My favorite program from 2013 was my drive-in movie. It’s the program that took children’s departments by storm last year, like stuffed animal sleepovers a year or two before that. The concept is simple: turn a cardboard box into a “car” you can sit in. Then you can watch movies sitting in your car, just like at a drive-in!
We did the program for 20 kids in grades K-1. Those grades were perfect, but you could definitely do it for older or younger kids (with preschoolers you’d need the parents there to help). We did a lot of prep work in advance of the program and had everything set up when the kids arrived. The boxes were assembled and there was a ziplock bag with all the necessary supplies for each car. (Pro tip: don’t use tape to assemble the boxes; just tuck the flaps under each other. This way parents can break down the cars for the ride home.) The kids spent about 30 minutes decorating their cars and then watched about 20 minutes of short movies while eating movie snacks (popcorn, candy, water and juice).
There were various decorating options available for the kids. My favorite feature was paper plate steering wheels attached with brads so they actually turned. We made wheels out of discarded CDs, headlights out of plastic cups and foil, tail lights from duct tape and had stickers (stars and flowers) and markers for them to decorate with. A talented librarian on staff made license plates, odometers and gauges the kids could also stick on. We attached shoe boxes to the cars with binder clips to serve as side trays to hold the kids’ snacks.
It was fun for both us and the kids and is one of my favorite programs from the last few years. This program was such a success that we’re doing a similar one next month. Except this time, we’re making train cars with preschoolers!