am not pushing it. There is small progress happening constantly, but I don’t think she will stop nursing any time soon which means she won’t be STTN any time soon. Plus now she wakes up for potty going.

      • Reply
        April 4, 2014 at 9:42 PM

        Wow, would you mind discussing further nursing at night. My sister is AP, still nurses her just turned 2 year old, so I’m very open to extended breastfeeding, but to be honest, I’m very intrigued by the night nursing- and you’re the first person I have heard to still have a up-all-night toddler. Sorry to be “nosy” but does she wake up and ask for it, or do you sleep “topless” near her? What time does she fall asleep at night/wake in the morning?
        Do you wonder if she is almost stick in a routine of waking at night? Like, if you weren’t there, and maybe your husband was, and just patted her to sleep, would she eventually “forget” and go to sleep? Or does she cry for you?
        I will give you a high-five for sticking to your child rearing beliefs, but also a sad face/pat on the back– cause I know you gotta be tired girl.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          April 7, 2014 at 12:10 AM

          Hey, G!

          That’s A LOT OF questions to answer in a comment. How about I copy them and then make sure to answer in a post?

          One comment: this sentence makes me laugh (not at you, but at how funny it is in reference to our situation) “Like, if you weren’t there, and maybe your husband was, and just patted her to sleep, would she eventually “forget” and go to sleep” If that was even in a realm of possibilities, Lexi wouldn’t be waking up often. Most babies that are still breastfeeding at night wake up regularly and something like patting on the back does not work. Because if it did, then they would be the type of babies to still need nighttime parenting and nursing to begin with, they would just calmly go back to sleep with a song, or a pat, or a hug 🙂

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          April 7, 2014 at 12:11 AM

          I have a Breastfeeding post and a sleeping post and a gentle parenting posts coming up, so I’l be sure to discuss all that there

        • Reply
          Mrs Loquacious
          April 7, 2014 at 10:35 PM

          Georgianne – can you send a high five and a pat my way too? Bc my girl is just a couple of weeks younger than Lexi and she also nurses at night. We are still cosleeping (in her toddler bed or in our king family bed), and yes, it can get tiring! In my case, I have tried sneaking out after nursing DD to sleep. Depending on the night, she can stay asleep for anywhere between 45 min and 6 hours (average being closer to 6 hours) before she starts smacking her lips and looking to nurse. If I deny her the boob, she will cry until she wakes up, and may or may not return to sleep afterwards (depending on how upset she is). She has always been a determined child. Once, early on in her life, she cried for almost 24 hours (until she nearly lost her voice) and stayed awake for 30 hours with only 15 min naps every few hours. That kind of illustrates how stubborn she is. And she does come by it naturally since Hubbs and I have iron wills too. However, we personally don’t see the need to force her to wean at night or cry until she self-soothes simply because society expects us to, or others think that she is old enough. She is an individual and I think every parent can really only ever be an expert on their own kids; case studies of 1 or 2 or even 6 kids doesn’t qualify others to determine what is best for my kid. I feel strongly that I should continue to parent her at night, and part of that is nursing her for comfort or whatever. Culturally, western society tends more to encourage independence at early ages, but in other parts of the world it is not uncommon to nurse frequently until the child is several years old. I probably won’t go that long but I do plan to look for my DD’s readiness before attempting to reduce her nursing frequency.

          And in my case, I do also tell her to wait sometimes before letting her nurse. Just not while she’s asleep at night ????

          • Mala
            April 8, 2014 at 1:37 PM

            Who cares what society thinks about night weaning? Why is that a part of the discussion? How about just for your personal survival? Unless you have the luxury of staying at home everyday and not working for a living, it’s hard for many people to see how anyone could get by with just a few strung together hours of sleep for several years. If that were the case, most of us would not be able to have children and it would be something just reserved for the financially privileged.

            What you say about Western society encouraging independence from an early age is not entirely correct. I am not sure where this myth came from, but Western children are extremely coddled in comparison to children in developing nations, where children take on labor tasks very early on. Anyone who has spent some time traveling somewhere like South America can confirm this.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            April 8, 2014 at 2:20 PM

            You’re talking about different type of independence than the commenter above. There is age appropriate independence, and then there is forced independence. A child will STTN and wean when they are ready on their own. Not every family is willing to wait but it’s their business. However, society should not dictate when a child is supposed to night wean, day wean, sleep through the night, start on solids, etc. It’s incredibly individual.
            Western society is coddled in completely different ways than developing nations ( not that we should strive to be LIKE developing nations, but it’s important to remember that we still function on the level of animals and early humans when it comes to basic needs). Children in developing nations aren’t forced to sleep and feed on schedule, breastfeeding isn’t second guessed, they don’t sleep in separate rooms away from mothers and fathers.
            We know which way is right from the developmental point of you, but we can’t say what is right for every individual baby.

            Also independence is a funny thing, children become independent when they are securely attached and are old enough. Everything else is pseudo independence that comes laced with consequences.

          • Irina
            April 8, 2014 at 4:25 PM

            Interesting debate… I love these discussions, but we are all only looking at it from our own perches. Here is another perspective, from my perch:

            1. Elena, you know I like you and your blog (otherwise I would not be reading!), but you know little about developing nations and you can not lump them all together. There is not one big “developing nations” abstract blob – these are different societies across the globe, and in some BF is a norm, in some, sadly, not, etc. If all were so rosy from the BF-ing and co-sleeping perspective, and all close to what nature intended, etc, why would infant mortality be such a big issue across some of the “developing” nations of the world? How do you know the “schedule” of the children or if BF-ing is “second guessed”? Unless we have worked/travelled extensively in the developing world (vacations in Guatemala/Brazil or whatever do not count), we have no idea.

            2. Society here, in the Western world, does not dictate to me “directly” when to start solids, wean, sleep train, etc. Honesly, no one is pressuring me – not my Pediatrician, not fellow mommies, not my parents or parents-in-law. If they did, I would care less, if I thought that I were right. Kind of like you. HOWEVER, regarding night sleep, you are viewing the “pressure” only as you see it – you and Mrs.L are both stay at home moms, and although your work as a mom is NOT any easier for it, you do have more flexibility in your schedule. You just do. I work full time. I can not function at work on 5 hrs of fragmaneted sleep. Not even on 6 hrs. I have to work for us to live in this society – eat, have shelter, health insurance, to privide experinces to my children, etc. This is my societal pressure – I must get to work every day, where NO ONE gives a F— how long I had to sleep. This society does not accomodate working mothers. I have a great job where people are understanding. I am VERY lucky but no one cuts me any slack. Then I get home and nurse my littlest munchkin 3X per night. Am I thinking about sleep training – you bet your ass I do. Every night at 10, at 1, and at 4am. Sometimes more often. This baby is less amenable to sleep training than my first one, but I will find the way to get her to sleep through the night, and sooner than later, because my job is important too – it pays for our entire life. That is the pressure I feel… a different kind of societal pressure, I think.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            April 8, 2014 at 4:48 PM

            I can’t argue with any of what you said.
            I was simply referring to developing nations mentioned in the previous comment. I think when people talk about “developing nations” in this context they mean more primitive societies in general.
            And yes your pressure is very different. Your pressure is situation dictated, our is expectation dictated. But don’t tell me that we don’t get pressure. It’s just the kind of pressure that is easily ignored while yours is you livelihood. But it’s no more pleasant. I belong to a group with women who do WIO method (wait it out) of sleep training (that means no sleep training) and every other question is about what to say that annoying friend or uncle who thinks that their baby should be STTN. That’s why there should be no judgement. Ever. Every situation is different and what you do and for what reasons doesn’t concern me. Only what I do concerns me.

            Also as you are experiencing right now every baby is different and hence our parenting is different. Many babies simply can’t be sleep trained in gentle way. They are more determined and aware and attached.

          • Iirna
            April 8, 2014 at 5:45 PM

            I understand that the pressure you get is annoying 🙁 I think that I may just have been lucky: I honestly never paid any attention to this type of pressure – I may be annoyed for a minute or 10, but then who cares. it helps that I do not have a large family with many uncles, and most of my friends are childless!

            in all honesty, I am not planning to make my child cry herself to sleep tomorrow either – I am going to continue nursing at night for a while, just try to cut down to 2 times if I can. I am super tired, but I know that I also love the snuggly night nursing baby – they are SOOOOOOOOOO sweet. Not sure if I would think of it as sweet at 12+ months – we will see. The snuggliness is over so quickly, and they grow up and do not want anything to do with us –

          • Mrs Loquacious
            April 8, 2014 at 3:42 PM

            Well, Maya, this is why I say that ultimately, only a parent can be an expert on their own kid. Lots of factors play into weaning decisions. For example, some adults function better with more sleep. I tend to average about 6 before my body wakes me up, even if DD is still sound asleep. My mom was the same. My Hubbs, however, needs 9 to function. Also, we do have the luxury of my staying home, and my hubby works from home too. Obviously more rigid schedules may need to be applied, and weaning may need to happen earlier, if both parents work out of the home or if the child is in daycare. My point was simply that nobody should judge my choices because so many variables come into play.

            Western society does promote and value independence far more than some other cultures, at least when it comes to weaning and sleep practices. The concepts of family beds and shared rooms and breastfeeding until early school age isn’t unheard of and is actually quite common in other places in the world. My Chinese uncle was nursed until he was 5! In our culture, there is a far greater emphasis on babies sleeping in their own nurseries, alone, at younger ages. The expectation is that toddlers should sleep through the night all by themselves, and not breastfeed anymore, by age 2. I am saying that I don’t embrace this expectation because those are not my values or my choices. Of course you are an expert on your own kid(s) and should feel free to parent accordingly. ????

          • Mrs Loquacious
            April 8, 2014 at 3:43 PM

            Oops I meant Mala! Sorry for butchering the name – my bad!

          • Anna
            April 10, 2014 at 9:01 AM

            I really appreciate hearing the different opinions on this subject. You don’t really get to hear a debate about this subject at such an old age, so its interesting.

            My question on the subject (respectfully)- Do you often wonder if the implications of sleep loss/ not getting a full, constant 10-12 hrs of sleep is not got for her? Like, I understand WIO, extended breastfeeding, but at what point do you (anyone, not just you, Elena) have to say that getting sleep might be better for her growing mind.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            April 11, 2014 at 4:00 PM

            I think that’s what most people misunderstand. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep. And that sleep amount varies from day to day. So since the amount of sleep is something babies can regulate pretty well themselves, just like eating, as long as you provide ample opportunities for it, our kiddos sleep as much as they need to. The fact that they wake up for brief moments to breastfeed doesn’t make them less rested than other kids. In fact, most babies dont even wake up to nurse, they simply find a breast and continue sleeping ( unfortunately, mothers do wake up, at least i do). AND, the biggest thing is if you saw Lexi ( I can only speak for our family, but I am sure others are similar) during the day with the amount of energy she has, you would never even bother saying the words “sleep loss” lololol
            So yeah they are definitely getting exactly what they need for their growing minds 🙂

          • Mrs Loquacious
            April 11, 2014 at 5:29 PM

            Hi Anna! 🙂 My girl sleeps a total (in a 24 hour period) of approximately 11 hours, so while she is below the “average” of 12-14 hours, it’s not like she is only getting 8. She doesn’t behave lethargically nor does she show any extreme hyperactivity that sometimes sleepless kids have. I can’t speak to whether her growing mind is affected by her sleep habits, but people at Sunday school with kids who are her age have often commented that DD has really good verbal skills for being 26 months, and seems bright. My thought is that it is impossible to “force” a child to sleep when they don’t want to, and sleep training my DD is simply not a good fit for our family; I find it cruel, it is emotionally taxing on DD, and her present sleep habits actually don’t bother us. But since every kid is different, it is quite likely that there are some kidlets out there who might not function well without a straight uninterrupted 10 hours. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 4, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    pardon my ignorance, but what is the difference between ‘schedule’ and ‘routine’?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      April 5, 2014 at 12:38 AM

      A schedule usually means a set time created by a parent. A routine is something that tends to happen around the same time in the same way and for me it also means it’s child led.

  • Reply
    April 8, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    I have learned that ad a mother you get judged no matter what you do.
    So I do my best to just ignore it and I talk about problems/issues/worries and what not only to my close friends. Each of us parents very differently but we dont judge.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      April 8, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      Precisely 🙂 which is a pretty sad thing. “I wouldn’t do it this way” shouldn’t translate into “you’re stupid for doing it this way”.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    Too late for the linkup but here it is!

  • Reply
    Anna Kochetkova
    April 21, 2014 at 2:49 AM

    I absolutely LOVE the outdoor night movie idea!!! Whenever (if ever) I have a house this is a number one item Ill be chasing down all the shops :))) Thank you

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.